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#GirlCrush, Bookclub, Life

Nicole’s top book picks you won’t be able to put down

This month we had our February Book Club at my friend and colleague Nicole’s house (yes, the same Nicole whose beautiful floral dress I featured on clothes swop) This beautiful redhead, is currently the Special Projects Manager at Associated Media, and a former managing and beauty editor for ELLE South Africa. (read: has the most impeccable taste in whatever she buys – including books!) Sneak Peek asks her all about her latest paperback choices and more!

What books did you choose for Book Club this month and why? How do you go about choosing new books to read?

I was so excited when it finally came to my turn to choose books for Book Club – the idea of going to Exclusive’s and browsing for great reads is my idea of a Saturday well spent 🙂 I chose three books: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz ZafĂłn.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, R199, takealot.com (it’s a little more expensive at Exclusive Books, R287)

I have heard and read incredible reviews about The Tattooist of Auschwitz and it seemed like a book everyone should read and that everyone would enjoy. I couldn’t not choose it.

‘In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.’ – Heather Morris (Goodreads Author)

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, R302, Exclusive Books

Instagram/reesesbookclubxhellosunshine

I saw that this book had been recommended by Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club and I have always been a fan of her top literary picks – she is an avid reader and her recommendations are always interesting page-turners!

‘For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.’ Delia Owens (Goodreads Author)

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz ZafĂłn, R338, Exclusive Books

Last but last least, I couldn’t resist Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s new release that completes his quartet of books about The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, The Labyrinth of the Spirits. His first three novels, The Shadow of The Wind, The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven were enthralling, magical and so well written that I have no doubt his fourth book will follow suit!

‘The internationally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author returns to the magnificent universe he constructed in his bestselling novels The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game, and The Prisoner of Heaven in this riveting series finale—a heart-pounding thriller and nail-biting work of suspense which introduces a sexy, seductive new heroine whose investigation shines a light on the dark history of Franco’s Spain

In this unforgettable final volume of Ruiz Zafón’s cycle of novels set in the universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, beautiful and enigmatic Alicia Gris, with the help of the Sempere family, uncovers one of the most shocking conspiracies in all Spanish history.

Nine-year-old Alicia lost her parents during the Spanish Civil War when the Nacionales (the fascists) savagely bombed Barcelona in 1938. Twenty years later, she still carries the emotional and physical scars of that violent and terrifying time. Weary of her work as investigator for Spain’s secret police in Madrid, a job she has held for more than a decade, the twenty-nine-year old plans to move on. At the insistence of her boss, Leandro Montalvo, she remains to solve one last case: the mysterious disappearance of Spain’s Minister of Culture, Mauricio Valls.

With her partner, the intimidating policeman Juan Manuel Vargas, Alicia discovers a possible clue—a rare book by the author Victor Mataix hidden in Valls’ office in his Madrid mansion. Valls was the director of the notorious Montjuic Prison in Barcelona during World War II where several writers were imprisoned, including David Martín and Victor Mataix. Traveling to Barcelona on the trail of these writers, Alicia and Vargas meet with several booksellers, including Juan Sempere, who knew her parents.

As Alicia and Vargas come closer to finding Valls, they uncover a tangled web of kidnappings and murders tied to the Franco regime, whose corruption is more widespread and horrifying than anyone imagined. Alicia’s courageous and uncompromising search for the truth puts her life in peril. Only with the help of a circle of devoted friends will she emerge from the dark labyrinths of Barcelona and its history into the light of the future.

In this haunting new novel, Carlos Ruiz ZafĂłn proves yet again that he is a masterful storyteller and pays homage to the world of books, to his ingenious creation of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, and to that magical bridge between literature and our lives.’ – Goodreads

What book are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Shelter In Place by Nora Roberts, R272, Exclusive Books – another Instagram recommendation from Reese – seems like I am really trusting Ms. Witherspoon for book suggestions ATM!

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What are your 3 all-time-fave books?

Tricky question! If I had to name just three they would have to be The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and then my all-time favourite, South of Broad by Pat Conroy.

Besides reading, how do you spend your downtime? 

I am a big fan of watching series to wind down! I feel like they give my mind a break from thinking and I enjoy being entertained while putting my feet up on the couch. I’ve just finished watching American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace – if you haven’t seen this, do yourself a favour and watch it immediately! You won’t be disappointed.

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