The Rough Guide to CULT FICTION . I bought this on a sale (can’t resist bargains) and it has been invaluable. I often refer to it if I need more info on an author – it has intriguing snippets about their personal foibles, as well as literary info about their books. I’ve spent happy moments browsing its pages, reading up on Gothic Chic, identifying Japanese Manga, researching Kafka, discovering new authors. In terms of value for money, I should have paid ten times more for this sale bargain.
1000 BOOKS You Must Read Before You Die General Editor: Peter Boxall. This hefty reference book is my ultimate go-to guide. I prefer it to Google. My generous friend Marita sent it to me as a gift – and considering it was mailed from Australia, I’ll bet the postage came to more than the cost of the book.
The book starts pre-1700 with Aesop’s Fables and ends in the 2000s. There are indices of book titles, and authors’ names, plus a general index. The book stock is glossy paper, so the many writers’ portraits are high quality. It’s concise, comprehensive, informative, and meticulously indexed. If you can find a copy (published 2006) and afford it, buy the book. You won’t regret it. I wouldn’t be without mine.
The shorter Oxford English Dictionary – two massive tomes – heaven save us from the Longer Version! But invaluable, despite the weight lifting involved to find a word.
Collins’ SCRABBLE DICTIONARY – treasury of weird words. You will be unbeatable at Scrabble, no question. Bet you don’t know what zoppa means. I certainly didn’t until I stumbled across it. (I’m showing off – slap me on the wrist). One of my favourite new words is fice – means ‘a small fierce dog’.
Old Friends From Far Away – American writing teacher Natalie Goldberg’s brilliant take on writing memoir. She’s feisty, accessible, practical – she’s more real than real. Wannabe writers should carry this book everywhere.
Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula – – Common Animals and Plants by Duncan Butchart : this handy little guide enabled me to identify The Malachite Sunbird that briefly visited my garden. The bird was so large, I was baffled because I had always thought Sunbirds to be dainty little creatures. So now we know: they come super-sized as well!
Snacks & Treats for Sustained Energy – Gabi Steenkamp & Jeske Wellmann
A recent Birthday gift; low fat, low GI recipes. As a diabetic, this is the ideal cookbook for me, and surprising to report, the results haven’t had too much of the sawdust factor. So often, diabetic recipes are loaded with oat bran etc. etc. that the end result tastes pretty much like … you guessed it : sawdust.