Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be
chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts,
others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly,
and with diligence and attention.
~ Francis Bacon ~
Sunday, 29 August 2010
Saturday, 28 August 2010
So where did I go and what did I buy???? I started at Bargain Books which is my favourite book shop and got several gems. Then I went to CNA and got a few more great books, and then I ended my book shopping spree at Mundy's Book Exchange which is a delightful second hand book shop in Newton Park.
Here are some of my latest acquisitions:
I am Ozzy
Second Summer of the Sisterhood
The Da Vinci Code
In Her Shoes
I must say that I have been very fortunate, as I watched Revolutionary Road last weekend and decided that I MUST have the book, also I had planned to watch Shutter Island and absolutely had to have the book!!!! I watched Shutter Island last night, and all I can say is WOW!!!!! Absolute Genius, I cannot wait to get into the book!!!!
So that is the highlight of my past week - will actually post this coming week!!!! And I should say that I found some other interesting books to read thanks to some of the other book blogs out there!!!! So the Chronicles of Vladimir Todd is on my reading list, and I think that I am getting back on track to getting to my 100 book goal!!!!! I am presently reading In Her Shoes - which is a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed- and I am enjoying it so far. Also I am reading or rather I should say re-reading Roald Dahl books in preperation for my Roald Dahl posts leading up to Roald Dahl day for next month!!!!
So have a great Saturday and I'll catch you on the flipside!!!
Sunday, 22 August 2010
Saturday, 21 August 2010
The information bill and proposed media tribunal pose a threat to media freedom. Rowan Philp outlines some of the things newspapers would not be able to tell you
Reporters who wrote the story about businessman Saki Macozoma being tailed by intelligence agents would have faced at least five years in prison had the new information bill been law at the time.
Tony Yengeni, Jackie Selebi and dozens of other corrupt officials would probably never have faced prosecution, and dozens more infants may have died at an Eastern Cape hospital.
These are some of the stories that would not have seen the light of day, in the view of leading legal experts and academics. This week they slammed the government's Protection of Information Bill as "draconian", "unconstitutional", and something that would effectively criminalise investigative journalism.
The bill is the subject of public submissions in parliament at present - hearings that have been extended by two weeks due to the storm of criticism. It replaces traditional concerns about national security with a need for secrecy for any information which might harm "the national interest", which it defines as virtually any matter in South African society.
Spokesmen for the SA Law Society, the South African Editors' Forum (Sanef), civil society groups and international human rights organisations said billions of rands in wasteful and corrupt spending of taxpayers' money would also result if the bill was enacted, since journalists and other watchdog organisations would be deterred from exposing this by the bill.
Johannesburg media law expert Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti said that, "amazingly", any media story at all about the functioning of the National Intelligence Agency would be technically illegal, due to the bill's controversial section 43.
She said that, under the bill, the heads of any organ of state or parastatal - from Telkom to a local municipality - would have the power to classify any document.
In terms of another clause which seemed aimed at reporters, rather than spies, the heads of state bodies may apply to court to have even nonclassified, public documents declared "restricted" - "so reporters who didn't know about a document wouldn't become aware of it in court proceedings".
South Africa's press has been demoted from "free" to "partly free" in the new 2010 Freedom of the Press survey by UK-based watchdog Freedom House.
It is now in 70th place in the world, falling below countries such as South Korea, Guyana and Papua New Guinea, due to 10 existing repressive laws, and the threat of a raft of new ones.
Gavin MacFayden, director for the Centre for Investigative Journalism based in London, said the new bill - "which reads like something you'd expect from Burundi or Bolivia" - would cause overall freedom ratings for the country to "plunge" if it became law.
"This legislation is clearly totalitarian in nature - it's a disgrace, and frankly, a national embarrassment for South Africa," he said.
Presented with a list of 18 of the most famous newspaper exposés of the past decade - from Travelgate and Oilgate to Jackie Selebi's shady Kebble links - a number of experts polled said that up to 16 of the stories would probably never have appeared - or been published at a risk of jail - had the bill been law at the time.
Of the 18, there was consensus that "Tearful Niehaus admits fraud" would probably have survived such a bill, as would "Manto: a drunk and a thief" - although the experts said reporters on the Manto Tshabalala-Msimang story would certainly have faced sanction by a media tribunal, had it existed at the time .
Among the verdicts were:
- The Oilgate story about the payment of R11-million in PetroSA money by a private company to the ANC's 2004 election campaign would likely have been prevented, according to the Law Society, because it "contains extensive information about the financial dealings of PetroSA, which is an organ of state (and has the power under the bill to classify its own information). It could potentially have been classified because it could harm the reputation of PetroSA if disclosed.";
- Raymond Louw, spokes-man for the Media Freedom Committee of Sanef, said a March 2009 story on the link between the wife of minister for state security Siyabonga Cwele and an international cocaine ring - "Spy minister's wife and the drug bust" - could have been illegal for six different reasons under the bill, including perceived harm to "the public good"; "relations with international organisations and foreign governments"; "the national interest"; and limits on "details of criminal investigations and police and law enforcement methods";
- The 2005 scandal of the rape of women in Congo by SANDF soldiers would likely have been prevented due to the bill's limits on information on "defence and security plans and operations";
- University of the Witwatersrand professor of journalism Anton Harber said a 2009 story which used an internal audit to show that an SABC official had wasted at least R49-million on dud shows would likely have been stopped due to the bill's link to the Key Points Act, which would allow the heads of "key" public institutions to classify documents; and
- The 2007 exposé of hundreds of needless infant deaths at Frere Hospital would likely have been prevented, due to the Department of Health's "deaths register" that was used being vulnerable to classification, according to Sanef. The Law Society added that "information about how the babies died may have been classified as personal information of a deceased individual".
Dario Milo, representing the SA Law Society, said the bill would also mean the courts would lose their discretion over dealing with classified material and be bound by secrecy limitations.
Ampofo-Anti said: "I don't agree with the view that the bill was drafted to control journalists. "Also, the bill makes it clear that no one is allowed to classify anything for the purpose of concealing wrongdoing, or even inefficiency, which is a good thing. But the first of many major problems with this bill is that it would be virtually impossible to show the real reason why someone classified something; in fact, you could be prosecuted for exposing that reason."
Enver Daniels, chief law adviser to the government, insisted to parliament that the bill was consistent with the constitution.
Temba Maseko, spokesman for the government, said in a briefing that the bill was "not yet law" and its purpose was "(not) to muzzle the media in any shape or form".
Friday, 20 August 2010
Thursday, 19 August 2010
In this daring novel, the author gives a startling account of the inner workings of contemporary South African urban culture. In doing so, he ventures into unexplored areas and takes local writing in English to places it hasn`t been before. The Quiet Violence of Dreams is set in Cape Town`s cosmopolitan neighbourhoods - Observatory, Mowbray and Sea Point - where subcultures thrive and alternative lifestyles are tolerated. The plot revolves around Tshepo, a student at Rhodes, who gets confined to a Cape Town mental institution after an episode of `cannabis-induced psychosis`. He escapes but is returned to the hospital and completes his rehabilitation, earns his release - and promptly terminates his studies. He now works as a waiter and shares an apartment with a newly released prisoner. The relationship with his flatmate deteriorates and Tshepo loses his job at the Waterfront. Desperate for an income, he finds work at a male massage parlour, using the pseudonym Angelo. The novel explores Tshepo-Angelo`s coming to consciousness of his sexuality, sexual orientation, and place in the world.
In a subplot involving Tshepo`s student friend Mmabatho, a different lifestyle and set of experiences are explored - that of a young black woman who gets involved with a disabled German student who does not want to commit to marriage, despite Mmabatho`s unplanned pregnancy. Of this novel Hein Willemse says: `Should one wish to categorise this work it could probably be defined as a gay novel, or more particularly, a black gay novel. This subject matter has not been explored in this manner in English South African literature before. The novel challenges ingrained myths about maleness, black male sexuality, and urbanised Africans. At the same time it explores the impact of dysfunctional personal histories and the insecurities of relationships between young black and white students during times of personal transition.`
REVIEW COURTESY of Bargain Books Website
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
I've traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
Old stars and hopeful beginners,
I've been where no-one's been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books.
~ Anonymous ~
Monday, 16 August 2010
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Saturday, 14 August 2010
Garcia Marquez was born in Colombia in 1928. He had a very exciting life as a journalist, which just helped to make him a better writer. His works include Love in the Time of Cholera, Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Strange Pilgrims. In 1982 Garcia Marquez received the Nobel Prize for Literature, which just shows how talented an author he is. Garcia Marquez first started publishing his stories and novels in the 1950s. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Garcia Marquez does what many writers such as Eugenides and even Salinger are seen doing – writing what he knows. Macondo is loosely based on the town where Garcia Marquez grew up – Aracataca.
One Hundred Years of Solitude was written in 1967. The copy which I am reading is the Penguin Modern Classics edition, which was published in 2000 and has 422 pages. Since there is so much imagery in One Hundred Years of Solitude, we have to pay a lot of attention so that nothing that Garcia Marquez wants us to see is missed. Whilst reading the book I will be using the guide on Sparknotes to ensure that I’m seeing all that I should be seeing. I started reading this book last year when I did Modern Fiction, but found that I was lost so this time I will be taking more care whilst reading this masterpiece.
Magical realism is often based on folklore, and this is the case with One Hundred Years of Solitude. However, in this novel we find that the discourse changes in the opening chapters – it becomes more modern, moving away from folklore and folk wisdom. Magical realism is thus a way to cope with local beliefs and happenings.
In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Garcia Marquez looks at a key period in history and we see periodic representations. Úrsula makes it clear that history repeats itself – we see the same characters coming back again and again – hence the use of very few names – we also see that this determines character.
“We’ll call him Jose Arcadio,” he said. Fernanda del Carpio, the beautiful woman he had married the year before, agreed. Ursula on the other hand, could not conceal a vague feeling of doubt. Throughout the long history of the family the insistent repetition of names had made her draw some conclusions that seemed to be certain. While the Aurelianos were withdrawn, but with lucid minds, the Jose Arcadios were impulsive and enterprising, but they were marked with a tragic sign.”
This novel is an attempt to show history through the story of a small village – showing patterns that show history is not in a careful line, but establishes itself in patterns.
This novel shows the working out of a terrible sin – that begins with incest – interbreeding of closely related people – resulting in the establishment of the same genetic patterns. Incest comes back again and again in this novel. Ancient taboo is broken and murder is committed. What we find in this novel is that sin cannot be escaped. You cannot escape the pattern.
In the opening chapters (1-3) we see the founding of Macondo –a wacky, wonderful town with wacky, wonderful people moving into various patterns of knowledge – mythical but trying to move to a scientific world. The novel begins with isolation, but tries to break isolation with the acknowledgment of science, politics etc.
“At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water and that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point.”
When isolation is broken, there is a banana boom. Breaking of isolation is not good. The bananas break the isolation that Macondo found itself in, a terrible event happens in 1928 and this is related to the bananas.
One Hundred Years of Solitude falls into 3 parts –
2. Colonel Oreliano Buendia and
The novel is possibly narrated by Melquiades (the gypsy); this is not for certain as the narrator is both omniscient and anonymous. I suggest Melquiades as he has great insight when he is shown on the pages of this novel; and also because he keeps returning to Macondo and to the Buendias. It is a story of repetition, therefore time and writing becomes problematic. Úrsula is a key character – she is another way of knowing – the one stable thing. We see a universe that moves from a masculine way of knowing, putting yourself in the history. Úrsula represents an older, more mythical and inclusive way of knowing.
Before writing One Hundred Years of Solitude, Garcia Marquez sat with a story he did not know how to tell. He finds Kafka and his grandmother’s stories and sees that they are similar. Telling a story in such a way that it does not sound preposterous, he can tell anything. Realism - with every day events fused with supernatural events presented as being real. Magical realism has a very old and respectable background in literature, once the magical and surreal has been introduced, it is accepted as real.
Magical realism was coined in the 1920s and makes a comeback in the 1960s mostly in South America, most notably during the ‘boom’ of South American Literature. The world in which Garcia Marquez moves is not one of the exclusivity of Freudian indulgences. He is more concerned in a world of stories and magic. Magical realism gives a concrete and literal aspect to reality; being portrayed by the characters, time, space etc. against a magical background. Emerging from a world of strange knowledge into a world where sense has to be made more scientifically. Repressing the memory of folk wisdom, we make the primitive, the super sensuous apprehendable, so we can see and interpret it in a concrete way so that group and collective mythology comes to the fore.
Looking at reality as in the first four chapters in the book, there is a way of knowing we can call scientific – much like 20th century moving to a more objective world; revealing therefore that there is another world and another way of living ---> fiction. A world made up and predicted by Melquiades. But we know that fiction is fiction is fiction, but it is also a way of knowing the world and understanding where we are. The gypsies coming to Macondo to bring instruments that introduce science to the residents of Macondo and Jose Arcadio Buendia who yearns to know more rejects the primitive way that he has been living and embraces these instruments that Melquiades brings.
“In March the gypsies returned. This time they brought a telescope and a magnifying glass the size of a drum, which they exhibited as the latest discovery of the Jews of Amsterdam. They placed a gypsy woman at one end of the village and set up the telescope at the entrance to the tent. For the price of five reales, people could look into the telescope and see the gypsy woman an arm’s length away. “Science has eliminated distance,” Melquiades proclaimed.” P 2-3
In the end we discover that there is also a way of knowing through the novel. Part of our rationality is what we question in the world. For Garcia Marquez, finding magical realism is in part what he is doing. The growth of rationalism is part of the experience of the outside world. He tries to see how these processes work in communities that have other things to draw on. Often he draws on a collective experience.
Friday, 13 August 2010
2. Waking up and knowing that I don't really have to be awake is what I like first thing in the morning.
3. The first thing I said this morning was: "Hey Harbijhan, did you sleep well" (this I said to my cat).
4. Macaroni and cheese; it's what's for dinner tonight.
5. It's all been very tiring
6. Having lemon meringue pie is what I feel like doing right now.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching the Blair Witch Project, tomorrow my plans include finishing a book from the House of Night Series and Sunday, I want to plan my upcoming posts!
Fear grips those who get around Flint on foot
FLINT -- Before Thursday, walking the streets of Flint late at night or early in the morning brought about a sense of fear.
There was a serial killer on the loose, stabbing and slashing vulnerable men, mostly African Americans, as they walked alone in the dark.
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
again in maturity and once more in old age,
as a fine building should be seen by morning light,
at noon and by moonlight.
~ Robertson Davies ~
The Flashback Challenge runs from January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010. Since I had been planning on re-reading a few books, I thought that this challenge would be opportune.
You can sign up for the following levels:
Bookworm - Up to three books
Scholar - Four to six books
Literati - Over six books
Within these levels, there are mini-challenges! These are:
1. Re-read a favorite book from your childhood
2. Re-read a book assigned to you in high school
3. Re-read a book you loved as an adult
So watch this space for my posts on the Flashback Challenge
Monday, 9 August 2010
Although there is not much time left for this reading challenge, I thought it would be nice to add it since today is Women's Day here in South Africa. This reading challenge has been running from November 2009 and ends in November 2010.
Interested in participating? Great! There are three levels you can choose as a reader:
- Philogynist: read at least two books, including at least one nonfiction one.
- Bluestocking: read at least five books, including at least two nonfiction ones.
- Suffragette: read at least eight books, including at least three nonfiction ones.
So since I have already read quite a few female oriented books, in November I will do the tally and say at which level I participated.
Sunday, 8 August 2010
Saturday, 7 August 2010
Friday, 6 August 2010
2. I want a life filled with adventure and daring.
3. Perhaps today you can make it a point to do something unexpected for someone else.
4. I wish I had a true adventurer’s spirit.
5. Compassion is essential in today's world
6. We should persevere no matter how difficult.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, tomorrow my plans include doing very little and Sunday, I want to have some of the ice cream that I made!
Thursday, 5 August 2010
For Twi-hards thinking that the names Isabella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) were randomly selected by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer think again — they both have a huge resonance in her life!
Now Magazine reports that for her dashing vampire lead, Stephenie wanted a traditional and romantic name and came up with Edward. “Edward was a perfect choice as it belongs to two great literary romantic heroes, Mr. Rochester in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Mr. Ferrars in Jane Austen’s Sense And Sensibility.”
As for Isabella, Stephenie felt she loved the character like a daughter and decided to give her the name she had been saving for her own daughter, as Stephenie has 3 sons.
The Volturri are named after the latin word for vulture, a nod to the fact that unlike the Cullen family, this group feeds on humans.
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Yesterday I did an introduction of sorts to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Today I shall write more about the actual story of Alice and her adventures in Wonderland. The story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland starts with Alice being bored, and baffled by her sister’s desire to read a book which has no pictures in it – “What is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without any pictures or conversation?” and just as Alice ponders that; she sees a white rabbit running past her saying how very late he is. Of course this is just something crazy, but Alice decides to follow the rabbit who says “Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!” The rabbit runs into a rabbit hole and Alice follows him as she is curious to know what this rabbit is late for. Upon entering the rabbit hole she falls – falls quite far down and ponders whether she will land in New Zealand or some other foreign place at the bottom of the world.
When she finally lands she is in a room, and she tries to follow the rabbit but he has already gone through the door which Alice discovers, much to her dismay, is locked. Looking around for a key, Alice sees something on a table which was not there before that says ‘drink me’ Alice drinks it, and starts to shrink to just the right size to be able to fit through the small door, but discovers that she has forgotten to take the key from the table. Just at that moment she found some treats that said ‘eat me’ which she duly did and started to grow. Alice grew far too tall and started crying so many large tears that soon the room started to flood.
When Alice is out of that predicament, she comes across a variety of animals and the strangest thing ever, a Caucus-Race!!! A Caucus-Race which is the act of running around in a circle until you are dry. When Alice leaves the Caucus- Race, she comes across the rabbit yet again; who is still scurrying about being late. As Alice tries to catch up to the rabbit, she comes across many ridiculously wonderful things such as a garden full of talking flowers, and the most exciting thing – the Mad Hatter with his never ending tea party. “Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder where you’re at?” is what the little dormouse asleep in a teapot says when he is awake long enough to string a sentence together. Alice finds this tea party most frustrating as she never actually gets to drink a cup of tea.
Another thing that Alice encounters that is in Alice’s words from earlier in the book “Curiouser and curiouser!” is the Cheshire cat. And then of course there’s the Caterpillar who I think they adapted just perfectly in the Disney 1950s animation. Alice’s encounter with the Caterpillar is rather brief, but she meets the Cheshire cat numerous times.
The story comes close to culmination when Alice comes across the deck of cards that are painting white roses red. This leads to Alice meeting the Queen of Hearts and playing the strangest game of croquet – in which one uses a flamingo to hit a hedgehog. Alice narrowly escapes a death sentence by the Queen and wakes up to find just in time that she has been dreaming all along.