A selection of my best book reviews:
“If you have enough book space, I don’t want to talk to you.”
― Sir Terry Pratchett
Since 2015, I’ve been a frequent contributor to the Sunday Times books pages. I’ve also written book reviews for Taalgenoot (in Afrikaans) and the Rhodes Journalism Review. For a list of all my book news and reviews, visit my Professional Writing page.
Scroll down for a selection of my best book reviews:
Book reviews written in 2017:
The Inside-out Man by Fred Strydom for Sunday Times:
Fred Strydom’s new novel explores identity through characters who are striving to find peace. By Anna Stroud for the Sunday Times
Fred Strydom was a kid who always asked, “Why?” He started writing as soon as he could read, and in high school he wrote Pulp Fiction-style plays with his friend Sean Wilson that smashed the tedium of traditional school productions. It’s only natural then that his inquisitive mind and subversive streak should culminate in a book like The Inside-Out Man.
The Life of Worm and Other Misconceptions by Ken Barris for Sunday Times:
Ken Barris’s short story collection is bizarre, yet rooted in beauty
The worlds depicted in The Life of Worm and Other Misconceptions are ordinary, mundane, bizarre and surreal, but always rooted in the beauty of language. Ken Barris is a craftsman – chiselling away at each sentence until it gleams with understated elegance. Three stand-out stories are the titular “The Life of Worm”, “The Olive Schreiner Stall” and “Poor William”. The raw emotion in each is familiar and discomfiting.
The Age of Genius by AC Grayling for Sunday Times:
AC Grayling shines light on the Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind
The book of the year for history buffs and closet philosophers. The question at the centre is: how did the events of the 17th century radically alter the way people thought about the world and their place in it?
Dying to Live by Michael Stanley for Sunday Times:
Detective Kubu is back in another Michael Stanley Mystery
When a witchdoctor goes missing and a body is discovered in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, detectives David “Kubu” Bengu and Samantha Khama are called in to solve another head-scratcher of a case.
Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym for Sunday Times
Min Kym’s memoir tells a story of sacrifice, pain and separation, writes Anna Stroud for the Sunday Times
There are two protagonists at the centre of Min Kym’s acute memoir; Min the person and Min the violin. The two are inseparable, until one day when Min the violin is wrenched away from Min the person.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles for Sunday Times
This is a splendid tale of a man making the most of the cards life has dealt him.
The story begins in the 1920s, when a Bolshevik tribunal finds Count Alexander Rostov guilty of being an aristocrat. His punishment: permanent house arrest in the attic of the luxurious Hotel Metropol. Here the count embarks on the biggest adventure of his life.
Book reviews written in 2016:
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
― Jorge Luis Borges
Swing Time by Zadie Smith for Sunday Times:
Swing Time is a dramatic dance, but it’s also about race, class, sexuality, and identity, writes Annetjie van Wynegaard for the Sunday Times
“It was the first day of my humiliation.” These are the opening lines to Zadie Smith’s exuberant new novel, Swing Time. The story starts just as it’s about to end, with exile and a scandal. In present-day London, the unnamed narrator finds herself in a hotel room with the curtains drawn and her phone switched off – shamed, shunned and shut off from the world.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang for Sunday Times:
This South Korean novel addresses the plight of women everywhere, writes Annetjie van Wynegaard for the Sunday Times
South Korean author Han Kang’s novel The Vegetarian is about what women put up with for the sake of being perceived as normal. It’s about crossing boundaries — both mental and physical — and severing the familial ties that bind you to society.
More book reviews
Follow the links below for a list of my book reviews and bookish news, in chronological order: