Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Confessions of a Book Whore: Child-like classics

If you had told me three years ago that I would be working with children’s books, I would have screamed “concussion!!” and started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on you. Then again, I never thought I would be in the publishing industry in any form, but look at me now! 

Do you remember when you were a child and every book was something special? From the Dinosaur book that taught you how to count, the porridge pot that never emptied, to the broom-flying, wand-sweeping characters of later youth, every book had a unique quality and each had the chance to take you into their land for a moment. I remember climbing up into the branches of the tree in my backyard, abandoning homework for ‘just this one last chapter’.

All too quickly, we grow up; reading comes second to studies, careers, and daily chores. But what if you not only get the chance to revisit this magical land for a bit every day but also, by doing so, give others the opportunity to do so too? Holistically, I play a role in this. I get to feed my love for picture books (something I didn’t know I had until I started working in the industry) while at the same time, hopefully spark the same passion in other adults and children alike.

Some of Tarryn's favourites as a child

But what is the confession? What is the “forgive me father” material that I keep hidden (oh, hello million readers who know a million people) from the world? I love picture books; I have a book shelf dedicated just to these special books and their art, but cannot draw a stick figure without it looking like I drew it with the pencil in my toes, leg over head, hanging from a pole, all done with my eyes closed!

In other words, I cannot draw. Anything. Perhaps that is why I appreciate picture books so much; it is a combination of my biggest love (books and reading) mixed with a talent I can only admire from afar (afar, as in looked in through bullet-proof glass pane China-sized wall to ensure my ability to tarnish anything involving drawing does not come to the fore). 

So, really, working with children’s books allows me the chance to live vicariously through the “rich and famous” of the picture book world, though in these terms being, “dextrous and able-to-draw-a-circle”. And, if nothing else, every day is ‘story time’ for me ...

You can find Tarryn Talbot on twitter: @TarrynBee

Children's Product Manager at Pan Macmillan, Book-lover (bet you didn't see that coming), coffee lover, wants to see the world.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What I am Reading

I am reading: Death of a Saint by Lily Herne

From the Author who gave us Deadlands (Book in the Mall Rats series) brings us the new installment Death of Saint ...

About the Book

Secrets. Everyone has them. But what if your secret is something so unthinkable that you can’t even admit it to yourself?

Exiled from the city enclave for crimes against the Resurrectionist State, teen rebels Lele, Ginger, Ash and Saint — aka the Mall Rats — are hiding out in the Deadlands, a once-prosperous area now swarming with the living dead. With the sinister Guardians breathing down their necks, the Mall Rats face a stark choice: return to the enclave and try to evade capture or leave Cape Town in search of other survivors. But what if the rest of South Africa is nothing but a zombie-infested wasteland? Will they be able to survive on the road if all they have is each other, or will their secrets tear them apart?

After all, only Lele knows the shocking truth as to why the dead leave the Mall Rats unscathed — knowledge that she can’t bring herself to share. And she’s not the only Mall Rat harbouring a dangerous secret….

About the author(s)

Lily Herne is the pseudonym of mother/daughter duo Sarah Lotz and Savannah Lotz. A fan of fake identities, Sarah also writes an urban horror series with author Louis Greenberg under the name SL Grey as well as various crime novels, internationally anthologised short stories and screenplays under her own name. Savannah, a die-hard fantasy fanatic, is currently in her second year studying screenwriting at the University of East Anglia.

Have you read Deadlands or Death of a Saint by Lily Herne, Tell me about it?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Exclusive Books HomeBru Promotion

Every year Exclusive Books runs a promotion called HOMEBRU.  It is a Proudly South African list of books and writers, selected by store managers during May through to June (1 May to 27 June 2012). This promotion is a celebbration of everything local; authors and writing - something I tend to overlook as a reader: Local Talent.
'Homebru is about holding a mirror up to the SA publishing scene and this year is no different. The Homebru titles capture the deep and wide range of topics which captures the diversity and polarity of South Africa beautifully' says Rene Brophy, Marketing and Publicity Manager for Exclusive Books

There are 28 books on the Homebru list which represent 28 unique perspectives of South Africa including a strong representation of Afrikaans titles, is what it says in the Press Release.  I have to agree.  As an ex-Exclusive Books Bookseller, I have seen such great titles on this promotion.  How could I not share these local reads with you ...

I have listed all 28 titles below. 
Note all these titles are available from your nearest Exclusive Books or Online at Exclusives.co.za

The Institute for Taxi Poetry by Imraan Coovadia
Where's The Chicken? Making South Africa Safe by John Cartwright and Clifford Shearing
Trekking On by Deneys Reitz
The Unlikely Genius of Dr Cuthbert Kambazuma by Chris Wadman
Year of the Gherkin by John Dobson
The Reunion by Joanne Fedler

Endgame - Secret Talks and the End Of Apartheid by Willie Esterhuyse
Eindstryd - Geheime Gesprekke En Die Einde Van Apartheid by Willie Esterhuyse
Briewe Aan My Kinders - Twiets Wat Jou Laat Dink by Jonathan Jansen
Letters to My Children by Jonathan Jansen
The Long Way Home by Dana Snyman
Hiervandaan by Dana Snyman

Eye on the Diamonds by Terry Crawford-Browne
The Last Rhinos by Lawrence Anthony & Graham Spence
No Time Like The Present by Nadine Gordimer
Nuus by Riaan Cruywagen
Rodriguez by Piet Van Rooyen
Die Staat Teen Anna Bruwer by Anchien Troskie

 Supervan & I by Sarel Van Der Merwe With Steve Smith
Dust Devils by Roger Smith
Lolly Jackson: When Fantasy Becomes Reality by Sean Newman
Invisible Furies by Michiel Heyns
Eight Days in September by Frank Chikane
Stoffel Op Safari by Christiaan Bakkes

Bitten by Sarah Graham
A Week in the Kitchen by Karen Dudley
Boereoorlogstories 2 by Jeanette Ferreira
Nicky & Lou by Nataniƫl

Don't forget to follow Exclusive Books on

Monday, April 16, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

About the Book

AROUND THE WORLD, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth has grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

MEET KAROU. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands;” she speaks many languages — not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers — beautiful, haunted Akiva — fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Thanks to Anika, Andrea and Claire from Jonathan Ball Publishers for the copy

Published by: Little Brown Publishers


Laini Taylor, a pint-sized-pink-haired-pixie-type that captured the attention of bloggers (I blame Tammy and Shelagh for this one), reviewers and booksellers, how could I not beg and plead the lovely ladies from Jonathan Ball Publishers (Thank you Anika, Andrea and Claire) for a copy.

I won’t lie when I say that I crept, zombie-like, out of my fiction reverie and it was this bound tome that welcomed me with the proverbial open arms and said, “Come, child, have a cup of tea and devour the words

I fell head first into this rabbit-hole fantasy that truly held my tea half-way to my mouth and deprived me of sleep. I am always weary of books that come with such hype and recommendation, in no way do I claim to be above the recommendations, but they surely hype the book up and leave you saying, “Oh really, come on!”  

Karou is the errand girl to the wish monger, Brimstone – a chimaera. Karou spends her day sketching in notebooks, avoiding her ex, and having lunch with her best friend. It seems pretty normal for a girl with secrets, or does it. It isn’t until Black Hand marks, burnt into portal doorways, that a dark war is truly unveiled. Karou runs into the majestic (and ladies you know what I mean) Akiva, an angel. Oh but this story has far more depth and poise than I can give it. Laini Taylor places the reader into a Smartie box with description that’ll have you tasting the page, and shakes you rattled and rolled to the extent that hours pass unnoticed and you become Alice in Wonderland.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone certainly lives up to the hope.
Taylor has created a world that is sure to replace Rowling’s Hogwarts adventures with deprived Harry-fans. I was lead through the streets of Prague, gazed into Akiva’s eyes, felt what it was like to fly and held my breath with each sword swing. It seems, readers, that the world of vampires are over and Taylor is now carving the path for Angels and chimaera (a mutant-like breed that amalgamates parts of various creatures into one).

Not her first book, but surely one to make her soar to the bestseller list and beyond.

This is a bookshelf MUST HAVE!

About the Author

LAINI TAYLOR is the author of three previous novels: the Dreamdark books Blackbringer and Silksinger, and the National Book Award finalist Lips Touch: Three Times.
She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter, Clementine.

Find the Author on:

Don't forget to let me know what you are reading ...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Confessions of a Book Whore: Talk is Cheap, but so are books

I have been holding on to this post for a while and I know I have been extremely busy and neglecting you, my dear readers... but here we go...  

There is no feeling in this world than finding a book that had you at ‘Hello’ and has you skipping to the counter because the price is cheaper than a newspaper. My number one weakness, my very own Kryptonite, is a book on sale. How I manage to eat food, clothe myself and still have money for petrol, when Exclusive Books’ Summer Sale rolls around. I have sold more than my soul to make sure my quota of sale books is purchased.
Me and my haul from the EB Summer Sale

Imagine this...

Me in a combat army clad outfit, ready for action. Mission: Exclusive Books Warehouse Sale. Time: Thirteen Hundred Hours. Note: Chariots of Fire is swelling as I take my first step into the GARGANTUAN warehouse. I mutter under my breath, “Oh god, help me”. I had already BBMed Lood du Plessis (Deputy Fanatics Manager at Exclusive Books) and Rene Brophy (Marketing Manager at Exclusive Books) and had requested that an ambulance is on stand-by for fear of sale book over exertion (This also feeds the fantasy of a strong-handed-male catching me as I faint among piles of books).
I begin the slow walk into the industrial air-conditioned ware house (more like huge fans blowing like jet turbines, catching my hair in each gust that left me thinking “My hair’ll either stay like that or it’ll blowout”). It’s a true dream-like state. Lood points and I follow zombie like, slipping on my own drool as I make my way through the warehouse.

My haul from the Warehouse Sale

The next two-hours fly by in a rather badly edited noir film, that shows me growling at other buyers; grabbing greedily at books; gasping at gems; shoving children to the floor; and finally dragging my box to the counter like it was a wounded soldier that needed saving.
7 Kilograms is what I walked away with. SEVEN; the deadly sins of my bookshelf.

I am poor but Hells-bells I am happy! I am ruthless when it comes to book sales.

So I confess...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy 40th Birthday Picador!

Happy Birthday To YOU!

To celebrate Picador’s 40th anniversary we are re-issuing some of our classic fiction titles. Among them you will find prize-winning books, books that have become global sales hits, books that caused huge controversy when published or were published to huge critical acclaim. Together they are a valuable set of must-reads. 

The re-issues are due for release in April 2012.

I came home to a gift wrapped parcel, that made me think "Happy Birthday TO ME!" (I even sang it!). Picador has truly out done themselves with the re-jacketing of their TOP Picador titles over the past 40 years! 

Each book comes with a section of extra material which historicises the book and provides a spring board for readers to discover more. These pages include contemporary review coverage, author interviews and essays, original jacket art work, reading guides, information about adapting the books for film as well as information about other books by the authors and recommended reading lists.

(From Press Release)

So as they blow out their numerous candles on a list that has made history (and Hollywood), let us take a few minutes to admire the titles!


All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
Dirt Music by Tim Winton
I Write What I Like by Steve Biko
Last Orders by Graham Swift
Mother’s Milk by Edward St Aubyn
Mukiwa by Peter Godwin
Room by Emma Donoghue
Shirley, Goodness and Mercy by Chris van Wyk
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
The Lovely Bones by Alice Seabold
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
The Sea by John Banville
White Noise by Don DeLillo

There are 3 titles I am excited about with this redesign.  I also got an opportunity to work on them.

Picador Africa 40th Anniversary Editions

Now lets have a look at the haul I got ...

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