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Taylor’s Gift

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Taylor's Gift

I hadn’t intended on reading this book, (if that makes sense). A colleague left it at work and asked me to put it away for her but I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. Some books are just meant to be read and for me this was definitely one of those books. It is the story of the Storch family who lose their thirteen year old daughter and sister, Taylor, who died in a skiing accident. It is just so heartbreaking, and I had to put it down a few times, such was the tragedy of a family dealing with the loss of a member of their family. They found the courage to donate Taylor’s organs and despite their heartbreak, lives were saved. Even if you aren’t a churchgoer, there is just something special about this book and story. How can one not believe in God, especially after reading a book like this?

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One Hundred and Four Horses

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one hundred and four horses

Zimbabwe is the country of my birth and where I grew up, and even though I no longer liver there, part of me will always remain a Zimbabwean. I always keep an eye out for new books about the country and when I saw this one, I knew I had to read it. Most current books about Zimbabwe are books about the events that have happened there during and since the farm invasions and One Hundred and Four Horses is no different. It is about Mandy and Pat Retzlaff, husband and wife, horse lovers and owners, who end up losing their farm but in the process end up taking not only their own horses but the horses of fellow farmers who left the country, across Zimbabwe and into Mozambique. It is a heartbreaking and bittersweet book, but descriptive and well written, giving the reader insight into those times of uncertainty and hardship that most Zimbabweans had to endure – and still do. When most people would have given up and called it quits, the Retzlaffs never gave up on their horses. I don’t come from an equine background but I love animals and have ridden a couple of times (long ago!). However, regardless of whether you ride or not, or come from an equine background, this book is well worth the read.

Interestingly, Mozambique is now facing uncertain times ahead with upcoming elections and worries that the country may be plunged back into civil war. Let’s hope not. So far, only Central Mozambique has had “incidents”, so let’s hope that the situation can be resolved peacefully and not spread and affect the rest of the country, because as usual, if not, it’s the innocent who as usual will suffer.

The Thorn Birds

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The Thornbirds

The first book on my new blog. The Thorn Birds. No, it’s not a South African book I know, and this blog won’t just be about South African books and films. I will of course blog about South African and African stories, but I’m not going to focus only on South African/African content.

I was a teenager when I watched the Mini Series starring Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward, not mention a number of other well known actors and actresses. It is a tragic story of forbidden love. Over twenty years later I have finally gotten around to reading the book. It’s a long yarn, nearly six hundred pages and if that’s what you’re into, it’s well worth the read. I was caught up in every word, and thoroughly enjoyed the book, despite it’s almost overwhelming underlying sadness. I felt the book was telling me that the best of love may well be the hardest and that we all have our flaws, but when we accept them, life becomes a little easier, but at the end of the day, life is never easy, no matter how matter what your background. I’ve never been to Australia but reading the book I could imagine I was there, due to Colleen McCoullough’s rich descriptiveness.

I have been reading mostly on kindle for the last two years. Even two years ago, Kindles were not available in South African shops, only in the last year have they become available. A bit slow on the uptake I know. Luckily for me, I was given a kindle as a birthday present two years ago and one thing I must admit I have enjoyed about it, is reading stories by authors I wouldn’t have otherwise read, had it not been for kindle. All those “unknown” authors. Authors who I’m sure would love to have the opportunity to be seen on a level footing with the bestselling authors. Sure, some of those books have been good books and some have been average, but mostly they’ve given me a good deal of reading pleasure. It’s not to say I haven’t bought any books by the more well known writers recently, I have, but thanks to self publishing and Kindle, I’ve been able to read a wider variety of books and give those “unknowns” a chance.

That said, I read The Thorn Birds in paperback. It’s about $5.00 on kindle, but I got it for R10 which is about a dollar I guess, at the local hospice book shop, where many a gem of a book can be found at a bargain, and all for a good cause. Good to read a “real” book for a change, and actually turn a page, and smell the mustiness of an old book.