Our books for this edition were chosen with the summer holidays in mind – whether you are staying at home or travelling to another part of the country. Is coffee your favourite beverage? There is a book about some great local coffee houses. Do you prefer your brew to be of a different kind? Have a look at the guide to local breweries.
If you are planning to spend time in the field, a book on snakes and snakebites could come in handy. For those who enjoy spending time under the stars at night and seeing ‘shooting stars’, there is a new book about meteorites. We also feature some holiday reading for the youngsters.
Coffee Culture – The South African coffee-lover’s Bible
Coffee lovers delight in discovering great places to enjoy a cup or mug of coffee. Whether you are a coffee snob insisting on a specific blend, are an aspiring home barista, or simply want to go where the taste is as good as the aroma, this is a good book as gift for a friend – or yourself.
Although it does not pretend to be comprehensive directory of every good coffee shop in the country, the guide covers establishments in all nine provinces. Described for each featured coffee shop is its vibe, types of coffee business hours, kinds of meals offered and whether they have a loyalty programme.
It briefly reviews some of their coffees, and notes special features such as whether the shop is dog friendly, has WI–FI (important for those who use their favourite coffee shop as a part-time office!), sells books (after all, what is better than reading a good book while enjoying a well-brewed cup of coffee?) or has outdoor seating available.
Maps pinpointing all the featured shops, detailed contact information and GPS coordinates will help you find your way easily. Also included by coffee-loving author Peter Primich, are details about local green bean and equipment importers, and background information about how coffee is made and enjoyed all over the world.
ISBN 978-1-77026-625-4 Map Studio
Craft Beer – a guide to South African Craft Breweries and Brewers
South Africans know how to enjoy a cool beer on a summer’s evening. But many of us know little about the background to the local beer industry – and especially about the smaller, boutique brands.
The history of beer brewing in South Africa dates back to Francis Velazquez (a woman disguised as a man!) and Goa O’Drosty, a beer brewer who was part of the crew on Bartholomeu Dias’ ship in 1488. The pair were abandoned at Hout Bay and set down roots at what became Constantia. Jump ahead a few centuries, and today South Africa’s big beer brands are consumed internationally.
In addition, there is also a multitude of craft breweries making different types of beer. This guide by Jacques van Zyl details some of the history and methods of beer-brewing internationally, but mainly it concentrates on the multitude of small, local brewers.
Information about how they started their businesses, the types of beer they brew, and whether they also have tasting, accommodation and restaurant facilities, is supplemented by maps, and detailed contact information, including GPS coordinates. This book is a treasure for those who want to try out some of the ales, lagers and other types of beer produced at the interesting array of craft breweries throughout the country.
ISBN 978-1-77026-596-7 Map Studio
The Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded in 2013 in the atmosphere over a remote part of Siberia, made headline news internationally when its shock wave caused much damage to buildings, and injuries to more than 1500 due to flying glass and other debris from the affected buildings. Very little of the original object has been found and large intact meteorites are relatively rare.
Te largest known meteorite on Earth, the Hoba meteorite, has an estimated mass of more than 60 tons – and can be found here in Southern Africa. It lies near Grootfontein in Namibia, and has been declared a national monument to protect it against vandalism. Yet, it is dwarfed by much larger meteorites that have struck Earth in the past. One that may have been about 10 km across, created the largest known meteor impact site in the world more than two billion years ago. We know it as the Vredefort Dome – one of our World Heritage sites.
But what are meteorites? In short, they are meteors that were large enough to survive an impact with Earth’s atmosphere. Meteors are ‘debris from space’, and contain a wealth of information about the kind of the formation of the Solar System. They can be as small as a speck of dust, and most of them burn up in the atmosphere to be seen as ‘shooting stars’ at night. But depending on the conditions – their composition, size and angle at which they enter the atmosphere and the speed at which they travel – some larger ones end up as rocks on Earth. Read more in this user-friendly book by Ronnie McKenzie. It is intended to give the non-specialist an idea of why these objects are so interesting and where to see some of them.
ISBN 978-1-77584-098-5, Struik Nature
Snakes and Snakebite in Southern Africa
you or not, information about them could come in handy for those who like the outdoors. The maps, illustrations and clear descriptions will assist with the identification of common dangerous as well as harmless snakes in southern Africa. Particularly useful are the drawings that show the average and maximum length of the different snakes compared to the height of an average adult human male, as well as icons that show when (day or night) and in what kind of environment (in trees, in shrubs or on the ground) the species is likely to be encountered.
This guide clearly states how venomous and dangerous each snake is, and in addition to general first aid advice relating to snakes, it also provides information about the correct measures to be taken in the case of snakebite for each species described. Its author is Johan Marais, who is a naturalist and photographer, and who has contributed significantly to reptile conservation in the country. He also runs the African Snakebite institute.
ISBN 978-1-775843-023-7 Struik Nature
How Crab lost his Head
A hairy hippo? A lion that could fly? A crocodile prince? They all feature in this book of animal takes from Africa. Although aimed mainly at children between the ages of seven and twelve, this would also be a good read-aloud book for the family.
Nick Greaves, a geologist who has a fascination with wildlife and animals, recounts some of the myths and legends of Southern Africa in a way that is easily accessible and fun. In addition to the stories, the author also included some facts about the creatures that feature in the stories, to answer some of the questions that young readers may have about the real animals on which the fictional ones were based. The book is strikingly illustrated by David du Plessis, a graphic artist and illustrator with a BSc degree and a particular interest in natural history.
ISBN 978-1-77584-187-6, Struik Nature
Hagedash the Hadeda
Hadedas are a common sight in South Africa: we know them from our gardens and their characteristic call. Here is the story of Hagedash, the singing hadeda, who meets Hagar and start a family. Their tale is told in verse by Charles de Villiers and in beautiful, large colour pictures by Claire Norden. Intended for young readers, and also available in Afrikaans, this happy South African tale is a good one to take along on holiday or pop into a Christmas stocking.
ISBN 978-1-77584-181-4, Struik Nature