A short history of tractors in Ukrainian – Marina Lewycka

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tractors

This book gets a lot of negative reviews online, so I’ll be honest and say that I approached it with low expectations, in fact, with the expectation of putting it down halfway through (mostly due to the claims of elderly abuse in the book-which I can’t abide at all). However, I made it through the story, and not only that, I enjoyed it.

I think the problem is that this book is sold as a comedy, with blurbs on the cover reading things like “hilarious” and “outrageously funny” which this book simply is not. What it is though, is a fascinating reflection on what it is to be a refugee or migrant, which these days, is a very relevant topic.

As a vessel for discussing this theme of movement and identity, the author uses the story of Nadia and her 80-something  father, who remarries a much younger woman clearly just after his money (of which there isn’t much). Through it, the conflict faced by Ukraine in the 20th century unfolds as Nadia seeks to save her father from the wicked woman he suddenly finds himself married to after his wife’s death.

At times it is amusing, though the author often writes “in accent” as if she was a Ukrainian speaker speaking English, which can be annoying. Otherwise, I found it a simple read, with interesting insights into the social issue of migrants and conflict.

I paired this with the Nitida Sauvignon Blanc reserve, a simple yet flavoursome white wine that is easy drinking for all occasions.

 

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Don’t judge a book by its cover

penumbra

When my friends suggested we read a book called Mr Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore, I wasn’t that excited. I mean, how can a book about a 24 hour bookstore be interesting right? Wrong!

This book is a nerds-heaven and it has something for everyone. It tells the story of Clay, a fun-employed 20 something stuck in San Franciso looking for work until he finds a job as a clerk at mysterious Mister Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore, with even more mysterious customers. Clay stumbles through the story with his motley crew of capable friends as they try to solve a 500 year old mystery by bringing the old world of books and the new world of Google together.

I had such fun reading this. I had even more fun downing a bottle of Brenaissance Lady H while reading it. This is a fun and fruity Savignon Blanc from the Devon Valley Farm in the heart of Stellenbosch and well worth a visits even if for nothing else but their legendary pizza’s

Take a walk through the 20th Century with Allan Karlsson

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Wow, I’m so glad I read this book! I picked it out of a giant box filled with stories of murder and gore (really not my thing) and the titled grabbed me instantly. Jonas Jonasson, the Swedish author wastes no time, grabbing the reader by the neck and pulling them headfirst into an (unbelievable) tale of Allan Karlsson, who decides on his 100th birthday to make a run for it (so to speak) from the old age home and find himself a new adventure (which he certainly does when he gets mixed up with a gang of criminals). If you are a historical purist, the novel may upset you somewhat as it traces Allan Karlssons extraordinary influence over events of the 20th century. It is written in a jovial, amiable style that will make you feel like you’re on-the-run with a group of friends. It’s one of those laugh-out-loud must reads! Waste no time and pair with something light and delectable, like the Phizantekraal Sauvignon Blanc, which I enjoyed thoroughly with its long lasting finish and delectable notes of gooseberry, as lovely and entertaining as this book!