Spring Reading List: Read outside your comfort zone

Spring is finally here! Mornings are brighter, birds are chirping, and green buds are shimmering on bare branches. I’ve even seen the first brave souls walking in t-shirts and shorts. A new season calls for some fresh reading material and I’ve compiled a reading list to keep me busy on the not-so-sunny days. Four of the books on this list were gifts and two were recommendations from friends. When you receive a book as a gift, there’s a good chance it’s not something you would buy for yourself. It nudges you out of your (reading) comfort zone and gives you the opportunity to see things from a different perspective and learn surprising new ideas. You might even discover a new genre you like!

I hope this list will inspire you to try something a little different this season:

1. Gem Squash Tokoloshe by Rachel Zadok

This book was a birthday gift from my friend, Karin, who told me she enjoyed it so much that she decided to get a copy for me. I can’t wait to start this one, thanks Karin!

Teaser
When the rain stops, Faith’s father takes to the road as a travelling salesman, leaving Faith and her mother, alone on their drought-stricken farm… until one day he stops coming altogether. With her mother’s death, she inherits the farm and must return to confront the dark mysteries of the past.

2. Specimens of Bushman Folklore (by Bleek and Lloyd)

I’m very excited about this one. This is a set text for my masters is an English translation of a collection of /Xam stories and testimonies by |a!kungta, ||kabbo, |hang#kass’o, Dia!kwain, |a!kungta, !kweiten ta, |Xaken-ang. It’s a big distraction at the moment, I can’t put it down!

Teaser

Sirius and Canopus
My grandmother, Ttuai-ang, was the one who used to rejoice about Canopus. She said -
Sirius!
Sirius!
Winks link
Canopus!

Canopus
Winks like
Sirius!

Canopus
Wink like
Sirius!

Sirius
Winks like
Canopus!
While my grandmother felt that food was abundant.

3. Die sterre sê ‘tsau’ by Antjie Krog (The stars say ‘tsau’)

My good friend, Thandiela, gave me this book before I moved to Ireland, and it’s a treasured gift. I’ve added it to the list because it’s a selection of /Xam stories and testimonies translated into Afrikaans by Krog.

Teaser

sirius en canopus
die-een-wat-vonkel
(so sing my ouma as die kos in oorvloed is:)
knipoog soos
die-een-wat-flikker!
die-een-wat-flikker
knipoog soos
die-een-wat-vonkel
die-een-wat-flikker
knipoog soos
die-een-wat-vonkel!
die-een-wat-vonkel
knipoog soos
die-een-wat-flikker!

4. Foe by J.M. Coetzee

Another set text for my studies. I’ve just finished Robinson Crusoe and, I’ll admit, it was challenging at times. I enjoy classical literature, but Robinson Crusoe is long, dense and a product of its time… I’m keen to see what Coetzee, a South African author, has to say about it all when he ‘writes back’ in his novel Foe.

Teaser
In 1720 the eminent man of letters Daniel Foe is approached by Susan Barton, lately a castaway on a desert island. She wants him to tell her story, and that of the enigmatic man who has become her rescuer, companion and master and sometime lover, Cruso.

5. Women who run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

This book was a gift from Stephanie. I’ve been dipping in and out of it for a couple of months now and I’m about two thirds through. It’s dense and layered and I’ve found it’s best not to try and read it in one sitting. You’ll either love it or hate it, but it’s worth giving it a shot. 🙂 I enjoy the way she uses storytelling and folklore to explore psychology.

Teaser
Women Who Run With The Wolves is a seminal work on the inner life of women. A creation of poetry and power, it began a revolution and continues to transform the lives of millions around the world.

6. Terrariums & Kokedama by Alyson Mowat

This was a surprise gift from another Stephanie, and I’ve been paging through the book during some idle moments. I’m hoping to make an aquatic Jarrarium if I can get the right plants! I think this one is perfect for a spring-time project.

Recommendation
Buy a gardening book or magazine and try a new project. It might be the start of a new hobby, who knows?

7. Becoming by Michelle Obama (Audiobook)

Several people recommended this one to me, so it’s high up on my reading list! I’ve decided to listen to this one as an audiobook to help me get through this reading list by summer!

Teaser
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerising storytelling, Michelle Obama invites listeners into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her.

8. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Audiobook)

Another recommendation from a friend – Thanks, Hesmé! Once I’ve finished with Becoming, I’ll make a start on this one.

Teaser
She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life… But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond…


I hope this list inspires you to read something that’s a little out of your comfort zone: We learn and grow by exposing ourselves to different opinions, stories and perspectives.

If you have any book recommendations, let me know. I’m always happy to add to my reading list!

More books to inspire you: Winter Reading List, When Breath becomes Air, The Old Man and the Sea, Sophie’s World.

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