The Hum Of The Sun by Kirsten Miller

39863162~Within dreams we awaken, and in our waking we dream.~

~The longer you live, the less you expect things to happen the way you want them to.~

~Out here there was darkness, deep enough to contains such sounds, and the intensity of his own restless experience. Here, the air bubbled, big enough to carry his laughter with it. Here, his insides expanded endlessly, like the pacing, the walking, the surface of the earth that continued large and wide. Out here, he became a part of forever.~

~When the wind blew and pushed dirty foam inshore, Ash said it was the dried blood of old sailors grown light, blowing in on the wind.~

~His brother’s body was there, but he didn’t know where to find him.~

~The stars were never late. They had been visiting him, reliably, since the start of his life.~

~He learned that if things ceased to exist, he would remain in the space between, where the only sound was the hum of the sun.~

~Working for someone is like playing a game, and always letting that person win.~

~It’s bad luck to interrupt a man’s dreams. It leaves things unfinished. Half-formed.~

Book Bite for the Sunday Times:


The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

34812995.jpg~It is one thing to feel temptation, and quite another to succumb to it.~

~I dare not look at bridges, for all my bridges are burnt.~

~Ciphering and logic feed from the same trough…It’s about the level of minutiae; if there is sufficient detail, then a pattern will emerge.~

~Time will not pause for our journey; we can but brace ourselves and make shift to begin it.~

~Danger is never overcome without danger.~

~Words hold no value in comparison with the potency of silence, and it lies over us like a poultice, trying to soothe, trying to heal.~

Book Bite for the Sunday Times:

Darwin Comes to Town by Menno Schilthuizen

38449460.jpg~The unwritten rule among biologists is that, when prompted, one should answer gruffly that cities are only necessary evils where a true biologist spends as little time as possible. The real world lies outside the urban realm, in forests, dales, and fields. Where the wild things are. … To my biologist’s eye, the inner city, for all its hustle and bustle and thoroughly unnatural appearance, becomes a constellation of miniature ecosystems.~

~As [the hunter] bagged his first birds, the other crows immediately became wary. ‘As soon as they see my car, I can already hear their alarm calls. Those birds are so damn clever.’ ~

~What the white-footed mice in New York City parks show, just like the bobcats around Los Angeles and the parakeets in Paris, is that urban environments are often so patchy that the gene pools of urban wildlife get split into a multitude of tiny slivers.~

~The urban catfish of Albi began doing something that no other catfish had ever been seen doing before: launching themselves out of the water, grabbing bathing pigeons by the feet, dragging them under water and swallowing them, metal-laden feathers and all. ~

~In Europe, 65 per cent of the human population is exposed to urban background noise louder than that of constant rainfall. And the animals in the city that try to make themselves heard, have to contend with all this as well. ~

Book Bite for the Sunday Times:

Feminism Is: South Africans Speak Their Truth edited by Jen Thorpe

38799702.jpg~As feminists raising boys, we are determined to live our lives in ways that make sense.~ Pumla Dineo Gqola

~To read Zadie is to confront yourself…To read Zadie is the possibility of arriving at a sense of order, something like filing the mess in your mind into a neater configuration…~ Danielle Alyssa Bowler

~Feminism is a way of life for me, a place where I stand as I live my life, it is complex and intricate and utterly simple.~ Colleen Higgs

~Feminism is now expressed and shaped by a younger generation, who sometimes make me profoundly uneasy.~ Ferial Haffajee

~We did not wake up as ‘woke’ feminists. We are the products of fragmented conversations that started in generations past and have happened between other women over a long period, of painful challenges that live silently in the minds of these struggling women and their internal rage.~ Haji Mohamed Dawjee

~If there is ever one thing I want my brother to learn – from me, my mother, my grandmother – it is that he’s not particularly special…Of course he’s special in that we adore and love him…What I would like him to know is that what is more special than his inherent special, is the context in which he grew up…~ Gugulethu Mhlungu

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Hardly Working: A Travel Memoir of Sorts by Zukiswa Wanner

Hardly-Working-Front-Cover.png~If the African school my son studied in would not offer Africa to him, we would give him Africa.~

~It’s strange how one never worries about a driver breaking the speed limit when anxious to get somewhere at a certain time. ~

~A meal is as delicious as one’s hunger. ~

~No Mzuzu is a big city…There is even a Shoprite.~

~If I ever write an African dictionary of English words, the word surreal will have the map of Malawi next to it, I swear ~

~[G]etting access to literature from a neighbouring African country tends to be tougher than it is to access books published abroad.~

~Prior to meeting Aunt Asenath and Ama, my young mind truly thought all African writers were men because they were the only ones talked about.~

Review for the Sunday Times:

Hacked by Fiona Snyckers

Hacked.jpg~It’s like she knows what we’re going to do before we do it.~

~[I]t wasn’t her lover who was putting those marks on her.~

~”Go with a clear conscience, young Padawan. I’m fine. Just remember that you promised to take me into the forest with you one of these days.”
“The day the forest gets WiFi and somewhere to plug in your hairdryer is the day I’ll take you there.”~

~I don’t know why, but Chief Macgregor makes me nervous. I find myself wanting to confess to things I haven’t even done.~

~”Can you tell me what this item is for?” She pointed to the ball-gag.
“That, dear? Why, that’s…uh…a love ball. I insert it into my…lady parts to strengthen my muscles.”~

My interview with the author & review on behalf of the Sunday Times:

The Maid’s Room by Fiona Mitchell

35527110.jpg~This where she sleeps. A cupboard. A bedroom. A windowless box.~

~Ma’am Amber penned a red bubbled around [her clinic visit] with a huge exclamation mark as if it was something to look forward to. But Dolly will have to take a test there like she always does every six months. And when the employment agency finds out she’s pregnant they’ll deport her, just like all the others.~

~There are more than 200,000 foreign domestic workers in Singapore. The majority of them are from the Philippines and Indonesia.~

~And when Ma’am tells you it’s a tin of chicken luncheon meat for your dinner again tonight, all while little Dixie [the dog] is sat in her lap, ears back, eyes closed, Ma’am’s nail-varnished hand endlessly stroking his fur, you’ll start to wish you had four legs too, and enjoyed sniffing other dogs’ undercarriages.~

~I read an article in a magazine about a charity called Sanctuary House whose volunteers fostered babies. I rang the charity and volunteered.

A couple of weeks later I was given a six-week-old baby boy to look after for just one week. Surprisingly, no one from the charity came to have a look around our apartment and we weren’t interviewed.~ from the author’s note

Book Bite on behalf of the Sunday Times:

Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill

36096848.jpg˜Though both in our late-thirties, my late husband and I had been one of the burgeoning number of Irish families who, despite both being gainfully employed, still couldn’t quite afford that first step on the housing ladder…˜

˜’This is why we should be thinking again about homeschooling them. Because of this palaver. I’ve told you, Maddie, it’s seriously worth looking into–’
‘Not now,’ she said, cutting her husband off, irritated that he seemed to have forgotten the fact that, like him, she had a job, so where on earth would she get the time?˜

˜Since day one, I had been struggling not to think about the official stats on childhood measles and its complications:
One out of twenty kinds comes down with pneumonia.
One out of every thousand will develop encephalitis.
Encephalitis can leave a child deaf or with an intellectual disability.
For every one thousand children who get measles, one or two will die.˜

˜You had choice yourself, Tom – you were the very one who pointed out that we couldn’t have known. She’s your daughter too and you could have just as easily made the decision to keep her home.˜

Book Bite for the Sunday Times:

Heartbreaker: Christiaan Barnard and the first heart transplant by James-Brent Styan

36963385.jpg˜Christiaan was only 34 years old when he [was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
‘It was an affliction that attacked my most precious asset – my hands.’
This situation taught the young Christiaan a valuable lesson – the importance of giving patients some hope.˜

˜[During the Mondale hearings of 1968 the chairperson asked Barnard] since taxpayers pay for the operation, surely they have a say in [heart transplants, how they get done and which donors should be used].
Christ said no and asked the chairperson who was paying for the Vietnam War. Wasn’t it the American taxpayer? The chairman agreed.
‘Then I said, since the taxpayers were paying for the war, surely they have a right to tell the generals when to attack and which weapons to use?’˜

˜Sadly, [Barnard] is hardly remembered for the incredible work he did with children at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. Yet, in his later life, he said that it was this work that he considered his true legacy, even more so than the heart transplant.˜

˜In Denmark, they ask why we allow black and coloured women to look after our children and care for them in our homes but we won’t allow them to care for our patients in our hospitals.˜

˜In South Africa, the number of heart operations offered to under-privileged is diminishing. In 1992, the national budget for heart operations allowed for approximately 142 operations per million people. By 2001, this had diminished to 66 per million while the identified need at that time stood at 356 per million. . . The World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that by 2020, heart disease will be the number-one killer of people in developing countries.˜

˜In South Africa, heart disease is the leading cause of death among children under the age of 5. The WHO says that heart disease has become the leading cause of death across the globe today.˜


Book Bite for the Sunday Times:

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

36362385.jpg˜Each time Anna moved from her father’s world to her mother and Lydia’s, she felt as if she’d shaken free of one life for a deeper one…Back and forth she went, deeper – deeper still – until it seemed there was no place further down she could go. But somehow there always was. She had never reached the bottom.˜

˜Sometimes it’s harder to ask God for your own.˜

˜He’d tethered himself to Saint Maggie’s to fend off any possibility of being roped into Episcopal worship with his in-laws. All those Puritans, God help him. If you had to spend an hour in church, let it be gory, incense-drenched Catholicism.˜

˜She felt the knot’s weakness, like the faint, incipient bruise on an apple, and dug her fingers in.˜

˜No one talked more than men on ships, but the point of the stories they told was to hide the ones they could never divulge to anyone.˜

Book Bite for the Sunday Times: