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Best White and Other Anxious Delusions by Rebecca Davis

July 5, 2015

Best White and Other Anxious Delusions

Rebecca Davis is a South African journalist who has written for various publications, and is known for her witty coverage of the Oscar Trial. When the trial began I first followed Rebecca, Barry Bateman and various other journalists on Twitter. After a while I decided I was too heavily invested in the trial and unfollowed her and the rest of the journalists. This did not last long as I soon followed Rebecca and Barry again, but not the others. Barry provided minute by minute coverage, but Rebecca’s tweets and daily articles were by far the most interesting.

When she announced that she will be releasing a book, Best White and Other Anxious Delusions I knew I had to get a copy. As soon as it was released I went around to various book stores in Port Elizbeth and none of them had a copy (shame on them). A week or two later I was about to order a copy on line, when I found one by chance in CNA. Although I have loved reading from a young age, I never paid full price for books. I always got them via the library, on sale or second hand at markets. Also for the most part I only download free or discounted Kindle books. So at R249.99, Best White is the first book (with the exception of text books and books that I had to buy for university) that I paid full price for. That is how excited I was to get a copy. Now onto the review.

Best White is a collection of essays, wherein Rebecca masterful covers a variety of topics, including issues such as the future of reading, women’s struggles, race relations and Africa’s cultural history. Rebecca’s writing has a witty style and the tone varies from essay to essay, but one thing remains consistent, she never becomes preachy. Between fits of laughter, I found myself nodding in agreement to many of her statements.

As some of the essays are autobiographical, we get to learn more about Rebecca. She relates that she worked as a packer in a fruit factory and what I found very interesting, the time she worked as a pseudo member of a dating website. In the entertaining essay ‘A Royal Encounter’, she writes about the time she was invited to a party at Buckingham Palace, where she met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, before proceeding to get royally wasted. Way to go Rebecca.

I would describe each essay as bite-sized. They were quick to read, which I found really convenient, as these days I don’t have long periods of time to read. I enjoyed being able to finish an essay in less than 15 minutes. Some of my favourite essays are ‘Women, Fire and Dangerous Things’, ‘Don’ts for wives’ and ‘Desperately seeking Mandela’.

Naturally I gushed to everyone who would listen about how amazing this book is, but after one session of discussing it with a co-worker I stopped. The thing is, she wanted to borrow my copy after I finished reading it. I do realise that this is incredibly selfish of me, but I don’t want to borrow my copy to anyone. You see, I can be very obsessive when it comes to my books, particularly books that I enjoy. If anyone had to look at my bookshelf, they would think that I had not read this book. There’s no creases in the spine, no dog ears or stains. It still looks brand new. Through experience, I know that other people do not share my obsession with keeping my books neat.

I give Best White five out or five stars. Support Rebecca and our local industry by buying a copy.


Buffi’s Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles review

November 11, 2013

I was given an advanced reader copy of Buffi’s Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles: Make it, Own it Rock it to review. This book is written by Project Runway contestant Buffi Jashanmal from season 10 where she placed 12th. I haven’t seen Buffi’s season of Project Runway, it’s one of those shows that I’ll watch if it’s on, because I can never remind the schedules of any of the show’s I like.

I’m not a professional seamstress by any means, but I have sewn some clothing items. Okay, I’ll admit they were for my Barbie dolls, but it counts as sewing right? Buffi’s Dress Design is described as a fun, hip and easy-to-follow guide to creating custom patterns from three basic dress shapes. These shapes are the sheath, the shift and princess seam.

As the titles states, there are 30 fun styles to choose from. The layout is bright and eye-catching with watercolour accents. I feel that the dresses are aimed at people on a beginner to beginner-intermediate sewing level as it explains basic concepts such as common fabrics and what you’ll need in your toolkit. Jashanmal also explains five different body types and what type of dress design looks best on them. Don’t expect to get a design for a fun frock that you could find in Vogue, as the styles that Buffi designed are all very basic. Some of the design changes aren’t that major from the basic shape that she gives like one is just adding a stencil to the hemline or adding studs to the neckline.

The book doesn’t have the actual patterns, you’ll have to draw them yourself. The last time I tried to draw a pattern, it did not vaguely come out as it was supposed to. It does, however, explain how to draw the patterns.

My favourite styles would be the Tinker, Tailor, Sew a Sailor, the Flirty Flare, the Belle of the Ball and Sweetheart Sundress. Jashanmal also models many of the designs and will feature on the final cover. It’s a straightforward book that is best aimed at women who want to learn to sew and make their own frocks.

I know it’s a craft book, but I feel that sometimes it lacks personality and feels like it’s just a manual. I’m hoping to try out one of the designs, but due to time constraints, it may not seem likely. I give this book a rating of 3 out of 5. You can order Buffi’s Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles: Make it, Own it Rock it from Amazon. It’s due for release on 8 January 2014 so if learning how to sew is on your New Years Resolution list, you’d want to consider picking this up.

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The Summer We All Ran Away by Cassandra Parkin

September 1, 2013

Chapmans Peak

A view on Chapman’s Peak

I received the Summer We All Ran Away a while back, but I only managed to finish it recently due to two reasons. Firstly, I haven’t had much time to read lately and secondly, I found the book difficult to get into. I think I reread the beginning two or three times. It was only once I got to the third or fourth chapter that I became hooked on the book. After that I could not put it down and finished it over a few days.

The story is sent in a beautiful, but unfinished mansion. The mansion is filled with secrets and it is owned by Jack Laker, a superstar musician who is misunderstood by his agent. The story set in the present summer with flashbacks of when Jack last lived in the house.

In the present day, Jack’s home is inhabited by a group of people who have one thing in common; they have nowhere else to go. Each person ran away from either society, religion, their family or from their fears.
Over the course of the summer the secrets of the mansion are uncovered and we learn more about the socially outcast inhabitants. The characters are intriguing, flawed and for the most part, well developed.   The storyline is good, but I didn’t like the structure of some of the sentences.

Out of five I would give this book a 3.8, not quite a four, but it deserves more than a 3. The main reason for this rating, I did not like the ending. The next part is a SPOILER ALERT.

It has a happy ending and as someone who normally loves happy endings I felt disappointed. Honestly I felt that it had so much more potential, then it ended with the predictable route, it has an average happy ending where everyone gets what they want. Nevertheless, The Summer We All Ran Away is a very promising début for Cassandra Parkin.

You can buy this début novel by Cassandra Parkin on Amazon.

Disclosure: I received The Summer We All Ran Away by Cassandra Parkin for review from Legend Press via Netgalley.


New Years Resolution Update Part One

June 26, 2013


Half the year is passed already so I thought I’d give an update on my New Year’s Resolutions. This post is solely focusing on my first part, which was focused on the books I wanted to read. My Goodreads goal was to read 30 books this year and having read 17 books so far, I am well on my way to reaching that goal. I haven’t read any of the books on my original list yet, but I will soon.
One book you will not notice on this list is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. After loving the film, I was certain that I would love the book as well, but sadly that is not the case. I downloaded the novel on my Kindle so I didn’t know how long it was and at that time I was not aware that Les Miserables is one of the longest novels that were ever written. Normally I read two or three books at a time and while reading it I read and completed 15 other books, so that just shows how much I struggled with it. It’s not that it’s a bad book it’s just really drawn out. Maybe one day on a really long bus ride or flight I’ll get back into it.
Anyway so onto the books I have read, I’ve written short reviews and rated them. The order that they’re listed is from most recently read.

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Confessions of a Shopaholic, Shopaholic takes Manhattan and Shopaholic ties the knot by Sophie Kinsella – 3 Stars for all three. These books are light, fun reads. Great to read while wearing a face mask and a foot soak.
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume – 4 Stars. This is an amazing book and the only reason I didn’t give it a 5 is because I didn’t like how Bru’s storyline ends because he was one of my favourite characters.

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Dollhouse: A Novel by Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian – 1 stars. Don’t judge me for reading this book. One of my lecturers always said ‘In order to for you to know what bad literature is, you need to read it.’ That’s not exactly what she said but it was such a long time I can’t remember the exact wording.
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice – 2 Stars. The content of this book is very disturbing and I gave it 2 stars because Anne Rice is a good writer and not because this is a great book.
Under a sapphire sky by Susannah Bates – 3 Stars. I enjoyed the storyline but it’s an average book. It’s one of the books that I won from Exclusive Books.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Three Short Stories by Truman Capote – 5 Stars. I absolutely loved these stories by Capote. The one’s that stuck with me is Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the Diamond Guitar.

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett – 4 Stars. I really enjoyed reading this. I read it before watching the film, and as much as I love the film, the book is better.
Cathedral by Raymond Carver – 4 Stars. Cathedral is another book that I was supposed to read for my undergrad studies. It consists of short stories so I only read the ones that we did in class. So this time I read all of them and although some of them are weird, it’s overall really enjoyable.
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer – 1 Star. I already expressed my views on this book.
RSVP by Helen Warner -4 Stars. One of the books I won from Exclusive Books. Looking back I would probably change my rating to 3 or 3.5 stars. I really enjoyed RSVP, but it’s not brilliant.

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Wheat Belly by Willaim Davis, MD – 2 Stars. Very disappointing, although the author raises some good points, he constantly repeats. It doesn’t convince me that I should change my diet to gluten-free.

To the moon and backby Jill Mansell – 4 Stars. I absolutely love Jill Mansell and it’s her novels that made me realise I love British Chick Literature. This is a well written novel and although it is a light read, it’s really emotional as it also deals with the death of the protagonist’s husband.
The perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – 5 Stars. I loved this book because I felt that I could relate to Charlie so much. Written in the format of letters this novel tells the story of a wallflower, Charlie and how he blossoms as an individual.
An obedient fatherby Sharma Akhil – 2 Stars. An average book by an average author. The storyline was good (it’s about corruption and rape in India), but I don’t think it was executed properly.

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Life of Pi by Yann Martel – 3 Stars. I enjoyed the book, but I expected my mind to be blown, needless to say it wasn’t. In terms of content, the book is better than the film. I will admit the film had amazing CGI but I’m referring to the storyline not being as good as the book.

I’ll have another update on my other resolutions soon.

Have you had any reading resolutions? How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions so far?

Custom Kindle Covers

March 25, 2013
Earlier this month I purchased a Kindle cover off ASOS. It was my first time purchasing from them. The cover I chose is not custom, but it is pink. Although I found some nice covers in a few local stores, I could not find a single pink one. The only other times I’ve purchased from an international seller, it was small items and they arrived earlier than I expected so I thought all international mail is. Turns out that’s not always the case and combine this with the illegal strike at the Post Office in Gauteng, I’d be lucky if I receive my parcel sometime in April, that is if it doesn’t go ‘missing’, which has happened to a parcel of mine before. Fortunately that was a small item.
While I’m waiting for my Kindle cover to arrive, I done some online browsing and found these cool custom kindle covers.

Handmade Kindle Cover by artsci
Handmade Kindle Cover by artsci

Ship Wheel Leather Cover by Joe V. Leather
Ship Wheel Leather Cover by Joe V. Leather

Genuine Black Napa Leather Flip Open Book Style Carry Case Cover for the Kindle Fire
Genuine Black Napa Leather Flip Open Book Style Carry Case Cover for the Kindle Fire by MiTAB

Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray Book Cover
Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray Book Cover by chicklitdesigns

 Nancy Drew The Secret of the Wooden Lady
Nancy Drew The Secret of the Wooden Lady by retrograndma

Peacock Feather Case
Peacock Feather Case by 8daysoftreasures

The Book of Infinite Pages
The Book of  Infinite Pages by ReviveGifts

I would really love to make me a cover from one of my favourite books. A Nancy Drew version would be perfect as I loved reading the series during my teens,  but I just cannot bring myself to destroying a book that I love. I love the colour pink, so I can’t wait for my ASOS cover to arrive!