Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

Book Nook

I am a vociferous reader, I cannot keep up with myself! I thought I’d list what I’m reading and give a mini review when I’m done, so you can give some of them a try if they sound tempting.

I am so far behind in this list now, I will try to recap what I have read in the last 2 months over the next few days.

In borrowed light – Stephanie and Barbara Keating

The 3rd in the Langeni saga, a great read, tying up lots of loose ends, lots of tragedy and drama thrown in, great characters, awesome descriptions, set in Kenya mainly, a great african family saga in the tradition of Wilbur Smith. (october 2010)

The lock artist – Steve Hamilton

Another excellent read, it tells the story of a young boy struck mute after a family tragedy, who has a talent with safe cracking. I found it a sensitvely written novel, with good characterisation of the main character. (november 2010)

African Cookboy – David Dinwoodie Irving

What a hoot! A story that starts in apartheid when the was effectively prohibition in the townships, and the illegal liqor trade was big, moves to London, swaziland and back to Jozi, telling the story of one of the tsotsi’s who is a master ‘cookboy’ brewing this liquor. Hysterical! (november 2010)

I am number 4 – Pittacus Lore

What a tale! I ended up reading this book to Charlie on our road trip, it certainly made the road move, and despite a fairly naive writing style, it was a gripping tale of alien invaders and planetry battles, not my usual style, but I loved it! (november 2010)

Olenka – Aleksandra de Sas Kropiwnicka

A memoir written by a world war 2 concentration camp survivor, no great feat of literary genius, but an enjoyable easy read, remembering harrowing times. (october 2010)

Bad Boy – Peter Robinson

If you’ve never read Peter Robinson, do yourself a favour, and discover him. I first discovered him when I grabbed a talking book for a 10 hour car trip about 10 years ago, and I am a convert. He writes about an english detective, Banks, and while each story is stand alone, they certainly do lend themselves to being read individually. As expected an excellent read, detailing what happens with a few silly spur of the moment decisions lead to huge problems. (November 2010)

Shoewee, I’ve left out a few….

The postmistress – Sarah Blake

What a delightful, delicate story, set in WW2 in the US, it tells the story of a postmistress, a young doctor’s wife and a radio journalist whose lives are interwoven around letters and voices. Its just won a prize, and I think its deserved, its delicate and beautiful. The relationships which unfold are painstakingly elaborated, its just lovely. (09/2010)

Every last one – Anna Quinlen

What a suprising book, what starts out as a benign family story, ends up with a horrible crime, which changes a mother’s perspective forever. I thoroughly enjoyed this, although I must confess to being a bit disturbed by the awful crime. A well written story. (09/2010)

Dead like you – Peter James

An excellent English detective story, which had me rivetted. A serial rapist on the loose, now starting to kill his victims, a shoe fetish, an autistic taxi driver and a complictaed detective adds up to a meaty read, that kept me busy! (09/2010)

Mortal Remains – Kathy Reichs

An average read from the queen of forensic anthropology, what tangled webs we weave… On the whole a decent plot, with the lead character doing what she does best, figuring out what bones belong to whom. (09/2010) 

In the name of honour – Richard North Patterson

Now this guy, I love, I pick up his books without even reading the back cover, that’s how reliable he is. This one was a tad parochial, its about a iraqi war vet who shoots and kills a family friend, and the massive story behind his defence. SInce I’m not in the States and not exposed to war vets, I found it interesting, but not gripping; it might have had something to do with the fact that I was days pre IVF here, but anyway, I found his others even better. (09/2010)

Gone – Mo Hayder

Sjoe, this book infiltrated my dreams, and left me reeling, the story of a car hijacker, stealing cars with children in them, and as this happens more and more, the police realise there is more to the story, which gets solved rather gruesomely. A gripping read that I read in a day. (09/2010)

Secret Daughter – Shilpi Somaya Gowda

A book that is rather close to home, with a doctor unable to conceive, with premature ovarian failure (sound familiar?) who adopts a girl from India, who always struggles with her identity and placve in the world, until, as a student, she returns to the land of her birth. Its a quicky read, fairly entertaining, but glosses over lots of the hard realities of infertility and life in India. (09/2010)

Broken – Karen Slaughter

A reliable crime writer here lives up to her reputation, continuing the saga of Sara Linton back in her old home town, with a apparently solved murder leaving more questions unanswered, and an ever present danger. (09/2010)

Lovers and neighbours – Rosie Thomas

Another fairly reliable author, with a story that follows a group of friends into their later years, and how secrets will come out and skeletons will rattle that closet door. Its a light read, very English in its approach.

The Rembrandt Affair – Daniel Silva

Ah, Daniel Silva is fast becoming one of my favourites, he writes of an israeli spy who in this story, has retired from active duty, and is approached by a friend to find a missing painting by Rembrandt, what he discovers is way more than just a Rembrandt, undoing lots of past wrongs and setting the record straight for many. An excellent read, which I read in almost one sitting.

Kennedy’s Brain – Henning Mankell

An interesting tale from another swedish writer, not quite up to the millenium trilogy, but good nevertheless. It tells the story of a young man fond dead in his bed, while everyone writes it off as a suicide, his mother cannot accept that, and goes off, following his trail, where it leads, from sweden to spain to mozambique. A terrible secret unfolds before her eyes, and it isn’t long before she is caught up in a very dangerous world. (08/2010)

Those who love night – Wessel Ebersohn

An excellent book from an established SA author, it tells the tale of a SA lawyer who travels to Zimbabwe to try to save a family member who has gone missing while imprisoned at Chikurubi prison. Excellent, gripping and well written.

A serving of scandal – Prue Leith

A benign, frothy read from SA’s most famous foodie. A touch meringue-ish, but a tasty little read.

House Rules – Jodi Piccoult

Now I’ve been a converted Jodi fan for years, and enjoy all her books, sometimes they get a bit much, and I need a break from her writing, but I do enjoy her thoroughly. This book was no exception, she tells the story of a young boy with Asperger’s Syndrome (a type of autism, that I know affects some of my acquaintances) who is accused of murder. He is very honest, unable to lie, and is a very literal child, so is a world of misunderstanding and misinterpretation, frustration rules. A powerful tale all the way to the end, but one or 2 loose ends, which frustrated me, did she run out of time and energy on the book? Still an enjoyable one. (08/2010)

Nine Dragons – Michael Connelly

A great detective story, involving triads, abducted children, complicated families and a high speed chase through Hong Kong. A great thrill!  (07/2010)

Innocent – Scott Turow

An outstanding read, what starts out as a seemingly routine death, becomes a very technical case and an extremely interesting investigation. Rivetting to the end. (07/2010)

Deliver us from Evil – David Baldacci

A good rollicking read of intrigue and vigilantes. A group of independents are following up leads and taking out Nazi’s and other miscellaneous bad guys, they collide with a government agency that is after one of their targets for different reasons. Chaos ensues, and the story explodes. Good read. (07/2010)

its been a bit quiet here, battling to focus, to even read a magazine! Gave up on the new Joanne Harris, Blue eyed boy, and another war story (can’t remember the name), working on one now. (2/7/2010)

This body of death – Elizabeth George

An intense brilliant Inspector Lynley mystery. a complex interwoven tale which follows 2 seperate stories, coming an aweful conclusion – stunning! (21/06/2010)

Picture perfect – Jodi Piccoult

Something a little different, no children this time, from the mistress of family dramas. This one an abused wife, a prominent husband and an elaborate extrication. A good read (18/06/2010)

13 hours – Deon Meyer

Another winner from my favourite South African crime fiction writer, its a cracker of a story, set over 13 hours in Cape Town. Captain Benny Griessel, a recovering alcoholic, is mentoring some new detectives, on 2 seemingly unrelated cases, and when it all comes together, it does so monumentally! I could not go to sleep until I had finished it last night! (11/06/2010)

Adrian Mole – The ProstateYears     – Sue Townsend

Now for those of us who grew up with Adrian Mole, and his angst ridden teenage diaries , this is a treat. Adrian is still this slightly strange little man, but life’s calamities are a little more serious when you are 40+; aging parents, health issues, a separation, unemployment and the ongoing saga of him and Pandora Braithwaite kept me entertained. Its a little more serious than the Mole’s I remember from my past, but still an entertaining read.

61 Hours – Lee Childs

Now Reacher, the main character of Child’s very successful series of books is just a super hero! Another gripping story of the ex military man, who is in the wrong place at the wrong (or right, depending how you look at it) time, with crooked cops, drug dealers and sad families. And again, Childs doesn’t disappoint, I could not put it down, until it was finished! By no means is this a piece of serious or eloquant literature, but for a good skop-skiet-and-donner, it was great. (05/06/2010)

Ivory – Tony Park

The new age Wilbur Smith is here, with African stories, strong, slightly bad boy heros, wilting girls and lots of animals – rollicking reads, recommended for holidays… (01/06/2010)

Just Desserts – Marita van der Vyver

What a spectacular book, of the emotional journey of a woman going through a divorce, her relationship with her sisters and girl friends, written in the form of a collection of letters and emails.

The Angina Monologues – Rosamund Kendall

What a wonderful read, quite parochial, for the doctor in me, who also did time in rural SA, but Ms Kendall tells the story of 3 women who embark on their internship at a rural hospital in KZN, their struggles, both professionally and personally. Very enjoyable.

Blindman’s Bluff  – Faye Kellerman

Now I have always loved reading books with a cultural twist on them, and I’ve always enjoyed Faye K’s books for the jewish angle, keeps things interesting. This one is no exception. Its a good and exciting murder mystery, and gets down to the heart of family conflicts, immigrant populations, gangs and money woes (as almost always). She writes in a very readable manner, with great characterisation, and while certainly not as erudite as Lionel Shriver, is still well done. (11/05/2010)

So much for that – Lionel Shriver               

another fantastic book by a very talented writer. Its a bittersweet tale of a responsible man, who has always done right by everyone else, and at the same time saved for a fantasy afterlife on a ‘desert island’, which he finally starts preparing for, when his wife developes an aggresive cancer, his elderly father has a fall and fractures his hip, his parasitic sister keeps sucking and his best friend has a crazy moment. Ms Shriver writes with sensitivity on a difficult subject, and doesn’t treat her readers like idiots. She uses real words, well constructed sentences and constructs a beautiful, gripping novel, illustrating real life and how ordinary people deal with the lot life sends them. A magnificent read. Thank you Ms Shriver. (08/05/2010)



  RT wrote @

thanks for awesome reviews. Going to read some of your recommendations this weekend

  Michael K wrote @

Finally, the arrival of our second book – ‘Oleńka’s Stories’ – signed copies available at Southernwood Pharmacy if anybody needs to buy a sentimental Christmas present…

  countesskaz wrote @

please update, I need ideas!!!!!

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