If you love coffee as much as I do each day is coffee day, but since today my American readers celebrate #NationalCoffeeDay and on the 1st of October everyone will celebrate #InternationalCoffeeDay, I thought I’ll dedicate this post to coffee lovers all over the world!
A Love Letter to Coffee
My beloved, it has only been moments since I’ve left you and… I already miss you!
I will not shy away from my feelings for you! You are my one, true joy in the early hours of the morning. No matter how restless my night has been or how busy my daily schedule is, sharing those special moments with you in the morning, holding you, reveling in your scent and your full body… Oh, nothing can take away the simple pleasure of our time together.
sweet and understanding you are of my living you behind each morning.
You do know that there is no one else for me, but you. I always return
You are so unique, yet your flamboyant personality has me under a spell, I can never get bored with you.
Don’t bend your ear to childish gossip. There is only one for me and
that one is you. The others, as you perceive them, are but mere
acquaintances. No even a fling, but a brush with cruel, ordinary life.
None will ever stand a chance near you, let alone compare itself with
you, my beloved. They are. .. so different, so much more less than you
will ever be. They do not have your charm, the strength of your core,
your unmistakable perfume. They are not you. They can never take your
the way you can change your looks, it never ceases to surprise me! And
the heavenly scent of your voluptuous body, always surprising, yet
always them same; homely, unique, promising.
You can be hot or cold, I’ll take it; I’ll never turn you down.
My Espresso, my Latte, my Cappuccino, my Americano, my Chococino, my Macchiato, my Viennois…
Besides BOOKS, what else can one pair coffee with?
Chocolate, of course! Since both tend to originate from similar regions of the world… Try Dark Chocolate with Brazilian Coffee if you dare…
Sweet pastries, bread, doughnuts, and dairy also go really well with coffee…
Poultry is said to go well with a coffee with fruity notes like the coffee from central and east Africa, while red meat is best paired with a dark roast coffee originating in the Pacific Islands.
Last, but not least, berries go well with the coffee from east Africa, while pitted fruits such as peaches, plums, apricots, and the citrus fruits enhance the taste of coffee originating from central Africa and central America.
I love how Gertrude Stein speaks of coffee:
Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup.
Gertrude Stein, Selected Writings
I hope you will have a fabulous day today and will never have to say:
“I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.”
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
How do you enjoy your coffee?? I love coffee during any time of the day, milk, no sugar. I am not very fond of espresso though, but I love cappuccino, cafe latte, macchiato, chococino, Viennois… you name it and – in summer – the iced coffee!
What happened across the Pond, in the United States?
Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor the US citizens were not interested in joining the war in Europe, but the US Marines knew that one day soon they will have to fight the Japanese (remember the “island-hopping” in the Pacific) and so they began training military dogs.
“Dogs for Defense” – the US Military Dogs
After the December 7 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the US declaring war on Japan on 8 December 1941, followed closely by Germany and Italy declaring war on the United States, “Dogs for Defense” was formed and dogs were formally trained for the military for the first time in the US history.
Dogs For Defense was the appointed agency for canine recruitment and training. They started with 200 dogs… and soon became the nick-name of the military dog training operation in the US became K-9 Corps.
In July 1942 the Secretary of War specifically asked Digs for Defense to include training of dogs in the following categories: sentry dogs, patrol dogs, messengers, and mine detection dogs. But very soon the Navy, the Coast Guard and Marine Corp became training their own military canines…
The US Marines were some of the first to show interest in training war dogs
as they had experienced losing ground against enemy using sentry dogs in Haiti
and other “Banana Wars” in Central America during 1914 – 1934.
The Devildogs – the US Marines’ dogs
The dogs trained by the US Marines were soon nicknamed “Devil Dogs” a nick name the Marines earned during WWI while fighting against the Germans. However, Dobermans weren’t the only breed that the US Marines used, but since the DPCA (Doberman Pinscher Club of America) was the one organization recruiting canines for the Marines, the initial emphasis was placed on this breed…
The first US K-9 Corps unit assigned to a tactical operation went to the Pacific
So a few War Dog Platoons soon appeared. Eight war dogs, six scouts and two messenger dogs were part of the first K-9 Corps unit. A report on their activities read:
“Patrol led by the dogs were never ambushed and suffered no casualties.”
The scout dogs were very good at alerting the Allies of incoming Japanese or spy local warriors and at guarding during the night. The messenger dogs were not disturbed in the bit by the local flora, so different in size and scents from what they knew from home, during training. The messenger dogs proved invaluable at keeping contact especially during heavy rain when electronic communication was cut off.
The dogs were
held in such high regard, that they were allowed to travel in the officer’s
plane, from one island to another. It is said that during a turbulent landing
two dogs started a fight soon followed by the officers’ evacuation of the plane
in a hurry, through the escape hatch.
Indeed, the War Dog Platoons proved invaluable to the US Marines during the Battle of Guam in July of 1944. See landing image below:
Three War Dog Platoons worked alongside US Marines on Guam Island. Here, the war dogs guarded the US camps, rescued wounded Marines, delivered messages, searched through caves for Japanese soldiers in hiding and alerted the Marines to the presence of landmines or booby traps set by Japanese.
A true story: Cappy and his handler, PFC Allen Jacobson
One night Cappy alerted 250 sleeping Marines of a vast force of advancing Japanese, saving their lives. Sadly, both Cappy and his handler, PFC Allen Jacobson, were injured in the battle that followed. True to his partner, Jacobson refused to leave the battle area and receive treatment until Cappy had also been evacuated.
Next, the US K-9 unit fought in the jungles of Papua New Guinea and on the beaches of Cape Gloucester, supporting either the Australian or British Marines against the Japanese forces.
The Doberman War Dogs could eventually outrank their handlers.
While training to become War Dogs, the Dobermans began their training as Privates and were promoted based on the length of service. Thus, after three months the Dobermans became a Private First Class, after one year a Corporal, after two years a Sergeant, after three years a Platoon Sergeant, after four years a Gunner Sergeant, and after five years a Master Gunner Sergeant.
Is it good for a Military Dog to outrank its human handler?
Today, this is often a custom that ensures the handler treats the Military Working Dog with the respect it deserves, while still giving it some freedom to behave like a dog if they ever disobey an order.
The first US K-9 patrol to help in Europe
Again, even through deep snow,, the dogs proved to be of invaluable assistance, and not only military. In March 1945, when communication was cut off, the messenger dogs kept the information going until another canine member carried a telephone on his back to the isolated unit.
True stories: Chip’s independent spirit and Daisy’s loyalty
Chips was a dog with a great personality and an even bigger heart who saved many lives during WW2. Perhaps it was his mixed blood, Chips being part shepherd, part collie, part husky, that gave him a keen sense of smell and hearing. Perhaps it was his love for humans that got him to show great bravery in battle… What is certain is that the more he ventured, the more his nonconformist spirit didn’t go well with his superiors… We need to remember that canine psychology was not so well understood back then.
For example, while his division – exhausted and soaked after pulling ashore on the seemingly deserted beaches of Sicily – retrieved behind an abandoned outpost to regroup, Chips chose to dash over No Man’s Land…
Typical canine behavior, right? Not quite.
Soon after a machine gun was heard, then a crippling silence embraced Chips’ division. Of course, they dashed over to investigate. They discovered Chips holding tight onto the throat of a German gunner, while five other German soldiers had already surrendered to the brave military dog.
Had Chips sniffed the gunpowder? The uniforms? Had he heard whisper or the click of the machine guns? What is sure is that he saved the lives of the men in his division. Yet he did not escaped unharmed; he received a wound to the scalp and burns to his mouth and left eye.
Although he showed his bravery many times, Chips was never decorated because of his tendency to act on his own, thus breaking the rules, and because, sigh, he was “only a dog”. Nevertheless, his comrades presented Chips with a Theater Ribbon. On the ribbon were an arrowhead for the assault landing at Sicily and a star for each of the eight campaigns during which Chips served.
The arrowhead would denote participation in amphibious landing in Chips’ case. It would have looked something like the ribbon above, but with eight stars.
Eventually, Chips received the Silver Star in 1943 for bravery in combat and in 2018 Chips was awarded the Dickin Medal, the highest honor for wartime bravery by an animal.
True story: Daisy’s loyalty, even in frigid waters
Daisy was a golden retriever and the mascot of a Norwegian merchant ship that in 1944 was accidentally (or not) torpedoed in the North Atlantic. During WW2 the Nortraship (The Norwegian Shipping and Trade Mission) operated some 1,000 vessels and was the largest shipping company in the world, operating outside German-controlled areas. Nortraship made a major contribution to the Allied war effort.
After the torpedo sank Daisy’s ship, all throughout that night Daisy swam from one survivor to another, licking their faces, warming up their noses with her breath, in a desperate attempt to keep them awake – and alive – in the icy waters of the North Atlantic until help arrived, the following day.
Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.
Next time we will look at the Soviet Union, German and Japanese War Dogs of WW2 and then at Para-dogs of WW2, but until then you can browse some of my books – and see if you can identify their common denominator…
Silent Heroes, is a work of fiction about the Military Working Dogs and the amazing Marines and local people caught in the War in Afghanistan.
Take home an unbelievable and humorous true story of an incredible dog and how he found his true, yet unexpected calling, Joyful Trouble.
Celebrating the simple things in life as seen through the eyes of our old time favorite furry friends, “As Good as Gold” is a volume of poetry revealing the talent and humor we always knew our dogs possessed.
LARGE PRINT Editions have been around since the early ’60s, gaining more and more supporters over the years:
visually impaired readers;
younger readers (even in their 40s) who begin to feel the strain of reading normal print;
people who complain of digitally strained eyes, such as tech savvy or computer enthusiasts who spends their days using electronic media only to suffer of tired eyes in the evening;
sport enthusiasts, especially those who like to read while exercising? A LARGE PRINT text is proved to be more legible while on the move;
what is best is that you don’t need a letter from your doctor before buying or borrowing a LARGE PRINT book!
being able to recognize letters and words easily aids reading comprehension, thus boosting confidence and the satisfaction of reading.
This LARGE PRINT edition of “Silent Heroes” has 423 pages only (compared to 368 pages in normal paperback) and is printed as a softcover of 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches or 15.49 x 2.54 x 23.37 cm – far from being gigantic or bulky! The font used for printing is size 16 (compared to 10-12 point of normal print books), in jet-black. And, yes, you get to read the same number of words as in the paperback!
“Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for” edition in LARGE PRINT will therefor make an ideal gift for any war veteran, history fan, historical fiction reader, politics enthusiast, or dog lover.
How far would you go to save strangers in need? Military Dogs risk their life for their humans in a heartbeat, but can soldiers do the same when personal struggles and global affairs defy humanity? – “Silent Heroes”
What “Silent Heroes” is about: When Taliban raids an Afghan village and discovers that girls can read, a woman accepts the blame to save the community. Her children’s’ lives become intertwined with those of the Marines deployed at a nearby military base. Led by Captain Marcos who conceals, under a cool appearance, his lifelong disability to read human emotions, the solid team of soldiers is faced with the trauma of losing platoon-mates, both human and canine, with PTSD and with becoming estranged from families left behind. When the Marines are instructed to accept a mysterious young Afghan as their guide the humanity of local population they come in contact with raises questions about the necessity of war. It is a race against time, fending off the Taliban lurking at the ancient Qala-e-Bost fortress and defending Bost Airport, a vital strategic point for the allies. But will the outnumbered Marines defend the Taliban cell, find the missing Afghan boy and arrive on time to save the other kidnapped civilians?
The question I was asked most often after publishing “Silent Heroes” was: why I wrote a book about war?
To me, “Silent Heroes” is a book that asked to be written. The idea behind it began to germinate in my mind long ago. It took over two years of research and assiduous work for this book to see the printing press.
Having lived through a Revolution and the fall of the Eastern Bloc, I can see that the power of historical knowledge is often overlooked. From my point of view, the situation in Afghanistan is of global interest. There are many similar historical hot spots throughout the world. My interest in the War in Afghanistan was stirred on understanding what a major influence the use of military dogs has on the lives of civilians. Most books written on this subject are from a military or political perspective. A retelling of true facts. I wanted to create a work of fiction that will appeal as well as stir emotions, something plausible, yet appealing to a wider category of readers.
We tend to read a book from the perspective of our own experiences. Some books, after reading them, manage to change the way we see our own life – and this is what I tried to achieve with “Silent Heroes”. Find out more about the symbolism behind its pages here.
I would rather have you ask me “why I wrote ‘Silent Heroes’, rather than “why I wrote a book on war”.
Women writers wrote about war many times over. But how many are know?
War is a part of life. As in life, there is fear in war, but there is also resilience and a raw lucidity in it.
War draws in all kinds of people, men and women, children and elderly, rich and poor. War stamps its tattoo on their lives, no questions asked, by killing their loved ones, by forcing them to relocate, to give up the mere life necessities in order to survive. To give up life, as they knew it, in order to stay alive.
Most war literature I came across during my lifetime and while researching for “Silent Heroes” and for “Joyful Trouble” before it was written by men. True accounts of battle and hardship. “War and Peace” by Russian author Leo Tolstoy must be the best known war novel. I have enjoyed Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and loved, for its epic descriptions and sensitivity in portraying human beings and raw emotions, Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind” in which an entire generation was wiped out by the Civil War.
The question that inevitably rose was:
what is the major difference between a war story written by a woman and one written by a man?
And I don’t mean linguistic differences.
When reading a book written by a woman, I tend to feel closer to the author than when to a male author. I find their writing style more interactive. This aspect does not involve characters, but the overall feeling I get when reading -reading for pleasure.
Male authors tend to focus on conveying information, on the courage of the soldiers, on their super-human acts and vigor and less on the emotions that trigger or haunt them. On the intensity of their pain, the taste of their passion, the gut feeling.
From a sociology-cultural point of view we are a product of our upbringing and of the society we live in. Considering ideological factors and forces, we are a product of our interactions with and of our reactions to society. It is only normal that this will reflect in a writer’s work.
What about the communications style?
Will the fact that men and women have a different communication style reflect in their writing? Much like a piece of art or a music sheet reflect the author’s core structure.
On the other hand, writing is very much a products of our biographical reading. Which brings us back to our upbringing, influencing us in everything we do.
But since we only speak of the war theme here, I think that this difference shows in the type of relationships the characters tend to built with one another.
If you look at a novel as it would be a river, I tend to see a woman’s writing running smoothly, in a fluid movement, while a man’s is almost bubbling in it’s banks. But this is only my own imaginary.
War stories are a two way narrative.
War involves those who actively take part in it and those who are sucked in it, no choice given. Soldiers and civilians. And civilians, too, deserve to be heard. Their emotions should be given a voice, too.
But what if we don’t know if a book was written by a man or a woman? Would we still be able to spot the difference? And how will that knowledge influence our perception of the book?
Again, we only look at war books here.
We are past the women’s rise to prominence during the mid-nineteenth century and past the women’s rights movements.
Do women still need to prove themselves by writing about war?
War is a topic monopolized by men authors throughout the centuries.
Four years ago The Guardian published an interesting article, “Male writers continue to dominate literary criticism, Vida study finds“, VIDA being a group of volunteers interested in drawing attention to gender inequality in the field of book reviewing. The results of the study shows that men appeared 66 percent more often in The New York Times Book Review; three times more often in the London Review of Books; The Times Literary Supplement and others had worse numbers.
If reputable publications involved in book reviewing choose less books by women, will this influence the reader’s / buyer’s choice and view of books written by women?
My view on this subject may be biased as I am both a woman and a woman writer penning stories about war. Yet I feel that little is known about war stories written by women.
Amazing fiction books on war written by women
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (for the vivid image of how much the American Civil War changed people’s lives and characters)
Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain (an entire generation changed by WW1)
The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam (for its hypnotic details of the Sri Lankan Civil War)
The Gold Lieutenant by Whitney Terrell (for depicting so truthfully the surviving nature of women during the Iraq War)
Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (filled with the human sensitivity that often escapes WW2 written by an author who, sadly, died in the concentration camp at Auschwitz)
Nella Last’s war by Nella Last, an inside view of WW2 from a civilian’s point of view.
The People of Forever are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu (a touching tale of teenagers’ experiences in the Israeli Defense Forces)
The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli (an amazing novel about the Vietnam War).
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (although an autobiography, is a must-read portrayal of the Holocaust)
Transcription by Kate Atkinson (a great spy novel of WW2)
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters (a great historical fiction set during WW2 London)
Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian (an amazing WW2 read for children over the age of 10, especially boys)
A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert (set during the WW2 occupation of Ukraine and Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2018)
Good Evening, Mrs Craven: Wartime Stories by Mollie Panter-Donnes (short stories written during WW2)
The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht (set during in an unnamed Balkan country experiencing a rebirth after the collapse of communism).
Can you Hear the Nightbird Call? by Anita Rau Badami how three women survive the rise of the Sikh separatists in India).
Sparta by Roxana Robinson (about a war veteran’s battle with PTSD after the Iraq War).
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (for the humanity shared by different cultures when held hostage by terrorists)
Silent Heroesby Patricia Furstenberg (on the strong connections between US Marines and the Afghan civilians during the Afghanistan War).
Whenever I read a book depicting real locations, actual places I can find on a map, a novel in which genuine artwork is described, and tangible, concrete buildings I know I can also visit are part of its setting, I tend to be more immersed in its story-line. The storytelling becomes more credible and, if by chance or choice, I visit those place I find myself immersed in that particular book again and, often, I pick it up and read it again.
On researching location for my latest novel, “Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for” I discovered a few sensational places; some new to me, secrets buried by history and war, others I have heard of but had not known how inspirational and amazing they were. I know, now, that I’d like to visit them all, one day when traveling to Afghanistan for tourism will be a safe endeavor once again.
1. Buddhas of Bamyan
“The Taliban did not succeed in wiping out the two Buddhas, but they became unrecognizable as the figures they once were. A cultural, religious, historical and entomological symbol and landmark. It was a bleak day in human history when something that watched over the valley for 1 500 years was destroyed in a matter of weeks.”
( Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for)
The Buddhan of Bamyan were two colossal statues carved during the 6th century into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley, once along the Silk Road, in the central highlands of Afghanistan, 230 km NW of Kabul, its capital city.
The bodies of the Buddhas were carved in the mountain cliff, while delicate details have been modeled out of mud and straw and coated with stucco for resistance. The faces, hands, and folds of the Buddhas’ robes were painted for an enhanced effect. The big Buddha, 53 m tall, was painted carmine red while the smaller Buddha, 35 m tall, was painted in multiple colors. They represented the Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni.
“Taliban forces operating in Afghanistan had destroyed these colossal statues in March 2001. They started by damaging the Buddha with anti-aircraft firearms and cannons. Yet the damage inflicted was not enough for the Taliban. They returned with anti-tank mines that they placed at the statues bases. When sections of rock broke off, the statues suffered further damage.
And still, they did not stop here.”
( Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for)
“The Taliban dropped men down the face of the cliff. They had placed explosives into the various grooves found in the Buddhas. The plan was clear, to completely destroy the facial features of the two statues. Maybe a bad understanding of the Quran: Islam condemns idolatry. When one of the blasts could not destroy the facial features of one statue, a rocket was used in its place. It left a hideous gap in whatever was left of the Buddha’s head.”
( Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for)
But there is hope.
7 June 2015: Xinyu Zhang and Hong Liang , a Chinese adventurist couple, created a 3D image of the Buddhas and donated projector used for the installation, worth at $120 000. The 3D projection was able to fill once more the void cavities where the two majestic Buddhas once stood.
2. Qala-e Bost Fortress
“Qala-e-Boost or Bost Fort is the remnant of Alexander the Great’s Fortress in Afghanistan. What still stands today from this millennial old fortress is an impressive ruin. Helmand’s crown jewel is located on the east bank of the Helmand River, near Lashkar Gah, a city in southwestern Afghanistan and the capital of Helmand Province.”
( Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for)
Lashkargah, or Lashkar Gah, means “army barracks” in Persian language.
“The stones of Qala-e-Boost have seen wars as well as the joys of celebrations. They have known wealth and ruin. Early hymns of the Zoroastrian religion, one of the oldest religions in the world, were once performed here. One of them was the Nowruz, the famous ceremony dedicated to the Sun and marking the Iranian New Year and the Spring Equinox. Along the years Bost fortress has been used as a guard post for the traditional caravan trade from Iran to India. The Mongols, then the Persians have been here too, then the Arabs, even the Russians. Leaders and warriors came here as attested by the terracotta figurines, the inscribed seals, and the many coins discovered here, and then they left. Still, Bost remained.”
( Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for)
” At noontime, the sun spat yellow venom over the desert surrounding the ruins of the Qala-e-Bost fortress, over this war-cursed land where a misconceived culture and an overpowering international necessity to meddle fatalistically merged, long-stalling the Afghan peace process.”
( Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for)
What is amazing about Qala-e-Bost Fortress is not what is visible above the ground, but what is hidden underneath, the entire Bost castle, 5 levels, being in the shape of a well hidden underground.
“As an eerie glow spread over the flat expanse of sand, from his high point Marcos caught a glimpse of what Qala-e-Bost’s crumbling walls would have been in its time of glory. No longer a ghostly silhouette, a mere reminder of an existence long forgotten, but a castle again.”
( Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for)
I researched so much about this underground castle that stood the test of time. It would be incredible to walk its corridors, to see the light bouncing from the walls of its shaft, to hear the echoes of history as it was buried in its secret rooms.
3. An Afghan garden
Gardening says a lot about the nurturing abilities of a person. When an entire population has a gift for gardening it means that they have peace in their hearts and know the value of life.
I was amazed to discover how much gardening means to the Afghan people and how connected they are to their roots, to the soil of Afghanistan, nurturing or arid. How inventive the Afghans proved to be, making the best out of each situation, when it comes to gardens.
I tried to depict their nurturing nature in the pages of “Silent Heroes“.
“Afghans are gardeners at heart, did you know? Before they are mujahideen or insurgents or Taliban-bloody-criminals, they love to garden.”
( Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for)
4. A Military Base in Afghanistan
During the two years plus it took me to research and write “Silent Heroes” I researched in depth the living conditions of the US Marines deployed in Afghanistan and of all the military fighting there.
What is outstanding is the level of organization and, at the same time, the little comfort these amazing soldiers put up with every day in order to do their duty towards their own countries and to keep peace for us all.
And anything reminding them of home is treasured. Like the small American flag in the image below.
“Between the building and the sheet of the tent was a corridor-wide enough for a human to pass through, two would have to negotiate. From a drain pipe facing the main door hung a small size American flag, the one civilians wave on the 4th of July, its sole purpose of connecting them with home.”
( Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for)
5. A field of poppies
In Afghanistan, poppies – opium poppies – mean death and poverty. I, “Silent Heroes” I tried to explain the vicious cycle that poppy cultivation in Afghanistan means. It was fascinating to learn how it started, why, and what its consequences meant for the Afghan population as well as internationally.
“The hamlet’s reputation of frightfulness came from the complete lack of vegetation. As if the poppy field that once flourished nearby sucked away any drop of water that might have concentrated in the adjacent earth, like some type of incongruous alien.”
( Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for)
International affairs and their local implications are never as simple as they appear at the beginning.
“So ‘The Golden Triangle’ (Burma, Thailand, Laos) was soon replaced by ‘The Golden Crescent’ (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran).”
Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for)
Still, there is something magical about a field of poppies. I think that poppies seeds, with their ability to remain dormant throughout the years, are a fantastic representation of what hope and resilience is all about. Never give up.
Maybe because poppy has a long association with Remembrance Day. Why? Scarlet poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed, arid earth throughout the world. Poppies grew naturally after the Napoleonic wars of the 19th Century and again on battlefields of WW1.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, “In Flanders Fields”
I hope you enjoyed reading about the five locations that inspired and amazed me while writing “Silent Heroes“.
Do you have a favorite place you read about in a book?
Published less than a month ago, “Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for” already receives praise from its readers: ” I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel”, ” extremely well written and well researched”, “It was also very interesting to read about the important role Military Working Dogs played in the US Marines’ war against the Taliban insurgents, “I highly recommend this book”, “a very exciting, moving and well written book “, “I especially appreciated the amount of research that went into making the story as true to life as possible. Would highly recommend this excellent book”, “a great read”, The research into the Afghan culture, as well as the American war dogs, is like none other. The historical aspect was brilliantly done.”
“Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for” is still a #1 New Release on Amazon US.
5 Stars Amazon UK Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars I highly recommend this book and give it a full five stars! 26 July 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel from Patricia Furstenberg. The book is extremely well written and well researched. Not only does she depict the harsh realities of war, but the emotional turmoil and pain of the soldiers and the Afghan population innocently caught in the war. It was also very interesting to read about the important role Military Working Dogs played in the US Marines’ war against the Taliban insurgents. I highly recommend this book and give it a full five stars!”
5 Stars Amazon Australia Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 31 July 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
“This is a very exciting, moving and well written book about war in Afghanistan. Although I didn’t serve there, as an ex Airborne Engineer and veteran of many IED search teams, I especially appreciated the amount of research that went into making the story as true to life as possible. Would highly recommend this excellent book. ”
If you're looking for a page-turning read look no further than Silent Heroes by @PatFurstenberg It brings us to a land where girls and women are punished for reading books. One girl in particular must fight for survival after her mother is murdered by the Taliban.#IndieBooksPromo
If you're looking for a page-turning read look no further than Silent Heroes by @PatFurstenberg It brings us to a land where girls and women are punished for reading books. One girl in particular must fight for survival after her mother is murdered by the Taliban.#IndieBooksPromo
“The premise of this story is fantastic! I went through a whole variety of emotions. The research into the Afghan culture, as well as the American war dogs, is like none other. The historical aspect was brilliantly done. I loved the characters. They all had special stories within the story as a whole. The setting made me feel as though I were there. Absolutely delightful telling.” (Amazon Kindle Unlimited Reader)
Have you read “Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for” yet? I would love to hear your thoughts.
I still remember attending my first lecture on symbolism . My own studies were as far from literature and art as the moon is from the man who occupies it.
I was studying medical dentistry when a friend and I went to the University of History and Art to attend a lecture on symbolism in art. It was late one evening when we opened the massive door leading to a cosmic-size amphitheater packed with excited faces.
Used to look at dead bodies laying on an autopsy table, to squint inside them while trying to discern the shriveled femoral nerve from the already gray artery, I was struck by the excitement short-circuiting everyone attending the lecture and the amount of information hidden in plain view, underneath layers of colorful paint.
I was hooked and, although I may not have earned a degree in art, the keen interest in symbolism has sipped into my pores for good.
Was symbolism introduced in “Silent Heroes” intentionally?
On writing “Silent Heroes” I did not plan to include symbolism. It wasn’t a voluntary act, like research had been, or plotting the outline of the story, building my characters. Including symbolical elements was a work of my sly subconscious mind. It’s been the work of my cerebellum, you can say. Anatomy having its own play over art.
I do not expect readers to pick up on the symbolism used or to interpret it in the same way. I think this is very much connected to how our minds are wired. Some of us see things that others don’t, because they are not important to them. I does not mean that the first group hallucinates, or that the second group is inattentive.
Has symbolism in “Silent Heroes” been consciously manipulated at any stage during the writing process?
Now, this would imply that, at some stage during the writing of “Silent Heroes“, I picked up on some symbols introduced in the story-line. Which I did. Once I became conscious of the implications these symbolism will have on the narrative, I kept developing that thread. I did not removed it, since it was introduced organically and not voluntarily.
I felt that if I will remove the symbols, the story will be less rich, the characters, at least some of them, will lose their credibility. And myself, as a writer, will lose the passion for the telling of the story of these “Silent Heroes“, passion that had fueled me for over two years.
Can other symbols be discovered in “Silent Heroes”?
Other symbols, besides the ones my subconscious mind placed and my conscious mind picked up? I believe so, as I trust the reader’s creative minds as well as the connection I hope they will establish this book.
Is symbolism for real?
Is air real? Is the language we speak real? Is the sky blue? Humans have a innate ability and desire for creating things out of nothing. Buildings out of dust, worlds out of words, art out of dreams.
And humans also need to communicate. Writers communicate through their books. Language itself is a symbolic form of communication. Symbols used by artists, and therefore by writers, are placed – subconsciously or not – to help channel the results of their work. The end product. Much like a painter creating a portrait, an architect, a building that lasts, writers stir their stories using symbols, where appropriate.
The journey a writer takes when creating a book is anchored in his dreams and imagination, but it is stirred by the hidden symbolism which is also a product of his own mind.
Images of symbolism in “Silent Heroes” *****SPOILER ALERT*****
You could skip the very short, last paragraph, and return to it after reading “Silent Heroes”.
Some of the symbols found in “Silent Heroes” are:
The blue bird.
The book in the dust.
The Afghan garden.
What do they symbolize?
I suggest you don’t go past this point if you haven’t read“Silent Heroes” yet. First read the book, then return and see if your thoughts and mine converge.
To me, the blue bird symbolizes the spirit of Emma’s mother, as well as hope in another chance for happiness. A reminder that hope exists, no matter what situation we find ourselves in.
The book in the dust symbolizes the disrespect for human life and human wrights. Books are a well of wisdom and the product of hard, assiduous work. They don’t belong in the dirt, just like human life does not.
Qala-e-Bost Fortress symbolizes the upright spirit of the Afghan people, still standing after centuries of wars and oppression. And just like the people of Afghanistan, through its architecture, it is deeply rooted in its land, drawing strength from it.
Poppy flowers are both a symbol of the blood spilled in Afghanistan and of the never-ending struggle for survival of the Afghan people. Poppies are extremely resilient, they can grow under harsh weather conditions, although they look so fragile. But poppies are also deadly plants in the sense that farming them caught so many innocent souls in the loop of poverty and addiction.
The Afghan Garden symbolizes Heaven and hope in a land devastated by wars. Just as Heaven transcends all spirits and gods, being present in all religions, all people, no matter of their religion, sex or skin color, are equal in the eyes of God.
Have you discovered other symbols after reading “Silent Heroes“? Tell me about them, I’d love to hear from you.
The old claim that a dog is one’s best friend is validated through historical records, be it art, folklore or books. Yet it requires no proof to anyone lucky enough to enjoy the company of a dog in modern day’s society. The stories and the inspiration behind art such as this is what fuels my writing.
I invite you to travel with me through a fast-paced, awe-inspiring journey from the past’s “once upon a time” to the 20th century illustrating the human-dog bond.
More to come in the following weeks on the astounding role dogs, these silent heroes, played during the Great War, World War II, the Vietnam Wat, and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as what it takes to become a Military Working Dog.
How dogs helped the human brain to evolve
There isn’t a shadow of a doubt that, at some stage during their passing on this planet, humans decided to domesticate wolves (the grey wolf). Why they did it, choosing a breed they will have to compete against for food, is mysterious enough to feed the imagination of many writers.
Perhaps domesticating the cunning foxes failed or it was the super-olfactory ability of dogs that triggered the human determination. Or was it all a coincidence? Theories speak of more than one time when human attempted to domesticate dogs, starting as far as 20 000 – 32 000 years ago. What is certain is that the canines evolutionary journey from wolves to dogs happened simultaneously with the human’s development of speech (about 150 000 years ago). The time when our ancestors’ acute olfactory capabilities began to diminish, their brain accommodating the extra neural synapses and cortex area dedicated to verbal communication.No wonder that dogs , with their super-olfactory ability, looked, all of a sudden, so much more appealing to have as companions. Not mentioning the cuteness of their puppies.
Footprints in the Chauvet Cave: a child and his dog
Chauvet Cave located in the southern France is renowned as the site of some of the world’s oldest mural paintings, and not only. At the back of the cave the soil and rock have preserved the footprints of a small child (estimated at about 1,4 m height and 8-10 years old) walking beside a dog. The trace is 45 meters long, enough for scientists to analyze and conclude that the child was walking and not running. What is amazing is that the prints he left show that at some stage the child slipped in the soft clay and that at some stage he stopped to clean his torch (proven by the stain of charcoal left behind). Alongside the child’s footprints are those of a large dog or a wolf friend.
Dogs in Mesopotamia: The Epic of Gilgamesh
I still remember learning n school about oldest piece of epic world
literature, written c. 2150 – 1400 BCE – that is 1500 years before Homer even
put pen on paper.
It explores a theme as old as humankind, he quest for the meaning of life.
Dogs are mentioned and shown their importance in everyday life: they are the
companions of one of the most popular goddesses of the region, the goddess
Innana (Ishtar). She travels with seven prized hunting dogs in collar and
Dogs in Mahabharata, the longest epic poem ever written
Also from school (who would have thought?) I remember the Mahabharata as
being one of the most important texts of ancient Indian and world literature.
Written 400 BCE the Mahabharata features a dog that might have been an Indian Pariah Dog.
“The dog must come with me,” said Yudhisthira “That is not possible,” said Indra. “All cannot attain heaven. The dog is old and thin and has no value.” “In that case, I do not seek heaven, “replied Yudhisthira. “The dog was my faithful companion and I cannot abandon it. It sought my help and gave me unconditional love. The pleasures of heaven will mean nothing to me in comparison to its grief. It has done nothing to deserve abandonment and had none of the weaknesses of my wife and brothers. If it does not deserve to go to heaven, then neither do I.”
More proof that dogs have been part of human life before they were even mentioned in written is depicted by art. Plenty of canines decorations are found in temples, mosaics, artifacts, paintings from all over the world.
The Colima Dog
One of the first tangible proofs of human-dog interaction is the Colima Dog, West Mexico, dating to the Late Formative Period (300 BC-300 AD). Art often represented themes important to the culture: weddings, children’s births, and royal feasts. Made of terracotta (earth) clay burned in an oven, the Colima Dog shows a hairless dogs symbolizing both life and death themes, through its association with the places where he was found, near food (grains) remains and graves.
Dogs in antiquity: China
I feel I should mention dogs in ancient China because modern dog’s DNA analysis shows that all present dog breeds stem from the grey wolf in China that was tamed around 16 000 years ago. At the same time wild rice was used extensively, agriculture developed and first villages appeared. Furthermore, the Chinese honored the dogs for thousands of years. Remember that Dog is one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. People born under this sign are said to be loyal, trustworthy, and kind, qualities often associated with the dog. There is a lovely Chinese saying translating in:
‘a dog would not mind if its master is poor, a son would not mind if his mother is ugly.’
Let’s skip past sacrifices and dogs as a food source.
The Dog from Pompeii
Pompeii was an ancient Roman city near modern-day Naples, in Campania,
Southern Italy. It became renowned after Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, burying
the city and its inhabitants in 4 to 6m of ash and pumice. Today Pompeii is a
precious, well-preserved archeological site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A dog mosaic was found in “The House of the Tragic Poet” – proof of the Pompeian love and appreciation for canines.
“CAVE CANEM” = BEWARE OF THE DOG
A Roman dog footprint, a Greek pot and a dog cameo
I particularly love this dog footprint on a Roman terracotta, next to a statuette of a dog displayed in Vidy Roman Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland. I think it depicts the human’s affection and longing towards his departed dog.
This typical Leagros Group artwork of the 6th century Greek art is striking. And it depicts the close relationship between men, dogs and horses. So much is said with the use of only a few colors.
In the Georgian National Museum there is this Roman cameo of a dog. It looks
like it is carved in stone with an oval frame hand made out of ceramic and,
perhaps, sealed with gold. I love the dog’s playful pose. It tells of his
comfortable life. Romans appreciated the dogs for their fidelity. I wonder if
the woman wearing this cameo led a happy life.
Did you know that the Greeks were the first to carve stone in relief, in fifth century B.C., the antecedents of cameos? The carving principles they implemented are still in use today.
Dogs frolicking in The Wedding Feast at Cana
Fast forward to the 16th century and I want to mention The Wedding Feast at Cana (1563), by the Italian artist Paolo Veronese because I got to see it with my own eyes.
Don’t be out off by its size (70 m², taking Veronese 15 months to paint it – and not alone). It tells a beautiful biblical story of the Marriage at Cana, at which Jesus converts water to wine. Plus there are dogs painted right in the center (it is said the painter himself is the one in white, holding the viola)
and one other dog is in the left.
Notice how Jesus is placed in the center of the wedding feast? The bride and groom are at the left end of the table. Jesus performed his first miracle at Cana, turning water into wine.
Finally, a 16th century book on dogs!
“Lawes of the Forrest” by John Manwood is a book with a full 141 words title. The book was first published for private circulation in 1592. The 1598 edition is the oldest book in the library of London’s Kennel Club—the “biggest library of books about dogs” in Europe.
Apparently during the 16th century was easier to keep “little dogs”. For greyhounds or mastiffs one needed special hunting license issued by the king! Talk about bureaucracy.
Gaugan’s puppies and Dogs Playing Poker
We’ll sail past the 19th century “Life with Three Puppies” by Paul Gauguin, inspired by Japanese prints and children’s book illustrations. Just look at those tails!
I hope you will have a good laugh at this American artwork that came shortly after Gaugain’s: “Dogs Playing Poker” by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, 19th to 20th century. Dogs do observe human faces and often copy us – any dog lover knows.
While other pets and animals have undergone substantial changes in the way they are perceived throughout history dogs have endured the marks of wars and joys alongside humans, as constant companions, protectors and, of course, friends, as we have seen portrayed by the art of various cultures around the world.
I hope you will return to find out more about the way dogs and humans have faced together the many wars of the 20th and the 21st century.
My latest book is‘Silent Heroes’, a highly emotional read, action-packed, a vivid story of enormous sacrifice and bravery that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is a book extremely well researched, with authentic details and an epic sense of the place. The war and the military involved, Marines and dogs, are described with reverence, as are the civilians caught in the middle of the fire.
Enjoy a free preview of the first chapters from my new book, Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting For.
‘Silent Heroes’ is a highly emotional read, action-packed, a vivid story of enormous sacrifice and bravery.
‘Silent Heroes’ is a book about:
military working dogs and their Marine handlers,
love, family, values, memories,
friendship and sacrifice,
surviving the day using humor,
contemporary war, choices,
mountains, architecture, fortresses.
Read the free preview below:
When Talibans descends in the village of Nauzad and discover girls can read, a woman accepts the blame and is killed on the spot for breaking the Islam law. Her teenage daughter witnesses the sacrifice and swears revenge, her life and that of her brother becoming intertwined with those of the US Marines serving at FOB Day nearby. But the Taliban is infiltrated everywhere and friends or foes are hard to differentiate.
The U.S. Marines fight with bravery to protect the civilians of Nauzad and to fend off the Taliban at Qala-e-Bost, thus protecting Bost Airport, a vital strategic point for the allies. Faced with questions about the necessity of the war, with the trauma of losing their platoon-mates and the emotional scars of battle, the US Marines race against time in one last battle of eradicating the Taliban before it is too late.
The War in Afghanistan is a contemporary, vitally
important conflict whose meaning needs to be understood by the public
worldwide. ‘Silent Heroes’ is a narrative about the value of life and
the necessity of combat; the terror of dying; the ordeal of seeing your
loved ones and your platoon-mates killed in front of your eyes; the
trauma of taking a human life.
Read about very well trained MWDs, military working dogs, capable of detecting the smallest traces of explosives, working in the extreme weather condition environments, under the stressful battlefield situations that is the War in Afghanistan. Smart and agile, at the end of the day what these dogs are looking forward to is the close bond they developed with their handlers, which call themselves the dog’s partners, brothers, daddies.
*’Silent Heroes’ is the ideal read for the fans of ‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘Dear John’!*
My new book “Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting For”, a work of fiction two years in the making and inspired by the lives of the brave US Marines fighting in Afghanistan, of their faithful Military Working Dogs and the lives of the unbelievable Afghan people, will be released very soon.
COVER REVEAL coming soon. Watch this space!
Here is a very short sample of my thoughts on war, dogs, life and love. The passages below might or might not be included in the book.
“The Marine’s chest was a vacuum, as if no oxygen was left for him. Leaning over the dog’s warm neck he allowed the clouds that loomed all day to seal away any reasoning left and he let it all out, failure, anger, fear, the dog’s body shivering with his own.”
“In a life threatening war situation, a dog handler cannot just stop caring for his dog. He cannot remove his heart from his chest just like the dog cannot stop looking at his human friend without love shining through his eyes. Trust is their bond. “
“War memories linger past the healing of a scar or the mending of a bone. They creep from the depths of your sleep with the roar of a gun or the face of a departed friend. Only his dog understood him, she’d been there too. “
” When a dog watches you, your suit or hairstyle don’t matter, but the smile on your face and the love in your heart. A soldier sharing his food with stray dogs in Afghanistan. “
“Dogs need so little to be happy: food, water, good shelter, love. Humans too.”
“Feeding him was a mess, his eager tail and paws ending just as dirty as his mouth, half his food spilled. But he was worth his weight in gold, the puppy was. For he was a bundle of love and giggles and bedtime bliss that overshadowed the dad lost at war.”
” The great fortress of Bost, Qala-e-Bost, overlooked with pride the Helmand River for centuries. Able to resist a sun spitting yellow venom, it yielded to a war-cursed history.”
Drie populêre kinderboeke, nou beskibaar in Afrikaans. Helder en kleurvolle illustrasies en beminlike karakters wat opwindende avonture deel. Vir kinders en ouers om saam te geniet.
I am a big fan of Patricia and her style of writing. She certainly knows how to capture the imagination.
Mandie Griffiths, Book Reviewer
Die Leeu en die Hond
Hierdie gedig was geïnspereer deur die ware verhaal van Bonedigger, die gestremde leeu en Milo die vriendelike worshond wat bewys het dat vriendskap geen grense ken nie.
“Ek hou van die mooi boodskappe van vriendskap, geloof, optimisme, en vriendelikheid oorgedra deur middel van hierdie verhaal. Die illustrasies is wonderlik en hulle gee duidelikheid aan die konsep en die outeur se woorde. Wat ‘n pragtige storie vir ouers om voor te lees vir kinders en kinders te help om die ware betekenis van vriendskap te verstaan en hoe dit geen grense ken nie!”
Die Olifant en die Skaap
Hierdie gedig was geïnspereer deur die ware verhaal van Themba, ‘n ses- maande-ou weesolifant wat aangemeem is deur Albert die skaap. Die twee vriende woon in ‘n natuurreservaat in Suid Afrika.
“We both liked the illustrations. They are colorful and cute.I really liked the message that Furstenberg put into this story. It is one that children need to learn at an early age. I recommend this book for anyone with young children.” 5* Readers’ Favorite Review for the English Edition
Die Jagluiperd en die Hond
Hierdie gedig was geïnspereer deur die ware verhaal van Kasi, ‘n wees jagluiperd mannietjie, en Mtani, ‘n Labrador tefie, wat ‘n merkwaardige vriendskap gesmee het en lewenslank vriende gebly het…
“An important and beautiful story for little readers. A book parents should read to their children, not only because it’s pretty and cute, but to also encourage children to learn about the little things that matter from our four legged companions.” 5 Stars Review of the English Edition by Rebecca Evans, Reviewer
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Dieses Gedicht wurde von der wahren Geschichte eines sechs Monate alten Elefanten namens Themba – ein Waisenkind – geprägt. Themba wurde von einem Schaf namens Albert adoptiert. Die beiden Freunde leben in einem Naturschutzgebiet in Südafrika.
“Zwei kleine Schwänze trafen sich eines Tages, beide vor Freude strahlend, Rein zufällig, unter heißen Sonnenstrahlen. “Hallo,” einer wedelte; der andere wackelte, “lass uns spielen!” Sie sahen einander nicht ähnlich, aber sie waren beide grau. “Ja, zusammenspielen!” Einer hatte trampelnde Füße; der andere war kleiner, aber feiner. Das eine Lächeln war hoch. Der Mund des anderen war viel kleiner.”
Dieses Gedicht wurde von der wahren Geschichte von Bonedigger, dem behinderten Löwen, und Milo, dem freundlichen Dackel, geprägt. Sie bewiesen, dass Freundschaft keine Grenzen kennt.
Im Herzen eines … Zoos, so wird gesagt, Dass ein Löwe und ein Hund oft ihr Brot teilten. Wie wunderbar! Und die Nachricht verbreitete sich schnell: “So eine unglaubliche Freundschaft!” Kaum zu glauben, dass ein Löwe und ein Hund Freunde sein könnten. “Sie sind nicht die gleiche Rasse,” sagten alle. “Das ist ein Märchen!”
Dieses Gedicht wurde von einer wahren Geschichte geprägt. Kasi war ein männlicher Gepard – ein Waisenkind; Mtani eine Labradorhündin. Die beiden schlossen eine bemerkenswerte Freundschaft und blieben lebenslange Freunde.
Zwei nasse Nasen trafen sich eines Tages, zufällig. Jeder von ihnen war auf einer anderen Spur. Rein zufällig … Die Sonne stand hoch, der Tag war heiß. Sobald der Staub wirbelte, konnte man nichts sehen, alles das Gleiche! Das sind Afrikas wilde Ebenen, Mit langen, heißen Sommern und Geschichten von Schwänzen.
Have you read any of these books? I would like to hear your thoughts!
There is something
magical about attending a theatre production. It is a thrilling experience
being immersed in a story evolving right before your very eyes, on the stage. Forget
special effects; welcome instead the sound of feet on a wooden board and the masterful
use of primary tools: voice, facial expressions, body language.
The actors on a stage
have large gestures and welcoming body motions. They reel you in, welcome you
into their stage life – their open life. Come, see, live – their hands say.
Tune in, listen closely – their voices whisper. Have you taken it all in? Are
you sure you caught each detail? Their eyes beckon us.
A theatre experience presents
us with raw life, but through a looking glass: every detail shows, every detail
counts. Theatre is life in its distilled form, pure and flavorful. Come with
us, share this experience we offer so willingly. Forget your troubled life;
maybe even find an answer you didn’t know you were looking for, on our stage.
The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie
is a chiseled locked-room mystery: a group of strangers gathered in a country house cut off by the snowstorm discover that one of them is a murderer.
Death IS present in
the play, coming from a desire for revenge, but not overpowering. The search
for justice, the desire to solve the murder is the force that moves the play
forward – even if the murderer proves to be sympathetic through life circumstances
and mitigating reasons.
What is real and what is not? Find out by
yourself, it is theatre and the work of Agatha Christie, after all.
A word of advice: patrons attending the St Martin’s production are asked to tip their cab driver on arrival – a bad tip usually means that the cabby will shout the murderer’s name and speed off.
In theatre there are
no second chances, second takes or cuts – and for this I truly admire its
In the South African Pieter Toerien Productions of The Mousetrap:
I loved the passionate interpretation of Melissa Haiden as Mollie Ralston, the frank way in which Mark Sykes performed the role of Giles Ralston, the epic rendition of Matthew Lotter as Christopher Wren, the stellar appearance of Michele Maxwell in Mrs. Boyle, the virtuoso performance of Malcolm Terrey as Major Metcalf, the mature interpretation of Shannyn Fourie in Miss Casewell, the colorful performance of West End Star Mark Wynter as Mr Paravicini as well as the meticulous character Aiden Scott instilled in Detective Sergeant Trotter.
Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre 24 January – 3 March Performances: Wed – Fri at 20h00, Sat at 16h00 and 20h00, Sun at 15h00 Tickets: R100, R150, R200, R240 Computicket or Theatre Box Office 011 511 1818
Interesting facts about The Mousetrap:
The Mousetrap is the longest-running play in the history of London’s West End. In 2019 the production headed into its 68th year at the St. Martin’s Theatre. Since 6 October 1952 the play has reached well over 27,000 performances.
The Mousetrap was initially performed as a radio play in 1952 and was broadcast by the BBC with the title Three Blind Mice. The radio play had been commissioned in 1947 by Queen Mary, who was a Christie fan. There is no tape of that broadcast known to exist. The forty-five minute play was based on a short story on which Christie had been working. Due to the extremely warm welcome by the audience, Christie elaborated the script. Its first performance was on October 6, 1952, when The Mousetrap became a stage play.
There is still an original cast member in each production: recording of a radio broadcast the play opens with. The voice belongs to English actor Deryck Guyler who, thus, has ‘appeared’ in every UK showing of The Mousetrap to date…
Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila
Sims starred in the original production.
Most of its sound cues – wind, bells, slamming doors – are created live backstage.
The Mousetrap has never been adapted in any other format.
Christie signed over the royalties from the play to her grandson, Mathew Prichard, at its opening in 1952.
Agatha Christie made her last public appearance at The Mousetrap in 1974, age 84.
Each performance ends with one actor from the company addressing the audience: “Now you have seen The Mousetrap you are our partners in crime, and we ask you to preserve the tradition by keeping the secret of whodunit locked in your heart“. Have you watched it? If so, we are “partners in crime”.
15 Biographies And Memoirs Of Amazing African Women
What makes a woman amazing? Is it in the way she dominates a boardroom, or the way in which she commands a room full of people when she walks in? Is it the way her mouth curls at the corners when she smiles, or the way she holds herself up even when she is tired? Or perhaps it is the way she picks herself up when life has knocked her over? Maybe it’s the way she makes us feel when we are around her, giving us inspiration and strength?
Here are 15 biographies and memoirs by amazing African women to inspire you this Mother’s Day — and any other day of the year.
1. Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou was U.S. poet, singer, memoirist and civil rights activist best known for her seven autobiographies focusing on her childhood and early adult experiences.
“‘Mom & Me & Mom’ is delivered with Angelou’s trademark good humour and fierce optimism. If any resentments linger between these lines, if lives are partially revealed without all the bitter details exposed, well, that is part of Angelou’s forgiving design. As an account of reconciliation, this little book is just revealing enough, and pretty irresistible.” – The Washington Post
This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s First Woman President
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was born in Monrovia, moved to the United States to further her career at Harvard University and returned to Liberia. She was the 24th president of Liberia, 2006-2018.
In this stirring memoir, Sirleaf shares the story of her rise to power, including her early childhood; her experiences with abuse, imprisonment, and exile; and her fight for democracy and social justice.
She reveals her determination to succeed in multiple worlds, from her studies in the U.S. to campaigning in some of Liberia’s most desperate and war-torn villages and neighbourhoods. It is the tale of an outspoken political and social reformer who fought the oppression of dictators and championed change. By telling her story, Sirleaf encourages women everywhere to pursue leadership roles at the highest levels of power and gives us all hope that we can change the world.
The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper
Helene Cooper is a Liberian-born American journalist and the Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times. She received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for coverage of the 2014 Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.
“‘The House at Sugar Beach’ is a deeply personal memoir and an examination of a violent and stratified country. The House at Sugar Beach tells of tragedy, forgiveness, and transcendence with unflinching honesty and a survivor’s gentle humour.” (Simon and Schuster)
4. On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker by A’Lelia Perry Bundles
“On Her Own Ground” is the first full-scale, definitive biography of Madam C. J. Walker — the legendary African-American entrepreneur and philanthropist — by her great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles. “On Her Own Ground” is about a woman who is truly an African-American icon. The book is enriched by the author’s exclusive access to personal letters, records and never-before-seen photographs from the family collection.</
Brutal Legacy: A Memoir by Tracy Going
Tracy Going is an award-winning former TV and radio news anchor.
“It’s for every mother who has run, every sister who has picked up the pieces and every friend who hasn’t fled. It’s for every brother who’s cried and for the children who have watched. Every South African should read it.” – Sisonke Msimang, author of “Always Another Country”.
Reflecting Rogue, Inside the mind of a feminist by Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola
Pumla Dineo Gqola is a gender activist, award-winning author and full professor of African literature at Wits University.
In her most personal book to date, written from classic Gqola anti-racist, feminist perspectives, “Reflecting Rogue” delivers 20 essays of deliciously incisive brain food, all extremely accessible to a general critical readership, without sacrificing intellectual rigour.
Cancer: A love story by Lauren Segal
Lauren Segal is a South African author and museum curator.
“Cancer: A Love Story” is the intimately searing memoir of a four-time cancer survivor. The book breathlessly tracks Lauren’s journey coming to terms with the untold challenges of the dreaded disease. But in the midst of her lonely horror, in a quest for deeper meaning, Lauren discovers the unexpected gift of awareness of unanticipated opportunities that cancer presents — to confront her unmasked humanity; her fears, strengths and weaknesses.
Country of My Skull by Antjie Krog
Antjie Krog is a South African poet, journalist, academic, and writer, the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2018 Gouden Ganzenveer (the golden goose feather), being the first non-Dutch speaking recipient.
“Country of My Skull” captures the complexity of the Truth Commission’s work. The narrative is often traumatic, vivid, and provocative. Krog’s powerful prose lures the reader actively and inventively through a mosaic of insights, impressions, and secret themes. This compelling tale is Antjie Krog’s profound literary account of the mending of a country that was in colossal need of change.
Selected Stories by Nadine Gordimer
Nadine Gordimer is a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was recognised as a woman “who through her magnificent epic writing has been of very great benefit to humanity” (Alfred Nobel).
In stories written over a period of thirty years, individuals caught up in racial and other South African tensions choose or fall victim to visions and fears of freedom and change.
Nervous Conditions, semi-autobiographical by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Tsitsi Dangarembga is a Zimbabwean author and filmmaker.
Nervous Conditions” was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1989 and is regarded as a significant contribution to African feminism and post-colonialist narratives.
The semi-autobiographical novel focuses on the story of a Rhodesian family in post-colonial Rhodesia during the 1960s. The novel attempts to illustrate the dynamic themes of race, class, gender, and cultural change during the post-colonial conditions in the country that is now Zimbabwe.
The Aya Series by Marguerite Abouet
Marguerite Abouet is an Ivorian writer of graphic novels best known for her Aya series.
The series is one of the few works of postcolonial African fiction that focuses almost entirely on the middle class. Although not entirely autobiographical, the story is based on the author’s life in Côte d’Ivoire. It was adapted into a critically acclaimed animated film, “Aya de Youpougon”.
Prison Diary by Fatima Meer
Fatima Meer is a South African writer, academic, screenwriter, and prominent anti-apartheid activist.
This diary, written by an anti-apartheid activist during her incarceration in the Old Fort in Johannesburg in 1976, begins with her arrest and ends after her release and arrival back in Durban. Details about living conditions, treatment by female guards and visits with her daughters are provided. Her 113 days in captivity are recounted, including how she the practised her Muslim faith and read the Quran.
Eyebags & Dimples by Bonnie Henna Bonnie Mbuli was born in Soweto, South Africa.”From child star to mother and wife. From abuse to transcendence. From public figure to piercing private pain. ‘Eyebags & Dimples’ is a portrait of a woman healing by owning every part of who she is. Bonnie’s bravery and vulnerability exemplify the kind of new personal narratives that will inspire the women of South Africa to self-reflect, reclaim and change the emotional status quo of our lives as well as that of our society.” – Lebo Mashile
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Publication date: November 13 2018 — we’re promised an intimate, powerful and inspiring memoir by the former first lady of the U.S.
Winnie Mandela: A Life, by Anne Mare du Preez Bezdrob
Everyone has an opinion about Winnie Mandela, and usually a strong one. She has been adored, feared and hated more than any other woman in South African history. But few people know much about the life behind the headlines, myths and sound-bites. This biography is an in-depth and intimate look at Winnie Mandela’s personal and political life and takes the reader on a remarkable journey of understanding.
My new book As Good as Gold, A dog’s life in poems was released just a few weeks ago as eBook and paperback and it enjoyed many wonderful blogger’s attention during a five day powerful and uplifting blog tour.
Here are some of lovely comments As Good as Gold received:
“I have a confession to make. I’m not much of a dog lover. I’m more a cat person so I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy As Good As Gold, celebrating dogs. I needn’t have worried. I thoroughly enjoyed this charming collection of verse and as a result of reading it I think I understand dogs so much better.” @Lindahill50Hill on her blog,Linda’s Book Bag
“Patricia has caught the canine personality beautifully in her poems.” @LoveBooksGroup on Love Books Group blog.
“We enjoyed reading through all the poems and seeing the adorable pup photos with each one.” @J_Mischenkoblogging at Read Rant RockAndRoll
“These are beautiful poems to be read with a child, by a child or as a pet loving adult. There is something for everyone to relate to.” @susanhampson57 on her blog Books From Dusk Till Dawn
“a lovely book. I think it would appeal to any dog lover or animal lover, children and adults alike.” @ShortBookScribe blogging at Short Book And Scribes
“Many people are put off poetry as they find it inaccessible and this is why this book of poems is such a pleasure to read, each one uses words and images we all know.” @Walescrazy on her blog Books Are My Cwtches
“I always enjoy reading Patricia’s books not just because they centre on dogs but because she always manages to capture their personality as they grow and find their way.” @mgriffiths163 for @JenMedBkReviews blogging at JenMedsBookReviews
“My favourite poem is “As Pink as a Puppy’s Tongue” because it has a pug in it and pugs are my favourite dog. This is a very good book.” review by a young boy reader at @x2mum on blogmumjd
“I particularly liked the haikus at the end. It’s quite a challenge to write a haiku with its strict rules but the author has managed this beautifully with each a small complete story and still from a puppy’s point of view.” @portybelle blogging at Portobello Bookblog
“This book is a pure delight to read! It is uplifting, positive and a pleasure to read and as a dog lover it warmed my heart” @dmmaguire391 blogging at Donnasbookblog
“All of these poems are so incredible and I truly hope that readers everywhere will check out this new release by Patricia Furstenberg. She continues to prove herself as an outstanding writer and her words truly make the world a happier and more beautiful place!” @jenthomason1109 on her blog Dandelions Inspired Blog
“I really enjoyed seeing all things from snowflakes and autumn leaves, to other creatures in the garden, through all these dog’s eyes. What we consider normal and everyday for our puppies and our older dogs, may not be so ordinary and normal. Maybe we could learn from the excitement of our dogs, a new “wonder” in all the things around us.”@Haydnsgrammiefor @ReviewThisSites at Review This Reviews
“this could be easily used in a classroom reading a poem a day and using this as a discussion to talk about feelings and emotions too. Children will love seeing the world through a puppies eyes .” @ggilly47on her blog gilly918
“My little girl loves dogs so she really enjoyed listening to the poems as they really were lots of fun and designed to make you smile. Then there is the lovely addition of photos of both dogs and puppies that we both loved” @Rae_Reads1blogging at raereads1.blogspot
“I’d recommend As Good as Gold to fans of poetry and books about dogs in general. It’s a great read for people of all ages.” @pixyjazz on her blog Book Reviews By Jasmine
“The well-written poems with vivid imagery are enjoyable, entertaining, and uplifting. This brilliant poetry book is one that dog-lover parents and their children will not want to miss.” @singlibbooks on her blog Singing Librarian Books
“This is a charming collection of ‘doggy’ verse with an extensive range of other animals and nature included, as well as some delightful haiku at the end.” @JuliaThumWrites blogging at Julia Thum
You can purchase As Good as Gold from Amazon worldwide:
Susan Day is also the head of the Enthralled Magazine, “put together by a bunch of authors, writers and graphic designers who have a passion for sharing everything and anything to do with writing”.
Susan, why did you create a magazine for authors and writers?
To be honest I was part of a group of authors who shared articles each month in what was loosely called a magazine. However, the end product was very disappointing. It was difficult to read because it was just a web page with a black background and white writing. There was no opportunity for authors to share links to their websites, social media or their books.
I thought there must be a better way of doing this. I had seen online magazines and once the idea began to grow and develop it picked up momentum. After a lot of research, and positive encouragement from other authors, I put together the first issue in January 2018.
I wanted to create a place for writers and authors to share their experiences. I wanted them to be able to feel safe to share how they felt about their publishing experience, and to celebrate what it means to be a writer and an author.
Like many ideas the name for the magazine seem to come from nowhere. However, it just seem to be the perfect word for the writing and reading experience. Authors and writers are enthralled with their work, they have deep relationships with their characters and an even deeper emotional connection with the story itself.
As well, readers are often enthralled by the story they are reading. How many times have you heard of readers say I couldn’t put this down I had to keep reading until the end. Some people said the magazine should have a name that reflects its readership, “authors” or “writers” for example.
I wanted this magazine to have a name that encapsulated all that was wonderful and creative about the writing process oh, and of course the experience of reading a fabulous book, poem or story.
Is Enthralled a magazine for authors and writers only to share their stories and poems?
Enthralled magazine was created for authors and writers to share their experiences. It’s more a platform for sharing knowledge and technical skills. For example, we are currently running a four-part series on topics authors can blogger about. Other articles include how one author’s book is being turned into a movie – that’s in issue one. Also, how one famous Australian author plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his book – that’s in issue two.
There are some stories and poems which add to the diversity of the content of the magazine.
As well, each year I hope to create a special edition of Enthralled magazine that celebrates the creative talents of how authors and writers. This will be a bumper issue that will include stories and poems only. It will not have any articles.
For this year the theme is simply the colour blue. Anyone who is interested in contributing is welcome to contact me all find more information by clicking this link – Blue Issue
I hope to achieve greater sharing of the power and intrigue writing and publishing provides to us all. Enthralled was created to give authors the power to share their knowledge and experiences. I hope in the future that it is shared and amongst of thousands of people because we all have a story to share and we can all learn from each other.
I also wanted to create something that was truly beautiful. Something that people would just love to read and treasure. Some people have call the magazine “brilliant” and “precious”. People have said that the images are stunning. I would take a long time choosing the images to match the articles and make sure they look amazing in the E magazine format.
Where can people see a copy and how much does it cost?
Enthralled magazine is free and costs nothing to access or share. It is supported by the generous donations of its readers, subscribers, and advertising. People can donate as little as they want. Donations and subscriptions are part of the generous culture I want to cultivate, and are more than just money offered to help pay for the running of the magazine.
At the moment, however, Enthralled magazine is more about sharing a passion for writing and a love of the written word. It’s also a great place to meet new authors and see what they are doing.
A lovely collaboration and friendship was born on Twitter. In July 2016 I met wonderful and talented Australian author Susan Day. Susan invited me to write a Guest Spot for her comprehensive blog Mypuppyclub “all you need for a happy, healthy, well-trained dog!”
What started as one blog post soon turned into my Sunday Dog Tales column as I wrote a post each Sunday until the 29th of April! 86 posts 🙂
It gives me great pleasure to share with you the chat I had with lovely Jessie Cahalin best known as the original, highly creative and ever so supportive of all authors @BooksInHandbag. Jessie just released her debut novel You Can’t Go It Alone, a book focusing on life through IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), love and the importance of music and friendship.
Here are my thoughts on You Can’t Go It Alone by Jessie Cahalin
Sophie and Jack are the main characters of this novel and the story opens as they just moved in Vine Cottage in the village of Delfryn. We soon discover that life for this young couple is not a “picture postcard” as Sophie dreams of, as they undergo a treatment of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). The emotional roller-coaster they both go through and the pressure it puts on their relationship are presented with feeling and in-depth knowledge.
Jack’s parents, Jeanie and Max and their camper nicknamed Molly, bring humor and, surprisingly, a lot of action into the story. They, too, have their own struggles. I enjoyed the positive shift in relationship between Sophie and her mother-in-law Jeanie.
Next door, in Dove Cottage, lives Ruby with her daughter Daisy and partner Dan. Ruby has to deal with her own personal struggles. We discover that, sometimes, by opening up to others, unexpected help comes when we most need it. Nearby is Rose Cottage where widower Jim Evans lives alone with his dog, Lassie. There are a few secrets here that burden his last days, but also unexpected, happy news.
The main setting for this novel is, however, The Olive Tree Café run by Italian descendants Rosa, her jealous husband Matteo and their talented daughter Olivia. Why is Matteo so suspicious of his wife and daughter? Is it only his Italian blood to blame? And what keeps Rosa’s spirits up?
As one character says: “Maybe all the secrets hide in each branch and they fall away with the leaves.”
My favorite character was Rosa. I liked her creativity, all the effort she put in her small yet chic cafe while making time for everyone, her dedication towards her husband (even since the times they were just engaged) and how she knew how to support her young daughter Olivia. I liked how she kept her heart young.
You Can’t Go It Alone is a novel that appeals to all the senses.
The nature comes alive through Cahalin’s picturesque descriptions: you feel the April breeze through your hair, the rain washing over your face only to be dried up by warm sunshine.
“As they neared Delfryn, the light vanished from between the lush green trees, and the grey sky absorbed the colour.”
You hear the sounds, thunder and laughter, billowing voices and a little girl’s giggles, soulful chitchat and women singing, happy clinking of cups and saucers mingled with guitar music, tires screeching, laughter and sobs. An innocent girl laughs as she skips along the pathway to her “Magic Garden” and you hear the pebbles under her shoes.
It is a book filled with fragrances too; rosemary and lavender, freshly grinded coffee and cocoa dust, the earthly scent of olive oil and sweet tomatoes on bruschetta; the scent of wet ground and leaves and the sterile, impersonal smells of hospital.
It is a book of memories and secrets, of what it could have been, of what it really happened but most of all of what the future holds for all the characters: hope. The importance of communication and of speaking the truth is intertwined with each character’s journey.
Just as in the opening line of You Can’t Go It Alone,
“As Sophie looked up at the sky, its vast blueness held endless possibilities.”
this novel is alive and filled with love, for each other and for life, and a zest for life. It is the perfect pick-me-up read, with warm, engaging characters, a gorgeous setting and unexpected situations, both sad and humorous.
For such an amazing novel setting I headed over to Jessie’s Blogger Cafe to discus her thoughts and dreams for this book.
Patricia: Jessie, we have been communicating for a year now and working together on my book launches. You seem happy and positive about life and we have developed such a special, supportive relationship. Can you capture your life in two sentences?
Jessie: I’m the proud author of You Can’t Go It Alone and creator of Books in my Handbag Blog. Life is great, and my only regret is not connecting with the bookish world earlier.
Patricia: How would you describe You Can’t Go It Alone and the central themes?
Jessie: You Can’t Go It Alone explores the impact secrets can have on relationships and pursuit of happiness. The themes of the novel are: love, infertility, bereavement, loneliness and literacy.
The reader is invited to the fictional Welsh village of Delfyn where you can gain a little taste of Italy while listening to the music.
Patricia: Identify one of the key emotional journeys in the novel.
Jessie: Through Sophie and Jack, I show how a couple struggles to deal with IVF while getting on with life. Surrounding the characters with other people meant I could integrate emotions, comments and situations faced by couples like Jack and Sophie. Moreover, I decided it was important to give the husband a voice and this is conveyed via a blog.
Patricia: You introduce women from different decades, explore differences in their opportunities, and move in and out of their lives. Can you explain this?
Rosa, the leading lady of the Olive Tree Café, must face issues in her marriage. Sophie, a teacher, helps others to communicate but struggles to communicate with her husband, Jack, about their IVF journey. Married in the seventies, Pearl struggles to pursue her dream.
Patricia: In your book you approach the medical and emotional struggles of a couple going through IVF proving that a lot of research went into it. Can you share how you went about researching for your book?
Jessie: The IVF journey is from personal experience. When writing the book, I did research fertility websites and records of our treatment. Over the years, I have also spoken with many women about the experience and have realised I was not alone. And, I am always happy to support others who are going through the treatment. In You Can’t Go It Alone, I wanted to covey the experience through characters placed in real situations; hopefully it will connect with the readers.
Patricia: Gosh, Jessie, I had no idea you went through IVF. Having just read Sophie’s story I do admire you so, your determination and strength… *hugs*
Which character was the closest to your heart?
Sophie’s struggle is close to my heart. I can connect with the frustration and anger she experiences. Sophie has worked through the anger at her situation and is learning how to count her blessings. I had to nudge her to think of her husband’s perspective as she had become a little self-involved, but she is a kind person who can’t stop helping others. Although Pearl has an absent presence, I also feel connected to her through Jim and may tell her story, in more detail, in the future.
Patricia: I would love to read a follow-up to You Can’t Go It Alone! Who would you like to read your book?
I hope the story will resonate with everyone and should appeal to anyone who likes a good story and real, flawed characters. Despite the heavier themes, it is a feel- good book and conveys my commitment to the simple things in life.
I hope the book would support to anyone who is going through IVF or is about to embark on the process. The novel has light-hearted moments and presents hope. As C. S. Lewis said, ‘We read to know we are not alone.’
Patricia: What do you do when you are not writing?
Jessie: When I am not writing, I adore walking, cooking and procrastinating. Walking helps me to sort out tangles in my narratives or blog posts. We live in an area where there are some impressive mountain treks and costal walks, and we also have beautiful castles on the doorstep.
Jessie Cahalin’s Biography:
Jessie is a word warrior, bookish and intrepid virtual explorer. She loves to entertain with stories, and is never seen without: her camera, phone, notebook and handbag. Having overcome her fear of self-publishing, Jessie is now living the dream of introducing the characters who have been hassling her for decades. Her debut novel, ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’, is a heart-warming tale about the challenges women still face in society. The novel has light-hearted moments and presents hope.
Jessie hails from Yorkshire, North England, but she loves to travel the world and collect cultural gems, like a magpie. She searches for happy endings, where possible, and needs great coffee, food and music to give me inspiration.
Connecting with authors via her Books in her Handbag Blog is a blast. She showcases authors’ books in the popular Handbag Gallery and has fun meeting authors in the virtual world. Fellow authors have deemed her ‘creative and quirky’ and she wears these words like a blogging badge of honour. The challenge is to get out there and meet the authors face to face. She has already set up a few interviews for June and have travel adventures planned.
Her debut novel showcased on the virtual red carpet and was supported by the wonderful bookish community. One day, she would dearly love to roll out the red carpet and host a huge book launch for indie authors.
About You Can’t Go It Alone
Love, music and secrets are woven together in this poignant, heart-warming narrative.
Set in a Welsh village, the story explores the contrast in attitudes and opportunities between different generations of women. As the characters confront their secrets and fears, they discover truths about themselves and their relationships.
The reader is invited to laugh and cry, with the characters, and find joy in the simple things in life. Listen to the music and enjoy the food, as you peek inside the world of the inhabitants of Delfryn.
Let Sophie show you that no one can go it alone. Who knows, you may find some friends with big hearts…
‘Jessie creates soulful connections between her characters and the reader. These relationships crescendo and blend until the reader is into the full depths of human nature. It’s not every day one finds a book they can’t put down. This is reserved for the undeniably human writer.’
There is something truly magical about this wonderful collection. Having read each poem, I love how every word celebrates our canine companions from the tip of their wet noses to the wag of their tails.
A super sweet and poignant book of poetry about what a pup thinks of his world; the objects and creatures in it, the sun, the moon, a snail, an owl, a pigeon, his human mommy and daddy, as he discovers what it is to be a puppy. As a cat lover I especially was tickled by his relationship to the cat. Any dog lover would adore this book. The photos were appealing. Haikus at the end were tiny diamonds.
If you’re a bibliophile or a film buff, 2018 is sure to put a spring in your step, as a large array of popular novels will come to theaters and televisions.
Between June and August, expect to be entertained by movies adapted from books hot off the bestseller list. From family and musicals to drama, comedy and horror, there is something for everyone — and still enough time to read one or two of the books on which these movies are based.
1. “On Chesil Beach” (based on the novel of the same name by Ian McEwan) – June 2018
What’s it about? In 1962 England, a young couple dates and marries in quick succession, but immediately runs into trouble on their honeymoon night.
Who’s in it? Saoirse Ronan, Emily Watson, Anne-Marie Duff
What’s it about? As Scott Lang balances being a superhero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.
Genre: Superhero, adventure, sci-fi
Who’s in it? Evangeline Lilly, Hannah John-Kamen, Paul Rudd
What’s it about? Seven years ago, and seven miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, Dr Jonas Taylor encountered something that changed the course of his life. Now he must confront his fears and return to the crushing depths to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.
Genre: Suspense, thriller, sea adventure
Who’s in it? Ruby Rose, Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson
5. “Asinamali” (based on the play of the same title by Mbongeni Ngema) – August 2018
What’s it about? Adapted from Mbongeni Ngema’s Broadway production of “Asinamali”. In the prison yard on Robben Island, a man named Nelson Mandela told Msizi Dube: “Go and do it for all of us, for all our people. So one day we may join you in a free South Africa.”
Who’s in it? Kevin White
6. “The Darkest Minds” (based on the novel of the same title by Alexandra Bracken) – August 2018
What’s it about? Imprisoned by an adult world that now fears everyone under 18, a group of teens form a resistance group to fight back and reclaim control over their future. For fans of “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games”.
Genre: Young adult, sci-fi, thriller
Who’s in it? Mandy Moore, Amandla Stenberg, Gwendoline Christie
7. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” (based on the novel of the same name by Mary Ann Schaffer) – August 2018
What’s it about? A writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island in the aftermath of World War II, when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.
Genre: Drama, historical, romance
Who’s in it? Lily James, Matthew Goode, Michiel Huisman
8. “Crazy Rich Asians” (based on the novel of the same title by Kevin Kwan) – August 2018
What’s it about? Three wealthy Chinese families prepare for the wedding of the year. When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
Genre: Comedy, romance
Who’s in it? Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding
9. “The Wife” (based on the novel of the same title by Meg Wolitzer) – August 2018
What’s it about? A wife questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. But behind the compromises, the disappointment and disillusionment, there lies a secret…
Who’s in it? Christian Slater, Elizabeth McGovern, Glenn Close