Another varied reading month. I was away on a 12 day break, and had the time to read more than I usually do. What a pleasure! As ever, my print input during the month has been wildly varied. I’ve decided to revamp my monthly review format, no star ratings, but divisions into Fiction/Non-Fiction/YA, books listed in my order of enjoyment.
I rashly visited the Kloof SPCA Bookshop and emerged with five wonderful bargains, one of them being Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet, a book I’ve long wanted to read. Plus two Carl Hiaasen crime novels. He is, without a doubt, my favourite crime writer. Why? Because he’s entertaining and makes me laugh. All that gloomy, bleak Scandi Crime genre leaves me stone cold (pun intended).


I know this is heresy, but after reading my first full length Ali Smith novel, I’ve decided she’s not for me. She’s awarded and applauded , but not all writers are to every reader’s taste, and that’s the way life goes.

DNF – did not finish; YA – Young Adult


The Power – Naomi Alderman. Dystopian feminist novel. Great premise, gender roles are reversed, women have the upper hand. Off to a cracking start; a confusing, disappointing ending. Regardless of which gender has the upper hand, humanity manages to muck it up. A disturbing and challenging read.
Shampoo Planet – Douglas Coupland. Published 1992 – on being 20 years old and dealing with life in the USA, the gap between hippie 60s parents and their wannabe cool cynical 80s kids. Funny, social commentary. I enjoy Douglas Coupland. You either do or you don’t.

How to be Both – Ali Smith . This was almost a DNF , I skimmed through the last fifth at King Shaka Airport, whilst waiting for my flight. I didn’t enjoy the novel’s fragmented writing style or it’s two part story structure.
DNF – City of Saints and Madment – Jeff Vandermeer. After reading three quarters of the book, I gave up. Consulting Wikipedia and Goodreads reviews I discover JV is at the forefront of the Weird writing movement and post-modern metafiction. I enjoyed the first section for its lush descriptive writing but the remainder of the book: no. Too fragmentary, too clever by half. On the one hand, I can admire JV’s startling imagination, his inventiveness and his output but on the other hand, I prefer a more conventional narrative form. To each their own!

Flush – Carl Hiaasen. Another Florida crime romp. A brother & sister combo succeed in bringing an enviro-wrecking greedy businessman to justice. Good fun. A quick easy read on a 2 hour flight Cape Town/Durban.
Wabi Sabi for Writers – Richard R Powell. An invaluable resource for writers who want to write about the natural world, or compose Haiku. I shall be re-reading the book for many years to come. Highly recommended.

Working with Karma – Gill Farrer-Halls. Another Kloof SPCA bargain. Big format, glossy paper and plenty of pics; informative content. A useful book to work through, and keep for reference.



2 thoughts on “AUGUST 2018 READING ROUND-UP

  1. Cloudstreet is my favourite Australian novel. It takes a bit to get into it but the Western Australian setting makes one feel as though you are there. I haven’t read Carl Hiassen in years but do remember how funny he is. We lived in Florida for 14 years and he sums up the state and people in a hilarious fashion.

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