2017 FFR Static 3

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Here We Are Oliver Jeffers: Before my son, I wrote my children’s books for myself

Irish Times,


Looking at Oliver Jeffers, you cannot help but think he himself would make a wonderful illustration. Wide-eyed, expressive and still boyish at 40, in a white woolly hat and a yellow raincoat with the collar turned up, he’s Tin Tin by way of Williamsburg – and you might need to draw some sort of lines around him to indicate he is all a-buzz with energy and go.

When he orders a decaf Americano and tells me he had to ease off on the coffee 10 years ago, I’m not madly surprised. Is his work any calmer because of it? “My heartbeat thanks me for it, I don’t know if my work’s any calmer.” he says.


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the Rules of MagicThe Rules of Magic review: Alice Hoffman brings back the witches in enchanting prequel

News Day, Marion Winik


Alice Hoffman takes good care of her fans. She has already loaded their bookshelves with more than 30 adult and YA novels, and now delivers a gift sure to enchant — a prequel to “Practical Magic,” the 1995 tale of sisters Sally and Gillian Owens (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman in the movie). The Rules of Magic gives the back story on the old, witchy aunties (Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest in the movie) that the girls are sent to live with after their parents are killed in an accident.

The new chapter of the saga starts with Susanna Owens. Though descended from a line of witches who first arrived in Massachusetts in 1680, Susanna has turned her back on the past and is determined that her children know nothing about their occult bloodline. Raising them with her psychiatrist husband on the Upper East Side of New York in the late 1950s, she lays down a raft of rules designed to keep them normal: no candles, no Ouija boards, no wearing black, no cats, no crows.


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Enemy of the people Enemy of the People – How Zuma stole SA

Power FM


Investigative journalists Adriaan Basson and Pieter du Toit have written a book called Enemy of the People – How Jacob Zuma stole South Africa. Onkgopotse JJ Tabane spoke to the two authors on Power Perspective on Tuesday, where the journalists explained how the story had unfolded.


Thuli Madonsela said: “This is a remarkable book.” It tells the story, from Polokwane in 2007, of how Jacob Zuma planned from the first day of his presidency to enrich his family beyond all dreams of avarice, and finally, how to get away with it and stay out of jail.


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Fools MortalsFools And Mortals review: A well-plotted, richly written romp through Shakespeare's time



An actor living in penury he faces the miserable prospect of a life spent playing women because his arrogant brother William, whose star as a playwright is most definitely ascending, refuses to cast him in a male role.

In a radical departure Bernard Cornwell’s newest novel sees the author don a pair of hose and knee-high boots to wade through the mud-filled stench of Elizabethan London and show us the trials and tribulations of William Shakespeare’s real-life younger brother as he attempts to earn a living as a “player”.


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Enemy of the peopleState Capture: How The ANC Was Convinced To Dump Des Van Rooyen

Huffington Post


Organised business was also in disarray. Business Leadership South Africa – who represented around 50 of the country's biggest corporates – didn't know how to respond or how to engage the governing party, an Ramaphosa and Mkhize were scrambling for solutions to the unfolding disaster.

The private sector's response therefore was by no means a coordinated one, and informal conversations between businesspeople with links to the ANC and its networks proved to be the catalyst in setting up a crucial meeting between representatives of the ANC leadership and heavy hitters in the banking sector on Sunday 13 December 2015.


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The Sun and Her FlowersFifteen Minutes with Rupi Kaur

The Crimson,


Rupi Kaur calls from the departures terminal of an unknown airport. She is about to board a flight to Boston where she will address a sold-out Memorial Church audience. Amid the murmur of conversations around her, announcements about various flight delays, and the laughter of her manager and other members of her team, Kaur takes a few minutes to chat before her flight.

Kaur, a 25 year-old, Punjabi-Canadian poet has become an overnight sensation. Kaur’s first book, Milk and Honey, is a simple black-covered paperback filled with short poems and Kaur’s sketches. According to The Boston Globe, the compilation has sold 1.1 million copies and is currently the best-selling adult non-fiction book of the year. It’s sold in most bookstores and on Amazon, as well as in Urban Outfitters. Kaur’s second book, entitled The Sun and Her Flowers, was released two weeks ago.


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My Absolute DarlingWords and Wild Places by Gabriel Tallent

4th Estate, Assallah Tahir


In college, a professor introduced me to a long eighteenth-century poem by James Thomson called The Seasons. Tremendously influential in its time, it is a lyrical and expansive description of the countryside. There is an entire language here that attends to and celebrates the natural world, and reading it, the salient feature is how rare that is.
This is a loss, because it’s probably good for a person, to feel for wild places and to see them clearly. We treat this appreciation as something that comes naturally, but like anything else, you’ve got to learn it.


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I am I am I amI Am, I Am, I Am - book review: An extraordinary memoir by Maggie O’Farrell



I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death by Maggie O’Farrell

What follows is a chilling event, unflinching in fact and emotion, setting the tone for this remarkable book.

I Am, I Am, I Am recounts the 17 times when novelist O’Farrell has narrowly escaped death. There are episodes of near drowning, of life-threatening miscarriages, of amoebic parasites. There are close shaves with cars, with turbulent planes and a knife-point robbery in Chile.


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Manhattan BeachIn Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan’s heroine dives deep for family secrets

The Washington Post,


It has been seven years since we got “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” but the presence of Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book still hangs in the air. Was it a novel? A collection of short stories?

Who cares. It was a tour de force. Reaching back and forward in time, writing in the first, second and third person — with a PowerPoint presentation to boot — Egan demonstrated her skill across a whole catalogue of forms, tones and styles.

So how does an author follow up such a spectacular variety show?

Egan has wisely chosen not to compete with “Goon Squad” and its postmodern razzle-dazzle. Instead, her new book leaps into the past, offering us a story built on sturdy older forms polished to a high sheen.


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Fools MortalsHistorical fiction round-up: Shakespeare’s wily brother seizes the limelight


We know what to expect from Bernard Cornwell. After more than 50 books, Cornwell has earned his title as the king of “swords and spears” fiction. It is brave, then, to write a book that is quite unlike his swaggering, bloodthirsty Sharpe and Last Kingdom thrillers.

Fools and Mortals is set in an Elizabethan London clamouring for entertainment. Rival playhouses are springing up in the face of a powerful puritan movement that loathes the theatre. Cornwell’s narrator, Richard Shakespeare, is a younger member of one such theatre troupe. He is fed up of playing girl parts and resents the de facto leader of the players, his older brother, William.


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What happenedHillary Clinton Is the Only Person Who Should Tell Her Story

Time, Jill Filipovic


A lot of people have told Hillary Clinton to shut up in her life. We meet a few of them in her new book, What Happened, part memoir and part election post-mortem. And we are seeing more of them pipe up now with the book’s publication, angry that this woman dares defy their personal preferences with her stubborn insistence that yes, she mattered, and yes, she will keep talking.

Clinton’s detractors would like her to say two simple words: “I’m sorry.” She does, of course, and has many times, and does it again and again in this memoir.


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the Cuban AffairNelson DeMille hits USA TODAY's No. 1 with The Cuban Affair

USA TODAY, Jocelyn McClurg


It’s DeMille’s second No. 1 debut; Radiant Angel, which featured recurring character Detective John Corey, landed in the top spot on June 4, 2015.

The Cuban Affair is DeMille’s 20th novel; 13 of his books, including Plum Island, The Lion and The Panther, have made USA TODAY’s top 10. (USA TODAY’s list began in fall 1993.)

In The Cuban Affair, Daniel “Mac” MacCormick, 35, a decorated Army officer who served in Afghanistan, is now a charter boat captain based in Key West. He’s drawn into a scheme to recover $60 million hidden away in Cuba.


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DamagedDamaged continues the phenomenon that is Martina Cole

Starts at 60


Martina Cole continues to smash sales records with each of her books, which have sold in excess of 14 million copies!

In 2011 Martina surpassed the £50 million sales mark since records began and was the first British female novelist for adult audiences to achieve this. She has spent more weeks in the No. 1 slot on the original fiction bestseller list than any other adult novelist.

Martina’s new novel Damaged, sees the return of her iconic detective heroine DI Kate Burrows.


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