Here we are at the end of 2020. What a year it has been. Plenty of time and opportunity for reading, during long lockdown periods. Thank heavens for books, and my Indie bookstore that delivers. Sanity savers, both.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also toss a thank-you to Amazon and my Kindle device. During my brain-fog period, they supplied cozy mysteries which alleviated the boredom and loneliness.

I shattered my Bookish Resolution  to limit my book buying. Blame it on the pandemic. But one Bookish Promise that I did  fulfill, was to read more books by African authors: books from  Zambia, Nigeria, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and South Africa slid past my bifocals this year.  African writers need all the help they can get.

If you’re interested in my  2020 reading summary , please go to my previous post 2020 Hits & Misses, where I hand out the bouquets and the bricks.

December has been a wildly eclectic melange  of books, most of which I enjoyed. My Rave Read would be The Shallows, by Ingrid Winterbach.


The Shallows – Ingrid Winterbach translated by Michiel Heyns.  A complex and complicated book by an established Afrikaans author. Superb descriptive writing about Stellenbosch and environs. Its a character driven story, not plot driven. The plot is enigmatic, to say the least. A rich and rewarding novel. Readers of Literary novels will love the novel .

The Universe versus Alex Woods – Gavin Extence. A coming of age novel, set in England; Alex survives a direct hit by a small meteorite and life is never the same again. A quirky, enjoyable read, but also offers surprising  existential depths.

Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese. A rich, family story set in Ethiopia, with a medical background. An all round satisfying novel both from the perspective of the plot, the characters and the setting. An engrossing enjoyable read.

Cinnamon Gardens – Shyam  Selvadurai. Ceylon, late 1920s, through the eyes of a Sinhalese writer. British Colonial rule ending, political and social change, and the restricted lives of women inching towards modernity. A book evocative  of life and  South Asian settings.

Earthlings – Sakiya Murata. Unless you’re a diehard fan of Sakiya Murata, avoid this novel. See my review: http://thebooksmithblog.

Tangerine – Christine Mangan. Dark twisted psycho drama mainly set in Tangiers. Obsessive college girl friendship turns horrendously into disaster. Hitchcock fans will love it. I didn’t.


A Writer’s World. Travels 1950 – 2000.  Jan Morris. Alas, she died very recently, but what a life she had! Traveller, and historian, and writer par excellence. Armchair travel at its best. Informed, erudite but never dull. I shall miss her.

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