The Book Club Blog

Books for any occasion and other life stuff

Will there ever be enough time to read all the books?

Aka My Christmas Wish List.

Books are expensive these days. And I know there are many costs to publishing and marketing and all those wonderful things. One day I will have my own book written and published and marketed, and then I will ask all of you lovely readers to buy it. So, I am all for spending money on them but I  budget one a month at the moment ( at the full cost price of R300). If I manage to find books under that price (like the Bargain Books Trade Paperback sale at R80 each) then I can purchase more.

The books I am interested in reading at the moment – most of them fiction, one memoir, are now on my wish list so I don’t lose track of them as yet more and more books make themselves known to me. And remember my previous post, about all the non fiction books I need time to read? Well, I don’t know when all this reading is going to happen…. I am going to have to choose wisely. It is the same concept as what to spend my time on. What shall I spend my reading time on? Well, these are some of the books that have made it onto my list…

Lethal White – Robert Galbraith

The fourth in the series and I am itching, palms and fingers, to read this book. But because my dad has been buying me this series, this WILL be a Christmas gift. Which means I need to exercise patience until then. I thoroughly enjoy these books, I love JK Rowling and I shall be reading this on Christmas Day.

The Enumerations – Marie Fisher

I discovered Birdseye about a year or so ago which was her first novel, and I loved her writing. Poetic, beautiful, intriguing and thoroughly unputdownable. If her first novel is anything to go by, I cannot wait to read this.

Moon Sister – Lucinda Riley

I really enjoy her books, and had discovered her before the Seven Sisters was popular. Then this series hit, and similar to the Galbraith books, waiting in anticipation and knowledge (generally) of a book a year, well, how delightful?! I do prefer the smaller printed books so this will most likely only be read in the New Year sometime but Im completely ok with that….

Wundersmith – Jessica Townsend

I read Nevermoor last year when my daughter received a copy for Christmas. We are both now waiting eagerly for the second in this delightful magical tale of Morrigan Crow. I have attached the Amazon link for this if you fancy reading the first couple of pages… (it’s a pleasure)

But They Look So Happy – Xanti Bootcov

I belong to a group of writers online through my writing course with Joanne Fedler so I had inside info that this book was going to be released. It is a debut memoir about adoption and after hearing the blurb on the back cover (which initiated leaky seams) I am definitely putting this on my wishlist for when it is available in SA.

That’s 5. And there are whole lot more. But for now, these are my TOP 5. I will be waiting in anticipation to read them and exercising patience until then.

What is on your list? Anything I need to be aware of? Do tell in the comments and let us know….

Oh, and does anyone know of a Secret Santa this year?

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A Reader’s Sabbatical

I am a Pilates teacher and Massage teacher by profession.

I aim to keep my knowledge of the body on point, on track and up to date by doing various courses, both online and in real life. In between that I work, I write, I mother, I drive my little person to her favoured extra murals, and then come bed time, I want to forget about the real stuff and dive into a fantasy land of someone else’s creation. Even if it is only for 5 minutes before my eyes slide shut.

But a couple of days ago, while massaging my clients particularly tight traps, contemplating how busy life is and do we ever really take the time to rest, and how we abuse our bodies until they say no more, and the connections between mind and body. How the body stores its emotions, how it has a story to share if only we are willing to listen to the words it speaks. If only we could understand what it is trying to say.

Which then brought to mind all the books on my bookshelf on the mind, body, spirit connection that are begging to be read, and re-read and how it would be so truly delicious to be able to take a sabbatical away from work in order to read. Research. Without trying to fit it into life, instead it is life. To find some of the answers that flit through my thoughts on a daily basis. And how great it would be to then pass on that information to souls also wanting the answers, because even though the answers we seek are so personal, they are truly universal too.

So, in the new year, I am going to take a reading sabbatical and read the books on my bookshelf. The universe has a funny way of providing us with exactly what we need at exactly the right time. So, Universe,  Please may I have a month of paid leave to read and research for work.  And then while we are at it, could I have a month off to write too?  I am asking. Out loud. On social media. How can the universe ignore that?
reading nook

photo courtesy of pinterest

I did take a sabbatical at the beginning of this year, which was truly wonderful and well timed. So, I think a yearly sabbatical would do wonders for my soul.

Have you ever taken a reading sabbatical?

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Selling Lipservice.

lipservice

 

South African author, Tammy Baikie wrote the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award in  2016 with Selling Lipservice. Published by Jacana Media and released in May 2017, this book is one that begs to be read.

Likened to Lauren Beukes, which originally attracted me to reading this, but it was the premise of the story which sold me. Read the blurb –

“Since coming of haemorrh-age, Frith must wear a LipService patch to write or speak. The words the patch produces are not her own. Scripted by copywriters, they promote one sponsoring brand or another. With them, ‘You’ – a voice in her head that is the patch’s brand persona and her conformist alter ego – appears. 

Through the noise of You talking a variety of different LipService brands, Frith struggles to find her way back to speaking for herself. She believes her tastures – her ability to taste things she touches – are the key. But other elements of this consumerist society are equally interested in tastures for commercial gain.”

The blurb tantalised my read buds, and having dipped my eyeballs into this, I was led into an interesting and unique land, of words, of opinions and of ideas which in this current age felt rather too apt in its originality. The idea that we are born and raised to speak a brand and our original thoughts and language are squashed into submission is somewhat real.  This book made me think of 1984 by George Orwell, and to an extent this was a dystopian novel, realistically, I think this could become a future.

Tammy co-joins words to words to form newly originated words which blends seamlessly together to create a quirky and original language of her own. This book does require some brain power, as it is similar (sort of) to learning a new language, and you do have to concentrate a little. Her world drew me in, engaged me thoroughly and spat me out on the other side,  feeling windswept, amazed, and blown away by her talent.

I loved it, but I don’t think it will be every body’s literature landscape. If you are feeling intrigued, give it a go, and do let me know what you think?

I received this book from Jacana Media in exchange for an honest review.

Buy here

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I wrote a poem

…and it may not be the best poem in the world, but it is still my poem.

There was inspiration, there was flowing words, there was ink and paper, and a song in the lines…

If it wasn’t for The Author Awakening Adventure, the 8-week writing course I signed up for last year through Joanne Fedler, I would probably still be ignoring my desire to write.

I have now committed to writing my very own novel. With an aim to have my first tragic draft written by the end of this year. I have organised leave from work to enable space for the words to thrive, and I am hoping that by the time I return most of my ideas will have turned into a semblance of a story. In fact, I am certain it will.

If you have any sort of desire to write, but you don’t want ‘just a writing course’, this is the one to join. It starts on the 19th February and continues for 8 weeks. The support you receive is incredible and I highly recommend it. Take a look here, if it resonates with you, jump in and be brave.

In the meantime here is my poem:

My memories were assailed by forgotten reminders of the past.
I saw glimpses of my 20year old self-
remembered who I used to be.
Where I came from.
And for a moment, went back to that place to see.

But the changes have been wrought,
the blessings of a life well lived,
the soul of a little person residing within
all would not be possible,
if it weren’t for me.

For I recognise the path,
the differences between
and though I may forget, or rather, not remember,
I have come a long way since then.
My past has not defined me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Raising a Reader.

Books. What are they but a pile of papers sewn or glued together? Filled with words of wisdom from the wise. Or nonsense rhymes which make us laugh. Characters and letters printed in pretty fonts. Stories that lead us into adventure, teach us how the world can be and find rare friendships within the pages. Books. A pile of papers sewn or glued together. To impact on our lives if we let them. And for most of us, something we purchase without much thought. We may not like to pay almost R300 for a book( if you live in South Africa), but we can. And we do.

IMG_0942

This year, as like last year we will be donating funds to Little Libraries and if you would like to get involved, please take a look at their Facebook page Little Libraries. Camille does such wonderful work in getting books and educational supplies out into parts of Africa where it is really needed. I donate through the year to Little Libraries and you can too, but what we urgently need right now are books for Grade 4, 5 and 6.

There has been a plea for help, a Bookdrive if you will, to Potchefstroom. Please read the message below:

Hi Everyone!

My name is Kelee and I’m teaching at a school that is a model core c school and it is lacking in books.

I’m looking for reading books for my children at my school. Grade 4, 5 and 6. If you know of anyone that has children’s books that they can’t sell because they are the too damaged and want to re-home please could you WhatsApp me on 0760112839.

I would appreciate any and all donations!!!

(I’m an ideal world I’d have one book per child = 165 books.)

PS: I live in Potchefstroom and will pay for postage.

 

As I have a Grade 4 child who is an avid reader and believe me, she goes through at least a book or two a week, so the call for books resonates with me. I will be going through her bookshelf this weekend to see what has been read and is ready to be re-homed and I would love for you to do the same. And then donate them to this worthy cause. And even though Kaylee is looking for those specific grades, Little Libraries needs for the younger reader. Board books, Learning Letters books because, in rural Africa, many of our children cannot read. So, collectively between you and me, lets help raise a reader. In more ways than one. And with the children of Africa who need it.

heart book

If you would like to get involved and donate books to either of these worthy causes, please support us. If you live in Durbanville or the vicinity thereof, you are welcome to drop off and I will organise the delivery to LL or Potch. I will also be able to collect in certain areas. You can contact me on purplerob2 at gmail.com if you have any books to donate.

Help us to raise 165 books for Potch.

Help us to raise a Reading Nation.

Help us to Raise a Reader.

children-reading-books

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Committed.

Last year I turned 40.

Last year I signed up for a year-long writing course, 365 days. Of writing. When I had not written anything vaguely ‘creative’ in over 20 years. Yes, I had written blog posts, and posts on Pilates and updates on FB, but dig into imagination territory and write? Nope, nothing, nada. Until Last year.

I joined the 7 Day Writing Challenge through the author Joanne Fedler last May. I was drawn to her because I had read her memoir, When Hungry, Eat,(loved it) and the idea of getting taught by an author, a published author, made me feel special (also a little starstruck, and when she answered a comment of mine on FB, well, swoon…for me, authors are like movie stars…) Long story short, ended up committing 2018 to the Year of My Book, and it was suggested to me that I should document the journey for other aspiring authors. (I can’t wait to look back at these posts when I have a book published… It will be very surreal.)

My 365 days started the 1st January, today is day 15 and this is what I have learned so far.

  • You have to believe you can pull it off
  • Writing is as hard and as easy as sitting down to write. If you know your letters, you can write.
  • Having someone who believes you can do it, no matter the doubts in your head makes a BIG difference.
  • You WILL have doubts, but it is what you do with them that count. Do they terrify you so much that you don’t get the words down, or do you politely acknowledge them and then tell them they are not welcome… I do the latter.
  • You have to make the time to write. Even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Somedays the words flow and sometimes they definitely do not. When they don’t,  write down the noise in your head. Make space for new words.
  • Your writing can surprise you
  • You do have gems amidst the ramble
  • You have to write EVERY DAY, preferably with a word count so you are accountable to yourself.
  • Having a group of writing buddies is extremely supportive of the process. To have them to chat to, to compare notes of where you are at in the process, to talk to people who are in the SAME situation, is very beneficial and I am very grateful for my Podlings. ( You know who you are)
  • You have to TRUST THE PROCESS. Even when it feels like nothing is happening, trust that there is. Under the surface where you cannot see it.
  • You have to have faith in yourself and your ability(even when you don’t)
  • You have to commit, even on the dark days, the silent days, the days the words won’t budge.

I am positive that this process is going to get both easier and much harder as the year goes on. But I have set myself along this path and I shall follow through. Committed.believe

And you, are you planning a similar journey, or have you embarked on your own story, your own book? I would love to hear from you. What gems have you gleaned from the process?

 

Next update coming in February. Until then…

 

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Do you write?

"7

I didn’t. I used to, many many moons ago when I still believed in the power of my words. Because one random incident stopped me writing. What was it? I reread some of my journaling and thought, what on earth are you on about? I was a confused young adult, with no real direction and after reading this particular piece (for the life of me I couldn’t tell you what it is now), I cringed and stopped putting words down on paper.

Until my daughter was born, and I realised I needed to write, that I could not keep my words bottled up inside me anymore, and Imsonotablogger was born. I delved into the land of blogging and it served its purpose for many years until life got crazy and busy and I no longer found the time to write…

Skip to 9 years later, when I started looking for a writing course to do. I was turning the big 40, the call for writing a book too loud to ignore and halfway through being 40, I discovered the 7 Day Writing Challenge with the author Joanne Fedler. After seeing the advert on Facebook for a couple of days, I clicked the link.

(It took me a few days because I am always wary of advertising on FB, how they manage to target their market so efficiently freaks me out a little) But when I did and realised that it really was what it said it was, I signed up for the 7 Day Writing Challenge. It was free, and time wise quite doable in my rather crazy schedule. I knew I could fit writing into my life, without it causing too much extra mayhem.

The beauty of the 7 Day Challenge is that my words were woken up. The delicious Joanne Fedler, who teaches with compassion and a no-nonsense approach to being accountable for your thoughts and actions. She teaches the balance of craft and consciousness, so you are not “just writing” but feeling your way into your writing. Which for many of us, that may be the scariest thing. But Joanne manages the transition with care and compassion so you are gently dipping your toes into the waves of words, feelings, and memories of what is alive inside us.

Why am I telling you this?

For three reasons:

  • Firstly, this free 7 Day challenge affected me so much, I signed up for a year-long course to Write My First Draft. Yes, I have always wanted to write a book and Now I am. Becuase writing really is as simple as putting one word in front of the other and letting your fingers do the typing.
  • Secondly, I don’t share things I don’t believe in. I believe in this.
  • Thirdly, if you sign up for the free 7 Day Challenge, at the end of it you have the option to enter a competition to win a scholarship for the Author Awakening Adventure. Which is an 8-week course and really fires up the imagination(that is where the idea for my book originated).

So, even if you think you CAN’T write but want to, this is the perfect starter portion to see where it leads you. It runs from the 18th – 24th January 2018.  And if at the end of it, you really don’t want to explore the landscape of words within you, then don’t. This is the start of a brand new year, release your creativity, for 7 days, and see what gets born from it.

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2017 Book Reviews Top 10

Goodness, I have been neglecting this little corner of books. I may not have done much writing in here, but I have done much reading.

2017 was a fabulous reading year. There were not many duds, though if I was reading something I really wasn’t enjoying, I put it down and started something else. There are way too many good books in the world, to spend time on books I am not enjoying. I give them an honest try but if they don’t tickle my tootsies, then I abandon them…

No 10

boundless sublime

The Boundless Sublime – Lili Wilkinson

This was a great a novel about a cult and how easy it is to fall into the trap of words. A superb YA novel.

No 9

caraval

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Thoroughly enjoyed the magical YA novel. It was a unique story and very well written

NO 8

more than this

More than this – Patrick Ness

Another YA, what makes you think I am a fan? But this was different and engaging and asked the questions, are we real? Do our thoughts define us?  I loved it.

No 7

the jewel

The Lone City Series started with The Jewel

I thoroughly enjoyed this series. Granted it was a little wishy-washy in places, but I thought the storyline was original and fun.  It was also super easy to read and kept me entertained through all three of the books. ( I went through a spate of reading books that my daughter can eventually read, this set has been saved for future reading)

No 6

beautiful

Beautiful broken things – Sara Barnard

Once again, this was not your straightforward YA novel, this one had some meaty bits and showed the power of friendship. Especially when we are young and feel things more intensely. A good read. And save for future reading.

No 5

fever

Deon Meyer – Fever

A South African author mainly known for his thrillers, brought this dystopian novel into the world of books, and thank goodness he did. It was great, and he hit the notes just right. Set in SA, with a wonderful twist in the end. If you are into Dystopian, then this should not be missed

No 4

conception

Ms Conception – Pamela Power

Another great SA author, new to me, but on my list of faves. This was hilarious and managed to tear me out of my reading slump that hit me this year. Her writing is funny, true and loved that I could relate to the book. Read it, its good.

No 3

bear

Beartown – Fredrik Backman

Wow, just wow. This one had me through the ringer. I cried big ploppy tears onto the screen of my kindle in this one. A story about family, life, and gender roles. This book Needs to be read.

N0 2

eleanor

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine – Gail Honeyman

Another Wow. This book was an extremely well-written debut novel. I loved it, I loved the characters and I think Honeyman pulled it off with aplomb.

No 1

music

The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce

One of my all-time favourite authors, Joyce got the balance in this book just right. It was perfect, I loved it and you should read it. A book about life, and how we Don’t live and what happens when we don’t and how the small things are the big things and music plays an important part.

If you would like to see the rest of my book, you can find them on Goodreads. I struggled a little to decide which books to add to this list becuase out of the 50 books I read, at least 30 of them were great.

And now onto 2018. Where, while I am reading (Currently on The Boy with No Shoes, William Horwood’s memoir) I will also be writing the first draft of my book. I have joined a writing course with the author Joanne Fedler and I aim to have the #tragicfirstdraft completed by November. So keep an eye on this page….

Happy Reading!

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Two of my best reads for 2017(so far)

BeartownBeartown by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a page turner.

Unlike any of his previous novels in story but the brilliance of his writing is stark.

Beartown is a book that must be read. And by as many men as possible. Women too, but men need to read this book. This book will send you through the ringer, it will have you sobbing, gasping in disbelief, laughing, sharing joy, understanding regret, give you a sense of knowing, all set within the small town called Beartown. This is a story about belonging, about family and about the power of sport. It is about love and understanding, hate and desire, ice and heat. I loved it.

Please read it and then let me know what you thought.

Suffice to say, this is one of the best books I have read this year.

On par with Deon Meyer’s Fever. A dystopian novel set in South Africa.

 

FeverFever by Deon Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well. When I first realised that Deon Meyer’s new book was a dystopian novel my first thought was: but how can he change his genre of writing? Then my second thought was, how brilliant that he CAN change his genre. That he has the brilliance to write something other than what he has written before. And there is brilliance in this novel.

Set in South Africa after a worldwide viral outbreak where the survivors are few and far between, Nico and his father Willem are driving through the desolate landscape when they come to a stop in a town which is eventually christened Amanzi. Amanzi is their new hope, where together with other survivors of The Fever, they begin to rebuild their lives.

This is the story told from Nico’s perspective, and over a five year span. I was swept away into the world Meyer has created and felt both urged to read, and yet also to savour the journey. A believable and courageous story, which I highly recommend. Do not let the fact that this is a South African author, deter you from reading this book. You will regret it if you allow ‘prejudices of apartheid’ (which was always my one complaint in early SA writing, it was all the same, but I can honestly say, this is not) dictate to you over enjoying this novel.

 

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Books Books Books

I received an email yesterday from Net Galley (They do Books) and did you know that there are a couple books coming out soon which you really need to be aware of?? Pity my birthday will have passed by then but check out these great books:

 

kostovaElizabeth Kostova – The Shadow Land

And if you’re asking me who? Then you really need to check her out.  She wrote The Historian which is a fabulous book, and if you haven’t read it yet, you really really need to. The plot blends the history and folklore of Vlad Țepeș and his fictional equivalent Count Dracula. I couldn’t read it at night, it was that good. Then her second one, The Swan Thieves which was not quite as fabulous as her first, but also very good and now, here we are with her third one, due out in April this year!

What is it about? Thanks to Amazon:

A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi—and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes.

As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by political oppression—and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger.

Elizabeth Kostova’s new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories, the pull of the past, and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.

 

Next on my list is:

bear

Beartown by Frerick Backman

I adore this mans writing! He wrote A man Called Ove, My grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry, Britt Marie was here, And every morning the way home gets longer and longer and now Beartown.

What is it about? Thanks to Amazon:

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

And those are just two on my list of Want to Reads.

What is on yours?

 

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