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Of This Our Country: Love thy neighbour

If you play a word association game with a South African, you can put good money down that four times out of five, the response to ‘Nigerian’ will be either ‘drug dealer’, ‘makwerekwere’, ‘criminal’, or some version of the above. Essentially, negative.… Read more

It doesn’t have to be this way: The future is up to us

This tale of doom and resilience by Alistair MacKay follows three queer friends who must navigate climate collapse as their world unravels. Cape Town’s elite has fled to The Citadel, a temperature-controlled dome on Signal Hill where the citizens live in virtual reality, blind to what’s around them.… Read more

Beautiful World, Where are You: Indeed

Intimate, is one way to describe Sally Rooney’s latest novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You.

There are only four characters: close friends Alice and Eileen, and the men with whom they are each intertwined, being Felix and Simon respectively.

Alice is a wildly successful young novelist – much like Rooney herself – and has returned to Ireland after a nervous breakdown in New York, what with the demands of book signings and talks and the social circuit expectations success brings.… Read more

Harlem Shuffle: The art of not breaking

Is it possible for a person with a modicum of ambition to be straight in a crooked world?

This may be the central question of Colson Whitehead’s tenth novel, Harlem Shuffle. The world is Harlem, the person is Raymond Carney, who, as Whitehead dryly describes him, “was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked”.… Read more

The Unfair Advantage, by Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba

The authors are both millionaires thanks to their successful digital entrepreneurship. Ali created the startup Just Eat, which was an early version of Uber Eats. Kubba made his fortune through Search Engine Optimisation, ending up earning himself passive income and travelling the world.… Read more

Active Measures by Thomas Rid

The subtitle to this book is ‘The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare’, which deftly explains its contents. Rid spills out the guts of what the Russian spies were up to, as well as the Americans, although by Rid’s account, the Russians were fare more active in spreading disinformation against the West, and more dastardly.… Read more

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Expecting a child, Safran Foer investigates what is best for his family to eat. His calmly and insightfully narrated quest leads us to the horrors of the meat production chain. We encounter a brutally sick system in which pigs and chickens are bred stacked in factories which would kill you within half-an-hour if the ventilation system cut out.… Read more

House of Glass: A deep draught

There are many books I have enjoyed immensely, yet they leave no lasting trace other than the memory of pleasure, possibly because I was in agreement with the philosophy and viewpoints they contained; they presented no particular challenge. 

Then there are books that insert themselves months afterwards, at odd, idle, or occasionally opportune moments. … Read more