I remember way back in primary school we had an English teacher that read to us every Friday if we behaved. That must sound really dull to you, but for me it was the equivalent of someone rubbing my back. Always relaxing. I remember she read to us: The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and some other story that I can’t remember the title of except it was about a child living in a cold, dark cave.

Anyway, recently, I’ve become very nostalgic about books and wanted to relive my youth: and what better way than through Roald Dahl’s “The BFG”?

Back Cover:

“Me gobbling up human beans! This I never! I is the only nice… Giant in Giant Country. I is the Big Friendly Giant!”

Luckily for Sophie, who has been snatched from her bed by him, the BFG is far more jumbly than his disgusting neighbours. They guzzle and swallomp nice little chiddlers. So Sophie and the BFG cook up an ingenious plan to rid the world of trogglehumping giants for ever!

What I like about this book:

Roald Dahl is a very good storyteller and he knows how to use (or in this case create) the words to his advantage. I haven’t written anything about anything nonsensical in a long while: Roald Dahl is a perfect example of using Nonsense words. Here are just some of my favourite: scrumdiddlyumptious, snozzcumbers, frobscottle and whizzpoppers, crockadowndillies.

You can also find a lot of life truths in the book, such as:
“Giants is not very lovely, but they is not killing each other. Nor is crockadowndillies killing other crockadowndillies… Human beans is the only animals that is killing their own kind.”

First published: 1982

Rating: 5/5

My New All-Favourite Song: ‘Runaway’ by Aurora

I first heard a part of this song in the season finale of “The Following” and I fell in love with it.


I was listening to the ocean
I saw a face in the sand
But when I picked it up
Then it vanished away from my hands (Darling)
I had a dream I was seven
Climbing my way in a tree
I saw a piece of heaven
Waiting, impatient, for me (Darling)

And I was running far away
Would I run off the world someday?
Nobody knows, nobody knows
And I was dancing in the rain
I felt alive and I can’t complain
But now take me home
Take me home where I belong
I can’t take it anymore

I was painting a picture
The picture was a painting of you
And for a moment I thought you were here
But then again, it wasn’t true (Darling)
And all this time I have been lying
Oh, lying in secret to myself
I’ve been putting sorrow on the farest place on my shelf (La-di-da!)

And I was running far away
Would I run off the world someday?
Nobody knows, nobody knows
And I was dancing in the rain
I felt alive and I can’t complain
But now take me home
Take me home where I belong
I got no other place to go
Now take me home
Take me home where I belong
I got no other place to go
Now take me home
Take me home where I belong
I can’t take it anymore

But I kept running for a soft place to fall
And I kept running for a soft place to fall
And I kept running for a soft place to fall
And I kept running for a soft place to fall

And I was running far away
Would I run off the world someday?
But now take me home
Take me home where I belong
I got no other place to go
Now take me home
Take me home where I belong
I got no other place to go

Now take me home, home where I belong
Now take me home, home where I belong
Now take me home, home where I belong
Now take me home, home where I belong

I can’t take it anymore…

Aurora Aksnes is a Norwegian songstress with an amazing powerful voice. And to think she is just 19 years old!
Here is something interesting that I just found:
Runaway This almost reminds me of the “Dictionary of Obscure sorrows”.

Book Review: The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But now that I think about it, I’ve been doing it ever since I started reading. I always look at the cover of the book: if the title or artwork isn’t appealing enough then I move on to the next. But “The Chalk Cirle Man”‘s cover had me hooked from the moment I laid eyes on it.

Chalk Circle Man

Back cover:

Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg is not like other policemen. His methods appear unorthodox in the extreme: he doesn’t search for clues, he ignores obvious suspects and arrests people with cast-iron alibis; he appears permanently distracted. In spite of all this his colleagues are forced to admit that he is highly successful – a born cop.

When strange blue chalk circles start appearing overnight on the pavements of Paris, the press take up the story with amusement and psychiatrists trot out their theories.

Adamsberg is alone in thinking this is not a game or far from amusing. He insists on being kept informed of new circles and the increasingly bizarre objects which they contain: a pigeon’s foot, four cigarette lighters, a badge proclaiming ‘I love Elvis’, a hat, a doll’s head.

Adamsberg senses the cruelty that lies behind these seemingly random occurrences. Soon a circle with decidedly less banal contents is discovered: the body of a woman with her throat savagely cut. Adamsberg knows that other murders will follow.

“The Chalk Circle Man” is the first book featuring Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, one of the most engaging characters in contemporary detective fiction.

First Published: 2009

Rating: 5/5 Worth a 2nd read!

Graffiti: Creation vs Destruction

Yesterday on Women’s Day I went on a Graffiti tour in the Maboneng, Jeppestown and Troyville suburbs of Johannesburg with some of my friends. It was led by a guide from “Past Experiences” – a company that organizes these kinds of tours and a local graffiti artist named George AKA Mars.

Mars and guide from Past Experiences

Mars and guide from Past Experiences

The history of modern graffiti is rather recent starting in the 1960’s in the USA by someone writing his name on public surfaces. But the need to imprint ourselves on things goes back even further – just think of the cavemen and their drawings.

A few things that I’ve learnt from the tour: not all graffiti is illegal. Some graffiti artists ask the owner’s permission first before they paint on the wall. Illegal graffiti is usually “tagging” where someone just put their name on a wall without the owner’s permission. These are mostly selfish acts. But even the most well respected graffiti artists will still throw in an illegal “tag” here and there. That is how most of them started out anyway.


Another surprising thing I’ve learnt is that there are a lot of graffiti artists from overseas that come to South Africa for the mere purpose to put their graffiti on a wall. On the tour they showed us a whole building done by a graffiti artist from Spain (I don’t know the name because I didn’t have a notebook with me and most what I’m writing here is from memory).

By Spanish graffiti artist

By Spanish graffiti artist

Most of the graffiti are done through free styling, but sometimes they will use each others input or sources. They showed us one done by Aiko: a Japanese female graffiti artist that loves to use stencils in her work.


Another local graffiti artist: Rasty


Every graffiti artist have their own motive: doing it for the sake of art, politics, some see it as their careers, for others it’s just a hobby.

There are different categories of graffiti: legal vs illegal, creation vs destruction, street art, tagging, etc.

There is also a code of conduct or graffiti ethics between different artists. It is seen as disrespectful when you paint or tag over another artist’s work. Some of them will even become cross if you paint next to theirs and touch it in any way.


If you look closely you’ll see a Kong character on the above picture – that was not part of the original painting.

Some more awesome pics:

In Maboneng

In Maboneng




I can’t for the life of me remember who painted these characters though (see above)

By local artist Tapz

By local artist Tapz


Sadly not all will last forever. The following graffiti wall is already 6 years old. Eventually the paint will fade and crumble away.


The End.


Book Reviews: Stephen Fry’s Memoir and Autobiography

For those of you who don’t know, Stephen Fry have 3 different books published as his Memoir or Autobiography. The first one is Moab is my Washpot and it is about his troublesome childhood; the second: The Fry Chronicles is about his life after school and especially at university and third More Fool Me most about of his career thus far.

This post will be my “book reviews” about the first and second.

But first: is it just me that find it strange that he has written an autobiography that are 3 volumes (and possibly more)? Do you know of anybody else that has the same feat? John Cleese has only written one once-off autobiography. What makes Stephen Fry so special that he has 3???

2) The Fry Chronicles – an autobiography  by Stephen Fry

fry chronicles

Back cover: (actually I found this inside seeing as the back cover of my book are just recommendations by the media)

Stephen Fry’s film, stage, radio and television credits are so numerous and wide-ranging that there is not the space here to  do them justice. It is enough to say that he has written, produced, directed, acted in or presented productions as varied as Wilde, the TV series Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster, the sketch show A Bit of Fry and Laurie, the panel game QI, the radio series Fry’s English Delight and documentaries on subjects as varied as manic depression, disappearing animals and the United States of America…

Rating: 4/5

Published: 2010

I am ashamed to say that I do not remember much of this book, but I did like the categories or chapters. Everything is categorised under words that begin with C.

1) Moab is my Washpot – Stephen Fry

moab is my washpot

p. 432 “No. I was Stephen. I was always going to be Stephen. I would always be that same maddening, monstrous mixture of pedantry, egoism, politeness, selfishness, kindliness, sneakiness, larkiness, sociability, loneliness, ambition, ordered calm and hidden intensity. ”

Afterword: p. 434 “You have seen me at my washpot scrubbing at the grime of years: to wallow in a washpot may not be the same thing as to be purified and cleansed, but I have come away from this very draining, highly bewildering and passionately intense few months feeling slightly less dirty. Less dirty about the first twenty years of my life, at least.” Aug 1997

Rating: 5/5

Published: 1997

Here is how these two books have helped me: 

I read these two books during a time in my life where I felt lonely, depressed, doubtful, etc. and it was blissful for me to know that Stephen Fry has felt the same way during his lifetime. If I ever do meet the man in the flesh (yeah right! probably not) I will thank him and tell him what the man in the pages meant to me.

Book Review: “More Fool Me” – A Memoir by Stephen Fry

I am writing this review with somewhat mixed feelings. I did not enjoy reading this book. Not because it’s badly written, more in a sense that I found most of its contents disappointing.

more fool me

Back Cover:

“Oh dear, I am an arse. I expect there’ll be what I believe is called an “intervention” soon. I keep picturing it. All my friends bearing down on me, and me denying everything until my pockets are emptied. Oh, the shame.”

In his early thirties, Stephen Fry – writer, comedian, star of stage and screen – had, as they say, ‘made it’. Much loved in A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster, author of a critically acclaimed and bestselling first novel, The Liar, with a glamorous and glittering cast of friends, he had more work than was perhaps good for him.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, as the 80s drew to a close, he discovered a most enjoyable way to burn the candle at both ends, and took to excess like a duck to breadcrumbs…

He was, to all intents and purposes, a high-functioning addict. More Fool Me reveals a side to him he has long kept hidden.

What I liked:

Anyone that personally knows the following people: Hugh H Laurie, Rowan Atkinson & John Cleese – and can call them his friends, must be well loved. He even mentioning meeting famous people such as the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the late Princess Di and even an encounter with the late Frank Sinatra… THAT scores a lot of brownie points in my book.

What I disliked:

But one can take only so much. There are pages and pages of names of people that he has met and known throughout his career. The first few pages is cute – after that it just becomes noise!

I am simply appalled, disgusted, shocked about his addiction and the sense that he is bragging about the addiction in these pages even more so!

On p.376 Fry defines a “memoir” as such: an act of literary remembering … to take a form as a dialogue with your former self.” That’s fine, but to subject your readers to such drivel? Is it necessary? No, I think not. The only part I enjoyed of the “Dear Diary” entries, was his wonderfully, creative anagrams that he made of his friends’ names.

He continues:”I flatter myself, vainly perhaps, that I have been having a dialogue with you. You might think this madness. I am delivering a monologue and you are either paying attention or wearily zipping through the paragraphs…”

To this I answer: Monologue – yes. Wearily zipping – yes.

Rating: 3/5

Published: 2014

At least he acknowledges that he is still a fool.

Truth be told, we have one thing in common:

Stephen mentions in his book that he is jealous of Hugh Laurie.

Dear Mr Stephen Fry: I am jealous of you. Yes, Mr. Fry, you better believe it – someone is actually jealous of you! Not the sordid stuff off course no, but your success.

Ek lees darem Afrikaanse boeke ook!

My twee mees gunsteling boeke in Afrikaans is:

1. “Moerbeibos” deur Dalene Matthee ***** (5/5)



Silas Miggel is ‘n man van eenvoud en van eer. ‘n Bosmens wat sy mooie Mirjam op die oopte van Gouna se platrand grootmaak – eenkant, sodat hy haar kan weghou van mans. Dat hy onwettig woon op kroongrond wat vir immigrante opsy gesit is, traak hom min.

Hy is ‘n man wat sy eie dink dink en wat sy staan kan staan. Moeilikheid soek hy nie, maar moeilikheid soek hom.

Soos die spul rumoerige Italiane wat op ‘n dag op die platrand afgelaai word. Sywurmboere uit Italië wat ingevoer is om ‘n sybedryf te kom vestig, en dit op ‘n stuk aarde waar ‘n moerbeiboom verseg om in die potklei te groei.

Dat hulle die strawwe boswinter met sy aanhoudende reën en koorssiekte, met hulle kinders in tente moet sit, is maar die begin van die ellende. Hulle sukkel om hulle verstaanbaar te maak en om te verstaan wat in hierdie deurmekaar wêreld aangaan; hulle raak al hoe meer verbitter oor hulle deur die goewerment om die bos gelei en daarna vergeet is; en vir die ruigtes bly hulle doodbang.

Silas wil hulle nie daar hê nie, veral nie om sy dogter nie, maar teen sy sin raak hy betrokke by hulle lot; word hy sieketrooster en vredemaker. En planmaker. Want die Italiane wil hy op ‘n skip kry, terug na Italië.Hulle is klipmense, nie bosmense nie.

Maar Silas Miggel staan man-alleen teen die goewermentswiel, en dié rol stadig maar onverbiddelik.

En boonop raak sy meisiekind onregeerbaar: party dae verdwyn sy net en kom die aand stralend terug, en sy steek haar geheim weg soos die Bos sy lelies.

“Moerbeibos” is ‘n verhaal wat op ware feite gebaseer is. Dis vol gebeurlikhede: amusant, en soms snaaks, ontroerend, met plek-plek tragiese aksente.

Gepubliseer: 1987.

Opinie: Dalene Matthee is een van die min skrywers of selfs die enigste skrywer wat enigiemand lief maak vir die Bos. Sy het vir jare self in die Knysnabos en ander omliggende dele spandeer om navorsing te doen oor die bosmense. “Moerbeibos” is die boek wat ek die meeste geniet het uit Matthee se pen.

Dalene Matthee

Ek het ook een harde les geleer met hierdie boek: moet nooit die boeke wat jy met jou hart lief het vir iemand leen nie. Jy sal dit nooit weer sien nie.

2. “Tussen Stasies” deur Irma Joubert” ***** (5/5)

Tussen Stasies


‘n Aangrypende verhaal wat jou intrek en meesleur, karakters waaroor jy bly dink lank nadat die boek neergesit is.

‘n Treinreis, dink Jakob, is soos die lewe self. ‘n Mens is die hele tyd op pad iewers heen. Jy klim by jou bestemming af, vertoef korter of langer klim altyd weer by ‘n stasie op na ‘n volgende bestemming. Maar die trein hou aan loop, of ‘n mens afgeklim het of nie. En selfs as jy nooit weer op die trein klim nie, stoom die trein onstuitbaar voort, Behalwe as iemand ‘n treinbrug opblaas. Aspris, Per ongeluk.

Hy moes ‘n besluit neem vir haar beswil. ‘n Besluit wat aan Jakob Kowalski bly vreet. Ná  die treinrit van Pole af bly Gretl op die stukkende trappe van ‘n stukkende kerk in Duitsland agter – klein, uitgeteer met net die dokumente dat sy suiwer Aries is, haar pa ‘n gevalle SS-soldaat. En haar groot geheim. As een van die Duitse wesies kom sy Suid-Afrika toe, word sy ‘n Christen-Afrikaner-meisie. Gekoester. Gelukkig maar mettertyd word die realiteit meer reëel, word dit al moeiliker om te ontsnap na haar sprokieswêreld. En haar drome word erger  – die vuur wat sy nie kan blus nie, nie verstaan nie, waarvan sy nie kan wegkom nie. Soos van haar geheim. Net Jakob, ver in Pole, sal verstaan. Mag daarvan weet, kan miskien heelmaak.

“Tussen Stasies” is ‘n verhaal van die mens se onmag teen die noodlot wat dreig om sy geluk te verwoes. Maar dis ook ‘n verhaal van die mag van sy gees om bo dit uit te styg en te oorwin.

Gepubliseer: 2007


Net soos Dalene Matthee daarvan hou om ooreenstemmings met die lewe en die bos te maak, gebruik Irma Joubert die “trein”.

Hierdie boek het ek ook smoorverlief geraak op ‘n karakter. Die enigste ander keer wat dit al met my gebeur is met “Jane Eyre” – maar dis ‘n boekresensie vir ‘n ander dag.

Hierdie boek is ook goed genavors en Joubert weet hoe om lewe in haar karakters te blaas.

Goodnight Mister Tom – MIchelle Magorian

goodnight mister tom

I absolutely love this book! Through this book I learned about the evacuation during the war. I also reached a milestone with this book by reading the thickest book with the most pages by then: 435 pages altogether!

Back cover:

Young Willie Beech is evacuated to the country as Britian stands on the brink of the Second World War. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of old Tom Oakley – but his new-found happiness is shattered by a summons from his mother back to London.


5/5 Looks like all the best books takes place in some sort of war. Dear Mr Tom – every child growing up needs a person like you!

Published: 1981

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

book thief

This book came highly recommended to me by my aunt, which isn’t a total bad thing seeing that she also introduced me to “The Girl…” trilogy by Stieg Larsson.

I found this book in a second-hand shop.

Back cover:

Here is a small fact:

You are going to die.

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.

Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

Some important information:

This novel is narrated by Death.

It’s a small story, about:

a girl


an accordionist


some fanatical Germans


a Jewish fist fighter


and quite a lot of thievery.

Another thing you should know:

Death will visit the Book Thief three times.


5/5 I had absolutely no idea what this book would be about except someone that steals books. But it is all about the  circumstances and time period. I absolutely love the writing style that the book was written in. I also love the idea of the character “Death” that introduces us to the main character.

Of course anything on the topic of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust gets my vote.

Published: 2007

Book Review: “Tomorrow is a Stranger” by Geoffrey Trease

tomorrow stranger

“Yesterday is safe,

tomorrow’s full of danger,

Yesterday’s a face I know,

Tomorrow is a stranger.”

Back Cover:

Guernsey, 1940: Just as Paul and Tessa are due to start school, the unthinkable happens – Germany invades Guernsey. The school is closed, most of their friends are evacuated, German soldiers patrol the streets. Suddenly, air raids, curfews and barbed wire bring the war frighteningly close. Paul and Tessa’s friendship develops with their shared experiences: the tragic news of the sudden disappearance of their pretty Austrian teacher, Rosa Goldschmidt; as secret mission after dark to collect a black market parcel. There are the everyday problems like food and clothing shortages, especially bitter for young people growing up into adulthood, mingled with real dangers and excitements such as producing an underground news-sheet.Yet unexpected moments of humour lighten the tension and make the hardships bearable.

“Tomorrow is a Stranger” is a fresh an perceptive look at how war affects the lives of two young teenagers.

Other characters: Slippery, Miss Grimbly, Oberleutnant Kurt Fischer, Copperknob, Sergeant-major Hermann Goering, Admiral Hüffmeier, George Gasson, Uncle Perry.


5/5 The poem in the front of the book has stayed with me all these years. It perfectly describes any war, but also this book. The next page might be full of danger and is still a stranger.

Words of wisdom/parts I liked in the book: 

Paul: “Smoking. I don’t like them. He didn’t like that sort of argument either. When he wanted to smoke, he would. But not to kid himself he was a man.”

Tessa’s point of view of tomorrow:

“Tomorrow always came. You couldn’t stop it. But Tessa was wondering now how she could face tomorrow. It would be like opening the door to a frightening stranger. Perhaps, as in some paralysing nightmare, opening the door to a man with only a skull beneath his hat. A faceless stranger.”

Miss Grimbly’s words at the end:

“I wish I could have caught up with Mr Fischer, I wanted to tell him, it is not the man we hate, only the uniform”

Published: 1987


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