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Imperfect Solo by Steven Boykey Sidley

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Meyer is filled with dread. His fading musical aspirations, his tyrannical CEO, his ex-wives, his exiting girlfriend, his ageing father, his beloved and troublesome children and his confused and bewildered life all bear witness to the sky that he is convinced will soon fall on his head.

And then it does.

This is the story of a man adrift in anxiety, ill-fortune and comic mishap, buffeted by the existential and prosaic concerns that modern life in Los Angeles inflicts. Forty years old, caught in the netherworld between the reckless optimism of youth and the resignation of age, Meyer tries to find handrails and ballast. Funny, intellectually probing and poignant, the story follows the flailing and hapless Meyer seeking hope and redemption as his world unravels around him. Surrounded by the absurdity of an ageing America, the affection of flawed but well-meaning friends and family and the randomness of everyday life, Meyer tries gamely to stay afloat.

He must navigate love lost and found and lost, the indignities of ageing, the courage to stand up to assholes and the search for the perfect sax solo. Will Meyer find his grace? Can he, or we, ever?

Read an extract of Imperfect Solo HERE

About the author

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Steven Boykey Sidley has divided his adult life between the USA and South Africa. He has meandered through careers as an animator, chief technology officer for a Fortune 500 company, jazz musician, software developer, video game designer, private equity investor and high technology entrepreneur. He currently lives in Johannesburg with his wife and two children. Entanglement is his first novel, sparked by a whiskey-fuelled dinner party debate.

View Steven‘s website HERE

Follow Steven‘s Twitter page HERE and like his Facebook page HERE

Published by Picador Africa

ISBN: 9781770103542

How to Fix South Africa’s Schools by Jonathan Jansen and Molly Blank

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Everybody knows that South Africa has an education crisis, despite the fact that the government spends the biggest slice of its budget on education, more than any other African country. And yet the crisis persists.

Jansen and Blank looked at South African schools that work, in spite of adverse conditions – schools in poor communities, schools with overcrowded classrooms, schools in both rural and urban environments – and have drawn out the practical strategies that make them successful.

19 short films (included on DVD) let you visit these schools and understand in the words of their principals, teachers and learners what makes them succeed. Then take look at the 10 key strategies identified and see how to implement them in other schools to effect transformation. As we have come to expect from Jansen, there are no complicated theories, no difficult to implement solutions – just lots of common sense!

Courtesy of Bookstorm, click for Information on school improvement workshops and downloadable workshop templates.

About the authors

Jonathan Jansen

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Professor Jonathan Jansen is the rector of the University of the Free State, where he has earned a formidable reputation for transformation and for a deep commitment to reconciliation in communities living with the heritage of apartheid. He is an educationalist, a former Dean of Education at the University of Pretoria, who holds an impressive collection of degrees and awards, including the position as President of the South African Institute of Race Relations. He was born in the Western Cape, and has lived in various parts of South Africa and in the United States. He is married with two children.

Follow Jonathan Jansen on Twitter HERE

Molly Blank

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Molly Blank is a documentary filmmaker who began working in South Africa as a Fulbright Scholar in 2005. Previously she was a teacher in Washington, DC. She holds an MA in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley and a BA in History from Tufts University.

Her films include Testing Hope: Grade 12 in the New South Africa about young people approaching their matric exams and Where Do I Stand? about youth and the xenophobic attacks in South Africa in 2008. She worked on the Peabody Award-winning film Bringing Down a Dictator about the defeat of Slobodan Milošević.

View Molly‘s website HERE

Follow Molly on Twitter HERE

Published by Bookstorm 

ISBN: 9781920434625

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Leaders Eat Last is the highly anticipated follow up to Simon Sinek‘s global bestseller Start With Why.

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Simon Sinek‘s mission is to help people wake up every day inspired to go to work and return home every night fulfilled by their work. His first book, Start with Why, offered the essential starting point, explaining the power of focusing on why we do what we do, before getting into the details of What and How. Start with Why became an instant classic, with a loyal following among Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, governments, and the highest levels of the US Military.

Now Sinek is back to reveal the next step in creating happier and healthier organisations. Organisations that create environments in which trust and cooperation thrive vastly out perform their competition. And, not coincidentally, their employees love working there. But ‘truly human’ cultures don’t just happen; they are intentionally created by great leaders. Leaders who, in hard times, would sooner sacrifice their numbers to protect their people, rather than sacrifice people to protect their numbers, are rewarded with deeply loyal teams that consistently contribute their best efforts, ideas and passion.

As he did in Start with Why, Sinek illustrates his points with fascinating true stories from many fields. He implores us to act sooner rather than later, because our stressful jobs are literally killing us. And he offers surprisingly simple steps for building a truly human organisation.

About the author

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Simon Sinek is an optimist. He teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. From members of Congress to foreign ambassadors, from small businesses to corporations like Microsoft and 3M, from Hollywood to the Pentagon, he has presented his ideas about the power of why. He has written two books, Leaders Eat Last and Start With Why and is quoted frequently by national publications.

View Simon‘s website HERE

Follow Simon on Twitter HERE and like his page on Facebook HERE

Published by Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780670923168

Could I Vote DA? by Eusebius McKaiser

Helen Zille said of Eusebius McKaiser:
‘Don’t give him oxygen. He wants a controversy. Narcissism in extremis. Attention seeking.’ (Twitter, September 2013)

 McKaiser says of Zille: 
‘I think Helen Zille is a good leader.’
… but he also says:
She is the wrong person to have a crack at leading the party to a victory against the ANC beyond 2014.

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Trying to decide who to vote for in South Africa can be extremely difficult. A black and white issue for some, but shaded with grey for many.

Much has been written about the ANC, their past, their future, their strengths and their shortcomings, but what about the official opposition? Could the DA be a political home for you? Eusebius McKaiser explores this question from a variety of angles – what do the DA get right? What do they get wrong? Is black discomfort with the DA a matter of policy or maybe a question of tone? Do the DA really “get” what worries their critics? Read Could I Vote DA? and make up your own mind.

About the author

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Eusebius McKaiser is a political and social analyst at the Wits Centre for Ethics. He is also a popular radio talk show host, a top international debate coach, a master of ceremonies and a public speaker of note. He loves nothing more than a good argument, having been both former National South African Debate Champion and the 2011 World Masters Debate Champion. His analytic articles and columns have been widely published in South African newspapers and the New York Times. McKaiser has studied law and philosophy. He taught philosophy in South Africa and England.

Follow Eusebius on Twitter HERE

View Eusebius‘ page on Facebook HERE

Published by Bookstorm 

ISBN 9781920434557

100 Good Ideas by Brendon Bell-Roberts

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Good ideas contain unfathomable journeys. Good ideas exceed those who generate them. Good ideas are for the greater good. Good ideas are good because they can be connected to other good ideas. In 100 Good Ideas, leading industry professionals were invited to choose five good ideas each. These ideas could have included iconic people, great projects, worthwhile innovations, valuable designs and useful trends. Presented in a striking, full-colour publication, the choices include ideas as diverse as Desmond Tutu, craft beer, and kwaito. 100 Good Ideas embraces African creativity, focusing on what makes it a unique and valuable resource; ideas that showcase the best of our creative industries. The book will be launched at the Design Indaba on 28 February 2014, and will form part of Cape Town Design Capital of the World.

About the author

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100 Good Ideas is edited by Brendon Bell-Roberts, who is recognised as one of the leading colour experts and designers of art publications in South Africa. Select publishing projects include Art South Africa magazine, Snapped magazine, Itch magazine, 10 Years 100 Artists – art in a democratic South Africa, 10 Years + 100 Buildings, Picasso in Africa, The Standard Bank Collection, and Africa Now.

Follow Brendon on Twitter HERE

Like Brendon‘s Facebook pages HERE and HERE

Published by Umuzi (An imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN: 9781415206799

Lauren Liebenberg’s CRY BABY

When Super Mom meets problem child – which one is really lost?  Read Lauren Liebenberg’s new book, CRY BABY, to find out.

As he nears his fifth birthday, Sam’s curious dreams of a seemingly lost child begin to intrude with quiet insidiousness upon his waking state. As Sam’s mother, Grace, watches with growing fear the disturbing changes taking place in her charming, spirited son – the fighting at school, the bed-wetting, the hot flares of defiance – she begins to search for what lies behind his nightmares, a search that will take her deeper and deeper into the sub-strata of love and bondage, buried beneath the surface of the family and into its molten heart.

Cry Baby is a story about boyhood, about motherhood, about what binds families, the past to the present, about suffocation and deliverance. It is at once a stinging satirical slap across the face of barren suburban and a poignant hymn to the extraordinary beauty in ordinary lives.

Courtesy of Penguin Books, Read an extract from Cry Baby by Lauren Liebenberg.

About the author

Lauren Liebenberg is a writer, mostly on the subject of breeding in captivity, after an aborted career in investment banking. Her debut novel, The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam, published in 2008, was – to her lasting surprise – short-listed for the Orange Prize for New Writers, as well as long-listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize. Her second novel, The West Rand Jive Cats’ Boxing Club, was published in 2011, also to international acclaim.

She is married with two sons, in whom the feral instinct seems to run strong, and is a survivor of the madness of the Super-Mommy-ism epidemic in the Johannesburg suburban outback she inhabits. They still sometimes invite her to the cocktail parties at Rand Merchant Bank. That’s what she tells people. Cry Baby is Lauren’s third novel.

http://www.laurenliebenberg.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lauren.liebenberg?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/LaurenLieben

Published by Penguin Bookshttp://penguinbooks.co.za/book/cry-baby/9780143538615

ISBN: 9780143538615

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

‘Funny and heartwarming, a gem of a book.’ Marian Keyes.

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A first-date dud, socially awkward, and overly fond of quick-dry clothes, Don Tillman has given up on love. Until a chance encounter gives him an idea. He will design a questionnaire—a sixteen-page, scientifically researched questionnaire—to uncover the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker or a late-arriver.

Rosie is all these things. She is also fiery and intelligent, strangely beguiling. And looking for her biological father—a search that a DNA expert might just be able to help her with.

The Rosie Project is a romantic comedy like no other. It is arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, and it will make you want to drink cocktails.

Courtesy of Penguin BooksRead an extract from The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

About the author 

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Graeme C. Simsion is a New Zealand born Australian author, screen-writer, playwright and data modeller. He won the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award for his book, The Rosie Project.

Prior to writing fiction he was an information systems consultant and wrote two books and several papers about data-modelling.

View Graeme‘s website HERE

Follow Graeme on Twitter HERE and like his page on Facebook HERE

Published by Penguin Books 

ISBN: 9781405912792

100 Edible & Healing Flowers by Margaret Roberts

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Margaret Roberts is a well-known proponent of the use of natural products to enhance health and well-being. In 100 Edible & Healing Flowers, she encourages readers to create a garden of flowers that can be used in celebrations, in the kitchen, and also to produce medicines and cosmetics.

In this hands-on, practical book, Margaret instructs how and when to plant, grow and harvest flowers, and supplies recipes that harness the medicinal, cosmetic and edible nature of these plants. The accessible, down-to-earth text is spiced with personal anecdotes and information about the historical use of flowers in herbalism. Colourful photographs aid identification, and Margaret’s delicate line drawings add an appealing touch of whimsy to this elegant book.

An indispensable guide for anyone interested in health, wellness, organic gardening and using flowers to enhance their cooking and health.

Courtesy of Random House StruikCLICK HERE to view a page spread from 100 Edible & Healing Flowers.

About the author

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Margaret Roberts has created a fascinating career in the world of health and gardening. She is dedicated to all things natural that can uplift, heal and inspire, whether it is creating gardens, teaching about the wonders of herbs, or propagating a vast array of medicinal and nutritional plants at her Herbal Centre. She is the author of many books and numerous articles on herbs, health and gardening and is well known for her television appearances and radio talks.

View Margaret‘s website HERE

View Margaret‘s Facebook page HERE

Published by Struik Nature (An imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN: 9781775840374

The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice by Christopher Hitchens

In this frank and damning expose of the Teresa cult, Hitchens details the nature and limits of one woman’s mission to help the world’s poor.

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He probes the source of the heroic status bestowed upon an Albanian nun whose only declared wish was to serve God. He asks whether Mother Teresa’s good works answered any higher purpose than the need of the world’s privileged to see someone, somewhere, doing something for the Third World.

He unmasks pseudo-miracles, questions Mother Teresa’s fitness to adjudicate on matters of sex and reproduction, and reports on a version of saintly ubiquity which affords genial relations with dictators, corrupt tycoons and convicted frauds. Is Mother Teresa merely an essential salve to the conscience of the rich West, or an expert PR machine for the Catholic Church?

In its caustic iconoclasm and unsparing wit, The Missionary Position showcases the devastating effect of Hitchens‘ writing at its polemical best.

About the author

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Christopher Eric Hitchens (April 13, 1949 – December 15, 2011) was an English-born American author, journalist and literary critic. He was a contributor to Vanity FairThe AtlanticWorld Affairs, The NationSlateFree Inquiry and a variety of other media outlets. Hitchens was also a political observer, whose best-selling books — the most famous being god Is Not Great — made him a staple of talk shows and lecture circuits. He was also a media fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Hitchens was a polemicist and intellectual. While he was once identified with the Anglo-American radical political left, near the end of his life he embraced some arguably right-wing causes, most notably the Iraq War. Formerly a Trotskyist and a fixture in the left wing publications of both the United Kingdom and United States, Hitchens departed from the grassroots of the political left in 1989 after what he called the “tepid reaction” of the European left following Ayatollah Khomeini’s issue of a fatwa calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie, but he stated on the Charlie Rose show aired August 2007 that he remained a “Democratic Socialist.

The September 11, 2001 attacks strengthened his embrace of an interventionist foreign policy, and his vociferous criticism of what he called “fascism with an Islamic face.” He is known for his ardent admiration of George Orwell, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, and for his excoriating critiques of Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger and Bill Clinton.

Hitchens was an anti-theist, and he described himself as a believer in the Enlightenment values of secularism, humanism, and reason.

Published by Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780857898395

The Fall of The ANC by Prince Mashele & Mzukisi Qobo

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‘On the basis of the current state of politics in South Africa – of corruption, factionalism, the use of politics as a means of accumulation, all of which are abundant in the ANC – we have come to the conclusion that, if the party does not make a serious U-turn, it will ruin itself, and our country at the same time. This will not go on forever, for newer generations will, to avoid further ruin, act to bring about political change. We have faith in the rational capacity of human beings, even as we know that history reminds us that humankind can sometimes be foolish.’

Political governance in South Africa has collapsed. Scandals of corruption, evidence of nepotism, rampant maladministration in provinces, incompetence in public offices and a general decline in the quality of leadership are there for all to see. In the authors’ view, this state of affairs has its origins in the messiness and collapse of the African National Congress. As helplessness deepens in our society, concerned citizens ask: What will happen to South Africa? The Fall of the ANC: What Next? seeks to answer this question of the fate that awaits the country.

About the authors

Prince Mashele

Prince Mashele

Prince Mashele is the Executive Director of the Centre for Politics and Research. He is a leading political commentator in South Africa and the author of The Death of our Society.

View Prince‘s Facebook page HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Mzukisi Qobo

Mzukisi

Dr Mzukisi Qobo teaches International Political Economy at the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria, and is affiliated to the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

View Dr Mzukisi Qobo‘s website HERE

Like his page on Facebook HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Published by Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781770103146