All posts by Tracey

I have always loved reading. My earliest memories are those spending every Saturday morning in the town library, listening to ‘story-time’ and then being able to choose my three books to take home for the week. Once grown up, and various career paths later, I started working at Penguin Books and after eleven years with the company, as sales and marketing director, I decided to leave and open my own business, I Love Books. Not everyone has the time, or indeed the inclination, to browse in bookshops. A select few regularly visit bookshops, but that isn’t to say that everyone else is not interested in books – in fact, the opposite is true. My goal is to introduce the general public to authors, and authors to the general public.

Little Suns by Zakes Mda

There are many suns,’ he said. ‘Each day has its own. Some are small, some are big. I’m named after the small ones.’

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It is 1903. A lame and frail Malangana – ‘Little Suns’ – searches for his beloved Mthwakazi after many lonely years spent in Lesotho. Mthwakazi was the young woman he had fallen in love with twenty years earlier, before the assassination of Hamilton Hope ripped the two of them apart.

Intertwined with Malangana’s story, is the account of Hope – a colonial magistrate who, in the late nineteenth century, was undermining the local kingdoms of the eastern Cape in order to bring them under the control of the British. It was he who wanted to coerce Malangana’s king and his people, the amaMpondomise, into joining his battle – a scheme Malangana’s conscience could not allow.

Zakes Mda‘s fine new novel Little Suns weaves the true events surrounding the death of Magistrate Hope into a touching story of love and perseverance that can transcend exile and strife.

About the Author

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Zakes Mda is the author of the novels Ways of Dying and The Heart of Redness, among many others. He was born in the Eastern Cape, but spent his early childhood in Soweto, finishing his school education in Lesotho. He is a prolific writer of novels, plays, poems and articles for academic journals and newspapers, and his writing has been translated into twenty languages. His creative work also includes painting, and theatre and film productions. Mda, whose forebears were exiled from Qumbu to Lesotho after the assassination of Hamilton Hope, is a recipient of South Africa’s Order of Ikhamanga. He is based in Athens, Ohio, where he spends his time writing and teaching.

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

Published by Umuzi (An imprint of Penguin Random House)

ISBN: 9781415209042

From Z to A-Lister by Jen Su

Jen Su has managed the seemingly impossible climb from zero to A-lister in four separate countries, each speaking a different language. From Taiwan to Thailand; Hong Kong to South Africa.

How does Jen identify and cultivate the movers and shakers? How does she use events to catapult her contacts and marketability? How does she befriend the media, and particularly photographers, to make herself known?

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From Jen

Today, building your personal brand is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. It used to be all about corporate branding or institutional branding. That’s all changed. Nowadays, life as we know it is all about YOUR name, your image, your digital footprint, and being the President of your personal brand. Fortunately, with today’s technology and social media, creating your brand is easier than ever before – and it’s crucial that you take control and manage the direction of your brand before someone else does.

What I do may be relatively simple, but how I got here, how I built my brand, has been a long story over many countries and cultures. It is a story of ambition and balance, of achievement and disappointment, of untimely disruption and spontaneous opportunity, of happiness and tears. How did I get here? Now there’s a question worth answering that just might inspire a few ‘wows’ and laughs along the way. To tell it chronologically, however, would be selfish of me. It would be my story, amusing to hear, but purely vicarious in its appeal. And let’s face it, the Jen Su brand has a wonderful story behind it, but it’s not the stuff of legends.

What is worth sharing, I passionately believe, is not the path I travelled, but the ‘wheels’ that got me here, the ‘how’ – not the ‘where’ – of the journey. So, although I do draw on personal references, this book is about how to go from nothing to something, and how to establish your personal brand – in your own parameters, in your own way.

At its core, I offer you a guide to ‘making it’ and building your brand. I wish I had had access to this kind of advice when I was starting off. It certainly would have helped to straighten some very twisted learning curves that I’ve had to navigate through the years.

What I do hope is that by reading these pages, a few people will come to appreciate the examples that one person has set about things like humility, respect, professionalism and discipline … with a sprinkling of practical tricks … and hopefully use these examples as inspiration to tailor their own approach as professionals.

“… Jen gives a fresh, unique perspective and shares her secrets to success.” GARETH CLIFF

View Jen‘s website HERE

Like Jen‘s Facebook page HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Published by Tracey McDonald Publishers

ISBN: 9780620658577

KasiNomics by GG Alcock

Did you know…

That the muti market is worth R3 billion a year, with 27 million consumers?

That the average hawker earns R3 000 a month and there are nearly 500 000 of them!?

That the trade in goats is worth millions of rand?

That the dagga trade can set the standard for market and distribution to the informal market?

That Parmalat Cheese Slices have created a multi-million rand business in kotas, and why the Perfect Sishebo Show is the biggest food show in the country?

 ‘Kasinomics is a book as eclectic, mysterious and colourful as the places and people it explores.

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eKasi, the lokasie, the South African township, once an apartheid ghetto, is today an amazingly transformed place. This township today is an eclectic mix of mansions, shacks, spaza shops, rocking taverns, hawkers, taxis and hot wheels. In this kasi there are vibrant businesses, energetic people, a tightly networked social community and abundant hope.

That is not to say there isn’t extreme poverty, suffering and dissatisfaction, particularly on the peripheries in the huge shack settlements, but to paint the place as a slum is a massive mistake.

Kasinomics attempts to cast a light on the invisible matrix at the heart of South Africa’s informal economies and the people who live in them. Living and doing business in African marketplaces requires an ethos uniquely suited to the informal, to the invisible, to the intangible. Kasinomics will take you down those rural pathways, weave between claustrophobic mazes of shacks, browse a muti market, visit a spirit returning ceremony and save money with gogo in a stokvel, among many more people and places.

After almost twenty years of focusing on marketing to the informal sector, GG Alcock, CEO of specialist marketing company Minanawe, showcases a number of groundbreaking and very successful case studies in this invisible informal world. His vivid anecdotes and life experiences and how they link to understanding and inspiration for business ideas will make you gasp, laugh and shake your head in wonder.

About the Author

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GG Alcock, and his brother Khonya, are the sons of Neil Alcock(who was murdered when GG was 14) and Creina Alcock, who still lives in the Msinga Valley, continuing GG’s father’s work among the Zulu people.

GG and his brother were home-schooled, under an acacia tree, by their mother until the beginning of standard six when the Department of Education forced them to go to “real school”.  He completed his schooling at a local government boarding school in Greytown, hating every minute of it.  Following school he completed his two years military service, where he challenged township duty and faced the inevitable consequences.

After army GG worked for a number of anti-apartheid activist organisations on legal challenges to the Land Act (where black people were dispossessed of their land). During this time he grew a fairly high political profile in the media and government circles of KwaZulu-Natal.

With the changes brought about by the unbanning of the ANC GG moved into business and is currently the CEO of Minanawe Marketing (a very successful agency focused on marketing to the mass market, rooted in consumer understanding).

GG is 46, very happily married, and has two very beautiful blonde daughters who he will be expecting lots of lobola for one of these days, and lives in Joburg.  He loves Africa and being African, and his staff are convinced that he never works but spends as much time as possible on one or other adventure – motorcycling across deserts and mountains, mountain biking, paragliding or kayaking. ‘It’s not true,’ says GG, ‘I don’t spend enough time doing this!’  Having realised from an early age that there is no glamour in poverty GG is trying very hard to grow his collection of adventure toys!

View GG‘s website HERE

Follow GG on Twitter HERE

Published by Tracey McDonald Publishers

ISBN: 9780620651653

Beer Safari by Lucy Corne

Following the success of African Brew, the first ever book to showcase the South African craft beer scene, beer-centric author Lucy Corne is back with a second homage to hops and grain. Beer Safari takes readers on a journey through the microbreweries of South Africa, stopping to chat to each brewer along the way.

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The book is laid out geographically to assist the reader in planning his or her own beer safari. Look out for the ‘Big Five Pints’ – the author’s pick of the very best South African craft beers. There is also space for beer aficionados to scribble their own tasting notes alongside each brewery’s beer menu.

Beer Safari is the only South African beer book whose author has, in person, visited every one of the 100-plus breweries to get the brewers’ stories, photograph their often quirky brewing setups and of course, to taste their beers. Peppered between the inspiring tales of passionate brewers, are snippets of essential beer knowledge – ideal for the ‘beerginner’ – alongside checklists that will appeal to newbie beer drinkers and veterans alike. Whether readers are looking for family-friendly beery weekends away, the cutest brewpubs with the finest views or a list of where to go for South Africa’s hoppiest ales, Beer Safari is a comprehensive and user-friendly guide.

The directory showcases everything needed to continue the beer journey – for those who prefer to enjoy other people’s wares, there are recommendations for liquor stores and bars offering a supreme selection of beer. Those who yearn to brew their own will find information on homebrewing stores, courses and clubs throughout the country. Written in Corne’s signature light-hearted style, and with a fresh, vibrant design, Beer Safari perfectly captures the exciting and unpretentious nature that characterises the South African craft beer scene.

About the Author

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Lucy Corne, a Cape Town-based, certified beer judge, has worked as a travel writer for more than a decade, with work published in magazines, newspapers, guidebooks and anthologies around the world. Beer plays a large part in her travels, and breweries often appear above museums on a trip itinerary. She also blogs about the South African beer scene under the moniker ‘The Brewmistress’.

View Lucy‘s website HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Published by Struik Lifestyle (An imprint of Penguin Random House)

ISBN: 9781432304867

We Have Now Begun Our Descent by Justice Malala

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12 FEBRUARY 2015. The South African secret services block the cellphones of journalists covering Parliament. Opposition party members are violently thrown out of the House. President Jacob Zuma – accused of corruption on a grand scale – laughs uproariously. Where is the country of Nelson Mandela headed?

The institutions of democracy are falling apart or being captured by a narrow and deeply corrupt elite built around Zuma. Its infrastructure is collapsing. Its economy cannot provide succour to the eight million who don’t have jobs. Protests over service delivery are on the rise. Does South Africa have the resolve and the leadership to stem the slide?

In a devastating, searing, honest paean to his country, renowned political journalist and commentator Justice Malala forces South Africa to come face to face with the country it has become: corrupt, crime-ridden, compromised and its institutions captured by a selfish political elite that is bent on enriching itself at the expense of the increasingly marginalised masses.

In this deeply personal reflection, Malala’s diagnosis is devastating: South Africa is on the brink. He does not stop there. Malala believes that we have the ingredients to turn things around: our lauded Constitution, our wealth of talent, our history of activism and a democratic trajectory that can be used to stop the rot from setting in. But he has a warning: South Africans need to wake up now, or else they will soon find their country has been stolen.

About the Author

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Justice Malala is one of South Africa’s most well-known political analysts.  He was founding editor of This Day newspaper, publisher of the Sowetan and Sunday World, and Sunday Times correspondent in London and New York. He writes a weekly column and presents a weekly TV talk show The Justice Factor.

View Justice‘s website HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers

ISBN: 9781868426799

Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally Andrew

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Meet Tannie Maria: She’s fifty-something, short and soft (perhaps a bit too soft in the wrong places) with brown curls and untidy Afrikaans. She is also the agony aunt for the local paper, the Klein Karoo Gazette. One day, her life takes a sinister turn when a woman in the area is murdered and she becomes entangled in the investigation… to the intense irritation of a handsome local policeman.

But what else will this amateur detective uncover in a small town marinated in secrets?

Warm, poignant and entertaining, Sally Andrew’s delightful heroine blends together intrigue, romance and cooking in this irresistible new mystery, complete with a few mouth-watering recipes.

About the Author

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Sally Andrew lives in a mud-brick house on a nature reserve in the Klein Karoo with her artist partner, a giant eland, and a secretive leopard. She also spends time in the wilderness of southern Africa and the seaside suburb of Muizenberg. She has a master’s in Adult Education from the University of Cape Town. Before settling down to write full time, she was a social and environmental activist. Recipes for Love and Murder is her first novel.

View Sally‘s website HERE

View Sally‘s Facebook page HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Published by Umuzi (An imprint of Penguin Random House)

ISBN: 9781415207574

Mariana’s Country Kitchen by Mariana Esterhuizen

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Mariana serves food fresh from her own extensive vegetable, fruit and herb garden, prepared in her own unique way. Her delightful book includes recipes for the restaurant’s top dishes, along with vegetable dishes, classic dishes, and Mariana’s favourite childhood foods. Divided seasonally into four sections, this is the ultimate cookery book for those who love fresh, honest, delicious in-season eating.

2015 Best Newcomer at the Sunday Times Cookbook Awards – Bookslive

About the Author

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Mariana Esterhuizen is one of South Africa’s best known food personalities, with an award-winning restaurant in Stanford in the Western Cape.

Published by Human & Rousseau (An imprint of NB Publishers)

ISBN: 9780798169912

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

The first book in the incredible new series from the author of Percy Jackson, the Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus.

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Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits.

One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he’s never met – who tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

About the Author

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Rick Riordan is a teacher and a writer, and has won many awards for his mystery novels for adults. He says that the idea for Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief first came to him while he was teaching Greek mythology at middle school in San Francisco. But rumour has it that Camp Half Blood actually exists, and Rick spends his summers there recording the adventures of young demigods. Some believe that, to avoid a mass panic among the mortal population, he was forced to swear on the River Styx to present Percy Jackson’s story as fiction. Rick lives in Texas (apart from his summers on Half Blood Hill) with his wife and two sons.

View Rick‘s website HERE

Like Rick‘s Facebook page HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Published by Penguin Random House

ISBN: 9780141342429

Blackout : The Unauthorised Eskom Story by James Styan

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In 1998 the South African government was warned that the country was running out of electricity. Despite the warnings, the decision was taken not to invest in new power stations. Had the warnings been heeded, South Africa could have had a new power station up and running by 2006 and load shedding may never have happened. Instead, in 2007, as predicted, South Africa ran out of electricity.

Eight years later, the crisis has deepened and despite assurances to the contrary by government leadership, it has the potential to become the biggest post-apartheid crisis in South Africa. By 2015 load shedding cost the South African economy an estimated R2 billion per day.

Is the situation getting better or worse? Are the interventions working or is a blackout inevitable? What can be done and what do future scenarios look like?

Eskom – The Unauthorised Story provides a look at what’s happening to one of the greatest power utilities in the world, the greatest on the African continent. It deals with everything from load shedding to blackouts and unpacks the issues raging around candlelight dinners in households across South Africa today.

About the Author

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As a journalist, James-Brent Styan wrote about Eskom since 2008. He followed the story from the other side of Lephalale to the inside of parliament and everywhere in-between. During this time, he spoke to the decision makers, the rule makers, the politicians, the officials, the employees and everyone else. He was there from the first load shedding and is still writing and tweeting about Eskom today. This is his account of what he saw and what was promised.

View James‘ Facebook page HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers

ISBN: 9781868426966

Saving Sophie by Ronald H. Balson

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From Ronald H. Balson, author of Once We Were BrothersSaving Sophie is the powerful story of the lengths a father will go through to protect his daughter and an action-packed thriller that will take you on an unforgettable journey of murder and deception, testing the bonds of family and love.

Jack Sommers was just an ordinary accountant from Chicago-that is, until his wife passed away, his young daughter was kidnapped, and he became the main suspect in an $88 million dollar embezzlement case. Now Jack is on the run, hoping to avoid the feds long enough to rescue his daughter, Sophie, from her maternal grandfather, a suspected terrorist in Palestine.

With the help of investigative team Liam and Catherine, and a new CIA operative, a secret mission is launched to not only rescue Sophie but also to thwart a major terrorist attack in Hebron. But will being caught in the crossfires of the Palestine-Israeli conflict keep their team from accomplishing the task at hand, or can they overcome the odds and save countless lives, including their own?

About the Author

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Ronald H. Balson is an attorney practicing with the firm of Stone, Pogrund and Korey in Chicago. The demands of his trial practice have taken him into courts across the United States and into international venues.

An adjunct professor of business law at the University of Chicago for twenty-five years, he now lectures on trial advocacy in federal trial bar courses.

Travels to Warsaw and southern Poland in connection with a complex telecommunications case inspired Once We Were Brothers, his first novel.

View Ronald‘s website HERE

Like Ronald‘s Facebook page HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Published by Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781250065858