2017 FFR Static 3

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Here We Are Oliver Jeffers: Before my son, I wrote my children’s books for myself

Irish Times


Looking at Oliver Jeffers, you cannot help but think he himself would make a wonderful illustration. Wide-eyed, expressive and still boyish at 40, in a white woolly hat and a yellow raincoat with the collar turned up, he’s Tin Tin by way of Williamsburg – and you might need to draw some sort of lines around him to indicate he is all a-buzz with energy and go.

When he orders a decaf Americano and tells me he had to ease off on the coffee 10 years ago, I’m not madly surprised. Is his work any calmer because of it? “My heartbeat thanks me for it, I don’t know if my work’s any calmer.” he says.


Read more here.

the Rules of MagicThe Rules of Magic review: Alice Hoffman brings back the witches in enchanting prequel

News Day, Marion Winik 


Alice Hoffman takes good care of her fans. She has already loaded their bookshelves with more than 30 adult and YA novels, and now delivers a gift sure to enchant — a prequel to “Practical Magic,” the 1995 tale of sisters Sally and Gillian Owens (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman in the movie). The Rules of Magic gives the back story on the old, witchy aunties (Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest in the movie) that the girls are sent to live with after their parents are killed in an accident.

The new chapter of the saga starts with Susanna Owens. Though descended from a line of witches who first arrived in Massachusetts in 1680, Susanna has turned her back on the past and is determined that her children know nothing about their occult bloodline. Raising them with her psychiatrist husband on the Upper East Side of New York in the late 1950s, she lays down a raft of rules designed to keep them normal: no candles, no Ouija boards, no wearing black, no cats, no crows. 


Read more here.


Enemy of the people Enemy of the People – How Zuma stole SA

Power FM


Investigative journalists Adriaan Basson and Pieter du Toit have written a book called Enemy of the People – How Jacob Zuma stole South Africa. Onkgopotse JJ Tabane spoke to the two authors on Power Perspective on Tuesday, where the journalists explained how the story had unfolded.

Thuli Madonsela said: “This is a remarkable book.” It tells the story, from Polokwane in 2007, of how Jacob Zuma planned from the first day of his presidency to enrich his family beyond all dreams of avarice, and finally, how to get away with it and stay out of jail.


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Fools MortalsFools And Mortals review: A well-plotted, richly written romp through Shakespeare's time



An actor living in penury he faces the miserable prospect of a life spent playing women because his arrogant brother William, whose star as a playwright is most definitely ascending, refuses to cast him in a male role.

In a radical departure Bernard Cornwell’s newest novel sees the author don a pair of hose and knee-high boots to wade through the mud-filled stench of Elizabethan London and show us the trials and tribulations of William Shakespeare’s real-life younger brother as he attempts to earn a living as a “player”.


Read more here.

Enemy of the people Book review: 'Good men and women do not always survive'

news24, Judith February


The book, by seasoned journalists Adriaan Basson and Pieter Du Toit, paints a grim picture of not only state capture but also Zuma's disastrous Presidency.


It is a detailed yet easily accessible account of Zuma's ascent to power and those, including Zwelinzima Vavi, Julius Malema and Blade Nzimande, who played a key role in it.


Read more here.

The Sun and Her FlowersFifteen Minutes with Rupi Kaur

The Crimson,


Rupi Kaur calls from the departures terminal of an unknown airport. She is about to board a flight to Boston where she will address a sold-out Memorial Church audience. Amid the murmur of conversations around her, announcements about various flight delays, and the laughter of her manager and other members of her team, Kaur takes a few minutes to chat before her flight.

Kaur, a 25 year-old, Punjabi-Canadian poet has become an overnight sensation. Kaur’s first book, Milk and Honey, is a simple black-covered paperback filled with short poems and Kaur’s sketches. According to The Boston Globe, the compilation has sold 1.1 million copies and is currently the best-selling adult non-fiction book of the year. It’s sold in most bookstores and on Amazon, as well as in Urban Outfitters. Kaur’s second book, entitled The Sun and Her Flowers, was released two weeks ago.


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SHTUMReview: Shtum by Jem Lester

The Guardian, Saskia Baron


What’s going to happen when he’s older? When he’s too big for even me to handle? Will he kill someone? Maim them? What happens when I’m dead? Where will he go … ?” Ben, the narrator of this darkly comic debut from Jem Lester, is brooding about the future of his much-loved and profoundly autistic 11-year-old son. Jonah has no speech, and his only means of communicating his needs is by selecting pictures on laminated cards.


Read more here


Out of Orange

Read a F*cking Book: Out of Orange is the Real Life Alex Vause’s True Story


If you’ve read Orange is the New Black, you’ll want to read Out of Orange. It’s not so much a rebuttal as a complementary piece; hand-in-hand with Kerman’s own story, it completes the tale of how two women who had never met before became partners in crime and lovers in trouble. 


Read more here


My Absolute DarlingWords and Wild Places by Gabriel Tallent

4th Estate,Assallah Tahir


In college, a professor introduced me to a long eighteenth-century poem by James Thomson called The Seasons. Tremendously influential in its time, it is a lyrical and expansive description of the countryside. There is an entire language here that attends to and celebrates the natural world, and reading it, the salient feature is how rare that is. 

This is a loss, because it’s probably good for a person, to feel for wild places and to see them clearly. We treat this appreciation as something that comes naturally, but like anything else, you’ve got to learn it.


Read more here.

Good DaughterFestering divisions in the American South: Bron Sibree talks to Karin Slaughter about her latest novel The Good Daughter

Books Live, Jennifer


Karin Slaughter has been in a class of her own since her debut crime novel Blindsighted, which became a surprise bestseller in 2001. It revealed a willingness to write about violence with unflinching honesty and an unparalleled ability to create strong, believable female characters.

She rocketed to international stardom, and sales of her books now exceed 35 million copies in 36 languages. From the outset, says Slaughter, “I wanted to write tough stories from a woman’s perspective because I think that women look at the world differently.”


Read more here.


I am I am I amI Am, I Am, I Am - book review: An extraordinary memoir by Maggie O’Farrell



I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death by Maggie O’Farrell

What follows is a chilling event, unflinching in fact and emotion, setting the tone for this remarkable book.

I Am, I Am, I Am recounts the 17 times when novelist O’Farrell has narrowly escaped death. There are episodes of near drowning, of life-threatening miscarriages, of amoebic parasites. There are close shaves with cars, with turbulent planes and a knife-point robbery in Chile.


Read more here.

Burial HourThe Burial Hour Proves Once Again Jeffery Deaver Is a Brilliantly Intricate Novelist

HuffingtonPost, Jackie K Cooper


The Burial Hour is lucky number thirteen in the Lincoln Rhyme/Amelia Sachs series by Jeffery Deaver. Once again the wheelchair bound forensics expert and his chief investigator are called on to solve a mystery. This one starts out in New York but continues in Italy, and Rhyme/Sachs are hot on the trail. Readers will once again be exposed to the intricacies of crime solving as written by the brilliant Mr. Deaver.


Read more here.



Manhattan BeachIn Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan’s heroine dives deep for family secrets

The Washington Post,


It has been seven years since we got “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” but the presence of Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book still hangs in the air. Was it a novel? A collection of short stories?

Who cares. It was a tour de force. Reaching back and forward in time, writing in the first, second and third person — with a PowerPoint presentation to boot — Egan demonstrated her skill across a whole catalogue of forms, tones and styles.

So how does an author follow up such a spectacular variety show?

Egan has wisely chosen not to compete with “Goon Squad” and its postmodern razzle-dazzle. Instead, her new book leaps into the past, offering us a story built on sturdy older forms polished to a high sheen.


Read more here.