Saturday, July 23, 2011

An Amazing Prize

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.


  1. A tempting list, Helen! I love when I receive books from the UK, US and Canada. The postman enjoys receiving the stamps.

  2. Five books! That's great. I read a lot of books by Andre Brink when I was young, but that's my only experience with South African authors, so far >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  3. What an interesting assortment of books! I'm a sucker for cookbooks, especially when they have stories with them.

  4. What a wonderful package! It'll be hard to decide which book to read first. I'd love to see pictures of the "trinkets" too.

  5. I hadn't thought of taking pictures of the "trinkets," bermudaonion. Good idea.

  6. What a lovely package to receive. I'll definitely be checking out Judy's blog. Thanks, Helen. Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. Hi Helen .. this sounds amazing .. and what a collection of books - Judy has been so generous to me too - my mother loved one of our box opening days ... Judy sent me Home and Away too .. while the others sound incredible - I love cooking books too .. the trinkets and all the African goodies .. & the CD .. just wonderful - you'll have so much fun.

    It's great to open Africa up to the American audiences ..

    I'm reading Judy's novel via Smashwords on my pc (as I don't have a Kindle) .. and am so enjoying it ..

    What a great box of treats - so much reading .. the milk jug net .. and the bead work - enjoy - Hilary

  8. Hilary, I finally put a Kindle app on my computer, but I'm still coveting an iPad.

  9. What a wonderful package of treasures! This blogging world forges unique ties, a beautiful way to explore different cultures that we might not otherwise see.

  10. Hi Helen .. I'm a sort of a'waiting - but exactly like you .. I'd dearly love an ipad and a move across to Mac altogether ..

    Great prezzies though .. cheers Hilary

  11. What a wonderful and amazing package to receive! Congratulations :)

  12. I love getting packages in the mail. Looks like some great reads.

  13. Goodness me! Go away for a few days to deliciously warm Cape Town and all sorts of interesting things our postal office giving excellent service! I'm amazed that Helen's parcel has arrived so quickly!! :)

    I'm so glad you're happy with your 2nd prize in my Launch Competition for my novel! :)

    Now I must head back to catching up all that holiday laundry and hopefully next week 'll get back into catching up with my blogging!

    Enjoy your reads!
    Judy, South Africa

  14. I read Judy's blog. She has a unique style and I love the big cats on her header.

    There are a lot of things all over the world that most are missing out on just because the opportunity to share has been stifled.

  15. Wow - lucky you! What an incredible package! :)

    I haven't met Judy yet - I'll have to pop over!

  16. Did y'all notice that Judy said I was the second place prize winner? Good gracious, first prize was a doozie!

  17. Hi Helen .. I did .. and I can't wait to see who is the lucky blogger ..

    Dancing in the Shadows of Love is so well written .. a real tale of Africa ..

    Enjoy your prizes every one .. I know I'm enjoying mine .. cheers Hilary

  18. Wow! A great collection of books. I visited Judy's blog and she sounds wonderful. She's also generous.

  19. Those look like amazing reads! You'll have to let us know if you like them. :)

  20. That was an amazing prize. What a cool package to get in the mail. Just like Christmas in July.

    Tossing It Out

  21. Sounds awesome! I love getting packages in the mail. You tend to forget what a thrill it is when most mail gets sent electronically these days. :)

  22. That's a lot of stuff! Going to be cooking some African dishes for us soon?

  23. Diane, I haven't ventured into the cook book yet. I will, though.

    I do love getting books - and these, because they came from so far away, seemed exotic and precious.

  24. Wow, that sounded like Christmas in July.

  25. Good description, Susan. It was like that.

  26. You get all the good stuff, Helen!

  27. I certainly did in this case, Christopher.

  28. Oh wow! How cool is that?

    I've received a few packages like that and enjoyed the books. Gotta love friends and author friends in other countries.

    There are several of these I'd love to see.

    I'd love to read Heart of the Hunter. You'll have to tell us what you think.

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

  29. A gift of books, how wonderful. I will check out Judy's blog.

  30. Thank you for sharing such relevant topic with us. I really love all the great stuff you provide. Thanks again and keep it coming.


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