While tidying and organising my book shelves, I have had to sift through my books and decide which ones I want to keep for a while longer. I have chosen to keep the books I have enjoyed immensely and feel I will read again. My enjoyment of these books may stem from the storyline, or from the issues that the writer has addressed within the pages.
As I do enjoy reading across genres, the books may range from thriller, to romantic comedy, to contemporary, and even to dystopian. In the future, the same books I am currently keeping may find their way into other homes. In the meantime, I will enjoy their covers on my shelves.
I have been colouring my bookish page for a while now and decided this summer I would finish it so that I can complete the project I I have in mind. Last night saw me Netflixing and colouring the last line of the illustrated shelf.
This week for Top 5 Tuesday, we are sharing the books that are set in our countries. I have chosen to talk about books set in my country of birth, South Africa. The books I am sharing with you are ones that I have read even though I no longer have copies of them.
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
This book is Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. I read it about a decade after the first democratic elections in South Africa and it describes Mandela’s life from childhood up until the time he became the first black president of the country. I found the description of his life from the time he was released from prison interesting as those are the moments that I lived through in my life as an adult living in the changing country.
The Last Trek, A New Beginning by F. W. de Klerk
De Klerk was the last president of the National Party in South Africa and he was the one who oversaw the release of Nelson Mandela. It was under his leadership that the beginning of change began in my home country. I read this autobiography after Nelson Mandela’s and it was interesting to compare the two experiences – and to read history from a different viewpoint.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
This book is another autobiography but this time of a comedian who was born during apartheid and grew up mostly in a post-Apartheid South Africa. When reading this memoir, it was interesting to compare his upbringing with what I had myself experienced as well as with what I had observed when teaching at a school after the first South African democratic elections. I loved, too, that his sense of humour permeates the writing. I am curious to know whether non-South Africans would understand many of the references that I did as a South African-born reader.
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
This novel was one of the set books that I read when I was at university and it is one that resonated with me. It is a deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, this novel is one of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man. While doing research for this post, I saw that the book had been published with a newer edition. It is time, I think, to consider re-reading it.
The Covenant by James A. Michener
This is an epic tale of adventurers, scoundrels, and ministers set in the South African wilderness. From the Java-born Van Doorn family tree springs two great branches: one nurtures lush vineyards, the other settles the interior to become the first Trekboers and Afrikaners. The Nxumalos, inhabitants of a peaceful village unchanged for centuries, unite warrior tribes into the powerful Zulu nation. And the wealthy Saltwoods are missionaries and settlers who join the masses to influence the wars and politics that ravage a nation. This novel is a story of courage and heroism, love and loyalty, and cruelty and betrayal, as generations fight to forge a new world. I read this book over 25 years ago so I cannot remember the details – but I remember being swept away with the epic nature of the story. Not only does Michener tell his story, but he throws in a bit of South African history too.
Other South African Authors
There are many other South African-based stories that I have read in the past. However, I am unable to remember the titles of the books. Some South African authors of note are: Nadine Gordimer, Doris Lessing, Olive Schreiner, and J. M. Coetzee.
Have you read a story based in South Africa? If you have please share the title and author in the comments.
Have you ever felt the need to see your favourite book as a movie? Especially while you are reading it? While in the world of my current book, I often see a picture in my head and know that it would be awesome to see that picture translated onto the screen. I feel this especially when I read Fantasy fiction. And with the technology available today, the special effects could be out of this world. I have reflected upon the books I read during 2018 and believe these are my top 5 stories that I would like to see made into a film.
The Black Witch by Laurie Forest
It is no surprise that the first book on my list is a Fantasy novel. When I read the first book in Laurie Forest’s The Black Witch chronicles, I fell in love with the story. The characters are diverse and imaginative; the story a subtle criticism of the prejudices found in society. While reading the novel, my imagination soared. This is a book that would make an epic series of films in which the creative imagination can take flight; and for which those artists who work with special effects and costumes could outdo themselves. (If you are not sure what this story is, you can refer to my synopsis and review of the book here).
Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
My second suggestion is also a fantasy novel based on the myth of the dragon. I love this story not only for its references to dragons, but also for the subtle message to women and girls. Once again, because it is a fantasy set in a castle, the costume designers could out-do themselves. The film would have special effects – but not as extravagant and as often as would be seen in my first choice. (You can read my synopsis and review of this novel here.)
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
After reading Ayesha at Last, I wanted to see Jalaluddin’s rewrite of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice made into film. When I saw on Twitter that the book had been optioned for a film, I was ecstatic. Not only do I love the story, but I will enjoy seeing on screen a culture different to the mainstream western one that we see in so many films. (My synopsis and review of this book can be found here.)
The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith
The historical novel that really stood out for me during the past year was The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith. The novel focuses on the untold story of the women who were forced into prostitution in the German concentration camps during the second World War. The story is told with extreme sensitivity, and unfolds the lack of choices these women had while incarcerated by the Germans. Seeing Keith’s story on film would be explosive; and would get people talking about another aspect of the War and the concentration camp experience. (The synopsis and my review of this novel can be read here.)
The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
I enjoy reading and watching psychological thrillers and one of my favourite reads in this genre during 2018 was A. J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window. The build up and twists in the novel would be perfect for a film. In addition, the story refers to mental illness – an issue that needs to be addressed more often in our society. (My synopsis and review is here.)
I am lucky that my best series of all time featuring the hobbits by J. R. R. Tolkien has already been made into film. A film which I think I need to go and re-watch 🙂
Which book would you like to see remade into a film?
When I heard about Jodi Picoult coming to Toronto to speak about her latest book A Spark of Light, I was interested in attending as I have read a number of her books and enjoyed them. Her event, unfortunately was sold out. I put myself on the waiting list as someone might cancel their ticket.
The event was on Monday and I had swept it out of my mind. When checking my email during lunch, I saw that I had received a notification stating that more spaces had opened up: I quickly messaged my cousin to let him know (he enjoyed her books as well), and bought tickets. Going to the event was a bit rushed as it was last minute but I thought it would be worth it as she is a well-known and successful author.
When I arrived at the venue in the evening, I was surprised at how many people were in attendance – over 500! It is the biggest author event that I have been to. I liked that they had large screens to project the conversation to the audience. As a result I did not mind that I was at the back of the hall.
It was interesting to listen to someone who has written so many successful novels. She is very confident – and very political. To be honest, I was disappointed that she spoke so much about American politics. The election may have been the following day, but we were there to listen to her speak about her book as well as her writing process.
I am still glad I went to the event, however, as what she said will give me a better understanding of the novel when I read it.
If we were having coffee, I would apologise for the late meet-up. This week has been crazy busy. I am happy to say, though, that it was not at all work related. 🙂 My work has suffered a lot as I have left school soon after the bell rang for the end of the day. Even though I will spend this week trying to catch up on my marking, the events I attended were all worth it. There are times when you have to do things for yourself – and the past week was one of those times.
My week began as every other week. On Wednesday, however, it deviated from the norm. I had won tickets to see The Wife as well as the book written by Meg Wolitzer (you can see my review here). My husband was not interested in seeing the film once I had told him the synopsis. Instead I asked a colleague of mine to go watch the film with me. We left school as soon as we could after the last bell had rung so that we could see the early show. The film adaptation of the book was excellent. And what was perfect is that I felt the same emotions I had experienced when reading the book. We both loved the film and were still talking about it on Thursday.
On Thursday, I went to another author event held by Harper Collins Publishing. At the event I had the opportunity to listen to two debut authors speak about their psychological thrillers which will be coming out next year. Their answers to the questions posed to them suggests that their novels will be filled with twists and surprises. I look forward to reading them (we received copies of the ARCS at the event) as I do love twisty thrillers.
On Friday the Toronto International Festival of Authors began. My husband is not interested in going to author events but my cousin was willing to keep me company. On Friday we went to hear Miriam Toews speak; and yesterday we heard a panel of authors speak: Kelley Armstrong, Michael Robotham, and Amy Stuart. We have loved the talks so far and look forward to the others we intend to listen to next weekend. The events are continuing during the week but we decided to attend only those that are occurring over the days when we don’t have to get up early to go to work the next day.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I need to finish getting ready for work. Sorry once again for the late catch up. Hopefully this week will be less busy and I will have more time to do some blogging. Have a wonderful week.
Last week Thursday I went to present at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference. The experience was a positive one and one which I would not mind repeating. My colleague and I presented on an inquiry we had implemented in my French Immersion grade 1 and 2 combined class. We were so happy to see that our presentation was well received, that people were interested in what we had done, and were keen to learn more about it.
As a thank you to us for the time we took to prepare and present a session at the conference, we were given a ticket to attend the event on the day we presented. Neither of us had been to the conference before and we did not know what to expect. We decided to give the keynote speaker a miss and went to where the vendor booths were. As we strolled along the aisles, we realised that at the author signings the books were given away to us for free. In addition, at the kiosks set up by the mainstream publishing houses (i. e., not the educational ones), advance copies of books were being given away. As avid readers, we were in heaven! We could not believe it! We did feel the reality, though, after a couple of hours as we carried those heavy books on our shoulders. Carrying the books home on the subway was tough going and I often wished that I had brought my shopping cart with me.
This week I am grateful to the Ontario Library Association for not only giving me the opportunity to speak at their conference, but also for organising the novels that I received. These books are now on the top of my TBR pile and I will share my thoughts with you as I read them.
What have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.
Last Friday I decided to pay our local library a visit. As I walked into the air-conditioned place, I felt a sense of homecoming. I enjoy visiting the library and seeing the rows and rows of stories that have been created for the enjoyment of the reader. Looking around, I saw adults browsing through the shelves, and children enjoying the books that had been laid out for them. I headed for the “Best Bets” section where I am always sure to find new fiction of my favourite authors. It had been a while since I visited the library, so I was sure to find something to read.
Before I knew it, I had five books in my hand – and I had only perused one shelf! I thought I had better leave before other titles tempted me. I arrived at home pleased with my ecclectic collection. As you can guess, I began reading a story as soon as my tea had brewed!
What have you been grateful for this week?
Last week Lavender Ladi was greateful for refeshing ice capps.
Last week I began The Third Gate, a novel by Lincoln Child. The protagonist of the story is Jeremy Logan, a man who is able to explain the unexplainable. His services are requested at an archaeological site at which the team are searching for the tomb of the Pharaoh Narmer. The Egyptian Pharaoh had put a curse on his tomb and the team has been having some unexplained occurrences. Logan is called in to explain why – and to break the Pharoah’s curse.
My curiosity has been aroused as to why the strange events are happening – and is increased even more when Logan senses a malignant being:
“Suddenly, he stopped dead in his tracks, abruptly as if he’d encountered an invisible wall. Without warning, he’d become aware of a presence, hanging over the generator and its immediate surroundings: a foul, malignant, evil thing, ancient and implacable.” (p. 125, Anchor Books, 2012)
I am turning the pages, desiring to find out the end of the story. The story content is unusual and interesting. I am certainly enjoying this book while riding on the bus.