The Books 2014 Forgot

And in my constant, never-ending and admittedly ill-fated mission to promote excellent (and sometimes slightly inaccessible) books, I would like to promote some books that everyone should read or buy as gifts for people like me who are difficult to please.

Review of The Dying of the Light by Derek Landy

Skulduggery Pleasant is not a series for the weak-hearted. It is a dark, hilarious and addictive thrill of a series, and unlike most fantasy novels, none of the female characters ever have to take their clothes off just to be noticed. (Seriously, Fantasy, as a genre you need to stop it with the pointlessly naked…

Review of Kill Yourself & Count to 10 by Gordon Torr

Reproduced in full with kind permission from the Sunday Times. For an entire generation of South Africans, the Border War and the workings of the SANDF remain mostly a mystery. It was not, and I believe still not, taught in schools. For the 80s kids and born-frees, there’s an entire history barely documented and shrouded…

Review of The Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia is not that far removed from many of us – strained parental relations, trouble at school, low self-esteem. She finds that being thin makes her popular, that dieting will give her control over her rudderless life.

Review of Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Never mind the beer ad guy – Lauren Beukes may be the most interesting author alive right now. Broken Monsters follows in the tradition of Moxyland, Zoo City and The Shining Girls in using cities as characters, backdrops and plot points. In Broken Monsters, Detroit is both ruined and beautiful, the corpse of a model to which artists and…

What I Read When I Read About Running

Until you have watched the sun rise from the top of a gruelling hill or run at the feet of skyscrapers in the heat of a Joburg summer’s night, then running probably seems like a crazy thing that crazy people do.

But it isn’t. I hope that if you have not experienced its joy, I hope you do soon.

Review of “The Collected Works of AJ Fikry” by @GabrielleZevin

“Like,” he repeats the word with distaste. “How about I tell you what I don’t like? I do not like postmodernism, post-apocalyptic settings, post-mortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn’t be – basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the…

Review of Sarah Lotz’s “The Three” (SPOILERS!)

Another South African author has landed a much-coveted six-figure publishing deal, and rightly so. Landed by Oliver Munson of Blake Friedmann, The Three continues in the most excellent speculative fiction vein that South African authors are so interestingly dominating. Consider Apocalypse Now Now, The Shining Girls, Space Race and For The Mercy of Water: it is a trend worth keeping an…

Review of the Book Thief Movie

This is blatant Oscar bait without being Oscar-worthy. It takes superb source material, one of the most important books written for children in the last twenty years, and turns it into a white bread cucumber sandwich with the crusts cut off.

Review of The Girl With All The Gifts by MJ Carey

To be released June 15th, 2014 SPOILERS AHEAD! I have a theory for the endless proliferation of zombie novels, which have been around in various forms since the early 1800s. They usually show science gone wrong, a handsome, rugged male protagonist saving the day and everyone else is boring and undead. The origin of the…