Earlier this week, I received an amazing prize in the mail…all the way from South Africa. Just seeing the To: label that included “United States of America” in my address was fun. Woo-woo. The package was from the wonderful writer, Judy Croome.
When I opened the package, I discovered so many amazing things. First of all, there were five books inside, books that I don’t believe I would have had access to in my local bookstore.
Heart of the Hunter by Deon Meyer
Thobela ‘Tiny’ Mpayiphli has a past littered with violence and death. An assassin’s past that he never wants to face again. All he desires is a quiet life with the woman he loves, and her child. But then his best friend is kidnapped, and suddenly he finds himself riding a stolen motorbike across the harsh plains of the South African Karoo.
His destination: Lusaka, thousands of miles away in Zambia.
His mission: To deliver a computer disk that contains -- what? He has exactly 72 hours to do it, or his friend will die.
Home Away, edited by Louis Greenberg
Twenty-four writers, born, raised or resident in South Africa write about a foreign city and reflect on the nature of home. Each of them covers one hour in a global day, from midnight to 11 p.m. The stories veer from Peruvian ruins and medieval European abbeys to American highways and Asian metropolises, from teh suburbs of Sydney to the streets of Lagos. There are tales about holidaying, honeymooning and working abroad, about emigrants in their new homes and immigrants visiting their old ones.
In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut
A young man makes three journeys that take him through Greece, India, and Africa. He travels lightly, simply. To those who travel with him and those whom he meets on the way -- including a handsome, enigmatic stranger, a group of careless backpackers and a woman on the edge -- he is the Follower, the Lover and the Guardian. Yet, despite the man’s best intentions, each journey ends in disaster. Together those three journeys will change his whole life.
Kitchen Boy by Jenny Hobbs
Luck matters. Life is chancy. An oval ball can bounce any way. Springbok legend, celebrated war hero, thriving businessman – that was JJ Kitching, known to all as Kitchen Boy. His was a life as large as a sports stadium, as thrilling as baling out of a burning war plane. Now he lies dead in his coffin in a Durban cathedral and his life is relived as funeral goers remember a glowing Natal childhood, the thunder of the rugby field, the joys and sorrows of family. But at the core of the man remained, to the end, the memory of WWII and how it could reduce even the bravest of men.
Recipes from the African Kitchen by Josie Stow and Jan Baldwin
The African Kitchen is a culinary and visual feast, a food lover’s tour of this fascinating continent. The guide is leading safari chef Josie Stow, who takes us through a day in the life of her bush kitchen. Today’s most popular ingredients are used in exciting combinations with recipes for all occasions.
Besides all these amazing books, Judy also sent:
A “wine naturally” shopping bag that will definitely be put to use
Refrigerator magnets (four of them with pictures from South Africa)
A CD of the Soweto String Quartet (which I must listen to before my son discovers it and secrets it off to his room)
And three things Judy listed as “trinkets” but are anything but! All of them were hand-beaded by the migrant Zimbabwean ladies: An absolutely gorgeous set of salad servers with black and white beading on the intricate handles, the cutest hand-beaded giraffe key ring which will go on my keys, for sure, and something I had never seen before - a milk jug net with colorful beading. That last one I feel like I should frame and put on the wall, it’s so amazing.
If you haven’t been to Judy Croome’s blog, do go over and say hi to her. She is a wonderful writer and has such an interesting blog and life.
5 weeks ago