I thought I hadn’t read much during July, but on checking my notebook, I discover I did manage a fair amount of reading, despite my involvement with judging two writing competitions. For once I’ve marked a novel as a 5 star read, something I seldom do. Isn’t it wonderful when a book sweeps you away for happy hours? I read The Gallery of Vanished Husbands in one sitting, a sure sign that the writer is weaving magic on the page.

You may be wondering why I’ve listed a cookery book in the Roundup. I told you I have eclectic reading tastes. I find it very relaxing to read cookery books, and this one is particularly appealing, with a multitude of gorgeous colour shots – not so much of the food, but of Bertus Basson’s ramblings in search of the perfect meat pie, the gutsiest Gatsby, the tastiest braaied mealies, the melktert sublime … the book is a hymn of praise to South African food, heritage and family.

Ratings: 5* – Outstanding! 4*+ – Good to very good; 3* – average; 2* – run-of-the-mill; 1* – dismal; zero * – no comment. DNF – did not finish

5* The Gallery of Vanished Husbands – Natasha Solomons. Jewish tradition collides with the London art world. Reviewed on this blog.

4* The year of living Danishly (Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country – Helen Russell : non-fiction; sub-title says it all. See review on this blog
4* “Homegrown” Bertus Basson with Russell Wasserfall and Roxy Spears. Non-fiction; cookbook/heritage/memoir .
4* The Restoration of Otto Laird – Nigel Packer. A quiet thoughtful life review. https://www.goodreads.com/review/edit/23848253

3* The Solitude of Emperors – David Davidar . Indian novel – communalism v s sectarianism. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2078564706
3*Sam and Me and the Hard Pear Tree – Jami Yeats-Kastner : traumatic story of family tragedy & recovery

Secrets – Nuruddin Farah – Somali novel. DNF reviewed on GR https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2067160774

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