Kate Rogan's Love Books in Melville lives up to its name. The selection of books – general fiction and non-fiction as well as a great selection of South African titles – displayed exhibits thoughtful and considered choices, award-winning books, books people are or should be talking about.
Here Kate shares her top eleven books to get you through this crisis:
Reading books is one of the best things we humans can do in this crisis. Books transport you – they can be escapist (good for the nerves), they can be informative (good for the brain), they can calm us down (good for the immune system), and more than anything at this time, they can be friends. You’re never alone if you’ve got a good book.
American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins
If you want to forget about Covid-19 and that you’re in isolation, we can almost guarantee you won’t be able to put this one down. It’s the literally heart-stopping story of a Mexican mother and her son fleeing their hometown of Acapulco to get away from the violent, evil and unforgiving drug cartels. Criticism has swirled around it with the author being accused of cultural appropriation, exploitation and stereotyping. Read it and decide.
The Mirror and the Light, Hilary Mantel
At over 850 pages, this book was made for lockdown, and released just in time! The final installment in the Oliver Cromwell series that started with Wolf Hall, this is historical fiction at it’s finest. And now that you have the time, why not start with Wolf Hall and make your way through all three novels.
Fever, Deon Meyer
Local is always lekker, and Deon Meyer’s 2018 novel Fever is the gripping story of Nico Storm and his father, who travel across a desolate South Africa, among the few survivors … hold your breath … of a virus that has killed most of the world’s population!
Ulysses, James Joyce
Lockdown must be the best excuse ever to read all those books you’ve been pretending you’ve read for years. Ulysses, the ground-breaking modernist masterpiece, is the first one I’d get under my belt. It’s life-changing.
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
As per above, lockdown is an excellent time to read the classics you’ve always wanted to. Start with this one – it’ll transport you to another world.
Educated, Tara Westover
If you’e not a big reader, I’d say the story of Tara Westover’s life might just turn you into one. It’s completely gripping, almost unbelievable at times and a testament to the toughness of the human spirit.
The Choice, Edith Eger
If things don’t feel so good, this extraordinary true story of surviving the holocaust will put things in perspective.
The Fate of Fausto, Oliver Jeffers
An illustrated cautionary tale for adults and children that will ring true as we face the biggest moral reset of modern times.
Poetry Pharmacy: Tried and True Prescriptions for the heart, mind and soul and Poetry Pharmacy Returns: More prescriptions for courage, healing and hope, by William Sieghart
Poetry is there to soothe the soul and the Poetry Pharmacy is a project founded on ‘the belief that poetry is a healing force much needed in these modern times’. In these collections you’ll find everything from poetry prescriptions for strength and healing to poetry for restlessness, isolation, you name it – it’s exactly what you need.
The Body, Bill Bryson
Arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can about how your body works at this scary time. As always, Bill Bryson makes science super accessible to us mere mortals. Full of fascinating facts about how we look on the inside.
Plague, Pox and Pandemics, Howard Phillips
This is part of the Jacana Pocket History series and is the first look at the history of epidemics in South Africa. Full of fascinating facts about South African epidemics. You’ll discover that an estimated 500 000 people died from the Spanish Flu, 1918-1919.