If your idea of a relaxing holiday is a bit of peace and quiet, stretched out on a deck chair under a large shady tree with a good book, then this is the list for you!
The Help Kathryn Stockett If you know someone who hasn’t read The Help, the brilliant novel by Kathryn Stockett, then Christmas shopping has been made easy: you just have to buy them this. Set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the year 1962, the reader is drawn into the story of the town’s black maids and the women they work for. The movie version has been tipped for an Oscar, so make sure you read it before you watch it on the big screen.
Butch Warren Snaith Haviside Springbok veteran Butch James admits he never thought about writing a book on his life and it shows in his book. Refreshingly short on controversy, Butch reads like a conversation with a mate (which it is – he’s known Warren Snaith Haviside since he was 13) as he chats about everything from his days at Martizburg College to lifting the World Cup trophy in Paris.
Snuff Terry Pratchett This is the 39th novel in the Discworld series, and as one of the newspaper reviews put it, Terry Pratchett deserves a knighthood for managing to keep his novels fresh. Many reviewers feel that his latest offering is slightly darker and more focused on morality than humour, but that despite this, Pratchett continues to deliver his trademark comic fantasy with aplomb.
The Last Sushi Zapiro Christmas wouldn't be quite the same without the annual collection from Zapiro. South African politicians in particular continue to provide endless material for the country's master cartoonist, and this book is a display of his best and funniest work from 2011.
Trackers Deon Meyer Local crime writer Deon Meyer has come a long way since his first published piece of work appeared in Huisgenoot. The list of books penned by Meyer gets longer and longer and with each his reputation grows, both locally and internationally. In Trackers, a number of narrative strands interweave to form a thrilling South African-flavoured drama that will have readers turning the pages late into the night.
When God was a Rabbit Sarah Winman A hugely successful debut from UK author Sarah Winman, and a popular pick by bookclubs around the world. When God was a Rabbit is narrated by its central character Elly, and focuses on her relationship with her brother Joe, love, loss and friendships in general (and, of course, a rabbit named God). Touching, heartbreaking and beautiful in equal measure.
A Clash of Kings: Book 2 of a Song of Ice and Fire George RR Martin This year many South African television viewers found themselves falling under the spell of the fantasy epic Game of Thrones, which is based on the first volume in the Song of Ice and Fire collection by George RR Martin. This novel continues the saga. Will Lord Eddard Stark’s death be avenged? Will Joffrey keep his hold on the Iron Throne? And what dread lies beyond the Wall?
11/22/63 Stephen King Another blockbuster novel by that perennial favourite of the bestseller lists, Stephen King. The title refers to the date of the assassination of John F Kennedy, and charts the journey of a character that is given the challenge of travelling back in time to prevent this pivotal moment in history. Fans will love it.
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography Walter Isaacson By all reports, author Walter Isaacson was given carte blanche by Steve Jobs in writing this book. And considering the reams that have been written in the wake of the Apple founder’s death, documenting both his genius and his abrasive manner, Isaacson’s intimate account should be a page turner.
Blue Nights Joan Didion In her 2007 novel The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion wrote a searingly honest account of the year following the death of her husband. In Blue Nights her moving journey through loss and grief continues as she recounts the death of her daughter and her thoughts on motherhood, aging and death. Certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but highly recommended nonetheless.