Picking the books

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Today I decided to pop into Exclusive Books to buy the books on the list I compiled a few months ago. One day to go before the first day of 2015 dawns and I must have a book by a South African writer at the ready. Of the 29 books on my list, I had read two in advance (Marriage Vows by Gail Schimmel and Esther’s House by Carol Campbell – both excellent) so I would have bought the remaining 27, if I could. There is something exciting and vaguely decadent about buying 27 books at a time. Usually much of my reading fodder comes from the two book clubs to which I belong but probably only 20% of the books they buy are South African.

Alas, disappointingly, I could only find 4 of the books that were on my list and I added two more books that looked interesting. Though why I am disappointed I do not know as Exclusive Books does not stock nearly enough SA authors nor do they promote them as they should and could. Perhaps I was hoping that it would be different now that we have so many good writers and such choice. But no  – not one book by Thando Mgqolozana (A Man who is not a Man should have a permanent pile of at least 4 on display), none by Nthikeng Mohlele, Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho, Kgebeti Moele, Louis Greenberg etc etc. Its a disgrace.

I wish we had an independent book store in Durban as I would rather support an independent than a corporate. At least I have 6 to go on with. I will check Kalahari next; they often have books that are unavailable elsewhere. Failing that, how will I get hold of the other 22 books on my list? anyone with some bright ideas, please let me know.

Now I have to decide which of my three to read first. This is part of the fun.

It could be Do not go Gentle because the title appeals to me as it is a phrase from my favourite poem but then I think maybe I should read Futhi Ntshingila’s first novel before reading the second. Not a pre-requisite but my sense of order prefers that. I think it is between Penumbra and Finders Weepers because they both have a ‘pen’ involved. As in Penny, as in a writing utensil…pretty random but then I enjoy randomness almost as much as I enjoy order.

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2 thoughts on “Picking the books

  1. I am from Calgary, AB Canada with no specific ties to SA but I did meet teachers and many fellow students at University in the early 80s (Anthropology) and of course, I watched the pressures on the global stage and popular culture leading up to the end of Apartheid. ( Oh yes and there seems to be a bee-line for some of SA’s most reprehensible psychiatrists to my city, but I digress.) I do find myself drawn to the literature of South Africa: the landscape, the social and political climate and the cultural diversity seem to be wonderful literary fuel. I look forward to seeing what gems you uncover. Happy reading.

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    1. I am delighted to have someone from Canada following my blog. I have long loved South African writing especially as for many years there was not verfy much of it to which I could relate. From what I remember of my twenties, it was either Andre Brink or Wilbur Smith. I would really like our local book stores to do a better job of promoting SA Lit. Our writers need support so this is partly why I am doing this. I read a few of your blog entries and I see that you are also drawn to dark and mysterious but contemplative work. I think you would love the last book I read, review coming later. Though I’m not sure how you would get hold of it as its difficult to find here. Its called Ancient Rites by Diale Tlholwe.

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