Cover Characteristics - Benches

Monday, May 30, 2016

Today's Cover Characteristics - Benches

Cover Characteristics is a weekly meme hosted by Sugar and Snark. Every week they give us these gorgeous themes and then you have to pick 5 (or more - whatever blows your hair back) covers featuring that theme. If you want to participate: 
  • Pick your covers 
  • Post it to your blog
  • Share your post's URL in the linky provided by Sugar and Snark
  • Go and check out the other guys who also posted! (This might influence your current TBR list a great deal.) 

My favourite cover for today is again going to be the first book that popped into my head when I saw the theme. (But now I really need to pop a chocolate in my mouth)


Forest Gump by Winston Groom "Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you gonna get"

The rest were a bit tricky..... I couldn't find any other book on my cyber or wooden book shelves featuring a bench. So I had to go on a bench-hunt. I haven't read any of the following, although I might look into a few.

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  • Memories of a marriage by Louis Begley This cover makes me feel sad. The lady looks heartbroken and foresaken. 

  • Liar's Bench by Kim Michelle Richardson



  • Maigret and the man on the bench by Georges Simenon This looks like a rather nice mystery/detective novel.

  • Lassie by Eric Knight Agree with me here - Timmy and Lassie are leaning over the back of a bench.... Yes! Thought so too.

  • The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence I'll get by with a little help from my friends....! A very good friend just (really, just 5 min ago!!) brought me this book to read. And it has a bench on! 

I really do hope that you were a better bench-hunter than me. Please share your findings! 

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The Sunday Post - 29 May 2016

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday 29 May 2016

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is a post to recap the past week on your blog, tell everyone about books and things you can showcase and share news for the upcoming week. Remember to link your post and to visit others who have linked up.

Winter is coming to South Africa! Next week it is officially winter in the southern hemisphere. Time for red red wine, read red books and  wear a red coat. 

This past week we had more than one day where the temperature dropped below 20 degrees Celsius in Nelspruit. Yes, that is considered as very, very cold here. But if this were you:

you would be cold too! 

No, those are not statues. Those are real giraffes and zebras grazing right on our doorstep. No, they are not dangerous. Unless you are grass or a tree aloe. 

I've finished King Solomon's mines on Thursday and just realized for the gazillionth time how blessed we are to live in South Africa. Yes, we have a parliament of baboons (in the Kruger National Park - what did you think I referred to?) 

Image result for parliament of baboons 

But we have Table Mountain, The Big Five, lovely weather and very friendly people. 

Image result for best landmarks of South Africa Image result for the big five wallpaper

Image result for sunny day in South AfricaImage result for toothless smile in South Africa 

I had a fun time reviewing King Solomon's Mines and I believe I've succeeded in convincing myself that the rest of those treasures are somewhere, right here, under our noses. 

King Solomon's mines was the highlight of my week. The rest of the week was dull and disappointing on the reading front. I've finished The Mystery Box by Eva Pohler and I was very disappointed. If it wasn't for the let down last week Friday with According to yes, this book would also have landed on the abandoned shelve. But letting two books down in one week is maybe just a bit to harsh for my literary heart.  But if you like day-time-soap-operas, you might enjoy the Mystery Box. I do believe my grandma would have. She loved her daytime soap operas. She used to watch Santa Barbara while recording The Young and the Restless. Then she would watch Days of your lives while recording The Bold and the Beautiful. (Yes! I am still talking VCR here). And then she would watch Egoli while preparing supper in the kitchen. After supper and when everybody went to bed, she would watch all the recorded episodes. If by any chance (this happened about every second day) Tannie Anna (her sister) missed any of the recorded ones, she would watch them all again with her.  And then people wonder why I prefer books over television.

In my defense, there wasn't that much time for reading this week. I spend two whole days in Pretoria driving up and down from orthodontist to maxillo-facial and oral surgeon to prosthodontist and back. Not much fun. I am currently busy drafting a letter to the Tooth Fairy to try and see if maybe we can make a deal: If I leave her some money in my shoe, would she be willing to leave me some magical teeth please? And maybe a magical jaw as well if it is not too much to ask for. 

  Image result for the tooth fairy rise of the guardians  Image result for The tooth fairy

I did quickly post my Cover Characteristics on Monday, but didn't get to Tuesday Top Ten this week. I was also a couple of hours late with posting the Friday Meets, but at least I got to do it!

Currently reading: 

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Hope you are all going to have a lovely week. If you happen to spot the Tooth Fairy, please send her my way. Much obliged! 

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King Solomon's mines - H. Rider Haggard

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Audio book: May 20 - May 26, 2016

Librivox recording - recorded by John Nicholson (I still vote for Sean Connery to do this reading)

You know what I love about book reviewing and blogging the most? It gives you the freedom to google your favourite books and characters for hours and hours and if someone asks what you are doing you can quite honestly say: RESEARCH. (You might even glare at them over the rim of your glasses. For effect you know. Also make sure to have a pencil at hand. Again - for effect)

Afterwards, you might sound extremely clever and give lots and lots of useless information to anyone who would be interested in listening. (I strongly suggest that you keep your glasses down on your nose and have that pencil either in your hand or stuck in your hair).

  • Alan Quartermain was born in 1817 
  • Physically he was small, wiry, unattractive, with a beard and short hair that sticks up. (So very, very unattractive as you can see)

  • He was married twice, but widowed quickly in both instances. No, let's not jump to any conclusions.
  • He lived in Durban, Natal, South Africa
  • He was a professional big game hunter and occasional trader. Yes, he did have access to guns. Big ones. But still, we are not jumping to any conclusions regarding his wifes.
  • He had one recorded son, Harry, who died of smallbox while working as a medical student. 
  • He had a speculated daughter who married a relation of Sherlock Holmes
  • The product of the above mentioned relationship was none other than Indiana Jones' father, Henry Jones Sr. (It might just be me, but I can definitely see a strong family resemblance)

Image result for indiana jones' father Image result for indiana jones' father

  • We meet him for the first time in King Solomon's mines when he was 55.
  • Alan Quartermain died on 18 June 1885

That's enough useless information for now (you may either put your glasses down or place them in a more proper position, but hold on to the pencil for a few seconds more). Just one last thing: 

Did you know: When Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island was first published, H. Rider Haggard made a 5 shilling bet that he could write a better adventure novel. (You may now put the pencil down as well)

In 1885, Haggard published "the most amazing story ever written" - King Solomon's mines. It became one of the best selling novels of the nineteenth century. It is the first English novel set in Africa and is considered to be the genesis of the Lost World literary genre.

Quick blurb: This novel tells of the search by sir Henry Curtis, Captain John Good and the narrator, Alan Quatermain, for Sir Henry's younger brother George. He has been lost in the interior of Africa for two years in the quest for King Solomon's mines. The legendary source of the Biblical king's enormous treasures. The three companions encounter fearful hardships, fierce warriors, mortal danger and the sinister and deadly witch Gagool. Quatermain tells the tale of their struggles through unmapped Africa with touches of humour and excitement. (Goodreads)

I so love the phrase: unmapped Africa. That leaves the reader with an open imagination for the location of King Solomon's mines. Yes, there has been numerous speculation on the precise location of the treasures. Even in this story, we never know where Kukuanaland actually are. That might be anywhere in Africa. I do tend to favour the South of Africa more, but then again, I might just be biased and make my own conclusions. 

  • KU-KU-ANALAND: I am quite sure that is a word-play on "cuckoo". And you have to be a bit cuckoo to love and live in Africa, especially South Africa. It is a survival skill. "Afrika is nie vir sissies nie" (Africa is not for the meek)
  • SHEBA's BREASTS: In chapter 5 and 6 we read that the men are climbing Sulimans (Solomon's) Berg. This peak form part of twin peaks called Sheba's Breasts. These peaks are located in the Southern African Kingdom of Lesotho.
Sheba's Breast - Lesotho photo
  • AFRIKAANS: My mother tongue and a language mainly spoken in South Africa. There are a whole lot of Afrikaans words in this novel. Yea!! I had a few nice chuckles with the pronunciation of some words and was wondering if the meaning of all the words were understandable:
Biltong: A kind of cured meat
Kaross: A coat made from the hide of livestock with the hair still on
Kraal: An enclosure for livestock
Kwagga: Sub-species of the zebra. Now extinct.
Koppie: A small hill. Also a cup. 

  • GAGOOL: She was old and dry, very ugly and full of wickedness. 
Image result for gagool king solomon mines

Like I said, Africa is not for sissies. Yes, there are plenty of things to fear in Africa. Lions and elephants might not be the worst of your fears. And if you thought that the African witch doctor belongs to the 19th century, think again. They are alive and well and very, very active.

King Solomon's mines has been on my book shelve for YEARS. Somehow, I just never wanted to read it. Mainly, because I never knew what it was about. That is why book blurbs and good book reviews are very important. No matter how old a book is, we as readers need to keep them alive. My wish for this book is that it will bring joy to many more adventurous minds and hearts in the years to come and that maybe one day all of Africa will remember to do as Umbopa promised to Alan Quatermain:

Remember to do as thou did promise: To rule judge; to respect the law; and to put none to death without a cause. - So shalt thou prosper.

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