Picture: OLEGDUDKO/123RF
Picture: OLEGDUDKO/123RF

You’re staying at home (or definitely should be) so are probably looking for ways to pass the time once you’ve devoured your FM. Here’s Kate Rogan, owner of Joburg’s beloved Love Books, on what she recommends you should start your reading blitz with:


The Lonely City: Adventures in the art of being alone by Olivia Laing — because we’re all going to be facing loneliness in one way or another, why not learn to embrace it? Laing is the acclaimed author of the hit novel Crudo, and her musings on the loneliness she experienced in New Your City are profound and beautifully written.

A Cloud a Day by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. The cloud guy brings us this gorgeous book of 365 skies selected by the Cloud Appreciation Society and accompanied by enlightening text on … well, clouds. Lift your eyes to the sky now that you have time.

The Atlas of Unusual Borders by Zoran Nikolic. We’re pretty sure you’re looking at the world in a way you never have before. So why not immerse yourself in this fascinating look at how quirks of geography have defined borders and affected lives.


Apeirogon by Colum McCann. This is an extraordinary novel, both in plot and execution. Placing you somewhere between watching a documentary and reading a novel, it’s based on the true story of two grieving fathers, from opposite sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict, trying to find their way to a common humanity. It’s the kind of book that will keep you busy for days and will send you off reading and researching in many directions. Perfect if you’re self-isolating. Also, if you haven’t read McCann’s exceptional 2009 work, Let the Great World Spin, which broadly centres around Philippe Petit’s tightrope walk between the Twin Towers during the 1970s, now is the time!

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. A quick and satisfying read that looks at race and white privilege in the US, with insights South Africans will appreciate. This is not worthy, preachy stuff — it’s a fabulous, clever and funny read that brings real issues right home.

The Book of Gifts by Craig Higginson. This is local author Higginson’s fifth novel, and I would say his most nuanced. It’s a gripping story of a teenage boy and his complex family, set in Joburg, Umhlanga and Mauritius. How nice it is to fantasise about champagne around the pool at the Oyster Box through Higginson’s descriptions. Oh, and Anna’s (yes, Anna of Love Books) famous carrot cake makes an appearance in the novel too.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Hamnet is one of the best things you’ll read this year. The devastating story of Shakespeare’s family, and in particular his son Hamnet, set during the time of … yes, the bubonic plague. Nothing feels more appropriate.


To order your copies of these books for delivery, or for other reading suggestions, mail info@lovebooks.co.za

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