Monday, 11 August 2008
I hosted this months bookclub at Society. With a wedding and birth just around the corner, I themed the evening a 'Babies and Brides' bookclub. Unfortunately Katie was unable to make it though… I made little bookmarks for all the girls and baked little choc chip cookies as little favours.
All of my books were ordered online from Take2, as I found their prices to be better than Exclusives, even with the bookclub discount.
I was really looking forward to eating at Society as I hadn't eaten there since they opened. I also had a very pleasant (if not drunken) sushi experience there a few months ago. Wednesday is actually their half price sushi night, and I don't know what they serve when its full price, cos I was a little disappointed. My soggy hand roll arrived with a big lettuce leaf on top (?) I removed it to find a tiny piece of tuna underneath. My tempura prawn cucumber maki was pretty good though. The ultimate in taking the piss was my main meal. Please do not charge me R90 for a Seafood Linguine with 3 prawns in it. And 4 scallops the size of my pinky toe. Its insulting. I can do the math - R90 can get a helluva lot of pasta and prawns. They must be having a laugh.
A few of us lingered for another drink after we gave up trying to figure out the mysterious black hole of a bill. I must have had fun, cos I completely forgot to pick books for myself. Silly girl.
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Well the Exclusive Books Winter Sale has started, and although a bit disappointing this year, I did manage to find one little gem hidden in amongst the chaffe (yes, i know the metaphor doesn't quite fit, but I was at a loss for another word). 44 Scotland Street. It's another Alexander McCall Smith - him of the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency fame. I haven't read it yet myself, but I have read another book in the series: The World According to Bertie, which has been light, easy reading, but quite delightful. So when I saw the first book on sale, I grabbed it up and thought I have to put it in for all our enjoyment. They're all set in Edinburgh and focus around the lives of the inhabitants of 44 Scotland Street. It was initially published as a serialised novel in The Scotsman newspaper, so the chapters are all quite short, which is why it's so nice to pick up and read short snippets at a time. Anyway, gotta go - we can chat more next time xx
Monday, 21 July 2008
I couldn't resist picking up four awesome books at a second hand book sale this weekend, girls!
Look forward to this one by Wendy Holden. I'm already halfway through and it's a lot of fun. PLUS, I picked up the follow-up novel from the guy who wrote "A curious incident..." (Mark Haddon), and a girly novel called "Four Play", AND a murder mystery / thriller novel about the death of Edgar Allan Poe.
I'll throw them into the mix at our next book club jorl!
Thursday, 17 July 2008
For your reading pleasure - some very unprofessional reviews of some of the books I've read:
Hotel Babylon - Imogen Edwards–Jones & Anonymous
I love inside secrets. This is like the Kitchen Confidential of hotels.
The Call - Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Part 2 of your typical hippie bongo find yourself book.
Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction - Sue Townsend
Pleasant enough, but I was as entertained as I was when I read the earlier books as a teenager. I'm old and jaded now…
Yoga School Dropout - Lucy Edge
Loved this. A true story of this chicky who works in advertising and takes some time out to travel around India and visit various yoga retreats. She gives actual information on places that exist, so it makes for a good reference. I so need a reread, so that one day when I run off to India for a few months, I'll know where to head.
Lifetide - Lyall Watson
Lyall Watsons books are like textbooks for living on planet earth. Fascinating stuff.
Supernature - Lyall Watson
I love this dude. A biologist takes weird 'supernatural' stuff and tries to explain it in a logical scientific way. So friggin interesting!
Gifts of Unknown Things - Lyall Watson
A magical story, woven with science and mystery. The book covers the time the author spent on an little island in the Indonesian archipelago. I'll never get tired of reading this.
The Biology of Death - Lyall Watson
Explaining all sorts of interesting stuff about death, and all the gray areas in between.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka
Nice story. Cute cover design.
The Invitation - Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Just your typical hippie bongo find yourself book.
The Sunday Philosophy Club - Alexander McCall Smith
I loved the Number 1 Ladies Detective series, and was surprised to enjoy this too. Likeable lady detectives, who'd of thought?
Running With Scissors - William Burroughs
Very entertaining. Much better than the movie.
Toast - Nigel Slater
Great memories about family and growing up all kinda related to food. So I had to like it.
Gazza - Paul Gascoigne
I like a good bio. Learnt about Gazza's life. Sheesh, he was naughty.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
A nice easy read, told in such a refreshing way.
Seven Types of Ambiguity - Elliot Perlman
I honestly cannot remember what this one was about. Sjoe.
The Only Black at the Dinner Party - Eric Miyeni
I really enjoyed some of the thoughts in these short articles. But I think Eric Miyeni should stick to writing. He is really not made for radio…
The Time Travellers Wife - Audrey Niffenberger
What a beautiful love story. I read this in one weekend and cried solid during the last 2 chapters.
Promiscuties - Naomi Wolf
Okay-ish. I think I preferred The Beauty Myth though.
Ageless Body, Timeless Mind - Deepak Chopra
Another winner by Deepak.
A Foreign Affair - Shaun Briley
I enjoyed this. I think this was the one about the troubled couple who buy a house in the middle of nowhere. Can you just see the drama unfolding…
The Book of Secrets - Deepak Chopra
I loved this book. Deepak and his metaphysics rock. I think I might buy it and add it to my textbooks for being human. I pored over each word for weeks. Every page had an aha! moment, its a lot to take in.
Smilas Sense of Snow - Peter Hoeg
Super duper kick ass interesting. At first. The second half went a little loopy. SPOILER ALERT! And then, after everything… aliens?!
By The River Piedra, I Sat Down And Wept - Paulo Coelho
I like this sort of philosophical nonsense, but they kinda gave away the morale of the story right at the start.
Mr Vertigo - Paul Auster
Started off so friggin interesting and then the second half was SO boring.
Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do it - Geoff Dyer
Mystic River - Dennis Lehane
I never saw the movie, but I loved the book. Well written, I still have vivid images of the story in my head. Heartbreaking.
Smacked - Melinda Ferguson
Wow. This was scary. It's frightening how easy it can be to fall into the drug addict bottomless pit. You can see how this could happen to anyone.
Journey To The South - Annie Hawe
Based on actual experiences, this is funny and interesting. Good read.
Skinny Legs - Tom Robbins
Funny ha ha and funny strange. I still rate the Can o' Beans and the Spoon's discussion on why slang is bad.
Eleven Minutes - Paulo Coelho
Great philosophical slash sex book about a women who becomes a prostitute. I didn't judge her once, she had a good understanding of what she was doing. Saucy, but not gratutious.
She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
Long, it felt like three books in one. But very readable.
How To Get What You Want, And Want What You Have - John Gray
One of my favourite self-helpish books. Interesting and useful.
London Fields - Martin Amis
I tried, I really did, but I couldn't wade through this book.
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Poignant. Well written considering the subject matter.
All Families Are Psychotic - Douglas Coupland
Pleasant and funny. I borrowed this and still haven't returned it… : \
Soul Stories - Gary Zukav
More self-improvement stuff. Oprah rates Gary…
Eat Mangoes Naked - SARK
Love SARK books. Whenever I feel like my spirit needs a hug, these books are the answer.
Innocent When You Dream Tom Waits The Collected Interviews
Some interesting insights, from then to now… Damn, Tom Waits has such a sense of humour. He's a sharp guy.
Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
Every woman (and maybe every man) on this planet needs to own this book. There is something in here for everyone. What a special journey, that is really well written too.
Sexus - Henry Miller
Lots of sex and rambling. Sounds a lot more glamourous than it is. Honestly, 3 pages of ruminating on how he feels walking one block down a street in New York just tires me out. We geddit Henry, you're an sensitive (self absorbed) artiste.
Perfume - Patrick Suskind
After wading through Sexus, this book was like a breath of fresh (perfumed) air. Honestly, it felt like a light read. I like reading books set in the olden time.
The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
I've just finished this, after a good few months of absorbing each page. Again, every page is full of insights and aha! moments. It makes so much sense. Don't worry about the past, because its over. Don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow could never come. Just enjoy RIGHT NOW, cos its all you really have.
Next stop, A New Earth.
The service was so good that you don't even have to think about it. My meal was fresh and tasty, the portions were pretty substantial, and my glass of chenin blanc was delightful.
Here is some blurb on the restaurant:
Marco Nico is one of Durban’s most highly regarded restaurateurs. His Mediterranean background is reflected in, yet doesn’t dominate, the menu.
Best for: Slick service and memorable cuisine.
Don’t miss: Partner Paul Sheppard’s recommendations.
Marco Paulo: Accord House, 2 Golf Course Drive, Mt Edgecombe; tel (031) 502-2221
Friday, 06 June 2008
I had the spinach and butternut tortellini to start, for mains linefish wrapped in rice paper on the lightest risotto ever, and poached pear with walnut and blue cheese crumble for pudding. Thats a lot of eating. Dessert was okay, I don't know what I was thinking ordering boiled fruit, I should have had the chocolate torte. But my starter and mains had me almost licking the plate.
But to enjoy yourself, you really can't spend too much time thinking about your R24 glass of Wolftrap. Just let it go, enjoy your meal, and bring out the plastic to pay. Tito Mboweni will love you.
Some of the conversation topics included…
Gratutious penis shots
Smooth vs Not Smooth
The Mayan Calendar
The Second Coming
The Collective Consciousness
The Role of a Mother
Who Killed the Electric Car
Why are we burning fossil fuels instead of cow poo
Turning off the lights
Learn Spanish and move to Spain - anything but Australia
Fake Guess handbags
Indesign is crap, and Freehand will forever rule
The price of books
Monday, 02 June 2008
Thursday, 15 May 2008
I guess it's safe to say that I've officially put this one down FOR GOOD! This is what happens when you try to buy a book for the wrong reasons and under crappy circumstances...
1. Don't buy a book based on a movie that you liked that was based on a book written by the same author... Doh!
2. Don't leave your book club book-buying to the last lunch hour before your actually bookclub get-together. You WILL be under too much pressure to choose something good in less than an hour. It really doesn't work. Try to check out some book reviews or bestseller lists or SOMETHING.
3. Never judge a book by its cover. No seriously...
But that's just the tough thing about buying new NEW books. Unless it's been around for a little while, it's hard to go on the cover or even some reviews when it comes to choosing a book and having to pay for it! You win some. You lose some, I guess. I was certainly The Biggest Loser this time around. Bleh!
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
I think it's about time I post something on our bookclub blog. I haven't been ignoring it; I just haven't had the time to say anything, or anything interesting to say at all... If you take a peep at my own blog you'll see that I haven't posted anything in AGES!!! Anyhoo... Here's a little something on what I'm reading at the moment: The Red Queen (Margaret Drabble). It's one of Maria's contributions, and I'm really enjoying it. For NOW...
Here's the story:
There really WAS a Red Queen called Lady Hyenyong who lived in the second half of the 18th century and was married to a seriously controversial prince. This Margaret Drabble chicky has taken this existing story, re-written it for the first part of the book and, then for the second half, gone on a bit of a creative wank writing how the ghost of the Red Queen chooses some chick from the present-day UK to retell her story... Or something like that. Here are some reviews of the first English version of the actual Lady Hyenyong memoirs:
"Undoubtedly, The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong, known as Hanjungnok (Records Written in Silence), are one of the most important and moving pieces of traditional Korean literature. Written as carefully crafted autobiographical records, the work is a rare historical document that vividly depicts the daily life at the Korean royal court in the second half of the eighteenth century. As such, it is a unique and historically invaluable insider's account. . . . Haboush must be congratulated for an exemplary annotated translation that preserves the tone and color of the original texts. In an excellent introduction, she informs the reader about the author, the period background, the literary genre of autobiography, and the textual history of manuscript. . . . Lady Hyegyong's extraordinary autobiographical accounts are an important literary and historical monument."–Korean Studies
"This authoritative edition . . . elucidates the intricate world of Korean court–its morass of age-old strictures, interfamilial rivalries, and just plain ill will–through which Lady Hyegyong had to navigate, both in her life and writing. . . . Part of what makes these memoirs so gripping is the threat of erasure, present from the start."–Voice Literary Supplement
"Lady Hyegyong writes of a life that none of us could have lived, yet her words and feelings are the same as those expressed and experienced by women in many time periods and many civilizations. However, many of things she writes about are not to be found in the contemporary world, and it is the juxtaposition of the familiar and the unfamiliar that makes her memoirs fascinating to the modern reader. . . . The translation by JaHyun Kim Haboush is fluid, and her wonderfully analytical introduction gives the reader useful background material, as well as insightful interpretation."–New Asian Pacific Review
Something tells me that reading the English translation of the original memoirs would be better. I'm enjoying this first half. I really hope ol' Drabble doesn't piss me off in the second half... Eish.
Thursday, 08 May 2008
We missed Sacha and Gail though, but we were all tucked round a cosy little corner table as a result, which made for some marvellous intimate conversations - amongst others, the joys of the Moon Cup and the evils of pregnancy - thankfully though, I won't be needing one of those little contraptions for another few months at least, so I'll let the rest of you test drive them before I commit.
Lorraine brought in some great auto-biographies, and I chose one about a couple of girl friends who went on a road trip in the late 70s, and while they were sleeping in thier tent in the middle of a reserve somewhere, some psycho deliberately drove over their tent and then proceeded to attack them with an axe! This is the story of the one girl coming to terms with the trauma of that, and I can't wait to get into it!
So that's that for now, I'll feedback on the book as I proceed, but now it's up to the rest of you to add your two cents to our fledgling blog and get it off the ground!
Hope to see you all next week!
Tuesday, 08 April 2008
Tuesday, 01 April 2008
I won’t be at bookclub this week. Not because I don’t want to, because I really do. And not because I wasn’t given excellent directions from the airport by K, because really, I was! But because “Your kulula flight MN603 on 2Apr @ 17H45 has been cancelled, but we've put you on MN617 @ 19H30, apologies kulula.com”!! On the bright, 'secret' pholosophy, side; at least my drive to O.R T will be fraught with less traffic...
Please someone spot me 50 ronds for the new books, I’ll reimburse.
Will also hand deliver the book I’ve been holding onto, reading with relish, and not dropping in the bath, to whom ever would like it next.
The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is for someone who feels like a love story. I thoroughly enjoyed traveling beyond the margins of time with Henry and Clare, and though predictable at times, I found it to be more reliable at least than Kulula.com!
P.P.S It's no April fool's day joke. They really just cancelled my flight. Bleh.