Trigger Warning (As If)

Let the people write whatever they want, and let the readers make the decisions based on their own experience, and posterity will sort out the rest. I’m not sure that any intellectually curious reader would appreciate being told what is and isn’t safe reading.

Podcast: Catalogues, Books and Writing

So I wandered into a lovely office in a nursery in Johannesburg to speak at Radio Today, a community radio station, to talk about the Exclusive Books catalogue that took four months to produce and is now a glorious, bountiful collection of books. We also talk about publishing, books as objects of lust and untapped…

The Foolishness of Book Jackets

Bad cover design delegates books to the wrong sections, gives them the wrong or no readers and so often puts great books on sale tables, alone and unwanted and left to die next to untold numbers of Dan Brown books.

The State of South African Literature

“Why don’t you stock more local authors? Why can’t I find any South African poetry? Why are there so few black authors?” These complaints come my way every now and then, and are often brought up at store level. While these are very valid questions, the answer is more complicated (and a little bit sadder)…

The Unfair Crucifixion of Salman Rushdie

Satanic Verses deals with the scope of life and death, Bollywood films, utterly destructive love and romance (the mother pushing her children out of a building and following them), sin and lust and climbing Everest. It is a work broad in its material and eloquent in its execution and about so much more than just a few misguided verses. To mark this book as unfit and unacceptable just because a few people are offended is an insult to those of us who don’t share the same belief systems.

The Price of Books

Everyone loves to complain about the price of things without really thinking about what it costs to make it happen. How can a book cost R200, wails the consumer (nearly always while spending the same amount on silly cocktails).  How dare the bookstore charge this! How disgusting, knowledge and stories should be free to all!…

This is Your Revolutionary Reading

Today, South African media is taking to the streets to protest the battering-ram speed of the Secrecy Bill being pushed through. In my heart, I want to believe that this will get stomped on by the Constitutional Court but it seems far too audacious to hope for that much right now. At the least, we can be…

Banned Book Week

Censorship says more about the people that ban the books than the authors that wrote them. According to the American Library Association, challenges are recorded and tallied, and they have provided us with a fascinating list of the top ten books that have been removed from libraries over the last ten years. While many of…