1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up

I’ve been playing with the list of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die for about a year now. So far I haven’t gotten very far. Or anywhere at all really! Ha! But now I have this one to play with too. I’m quite excited to tuck into it, and mostly I’m quite excited to share it all with Noah.

I will duplicate the list properly sometime but it might take a while, since the only decently written one I can find on google is in alphabetical order instead of ordered by age as it is in the book. I’m going to have to type out the list myself. One day when I’m really really bored!

The End of the Alphabet ~ CS Richardson

I must admit that I particularly love books like this one. It’s so lovingly odd – almost like the author was told about these things called books and he then decided he’d try writing one. Don’t take that statement as insulting though. The End of the Alphabet is kind of refreshingly without pretention or strict structure. It reads like someone sat down and wrote something. Just because. Which is often the best kind of writing.

Ambrose Zephyr has only thirty days to live, and he has decided to spend them travelling with his wife. Short, sweet, and to the point, The End of the Alphabet takes you through Ambrose’s diagnoses to his death without any flair or overtly emotional sentiment, but somehow the simplicity of the entire story allows you to fill in your own emotional blanks. I imagine this tactic might not work for everyone, but CS Richardson certainly owns the style with flair.

Should you read it? Yes. Especially if you’re a busy person and would like something you could get through in an afternoon. Richardson is Lemoney Snickett without the quirk.


How to buy the book!!

So here’s the deal….

I’ve made myself this little online store where my ebook is available to purchase. You need to register with PayFast (kind of like PayPal for South Africans) as a customer and then you should be able to pay securely with a credit card or do a bank transfer. In a perfect world this should all work out.

If not: please mail me and I will send you my banking details! I realize the cyber world and it’s ways can be intimidating for some – for this I forgive you! Mail me. I like getting mail. So it’s all good.

Anyway, this little store I have is a new kind of store so it doesn’t have an ebook downloading thing enabled yet. Don’t stress – you will still get your book! Just not as efficiently as you would when buying it off of Amazon, or Kalahari. To make up for that I will email you personally to thank you for your purchase. Teehee!

Now! I know some of you have asked about hard copies. Yes – they will EVENTUALLY come. But I’m not willing to go into a mountain of debt to make it happen. So here’s the deal: Whoever buys an ebook will get a discount off of the hard copy later if they want one. Sound fair?

That said: HAPPY READING!!


The Deal With the Ebook

Hello Friends!

Thank you for being here to read this. At the risk of sounding disingenuous, you should know that I already appreciate you immensely.

I decided a short while ago to launch my book as an ebook before doing it in hard copy for quite a few reasons. The first reason was, of course, funding. It’s kind of scary when you do silly things like write books. For many years now I’ve been in a “one day I’m going to be a writer” space. That space no longer exists for me. I am, in every sense of the word, a REAL writer. Perhaps not the greatest writer, but a writer none-the-less. I got to this “being a writer” state, by finally opening my eyes. I suddenly realized that all the people who I admire (The Descendants Band, Southern Gypsey QueenDaryn Basson,Meggin Murphy to name a few) all called themselves something, and then became that thing. They all practice a little thing that I like to call “using what’s in your house”. What is that? It’s exactly what it sounds like! It’s the attitude of take what you have and go from there. Why? Because if you’re going to wait around for those ducks to line up then baby you’re going to be waiting a VERY long time! So? So I called myself a writer and went and did the writing things. Funding be damned. I’m still doing them. I’m learning as I go. Stumbling, yes! Falling? Most definitely! But smiling mostly as I do it. I’m using what’s in my house. Right now a massive bank account is not one of those things, but that’s ok. Hopefully ebook sales will help to change that a little, and I will be able to do the hard copy thing sooner than anticipated! Strangely the money thing has stopped being a worry of late.

Secondly, I realized that technology is on my side! Like many others (whom I still understand!) I’m a book snob! I like to hold books in my hand. I like to smell them. I like to shop for them. I like taking them home. Or waiting for them to arrive at the post office. I like the way they look in my bookshelf. This ebook thing? You must be mad! Or are you? I downloaded a Kindle app for my laptop last night and I’m already itching to add things to it!  I’ve read quite a few ebooks on my computer. And you know what? After the first chapter you forget you’re not reading on paper. Why? Because you don’t read books for the paper!

Thirdly, I got tired of being scared. Perhaps it’s not something too many people relate to, but I started wondering if I was afraid to let go of dreaming the dream in exchange for actually living it. Stupid? Hell yeah! But I’m only human. And I bet if you think about it, you’ve done it too!

Anyway, I get to call myself a writer now. For proper real! And I get to say that my first novel came out before I turned 29. Because I took charge and did it myself. Just like so many of my role models did. Why I was too dumb to look to them before I don’t know!

So again I want to thank you for being here to read this. Thank you for being part of what I hope is the beginning of the rest of my life.

All my love,



Thirteen Reasons Why ~ Jay Asher

Clay Jensen comes home one day to find a package waiting for him. Inside are seven cassette tapes. On the cassette tapes are the thirteen reasons why Hannah Baker has killed herself. As Clay listens to the tapes, he learns a lot more than he bargained for about the people around him, and comes to understand just how important it can be to reach out a hand to someone in need.

It’s kind of hard to read a book like this. We’re so predisposed to expecting happy endings from the stories that we consume. Knowing from the beginning that there is no good ending makes it seem kind of futile. But this is one of those books you just can’t put down. You can’t help feeling that it must be relevant. Continue reading

Plain Truth ~ Jodi Picoult

I haven’t read a Jodi Picoult novel in a while. They’re generally kind of a lazy indulgence for me. Kind of like a James Patterson or any other easy reading novel – something you can read without using too many braincells. That sounds like I’m possibly being insulting or snobbish but I’m really not. These are the kinds of books that are easy to fall into, which is a must after a long week of over-braining.

An 18 year old unwed Amish girl, Katie Fisher, gives birth to a baby boy in the barn on her family’s farm and after praying for God to help her, she falls asleep. She wakes up to find the baby gone and assumes her prayers have been answered. Unfortunately, the infant is found later, dead and wrapped up in a shirt, under a pile of blankets in the barn.

Ellie Hathaway is almost fourty, and newly single. She flees to the countryside to do some thinking about the career that she is no longer sure that she wants. Out of family obligation, she immediately finds herself on Katie Fisher’s case, and is forced to move in with Katie and her family as part of the bail conditions.

Plain Truth explores the traditions of the Amish faith in a simple and relatable way. Much of the storyline is mildly predictable (unless it’s just me!)but it’s a pleasant read none-the-less. The two main characters are a little tough to like in the beginning but as the story moves along you do manage a fondness for them.

As usual, Picoult unashamedly combines mystery and courtroom drama with a massively controversial subject and puts it all together with flair. There’s no doubt that this woman does her homework!

Through a Glass Darkly ~ Jostein Gaarder

I’ve been struggling to finish books lately. I’m currently reading about five different ones, and none of them are bad, I’m just struggling to do the “finishing” thing. I picked up Through a Glass, Darkly yesterday morning. It’s short and it’s been sitting on my bookshelf probably for about six years now. I have started and put it down twice. This time I forced myself to finish it.

It’s about a little girl with cancer who is visited by an angel who – as the back cover says – is there to help her come to terms with her impending death. Sounds “pleasing” enough, except that, for me at least, it just doesn’t work. I spent the entire 161 pages trying to “get it” and only actually finished the book because I was convinced that I must be missing something. Well…either I missed it or there was nothing to get. Continue reading

Swimsuit ~ James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

James Patterson fascinates me. He writes something insane like three or four books a year. All of them bestsellers. Always. MADNESS!! But wow go James!

I am a huge fan of crime fiction, though these days I kind of feel like I should give it a break for a while. I’m tired of predicting story lines and culprits within the first tenth of whichever book it is that I’m reading. This is not the fault of the writer. It is my fault. I’ve just read too many of them. Subconsciously I get the book almost before I’ve even thought about it. Damn.

I don’t read James Patterson much though. I don’t want to generalize because I haven’t read enough of his stuff to do that. But with this book I didn’t have the “I guess the murderer in the beginning” problem because that’s not how he wrote the story.

Swimsuit is basically about a killer hired to provide an elite bunch of rich people with snuff films. It’s kind of gruesome. Actually it’s a lot gruesome. Graphic slaughtering, graphic(ish) sex, lots of dead pretty people. There’s no mystery to it at all, but you do keep reading out of a curiosity for what happens next. There isn’t a twist in the end so much as a slight bending. And to be honest I wasn’t impressed by the romantic element at all.

Mostly I could barely get through a page without going “four books a year!” and being all fascinated that the author has turned writing into such an exact science that he just churns them out en masse. Wow! Really! That’s impressive enough for the content of the book to not matter at all really… For me at least….