The Letterkundeondersteuningskomitee LOK extends an invitation to all teachers of Afrikaans to Grades 10 and 12 to the Symposium to be held on Saturday, 25 February from to at the University of the Western Cape. The chief aim of the symposium is to support the teaching of literature, but there will also be a focus on other disciplines, such as writing and grammar. One of the special features of the symposium will be the presentation of a dramatization of the short story, Baby, by EKM Dido, which is prescribed for Grade 12 First Additional Language. The registration fee for the Symposium is R,00 per person.

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Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym. I enjoy reading everything Barbara Pym has written. Her excellent style of writing and her gentle characters are pleasant antidotes to the brash and frightening world in which we live today. What a shame that so few novels by Barbara Pym were published and that it was only towards the end of her life that she found the recognition she deserved to have had many years earlier. I could happily go on reading them at the exclusion of many other more difficult books.

This book was published in and B. The book is filled with fascinating information about his own colourful life and tales of his theatrical contemporaries, including mention of Garda Hall, Bettie Bucknelle and Paddy Prior, all of particular interest to me.

He and McEachern were devoted members of the Savage Club and made many informal appearances there. Hilliam included many of his amusing pencil sketches in his book.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and although it is long out of print, it can still be bought second hand online. Murder Among Friends by Elizabeth Ferrars. This book is a rather unusual mystery story. One knows right away who is suspected of the murder. She eventually stands trial, is found guilty and is sentenced to death.

Only after this does someone question her guilt although it seems irrefutable. She speaks to others who were present at the time and finds out their views of the woman convicted of murder. They all agree that she is incapable of committing murder, but what about the proof? It took me rather a long time to read, but I am glad I managed to finish it. I can recommend the book as an unusual mystery novel, quite different from others of the same genre.

Faint Harmony by Jean Collen. Malcolm Craig is a great British tenor who has a very successful career but his private life is not as plain-sailing as his singing engagements.

It tells of her early life, her work as a radio critic and learning the discipline of performing on stage as a professional, rather than as a talented, privileged amateur who knew many of the right people. She writes in a lively and amusing style and gives some interesting insights into the period.

My criticism is that it would have been better if the book had been written twenty or thirty years earlier when more ordinary ENSA entertainers were alive and could have shared their memories of working for the organisation. Instead, a great deal of information had been found in books by — or about — famous performers like Vera Lynn and Joyce Grenfell. Darling Ma by Joyce Grenfell.

I read this book when it was first published and have reread it recently to find out more about her experience working with ENSA, as one of the characters in my forthcoming novel joins ENSA at the beginning of World War 2. Because of the special privileges she was granted, the book did not really serve the purpose of giving me insight into the experiences of an ordinary ENSA performer. To be fair, perhaps she was a product of her upper class upbringing at that particular time.

As someone else has mentioned, she would have written more frankly to her mother than she did in her autobiography. The book was published nearly twenty years after her death so she would not have expected her private letters to have been published for public consumption. This was a sad and frustrating story about what happens to a little girl when her single mother is killed in an accident at the early age of Margaret Forster is an excellent writer and she certainly held my attention throughout the book, which read more like a sociological document than a novel.

Life is difficult enough — I would prefer to read something more uplifting in future. Lavender Road by Helen Carey. This is the first of three novels by Helen Carey tracing the lives of certain residents living in Lavender Road, Clapham and is set in the early years of the war. It paints a fascinating and accurate picture of what it must have been like to have lived in those difficult days. The only inaccuracy in the book has to do with the date of a song.

As the concert took place in this was a serious mistake on the part of the writer who was so meticulous with her war time-line. It was almost as bad as the novelist Mary Wesley assigning a conductor to a string quartet! Some Sunny Day by Helen Carey. I have just finished reading this book and found it most satisfying. I have read all three books in the Lavender Road series now having read the third book first and have grown to love the distinctive and well-drawn characters living in Lavender Road during the early days of the Second World War.

Helen Carey is a brilliant story teller and although the neighbours suffer distressing hardships of war, these books are full of hope for better days to come. Once again I am extremely impressed with the way Helen Carey depicts life on the home front and events which occur in the various theatres of war. I have been fairly set in my ways as far as favourite writers are concerned, but I have added Helen Carey to my list of favourites and look forward to reading her other books soon.

On a Wing and a Prayer by Helen Carey. I came across this book by accident as I was browsing through books in a sale in the local shopping mall. This book is the third one in a trilogy set in Lavender Road, Clapham, so I have read the third novel last.

I was very impressed with the way Helen Carey managed to create an authentic atmosphere of London in war time, not only dealing with events on the home front, but also the course of the war abroad.

The characters in her book are from diverse social classes and each character is vivid and well defined. The stories of her characters intertwine and reach a fitting climax towards the end of the novel.

After reading this excellent novel, Helen Carey has been added to a select list of my favourite writers. Dido My rating: 4 of 5 stars. I was surprised that I had a better grip of the language than I imagined, and found the book extremely enjoyable. Apparently the author, E. M Dado is the first black woman to have a book published in Afrikaans and her books are very popular in the Netherlands.

The book tells the story of Nomsa, who was born into a Xhosa family in the Transkei, but is eventually adopted by a Coloured family, has her name changed to Nancy, and is raised as a Coloured. For a time she is obliged to deny her origins and Xhosa family. The book gives insight into Xhosa traditions, and the obsession with racial identity prevalent in South Africa. She marries a Coloured who hates Blacks. After twenty years of marriage, he discovers her origins and turns against her without pity.

The novel tells how this conflict is eventually resolved for Nancy, if not for her ghastly husband. I thought the story was interesting, although it is light on character development.

Bennie, the Coloured husband, is completely unlikeable, while Nancy and her Coloured parents are too good to be true. I once read that villains should have some goodness in them otherwise they are not credible. Surely Nancy should have realised that Bennie was a particularly nasty specimen during her marriage and not just when he rejects her because of her true origins? I had not heard of this writer before, but after reading and typing this book, I would certainly like to read more of her work.

Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach. I always enjoy a novel by Deborah Moggach, and her latest book is no exception. The story was light, amusing, and fast-moving and the motley collection of characters — both young and elderly — were well drawn and rounded. A Market for Murder by Rebecca Tope. This was the first time I have read a book by Rebecca Tope.

I found this particular book pleasant and entertaining and it certainly gave me some insight into organic farming and people who are deeply — perhaps almost fanatically — concerned with how the land is managed and how food is grown and produced. It was meant to be a murder mystery, as one murder and an attempted murder take place during the course of the book.

One finds out who the murderer is in the end, but where this book falls short in comparison to an Agatha Christie, for instance is that although there is an eventual explanation for the crimes, there seemed to be very little development in the plot as far as the murder is concerned. Sticking around by Bernard Spong. This is a wonderful and enlightening book by the Reverend Bernard Spong.

His interesting, and sometimes painful experiences as a minister and an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa, are very different from my own and were an eye-opener to me. I can thoroughly recommend this captivating book and I am very grateful that Bernard was kind enough to send me a copy of his book. I shall treasure it. A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy. This is the last book Maeve Binchy wrote before her death.

I own all her books and am very sorry that I will no longer receive a new Maeve Binchy for Christmas. All the guests arrive with a variety of problems to solve, and most of them benefit from their stay at the Stone House, where the only leisure activities are walking and bird watching. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a satisfying yet undemanding book during the holiday season and beyond. I had nearly finished this book before I realised that many of the characters from the Palace Hotel of Kingshaven were every day versions of prominent members of the Royal Family!

What put me off the scent was because I thought Michael Quinn, his wife and young lover were the central characters of the story although they have no connections with Royalty at all! Each chapter tells of events in a particular year, so there is not much close cohesion in the plot of the novel.

Imogen Parker writes fluently and the novel certainly held my interest throughout this long novel pages. This is the first part of a trilogy and I look forward to reading the next two novels in the series. The Other Family by Joanna Trollope. I am always amazed at how well Joanna Trollope creates her varied settings in her novels — in this case, the North East of England,from where the recently dead musician Richie originated.

Richie lived and worked in the North East with his first wife and son, then left them abruptly to go off to London with a younger woman, with whom he had three daughters. The northern and southern families are devastated by his sudden death and each one finds it difficult to move on with life without the presence or absence of likeable, but thoughtless Richie.

As usual, the book is extremely well written and held my interest from beginning to end. Choral Society by Prue Leith My rating: 2 of 5 stars. This book is formulaic. Three women meet in a choral group.


Afrikaans set work made serious fun






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