Book Review | The Upstairs Room

The Upstairs room is what I'd like to call a cosy horror story, as it strikes just the right balance between authentic characters and a spooky setting. 

Let me be clear, this is not a book for hardcore horror fans. This is one of those unsettling books where the horror takes place in what is intimated, and flourishes in your imagination. This is the precise reason I enjoyed the book so much. It was chilling, but not in a way that kept me up at night! This revives a quality that makes so many classic gothic and horror reads so powerful.

Read More

Book review | The Fifth Mrs Brink

It is not often one gets to read the story of the great love shared between two charismatic literary luminaries, let alone one set so close to home in an ever-evolving South Africa. The Fifth Mrs Brink is a tale of Karina's grief and recovery following his sudden passing, but more importantly, it is a testament to the quiet, intimate moments they shared, to the beauty of their love. 

Read More

Book Review | Girl in Snow

My personal gauge for a good thriller is when, a few chapters in, I hop onto Google and start stalking the author. 

In a psychological thriller market filled with stories of girls gone astray, these books have become almost throwaway in their nature, good for one weekend's entertainment. The fast-paced plot tugs us forward, and then we forget. So it takes a lot to read someone's thriller and think, "Who is writing like this?" 

Read More

Into the Water | Review

We are living in an age of razor-sharp female thriller writers. While the craze of 'domestic thrillers' may have opened the door to this genre of writing, it has evolved and settled into a publishing landscape where gripping, intelligent, female-driven stories spell commercial gold. The successful female thriller - Girl on a Train, Gone Girl, Luckiest Girl Alive etc - has become imbued with an almost mythical quality. Readers find the book through Amazon or word of mouth, read it and go, yes! I want to read more just like that

Read More

Exclusive Books HomeBru is back!

As I lamented the other day, it is no longer enough to simply 'support' the South African literature industry. We need to believe in it and, most importantly, really put our money behind it. Lately I have been so impressed by the depth and quality of the local literature selection at Exclusive Books, and see it as a sign that our country's leading bookseller is making a concerted effort in helping their customers discover fresh, local talent. 

Read More

News | Exclusive Books Launches Massive Pan African Catalogue

In the past, African books were often confined to the 'naughty corner' of major bookstores. There was a perception that commercial international titles such as 50 Shades of Grey held more sway than our own talent. However, there has been a massive shift in the awareness and celebration of African literature, and, in some exciting news shared this morning, Exclusive Books showed that they are prepared to put their commercial clout behind our continent's writers. 

In response to a growing demand for books by writers from Africa and the Pan-African diaspora, Exclusive Books has significantly increased its stockholding of major works of black literature, from Chinua Achebe to Chris van Wyk, across its stores. 

This Africa Month (May 2017), the bookseller is publishing a special 80-page catalogue detailing over 200 of these works, which originate from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, the UK, US and Caribbean, and other territories. The catalogue will be available in limited quantities in each of its stores. 

“The consultation and care that went into the selection of titles in the catalogue represents an ideal that we strive for as booksellers,” said Benjamin Trisk, CEO of Exclusive Books. “While no catalogue can be comprehensive, and every curation is necessarily imperfect, we feel that our debut effort makes for a significant start. We will strive to improve and increase our selection each year.”

In developing the catalogue, Exclusive Books worked alongside publishers to bring several titles back into print. It has also committed to long-term re-ordering a large number of the works, to help ensure that as many as possible remain so. This is huge for the African publishing industry, where writers have often suffered the financial impact of low print runs. 

“We want to keep the entire Pan-African Writing list in stock across our group,” said Trisk. “If a given work is not available in a given store, that store will be able to order the book for the customer either centrally or from a sister store.”

Look out for the Exclusive Books Pan-African Writing Catalogue, in stores from 10 May. All books featured in the catalogue earn Fanatics members double points throughout Africa Month.

Book Review | I'm still here

One of life's greatest joys is finding the type of book that makes you look forward to going to bed and reading it. And let's be honest, not many books are able to conjure that particular magic. Sure something can be well-written, literary or fun, but it may not have that je ne sais quoi, that invisible pull that makes it matter more than anything else competing for your attention. I guess it shouldn't be surprising that Clelie Avit's I'm Still Here, the translation of the original French 'Je Suis La' has that je ne sais quoi in spades.

Read More

Book Review | The Girls

To say I have been looking forward to reading Emma Cline's The Girl's is a massive understatement. I have been hounding the patient staff at my local bookstore since January to let me know when it arrived. I devotedly saved my copy to read until the perfect moment (wrapped up in blankets in a log cabin of course). I'm the type of bookish modern women with bohemian aspirations and an aesthetic toward the Instagrammable that slots perfectly into Emma Cline's fan club before even reading one word. 

Read More

Books on creativity

Writing, or any creative endeavour for that matter, is often not the loose, uninhibited flowy pastime people imagine it to be. Sure, there are sacred times when inspiration strikes, but for the most part it takes immense courage and personal discipline to start creating something, and see that creation through to the end. We think we're being held back because we don't have enough time, or because we don't have a secluded beach house to jot down our memoirs uninterrupted. The truth is a bit more complex than that - usually it is self-doubt and lack of belief in the validity of our expression that holds us back more than time ever will. 

Maybe you feel like you want to start something creative, but you're trying to summon the guts to start. Or perhaps you know you want to write, but you're think your craft needs a little work. Either way, these books will help you get going, and encourage you along. 

Read More

Creepy true life stories

Isn’t it the best when you’re watching a dodgy, completely unbelievable thriller movie on Lifetime, and at the end the following words appear on the screen? Based on real events.

Life is way stranger than fiction most of the time, serving up plotlines and characters that we’d never believe if we came across them in a book. Here are a few of my favourite true life stories. 

Read More