Sunday, January 27, 2013

What am I Reading?

Welcome back guys, to WHAT AM I READING? a weekly segment where I, simply put, answer the very question!
Just Finished
Last week, I embarked on an adventure with Andy Mulligan's Trash, a book I picked up at the Exclusive Books sale, and I'll post a review later, but this book is a book to have.  Three trash diggers in Mexico find something among the papers and slugde of the trash heap that changes their lives forever, this sits up there with  Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
Am Reading...
Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark
In a riveting new thriller, worldwide bestselling suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark weaves the mystery of twin telepathy into a mother's search for a kidnapped child, presumed dead.
On the Blog this week
The week rushed by in a flurry of books, coffee and panicked emails.  I learnt How to be a Woman with Caitlin Moran, and joined the circus with The Trapeze Artist by Will Davis.  I also gorged myself on pizza and books at the Exclusive Books Summer Sale Preview, so while I figure out where to pack more books into an already filled bookshelf, I hope you have a wonderful week of reading, coffee and wine!
Please tell me what you are reading, or if you have read Trash or Two Little Girls in Blue let me know what you thought!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Trapeze Artist by Will Davis

About the Book

A man will endlessly torture his muscles until they shriek and complain. But he will not give in. He will take a hammer to his ceiling until neighbours begin to watch from the window and journalists knock at the door. He will continue to train and hack away at the house until it is finished and the trapeze is in place.

Although his parents thought he was nice and kind-hearted and teachers saw him as a good boy, secretly he hated his drab, ordered world and longed for more. Then, when he was fourteen, a new boy arrived at his school. Edward exuded the coolness of a latter-day Oscar Wilde. Edward listened to Patti Smith, watched Fassbinder films and knew the writings of Gore Vidal, and one evening, would kiss him in the moonlight.

Forty years old and fleeing from a life he can no longer handle, he stumbles upon the circus. Not knowing why, only that he must, he gets in his car and follows after it, refusing to listen to the doubts that plague him, determined to build a new home and family.

The Trapeze Artist draws together the past, present and future of one life to create a work of startling dexterity and vision - a haunting and heartbreaking account of a child, a boy, a man, desperate to free himself from the suffocating weight of his desires, his family and his grief...
I’ll be the first to admit that this book would have been lost in the vast expanse of my bookshelf. I’d have glanced over the blurb and relinquished it back to the pile awaiting reading. This book really wouldn’t strike me as a MUST READ and for those who’d know me well enough (and my reading tastes) would scoff at the notion of me reading this book – by looks of the blurb. Now didn’t anyone teach you not to judge a book by its blurb? Huh!

With that said, it truly did strike me. An atmospheric book wrapped in the on-goings of the circus from the point of view of a gay man who cannot handle the menial entrapment of his life and job that he pretends to like. So he gives it all up and joins the circus. How many of us dreamt of doing that exact same thing at the age of 5?

Sliced and buttered together with visions from the past, future and present – this book weaves together grief, heartbreak, suffocation and homosexuality.

I’ll warn you, it isn’t for the faint hearted of readers – it’s a slow-paced novel with much left to be desired in pace and exuberance. However, this book enlightens the darkest of minds to the world of the circus!

This one is for those quiet reading excursions we dream of...  

About the Author

Will is an aerialist who specialises in corde lisse (rope), tissu (silks), static trapeze and cerceau (aerial hoop). He has long been fascinated by the beauty of movement and the danger of circus, and nowhere are these two extremes more sublimely fused together than the aerial arts.
He has performed at many venues in the UK, including The Place, The Box, Old Vic Tunnels, The Vauxhall Tavern, Supperclub, McQueen, Volupté, The Lowry, St Paul's Church, and The Albany. He has presented work at Glastonbury Festival, Secret Garden party, Edinburgh Festival and Bestival. He is a regular performer for The Wam Bam club at Café de Paris. Will has a range of acts readily available for performance, and is happy to create new pieces for special occasions, functions and site-specific events. Will is based in London. Will also teaches aerial at Gravity Aerial Academy.
Find Author

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Exclusive Books Summer Sale

It is that time again, when the credit cards click over a new R0.00 credit for 2012 and Exclusive Books laidens tables with books that are almost 75% cheaper than usual.

The biggest booking event that boasts almost 180 000 books worth over 10 million rand, averaging a cost of R60, on sale. That is a lot of cheap books that need homes.

I am not going to bury you in the details, like when it starts (Monday 21 January) and when it ends (Wednesday 6 February) or the promotions (where if you are a fanatics member and you purchase 10 books on the Summer Sale, the 11th book is free); nor will I tell you about the red trolley dash, ok, fine that you can find details here, and where you can win your weight in books ...


But before I leave you to click and fret about which Exclusive Books store you are going to visit, I wanted to show you my glorious haul from the sale.


And look what snuck away in my handbag


Remember you can follow Exclusive Books on twitter and like them on facebook.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

About the Book

1913 – Suffragette throws herself under the King’s horse.

1969 – Feminists storm Miss World.

NOW – Caitlin Moran rewrites The Female Eunuch from a bar stool and demands to know why pants are getting smaller.

There’s never been a better time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain…

Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should you get Botox? Do men secretly hate us? What should you call your vagina? Why does your bra hurt? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby?

Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin Moran answers these questions and more in How To Be A Woman – following her from her terrible 13th birthday (‘I am 13 stone, have no friends, and boys throw gravel at me when they see me’) through adolescence, the workplace, strip-clubs, love, fat, abortion, TopShop, motherhood and beyond.


There comes a time in everyone’s life when you sit back and think ‘What is it all for?’ – Yeah, unashamedly, I found myself stumped by this very question. WHAT THE HELL WAS I PUT ON THIS GOD FORSAKEN EARTH FOR! I yelled to the heavens one night – Shawshank Redemption style (except I wasn’t covered in poo).

I found myself gorging pizza at my dear friend Melissa’s house one Thursday night; that night changed my life in more ways than one could ever imagine. As we ate our body weights in pizza and guzzled wine, she handed me How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. ‘You have to read it!’ she said to me enthusiastically jabbing the cover with her forefinger.

I have never claimed to be a feminist; with stereotypes clouding my vision of angry butch women with unshaved armpits marching around slapping men till they cried or maybe I wasn’t exposed enough to the clues of feminism. I should have been, with a mother who refused (and still does) to marry my father because it would somehow compromise her independence – strange, maybe? But at the age of 23, a baby on her hip she carved her career and reared a family. Surely, someone should have sat me down and said ‘Open your eyes, dearest Kelly!’

Now I am getting all preachy, but from the moment I cracked this book open Caitlin Moran clawed her way into my heart and my funny bone. Her sense of humour almost drowned me in the bath with lines like ‘Get me a Kit-Kat, I just bumped my tit on the door’. She spoke to the heart of womanhood as I found myself growing angry at things that were stopping me from being a ‘woman’.

Every woman should own a copy, buy a copy and covet it like our very own secret coded bible. From waxing, motherhood, abortion and shoes to knowing that being a woman is far more than tits and arse, Moran gives you the tools, laughs and permission to eat at will. 

Caitlin Moran had literally no friends in 1990, and so had plenty of time to write her first novel, The Chronicles of Narmo, at the age of fifteen. At sixteen she joined music weekly, Melody Maker, and at eighteen briefly presented the pop show ‘Naked City’ on Channel 4. Following this precocious start she then put in eighteen solid years as a columnist on The Times – both as a TV critic and also in the most-read part of the paper, the satirical celebrity column ‘Celebrity Watch’ – winning the British Press Awards’ Columnist of The Year award in 2010 and Critic and Interviewer of the Year in 2011.

The eldest of eight children, home-educated in a council house in Wolverhampton, Caitlin read lots of books about feminism – mainly in an attempt to be able to prove to her brother, Eddie, that she was scientifically better than him. Caitlin isn’t really her name. She was christened ‘Catherine’. But she saw ‘Caitlin’ in a Jilly Cooper novel when she was 13 and thought it looked exciting. That’s why she pronounces it incorrectly: ‘Catlin’. It causes trouble for everyone.
Find the Author

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What I am Reading...

A new segment for the blog, readers.  A quick "How are you doing?" that just gives you a heads up on what is happening on the blog, what I am reading, and what is next in the pile...
Just finished...
The Murder of Norman Ware by Rosamund Kendal
The Murder of Norman Ware is an essentially South African novel, twisted around the outrageous inequalities that exist in this socially, economically and culturally diverse country. It plays with the ideas of fate and of action and consequence. It’s clever. It’s macabre. And it’s very, very black.
You can find my review of Rosamund's The Karma Suture here.  Also, see Rosamund's Author Pie.
Next up for reading...
Trash by Andy Mulligan

Andy Mulligan has written a powerful story about unthinkable poverty—and the kind of hope and determination that can transcend it. With twists and turns, unrelenting action, and deep, raw emotion, Trash is a heart-pounding, breath-holding novel.

I'll keep you updated on reviews... in the meantime...

Friday, January 18, 2013

2013 Reading titbits

So as I stifle a yawn, as I reach day three of week two of my working career – yes, I am full on Christmas sleep-ins and endless sun escapades. I have been unsure what to post as blog #1 for 2013... Should I ramble (as I am doing now) and talk about something funny my quirky family said or did, during our Christmas lunch. Or should I merely talk about books that I read? It became all too much for me and the saviour that is Lauren Smith over at Violin in a Void suggested I create a list of resolutions, but everyone has resolutions – I am going to throw a chilli in it (as I do with every meal) and give you a list of all the book crimes I committed in 2012; the ones I’ll try not to commit this year so hold off the book police.


Reading in the Bath
I hated reading in the bath. I hated the way it turned the pages of a book to mush and may heavens help you if you dropped the book. Last year, either delirious of exhaustion and probably pills, I took a book and bottle of wine to the bath with me. I sat, sipped and sunk in. God, best hour of my life and that includes the time I discovered that Astros and Popcorn tasted amazing together.

Holding on to books
I have a nasty habit of not letting go, regardless of subject. I tend to horde, hide and haunt books all around my room, knowing full well that I won’t give them the time of day. It’s a horrible, despicable habit that I vow to demolish in 2013 – and not because my shelves are beginning to buckle, but because there are far more readers who’d salivate at the thought of reading a book I wouldn’t even pick up. So may 2013 bring on book swaps, book sales and book donations. If you have any charities in mind leave a comment below and I’ll get in touch.

Not reviewing ALL the books I read
I am guilty as any other book blogger. Reading becomes a job when you post book reviews, and I do love posting reviews, I do want to give you a FULL perspective of all the books I read. Isn’t that how we start a conversation?

Being too nice to books
I believe an author poured their souls out on to a page and a publisher took the time, money and resources to give us, the reader, that gift, but not all gifts are gifts for me? I still believe that reviewing books that you don’t like isn’t moral, because why would you keep reading books you don’t like? I do want to give my reviews a more OVERALL sense of who they’ll attract.

I never say where I review
I don’t like a punt, but I do think that you need to know where I am reviewing – so expect more!

Being afraid of series books
I am petrified or more intimidated by series books. Books that whined on forever and day and poof the author decides ‘No more!’ and I am stuck five books in with no ending. This scares me and puts me off most great reads, so I miss out on great EPICs!

Reading only three classics
I only read three classics last year. Shocking! I vow to TRY and read one classic a month. *realises what she has just promised*

Get author’s to review
I want to know what author’s think... so maybe I need to get some author’s to review... *wonder who*

I have always been an over achiever, but I don’t want to bury myself in unkept promises. So I’ll stop there. Please do give me a prod every now and then if I have fallen off the wagon.

Until then, comment, follow and read!

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