The Book Club Blog

Books for any occasion and other life stuff

There Goes English Teacher – a Review

I love reading memoirs, especially about interesting adventures and Karin Cronjes’ There Goes English Teacher did not disappoint.

When  Modjaji Books asked me which book I would like to review, I was torn because all the titles sounded interesting and unique (La Bastarda- Trifonia Melibea Obono,  A Person my colour – Martina Dahlmans) but I chose this one after hearing good things.

I have to be honest when I say I was expecting something as bright and cheery as it’s cover, but alas, while it had it’s funny moments, this was a candid look at the reality of life. This was a story about change, and how to let go. A mother’s journey. The descent into despair,  a writers quest,  and the question of sex after 50.

It’s about teaching English in Korea, and the children who are taught. But this book is so much more than that.  This is about packing up, leaving a life behind and making a new one.

Karin deals candidly with sadness, and madness. And how a midlife crisis can cause havoc to one’s centre of gravity. This was a journey about taking her power back. How to mother differently, her grown up son.  This was also a writer’s journey and how the writing played out( and how it did not) when she allowed herself to listen to the characters, (even when she really didn’t want to). As an author-in-progress myself I particularly enjoyed this element to the book as it showed that we are all at the mercy of our characters, and our processes. There is no forcing something which is not ready to be finished. It takes as long as it takes.  In my writing course with Joanne Fedler, she mentions that ‘What shows up in life shows up in the writing’  and this book was a perfect example of that.

The writing was interesting,  and while the author played with both first and third person accounts, which lead to a couple of confusing moments when I wondered who she was talking about, I soon picked it up and enjoyed the contrast.  And, how it reflected the life she was living back to us, the reader.

I loved the conflict of cultures, the language barriers, the heritage differences, yet even then, friendships were formed. It was these that made her journey bearable, which showed that it doesn’t matter where you come from, connection to others is just as important as connection to self. But, so is letting go of friendships which no longer serve you. And of change. How we may change, but others do not and what to do with that.

This midlife memoir was a rollercoaster ride yet such a refreshing book to read.  I highly recommend reading it. If you are still needing gifts for the season, this would make an excellent gift and you can purchase your copy here.

But, I would love to pass on the love by sharing my review copy with one lucky reader of this blog. What do you need to do?

: Tell me if you could teach English anywhere in the world where would you go?

: Once you have read it, leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Leave your name, answer and email address in the comments and I will do a lucky draw this Friday 7th December and post it on Monday 10th December via the post office. Only open to SA unfortunately.

Happy Reading!


Drumroll please…

And the winner of the literary blog hop is:








The winning no                                                                                                                                                              names and entries


Lynne Clark! Please send me your postal addy so I can get your book to you ASAP!


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Literary Give away blog hop time!

The Blog Hop Giveaway is now closed. Winner will be announced on Friday!

Apologies for late post, I have been slack, and completely forgot the date, but without further ado…

I am part of the literary blog hop which was started by Leeswammes and I have had the pleasure of winning a book or two through this hop. There are many other blogs taking part, and you can win all sorts of bookish things! The Hop runs from the 8th – 12th Feb 2014.

So, here is my give away:

You can win a copy of either of these three books:

1) Mr Penumbra’s 24 hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan


2 ) The Language of Flowers – Vanessa Diffenbough


3) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Dover Thrift Edition

All I thoroughly enjoyed reading and would highly recommend!

Any one can enter as long as The Book Depository sends to your country.

What do you need to do?

* Comment on this post with which book you would like to win, and one book which blew your mind reading, or at least fluttered your skirt.

* Tweet about this giveaway mentioning @thebookclubblog +1

* Like our Facebook page here +1

* please leave an email address that I can contact you on if you win

* When you comment, please state wether you have liked and tweeted.

* Winners will be announced on Valentines Day


Linky List:

  1. Leeswammes
  2. Seaside Book Nook
  3. Booklover Book Reviews
  4. Biblionomad
  5. Laurie Here
  6. The Well-Read Redhead (US/CA)
  7. River City Reading
  8. GirlVsBookshelf
  9. Ciska’s Book Chest
  10. The Book Stop
  11. Ragdoll Books Blog
  12. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  13. Lucybird’s Book Blog
  14. Reading World (N-America)
  15. Journey Through Books
  16. Readerbuzz
  17. Always With a Book (US)
  18. 52 Books or Bust (N.Am./UK)
  19. Guiltless Reading (US/CA)
  20. Book-alicious Mama (US)
  21. Wensend
  22. Books Speak Volumes
  23. Words for Worms
  24. The Relentless Reader
  25. A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall (US)
  1. Fourth Street Review
  2. Vailia’s Page Turner
  3. The Little Reader Library
  4. Lost Generation Reader
  5. Heavenali
  6. Roof Beam Reader
  7. Mythical Books
  8. Word by Word
  9. The Misfortune of Knowing
  10. Aymaran Shadow > Behind The Scenes
  11. The Things You Can Read (US)
  12. Bay State Reader’s Advisory
  13. Curiosity Killed the Bookworm
  14. Lizzy’s Literary Life
  15. Books Can Save a Life (N. America)
  16. Words And Peace (US)
  17. The Book Club Blog

Springtime Giveaway!

and this time it is international.

One lucky Book Club Blog reader will win any book of your choosing up to the value of $15 from The Book Depository, please check to see that they deliver to your country.

What do you need to do to enter?

3 simple steps.

1) Like us on FB

2) Share this give away via blog/twitter/facebook, either or, you choose

3) Tell us your favourite springtime reading either book title or author or what you hope to read this Spring or what you have read this Spring. You choose.

And thats it!

Please make sure that you leave an email address in order to get hold of you if you win. No email address, no entry;-(

On the 23rd September 2013 I will put all your names into a hat and my daughter will choose one. Yes, it really is as easy as all that. So,what are you waiting for??


Q&A with Riaan Manser and an Awesome Give away!

As promised here is the interview with Riaan Manser, author of Around Africa On My Bicycle, Around Madagascar on my Kayak and Around Iceland on Inspiration.

Enjoy it, I have to say that I have great admiration for this man and what he does! As I used in my Pilates this morning: What doesn’t challenge you won’t change you! So very apt I think!

So, without further ado, Ladies and Gentleman, I present Riaan Manser!

1)    In writing ‘Around Africa on my bicycle’ did you find it difficult to remember your journey in as vivid detail as what you described? Especially when your notes were stolen?

Not at all. My diary was stolen on the Around Madagascar circumnavigation but returned after the robbers were caught the next evening while robbing someone else.

My Africa circumnavigation was different. I wrote notes on small pieces of paper and sent them home every now and then. It was amazing how many notes I had taken throughout the two years. I remember writing the Around Africa book and been mesmerized at how not only memories flooded back but even distinct smells!

2) If there was just one memory that you could keep from your journey around Africa what would it be?

Crossing that finish line feeling. It was unbelievable to imagine someone actually took a bicycle where I had and HOW I had. And that person was ME. Strange to say but it probably was the first time in my life where I was genuinely proud of myself.

 3) Since traversing the African continent (including climbing Mount Kilaminjaro -which is definitely on my ‘list of things to do before I die) and kayaking around Iceland and Madagascar, is there anything in your ‘creature comforts’ of home that could compare with any of those expeditions?

I love sleeping on the floor. Just a blanket over me and maybe a few books as a pillow. I also have a weird obsession with cold weather. I don’t like getting too hot.

 4) How did you meet Dan Skinstad and how did he need much convincing in order to go around Iceland on a kayak?

Nope Dan was super eager. I had met him through his famous big brother. Dan pulled at my heart string and I wanted to do something for him that would change his life. I think we accomplished that in the Iceland circumnavigation.

 5) What is your main inspiration to be exceptional?

I don’t have a father who I can look up to and appreciate. A father I can brag about and call on when times are tough. My goal is simple. I want to make a legend of my life so my children one day can be proud of me. Probably every man’s goal I think.

 6) What was it like to meet Mandela, our heart of our nation? 

 Surreal. Mr Mandela is what all human beings want to be. That humanness that cannot be reproduced or bottled. The time I spent with Mr Mandela was probably the highlight of my career thus far. The special moment in our meeting was when he paused for a long time. Looking me square in the eyes, and then telling me that I don’t realize how great an achievement this Africa journey was. He said it is a journey that will inspire the youth of our continent .

 7) In your book, you alluded to your childhood and foster care, do you think that you would write a book about your experiences there? 

Without a doubt. I’m just very sensitive about it and not brave enough. I grew up feeling inadequate , abandoned and unwanted. It’s cowardly I guess but I will in time share everything.

8) What is your hardest part about putting pen to paper and telling us readers about your journeys?

All writers will tell you that there are days when the words just flow and you’re a runaway train . Then there are those days where you cannot even get a paragraph out in one days sitting. Hyper self critique is the most debilitating .

 9) How did you decide on your charity ‘ No food for Lazy man’ to work with children and sport. I really like that they need to give back in some way, in this day and age so many children grow up with a sense of entitlement but yet give nothing in return or even work for that sense of entitlement. 

 You’re spot on. But the reality is that that entitlement you speak of is taught. Children don’t expect unless someone is always just giving.  I want any kid that is blessed through NO FOOD FOR LAZYMAN to pass that blessing on, in which ever way they can. Two things are taught and learnt here. One is that nothing in life is free. And secondly , no matter how dire your situation you can still help someone else.

 10) Would you like to have children of your own one day? And if so, would you do an adventure with your child?

Having children is actually my BIGGEST dream. I want to have 6 kids if possible. My kids entire life with me will be an adventure!

And there you have it! Admit it, you feel inspired don’t you?

And now, we have an awesome give away! We are giving away one of your choice of Riaan’s books. Choose one out of his three books AND get a personalised inscription in the front cover!

What do you need to do to stand a chance to win?

* Tell us in the comments section one crazy thing you have either done, or would like to do with your life.

* Share this giveaway on FB, twitter and/or your blog (an extra entry for each one)

* Make sure you include an email address so we can contact you if you win.

Simple as that!

So, even if you are not inspired, maybe you know of someone who needs that little nudge in following their dreams and knowing that anything is possible if you put your mind to it? Enter on behalf of them and get a personalised inscription from the man himself.

This give away is unfortunately Not international.

Get your comments on and holding thumbs you win!

Give away closes on the 13th June and the winner announced on the 14th.

You can see my reviews here and here.


Children’s book give away!

Cat over at Juggling Act is having a wonderful give away of a fabulous children’s book.

And not just any book, this is  a garden book, called Roots, Shoots and Muddy Boots by Samantha van Riet. Even the name is fabulous. The book comes in two parts, first how to grow your veggie garden and the second part how to use your freshly grown produce in recipes. What a wonderful way to introduce your child to the pleasures of growing your own food!

So what do you need to do to win this gorgeous book?

Rules for entries:
1. Leave a comment on Cat’s blog telling her which veggie is your kid’s favorite as well as your language preference and one on Sam’s blog’s either on the current post or her special Valentine’s post tomorrow. If want to win either of the English or Afrikaans versions, tell her and she will enter you in both the draws. (and your chance doubles, just because both Sam and Cat are both Afrikaans). You have to leave a comment on both blogs for an entry.
2. For extra entries, tweet about the competition mentioning Cat @catjuggles and leave a comment on her blog that you have done it.
3. For another extra entry share about the competition on your Facebook profile and leave a comment on her blog that you have done it.
4. For another extra entry  blog about the competition and leave a comment with the link on her blog.

Easy Peasy as Gemma says!

This give away is only open to South African residents or someone with a South African postal address.

Winner will be chosen by and competition closes at 1 pm on Tuesday 19 February 2013 so best your get entries in!

And good luck! I am hoping to win a copy for Gem’s’ birthday next month!

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And the Valentine’s day Literary Blog Hop winner is…

Picture taken from here

ISA from CHASING QUILLS who will receive a copy of TheHundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared via Book Depository.


I will send you an email and if there is no response within three days I will choose another winner.

See you all in the next blog hop!


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Literary Blog Hop


Yes, it is that time of year again! Blog hop hosted by Judith at Leeswammes.

So, this time I thought I would do it slightly differently and give away a choice of two South African books. They are two vastly different genre’s but both are extremely good,and the authors are deserving of a give away, well, I thought so! Edited to add: I also thought that I should give away one of my favourite books of 2013 ( I know we are only into the second month of this year…) but I truly loved it and for the non South African blog hoppers, just in case, they are daunted by only SA authors…;-)

My choices are:

Spud – John van der Ruit


It’s South Africa, 1990. The country still squirms under the iron fist of apartheid. Two major events are about to happen: The release of Nelson Mandela, and more importantly, it’s Spud Milton’s first year at an elite boys only private boarding school. Cursed with parents from well beyond the lunatic fringe, a senile granny, and a dormitory full of strange characters, Spud has to forge a new life for himself in this foreign and sometimes hostile environment. Surrounded by names such as Gecko, Rambo, Rain Man and Mad Dog, Spud takes his first tentative steps along the path towards manhood. (The path, it seems, could be a rather long road.) Armed with only his wits and his diary, Spud takes us from illegal nightswimming to the cricket field, from ghostbusting to teacher baiting. He also invites us into the mind of a boy struggling to come to terms with a strange new world; a boy whose eyes are being opened to love, friendship and complete insanity.

13 Hours – Deon Meyer


Now they are chasing Rachel Anderson through the streets of Cape Town. The young tourist doesn’t dare trust anyone – except her father, back home in America. When he puts pressure on the politicians, they know that to protect their country’s image, they must find Rachel’s hiding place before the killers.So Benny Griessel – detective, maverick and father of teenagers himself – has just 13 hours to crack open a conspiracy which threatens the whole country.

The official Deon Meyer website

The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and dissapeared – Jonas Jonasson ( I actually won this book on the last blog hop!)

On his one-hundredth birthday Allan Karlsson makes his escape from the old people’s home and embarks on an unlikely and momentous adventure. The international bestselling phenomenon by Swedish sensation Jonas Jonasson.


What you need to do in order to win your choice of either of these two books, sent you to you via The Book Depository (please check that they deliver to your country) is:

* Because it is the month of love and I am feeling the love, I would like to know one romantic/love filled gesture that you have done in your lifetime and leave me a comment telling me  together with your email address and which book you would like to win.

*Tweet me  

*Like us on FB ( if you haven’t already!)

Please ensure you leave your email address as if you don’t your comment will automatically be disqualified.

Winners will be notified on Valentine’s Day!

Check out the rest of the list of blog hoppers ( there are about 40 of us, and that means a a 40 in one chance of winning something if you enter every one…) and Have Fun!


Linky List:

  1. Leeswammes
  2. The Book Garden
  3. Sam Still Reading
  4. Candle Beam Book Blog
  5. Ciska’s Book Chest
  6. Too Fond
  7. Alex in Leeds
  8. Under a Gray Sky
  9. Bibliosue
  10. The Book Club Blog
  11. Fingers & Prose
  12. Lori Howell
  13. Rikki’s Teleidoscope
  14. Girl vs Bookshelf
  15. Lizzy’s Literary Life (Europe)
  16. Booklover Book Reviews
  17. The Blog of Litwits
  18. Reading World (USA/Can)
  19. Seaside Book Nook
  20. Curiosity Killed the Bookworm
  21. The Book Diva’s Reads
  22. Breieninpeking (Europe)
  23. 2606 Books and Counting
  24. Giraffe Days
  25. Lucybird’s Book Blog
  1. Roof Beam Reader
  2. The Relentless Reader
  3. Read in a Single Sitting
  4. My Diary (Malaysia)
  5. Heavenali
  6. Dolce Belezza (USA)
  7. The Misfortune of Knowing
  8. My Devotional Thoughts
  9. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  10. Book Nympho
  11. Kaggsysbookishramblings
  12. Quixotic Magpie
  13. Lost Generation Reader
  14. BookBelle
  15. Under My Apple Tree (USA)
  16. Mondays with Mac
  17. Page Plucker

Give Away!

It is January 2013 and I don’t know about you, but around mid January I miss the gift giving knowing that its only going to happen again at the end of the year (or birthdays which are sprinkled throughout the year…)

So, I have a give away just for you.

One of my favourite books from 2012:

Shades by Marguerite Poland

This was the first book I had read by Marguerite Poland and I loved it. You can read my review over here and if you would like to win this copy, all you need to do, is leave me a comment with your  No1 top read of 2012.  One lucky winner will be chosen by and the winner announced on Friday the 18th January. This give away is open world wide so spread the word..!

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Literary Blog Hop

Yes, it is that time of year again! It is time for the Literary Blog Hop hosted by leeswammes.


You can hop over  to 50 different book blogs, all offering one or more giveaways of books or bookish items. All books will be literary (non)fiction or something close to that. Follow the links at the bottom of this post to find the other participating blogs. The blog hop will be running from the 27 October until the 31st October. The winner will be chosen by or by pulling a name out of a hat and will be announced on the 2 November. The winner will be contacted via email and if there is no response within 3 days another winner will be chosen.

So, what can you win??

I have chosen three books which I have read over the last few years, which I really enjoyed. I hope one of them tickles your fancy too…!


One of my favourite South African authors Rosamund Kendal with Karma Suture

Sue Carey is a driven, twenty-something doctor struggling to preserve her sanity, sobriety and humanity in the corridors of one of Cape Town’s biggest public hospitals. Finding imaginative ways of saving patients is her life’s work. Finding a man who wants more than a one-night stand would be nice as well. Sue’s journey of self-discovery is both harrowing and hilarious. The Karma Suture visits the bedsides of the patients who make her weep and the men who make her weak. She discovers that all she ever wanted is waiting for her … if only she can learn to see beyond the hard science into the mysteries of the heart.

Karma Suture is a uniquely South African story about pain, sex, love, and hope that could only be written by a doctor who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

One of my all time favourite Murakami novels – Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father’s dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down. Their parallel odysseys are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerising dramas. Cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghostlike pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle. Murakami’s novel is at once a classic quest, but it is also a bold exploration of mythic and contemporary taboos, of patricide, of mother-love, of sister-love. Above all it is an entertainment of a very high order. (from

 Scarlett Thomas books are enchanting novels, this -The End of Mr Y- is one of my favourites by her

When Ariel Manto uncovers a copy of The End of Mr. Y in a second-hand bookshop, she can’t believe her eyes. She knows enough about its author, the outlandish Victorian scientist Thomas Lumas, to know that copies are exceedingly rare. And, some say, cursed.With Mr. Y under her arm, Ariel finds herself thrust into a thrilling adventure of love, sex, death and time-travel. (from


A BOOK OF YOUR CHOICE UP TO THE VALUE OF $15 FROM BOOK DEPOSITORY (just check if they deliver to your country)

 What do you need to do in order to win a copy of your choice out of these books is:

1) Tell us which book you would like to win and WHY it appeals to you. (please note that this must be part of your comment otherwise it will be disqualified as an entry) Same goes for if you are choosing your own!

2) Together with no 2 please tell us ONE (or more if you can’t decide) book that you have thoroughly enjoyed this year that you would describe as ‘you have to read this!’ (required)

3) Please leave an email address so that we can contact you if you are the winner (required)

4)Like us on Facebook (additional entry)

5) Follow us on Twitter  (additional entry)

If you already follow us on Facebook and Twitter, please say so in your comment, so we can put your additional entries into the give away.

Please note that all books are also available as e books (for South Africa ONLY) otherwise it will be a paper copy sent via snail mail worldwide.

So, HAPPY HOPPING and get commenting, Here’s hoping we all win a book or two!


  1. Leeswammes
  2. Read in a Single Sitting
  3. Ephemeral Digest
  4. My Devotional Thoughts
  5. Devouring Texts
  6. Tony’s Reading List
  7. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  8. Too Fond
  9. The Parrish Lantern
  10. Kristi Loves Books
  11. The Book Club Blog
  12. Sam Still Reading
  13. Silver’s Reviews (USA)
  14. Bibliosue
  15. Heavenali
  16. Under My Apple Tree
  17. Misfortune of Knowing (North America)
  18. Lena Sledge’s Blog
  19. Lost Generation Reader
  20. Seaside Book Nook
  21. The Relentless Reader
  22. Rikki’s Teleidoscope
  23. Monique Morgan
  24. That READioactive Book Blog
  25. kaggsysbookisahramblings
  26. Ragdoll Books Blog
  27. Kate’s Library
  28. The Book Garden
  29. Uniflame Creates
  30. Curiosity Killed The Bookworm
  1. Ciska’s Book Chest
  2. The Book Divas Reads
  3. Alex in Leeds
  4. Simple Clockwork
  5. Bluestalking (USA)
  6. Fresh Ink Books
  7. Sweeping Me
  8. Giraffe Days
  9. Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book (USA)
  10. Books Thoughts Adventures (USA)
  11. emmalikestoread
  12. Colorimetry
  13. Page Plucker
  14. Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity
  15. 2606 Books and Counting
  16. Book Nympho
  17. She-Wolf Reads
  18. The Little Reader Library (Europe)
  19. Booklover Book Reviews
  20. Dolce Bellezza