We’ve rounded up some of our favourite local books of 2017. There were so many to choose from this year and it really goes to show that people are still fanatical readers and books aren’t going anywhere. This list was put together not only for the literary skill of the respective writers or only for the breathtaking narratives and investigative journalism, but also for the impact they made on the culture of reading in South Africa. So without further ado, here’s our list:
1.Bone Meal for Roses
This is the story of a young girl who’s rescued from her abusive mother and sent to live with her grandparents in the Breede Valley, where she can recover from her past trauma. Slowly Poppy discovers the beauty and magic that resides there.
2.Born A Crime
by Trevor Noah
The title of Trevor Noah’s book refers to the illegal union of his parents in the Apartheid years. Born from a mixed race couple, Noah has an interesting and at times difficult life. In this book, which is made up of 18 stories, explores his youth and his outlook; all which led him to becoming one of the most influential and famous comedians in South Africa and around the workd.
3.From A to B
by Bonang Mathebe
There is no denying that Bonang is a force to be reckoned with. In this deeply personal memoir, Bonang tells her story like never before; and readers get insight into how this powerhouse was created. While the first edition of the book was criticised for many mistakes, it got the public reading and talking about books – and the second edition was thankfully properly edited!
4.If I Stay Right Here
by Chwayita Ngamlana
This is a unique and deeply moving read which follows Thabiso, a young journalism student who visits a female prison for a story. There she meets an inmate who changes her life forever. This is Chwayita’s debut novel and it’s emotionally-charged and leaves nothing back.
by Redi Thlabi
This was one of the most highly anticipated books of 2017 about one of the most controversial political stories in recent South African history. This is the story of the incredibly brave woman who accused one of the most powerful men in the country of rape.
by Bronwyn Law-Viljoen
This is a story about a mysterious printmaker who dies, leaving countless etchings and works of art behind. His friend inherits everything, but is left with the task of solving many unanswered questions: why did the printmakers never show his work? And who is the mysterious person in Zimbabwe to whom one of the printmakers boxes is addressed to?
7.The President’s Keeper
by Jacques Pauw
This is another book that has caused a great amount of controversy in the country. Rather than choosing it because of its contents, which is of course deeply political and by its very nature divisive; this is the kind of book which encourages open dialogue, debate and a hunger to pursue the truth, and for that The President’s Keeper is invaluable. This book explores, among other points, Zuma’s alleged reckless spending, as well as corruption in some of the most important institutions in the country.
by Nthikeng Mohlele
In Nthikeng Mohlele’s interesting book, the notion of pleasure is explored in all its forms and powers. It’s set against wartime Europe and modern-day Cape Town, the books explores themes of pleasure through eroticism and sensuality.
by Pumla Dineo Gqola
Reflecting Rogue is a collection of experimental but profound autobiographical essays that focus on themes of power, pleasure and South African culture. This is a must-read from the critically-acclaimed activist and thinker that brought to you works like Rape: A South African Nightmare and What Is Slavery To Me?
10.Colour Me Yellow
by Thuli Nhlapo
This is the heartbreaking story of a young girl shunned not only by her peers at school, but within her very own home too. Later in her life, she has unanswered questions about her mother’s abusive actions and the father that she never knew. She sets out on a quest to find the truth, and to a large extent, to find herself too.
Which local books were your favourite this year? Let us know on social media and you could win one of these fabulous books!