Author Archives: dada4nonsense

A Very Tall Order, if you please

Ek is vir eers sat gelees aan Engelse boeke en smag vir ‘n boek in my moedertaal. Maar…

Dit moet nie ‘n hartseer storie wees nie en dit moet ook nie my laat voel asof ek my polse wil afkou nie.

Dit moet ‘n lekkerleesboek wees, ‘n storie wat mens in een go verslind en sommer weer wil lees.

Ek weet dis ‘n baie groot ASK, want om een of ander rede is sulke boeke skaars in Afrikaans. Die enigste ander boeke wat ek al gelees het wat in hierdie kategorie val, is Verna Vels se “Liewe Heksie” reeks en die “Maasdorp”-reeks – boeke wat ek laas op skool gelees het.

Die enigste ander boeke wat naby dit gekom het was Riana Scheepers se “Katriena”- reeks.

Wat sou jy voorstel?

tall order

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Reader’s Digest

readers digest

While going through our bookshelves in search of a good story I came upon these old Reader’s Digest editions with selected stories. Here are the stories I read in the order I read them:

The Suitcases – by Anne Hall Whitt
“Pack your suitcases, girls. You are leaving here today.” Anne Whitt and her two sisters heard these words all too often when they were growing up during the American Depression. Their mother had died and their father had abandoned them, and the three girls were moved from one foster-home to another without warning or explanation, never knowing what the next move would bring. When at last they found a permanent home, Anne faced a new struggle – to accept the healing power of love. This true story is vividly recollected and poignantly told.

Rating: 5/5 Very heart-breaking.

The Sound of Wings – by Spencer Dunmore
Airline pilot Adam Beale has been flying jets across the Atlantic for years without mishap. But now, suddenly, he seems to be blotting his copybook: seeing a plane which no one else sees, and hearing Morse signals. Is someone trying to tell him something – or is he simply heading for a nervous breakdown? When Beale starts to investigate he finds himself in deepening waters, and is horrified to find the girl he loves threatened too… Tension mounts as the clues begin to fall into place. Will the mystery be solved in time? A gripping adventure story, spiced with danger and romance.

Rating: 5/5 A fascinating tale that combines mystery and ghosts from the past.

Airframe – Michael Crichton
Why did a passenger plane pitch and dive repeatedly en route from Hong Kong, killing three passengers? That’s what Casey Singleton, accident investigator for Norton Aircraft, has to find out fast. But the press are against her, and so too are certain high ranking executives with a vested interest in keeping the aircraft’s safety record clean.

Rating: 5/5 A brilliantly detailed story, if you ever watched “Air Crash Investigation” this is for you.

The Partner – John Grisham
It has taken four years and $3.5 million, but Patrick Lanigan has at last been tracked down to a small town in Brazil. He is living very modestly for a man who, having faked his own death, has embezzled $90 million from his law firm and one of its clients. But then Lanigan has always known that he will be found – it’s all part of his audacious and cunning plan.

Rating: 4/5 A tale about a man who outsmarted everyone and still lost everything.

Birds of Prey – Wilbur Smith
It is 1667 and a naval war rages between the Dutch and the English. Sir Francis Courteney, his son Hal, and the crew of the caravel the Lady Edwina, lie in wait off the African coast for a Dutch galleon returning from the Orient laden with spices, timber and gold. So begins this magnificent story of high seas adventure, packed full of excitement, passion and treachery.

Rating: 5/5 Any book that incorporates the early history of South Africa gets a thumbs up from me.

 

 

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Yeah, I got nothing. No idea how to describe this book. It’s a diary by Bridget Jones (obviously). It’s somewhat similar to the film starring Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. Here is the description on the back cover if you want to know what it is really about.

 

The book is written in diary format.

One thing I’d like to know, how much of it is exaggerated? I know it is a work of fiction, but if we (the readers) are to truly believe it is a diary then how and when did the character write about her day: as it was happening or afterwards? Because I don’t know about you, but a lot of what is written afterwards can be exaggerated. I often did that with my diaries – if I couldn’t remember something exactly I would just exaggerate it. Not that anyone’s going to read my diaries. For one, it’s not fiction.

Or maybe I’m just overthinking this.

First published: 1996

Rating: 4/5

One, two, buckle my shoe

one two buckle my shoe

Hercule Poirot is dreading a visit to the dentist… While there, he encounters a bunch of people. Later, he is informed that the dentist has been murdered.

Using the nursery rhyme “One, two, buckle my shoe” the detective must solve this mystery.

What I liked about the story: Just like with Crooked House, Agatha Christie takes a rhyme and bases a story on it. Each line from the poem brings us closer to the answer.

One, two,
Buckle my shoe;
Three, four,
Knock at the door;
Five, six,
Pick up sticks;
Seven, eight,
Lay them straight:
Nine, ten,
A big fat hen;
Eleven, twelve,
Dig and delve;
Thirteen, fourteen,
Maids a-courting;
Fifteen, sixteen,
Maids in the kitchen;
Seventeen, eighteen,
Maids a-waiting
Nineteen, twenty,
My plate’s empty

I also liked the fact that Hercule Poirot also hates going to the dentist. I can relate to that.

First published: 1941

Rating: 5/5

 

 

Two more novels by Agatha Christie

crookedhouse

Imagine you are madly in love with a woman called Sophia, but the only way you can be together is to solve the mystery of how her grandfather died. The whole family lives in a mansion and each one has a certain trait of ruthlessness. Everyone is a suspect.

It seems Christie likes to take nursery rhymes to base her stories on. This time she takes the rhyme about the crooked man who lives in a crooked house.

First published: 1949

Rating: 5/5

 

evil sun

Hercule Poirot is on holiday. The peace is disturbed when a woman is murdered and he must help solve the mystery. This woman has a reputation for being a harlot and it is confirmed that her killer was a man. But it’s not that easy, because both the husband and lover have a tight alibi. Who did it?

First published: 1941

Rating: 5/5

 

The Best Thriller Ever Written

And_Then_There_Were_None_US_First_Edition_Cover_1940

 

Ten people are lured to a remote island on false pretenses. There they find a rhyme of ten Indian boys and 10 ceramic figurines on the table. One by one someone dies according to the rhyme. The question is: who is the killer?

Ten little Indian boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were Nine.

Nine little Indian boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were Eight.

Eight little Indian boys traveling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were Seven.

Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.

Six little Indian boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were Five.

Five little Indian boys going in for law;
One got into Chancery and then there were Four.

Four little Indian boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.

Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were Two.

Two little Indian boys were out in the sun;
One got all frizzled up and then there was one.

One little Indian boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.

The only thing I didn’t like was the ending. I felt cheated. Christie didn’t have to spell out who the killer was. She could have just ended it with that question.

First published: 1939

Rating: 5/5

Interesting fact: The original title was Ten Little Niggers based on a blackface minstrel show.

 

 

The Story of Thuli Madonsela

No longer whispering to power by Thandeka Gqubule

madonsela

Back cover:
Thuli Madonsela  achieved in seven years as Public Protector what few accomplish in a lifetime; her legacy and contribution cannot be overstated. In her final days in office she compiled the explosive State of Capture report and, two years before that, Secure in Comfort, the report on (then) President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence. Praised and vilified in equal measure, Madonsela frequently found herself on centre stage in the increasingly fractious South African political scene.

Yet despite the intense media scrutiny, Madonsela remains something of an enigma. Who is the soft-spoken woman who stood up to state corruption? Where did she develop her views and resolve? Thandeka Gqubule, journalist and one of the SABC 8 fired and rehired by the broadcaster, attempts to answer these questions, and others, by exploring aspects of Madonsela’s life: her childhood years and family, her involvement in student politics, her time in prison, her contribution to the Constitution, and her life in law.

Madonsela once described her role as Public Protector as being akin to that of the traditional Venda spiritual female leader, the Makhadzi, who whispers truth to the ruler. When the sounds of the exchanges between the ruler and the Makhadzi grow loud, Madonsela said, that is when the whispering has failed.

Rating: 3/5

First published: 2017

While I read the story of Madonsela something kept bothering me. Perhaps it was the author’s choice of words. One thing I hate about the news is that they (politicians and journalists) always use particular words over and over again: not because it’s particularly necessary but maybe because politicians think that’s what their followers want to hear. Words like “community”, “issues”, “institutions”, etc. I could just gag from all the political speak.

Another thing that bothered me as that the author is too subjective. I can’t recall that she ever gave a full character sketch of Madonsela: it’s always positive, the descriptions felt excessively sweet. Yes, she is a hero, but no one is perfect. I wouldn’t have minded to read about some of her flaws.

The Trial – Franz Kafka

This story didn’t really help me with my research. I assumed that because the story is called The Trial it would at least explain what happens during a trial.

The story did remind me a lot of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Just like the two characters waiting on a mysterious entity called Godot who never turns up, in The Trial we learn that “K.” is being arrested for a crime but we never learn what that is. The whole story revolves around the idea of going to trial, but that never happens. There is a lot of talk, but not a lot of action.

I especially liked the part where “K.” informs his lawyer that he will no longer be using his services and everyone else reacts like he is crazy.

First published: The Trial was published after Kafka’s death, in 1925 and against his dying wishes. He wanted The Trial and his other written works destroyed. His friend Max Brod decided not to.

Rating: 4/5

Interesting fact: The Trial was never finished.

An Acrostic Poem

I saw a neat acrostic poem using William Shakespeare and the names of his works the other day. I tried to do it with Agatha Christie and her stories.

  acrostic poem

 

                       

NaNoWriMo Week 4: The Last Chapter

This chapter was never finished.

I was seriously contemplating ending my story with this, because I just can’t think of an appropriate ending.

Until last night. I got a vague idea now. I just have to finish writing the trial scene to see if it plays out.

While I’m writing the trial and thinking of the ending, I started rewriting some of the other chapters.