Life made simple

Spring books to wake up and read!


If you’re getting out of hibernation, then how about taking those winter blankets out onto the lawn, with a good new book. And since it’s heritage month, we thought we’d make some book suggestions from a wide selection of South African writing.

You don’t have to search beyond the Local Authors section of the bookstore to find some South African writing you’ll love. Here are a few recently published gems to take to the hammock or the lawn blanket. (From

A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg by Harry Kalmer (Penguin)

A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg is an ode to Johannesburg and its people. The book tells the story of Sara and her four children at the Turffontein concentration camp in 1901, and of Abraham, who paints the street names on Johannesburg’s sidewalks. Their grandson Zweig, a young architect, has to leave the city after falling in love with the wrong person. Marceline, a Congolese mother, flees to the city only to be caught up in a wave of xenophobic violence. Spanning more than a hundred years, the novel documents the lives of the inhabitants of this African city.

Asylum by Marcus Louw (Picador)

Barry James is detained in a quarantine facility in the Great Karoo where he exists in two worlds: the reality of his incarceration and the landscapes of his dreams.

Here are a few recently published gems to take to the hammock or the lawn blanket.

He has cut all ties with his previous life and his health is failing. He clings to the wanderings of his restless mind and the journals he keeps, and when the opportunity to escape arises, he wonders if it there’s still a life for him to return to.

Cult Sister by Lesley Elizabeth Smailes (Tafelberg)

In Cult Sister, Smailes shares the story of her ten years spent traveling around the United States as a member of a controversial religious group. From living out of a backpack to having home births and entering into an arranged marriage, this tale is told largely through a series of letters between Lesley and her mother.

Queen of the Free State by Jennifer Friedman (Tafelberg)

Growing up Jewish in a small town in the Free State in the 50s and 60s, Jennifer Friedman moves between child and adult and black and white as apartheid divides South Africa. There are midnight escapes, stolen loot, and banned comics. Told with humour and poignancy, this memoir is about love, rebellion, and betrayal.

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