What’s Behind the Door, Grahamstown?

By Shannon Wilson

Makana Library

Grey and rusty orange stones are layered on top of one another in an orderly pattern. Situated on Hill Street, the Makana Library is a rectangular and, looking at the exterior, uninviting building. However, once inside you travel to a world where books are treasure and time is endless. The books are faded; orange, blue and red colours blend. The wooden floorboards creak as you walk down the aisles. From magazines to ancient tomes, the Makana Library is ready to provide you with words galore.

Filled with natural light, the library is a great place to sit and read.

Filled with natural light, the library is a great place to sit and read.

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Authorview: Cat Hellisen

By Kerstin Hall

If there is one person who is underappreciated in the local literary scene, it’s Cat Hellisen. When the topic of African speculative fiction crops up, you’ll hear about Lauren Beukes (duh), Nnedi Okorafor (who is technically American), Sarah Lotz (plus her retinue of nom de plumes)… and that’s kind of all.

Hellisen is a strange case. Within SA, she’s no household name. But internationally, she is killing it.

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I: If I Stay

By Sarah Beningfield

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman is another book that deals with a slightly darker subject matter. If you recall my review on The Fault in Our Stars for the letter ‘F’, then you will be aware that it is a book that is well known for being a bit of a tear-jerker. If I Stay is of a similar calibre.

The book follows the life of a 17-year-old girl called Mia after she is involved in a serious car accident with her family on a snow day in Portland.

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Q&A with the founders of Call Me Ishmael

By Chelsea Haith

“It ripped me apart to love the mad differences all around us and to adore the rant of a sidewalk madman, to listen to everything that is not me,” said one caller to the Call Me Ishmael voicemail service. A well of gratitude rests deep in the caller’s voice. He thanks Call Me Ishmael. He says that without Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ he would never have been able to break through the restrictive traditions of form to find creative expression. He is one of thousands.

Call Me Ishmael founders Logan Smalley and Stephanie Kent came up with the idea over beers, which is how all good ideas should be conceptualised. Ishmael is the name of the narrator of Moby Dick and the only surviving crew member. He narrates the story of Moby Dick from a temporal vantage point and, as he is a minor character in the novel, he has come to be representative of social outcasts, much like readers feel they are treated in a world where book sales are declining and reading fiction is secondary to large-scale media consumption. Continue reading

Old Books and the Seven Artists

By Sarah Rose de Villiers

“A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.” – Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Words on white pages transport us to worlds of wonder and wisdom, and we lead lives entirely unlike our own. With each turn of the page, our imaginations take to the skies and black ink paints characters and colours in our minds. As we celebrate National Library Week, we realise books can be bewitching and beautiful, without having to be read. Instead, they can be cut up, sliced through, stained, torn and sculpted. They are not destroyed, they are art.

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