It’s hardly ever a bad time to open a book and indulge in thought-provoking prose, a moving collection of visuals or even something as inviting as a comic. Besides, staying indoors during winter brings an annual proclivity to seek out new reads. Among our top picks to get to you through the season is an important memoir, architecture contemplations and a West African cooking book, plus much more.
This book looks at a selection of modernist buildings in Joburg’s city centre and documents them through objective and subjective means. Through reportage, essays, interviews, photography and architectural plans, it provides insights into buildings that define the city’s physical landscape and how over time the functionality of these structures has changed.
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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Twenty years ago, Arundhati Roy won the 1997 Booker Prize for her debut novel, The God of Small Things, after which she turned her attention to writing non-fiction on politics and the state of contemporary democracy. Set in Delhi, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness intricately delves into the lives of several characters, who are carving out their identities and searching for meaning, despite social and political tensions in India. Anjum, one of the protagonists, is born intersex and raised as a man, but begins embracing her identity as a woman while Tilo is seeing three different men, but only desires one. When an abandoned infant mysteriously appears, both characters attempt to lay claim to her without knowing how their lives will change. Written with a scope that echoes Tolstoy and Dickens, it weaves overarching themes of religion, gender and identity into each character’s life. Buy it here.