The President’s Keepers, by Jacques Pauw (Tafelberg)
You’d have thought there was nothing left to surprise us regarding Jacob Zuma’s shenanigans, but my chin was on my chest while reading the Sunday Times a couple of days ago. My first reaction was astonishment, followed by rage: how dare this man treat all South Africans with such contempt? When I spoke to Tafelberg publicist Jean Pieters about getting a copy of the book, she said that what the Sunday Times had published wasn’t the half of it.
A South African bestseller traditionally sells between 5 000 and 10 000 copies – this book was launched only on Sunday October 29 and already 20 000 have been printed, with a second print-run of 10 000 ordered.
I can’t wait to read it. Respect to Jacques Pauw and Tafelberg for uncovering the truth.
- Nov 4: Am half-way through and this book is extraordinary, doing what Pravin Gordhan said we should all do: joining the dots. Who knew it would be such a complicated dot matrix!
The Hungry Empire – how Britain’s quest for food shaped the modern world (Bodley Head)
The theme here is how Britain’s search for foods such as sugar, pepper, tea, rice, cod and more was behind the rise of the empire. This sounds fascinating, although in a review in The Observer last month, Joanna Blythman writes that this history does not put the accompanying slavery into context: “Unfortunately, Collingham’s matter-of-fact writing, while undeniably predicated on immaculate research, doesn’t demonstrate this awareness.”
This is a shame, she writes, because otherwise the book offers a colourful history that illuminates the roots of contemporary diets.
The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu – how Mali’s ancient manuscripts were saved
Two tales of a city: The historical race to reach one of the world’s most mythologized places, and the story of how a contemporary band of archivists and librarians, fighting to save its ancient manuscripts from destruction at the hands of al Qaeda, added another layer to the legend.
I’m fascinated because of the South African links to these manuscripts.