I love to read. Once a month I get 10 books out of our local library and will read late into the night. Autobiographies, travel, business, technology, chick lit, crime (as long as it isn't too gory), I will read pretty much anything.

thievesWhen we refer to refugees, victims, squatters, the aged, the poor, the disabled, it enables us to avoid seeing people as the unique individuals they are.

We can escape the emotions and sense of responsibility we feel about those we are close to - our parents, children, friends and relatives. The respect and love we accord those we are close to is frequently easily discarded as we treat the rest of the world with contempt while appeasing our consciences with occasional good deeds and handouts that are hopefully tax deductible.

At home we try and teach our children to be honest, moral and good citizens. We go to church, mosque, synagogue and other religious institutions where we do our bit for the poor and suffering. We are seen to be upstanding members of society.

We go to work and the rules change. Increasingly, our principles are left behind as we exit our front doors. The business world is harsh and competitive. You either play by business rules or you are excluded. This is not unique to South Africa, it is also not a new phenomenon.

Jani Confidential book coverFrom media darling to a homeless shelter and back … sort of.

A year or so ago I came across Jani Allan on Twitter (@JaniAllan) and started to follow her. Working as a server (waitron/waitress) in a restaurant in America, Jani has started to write again. After an absence from the media for more than 20 years, Jani has released her autobiography titled Jani Confidential - A Memoir.

If you read newspapers or magazines, or listened to Talk Radio, in the 70s and 80s in South Africa, you would have come across Jani Allan. A popular columnist for the Sunday Times and a stint as a talk show host on Cape Talk Radio ensured constant publicity. I remember Jani as a journalist who was clever, witty and with a very sharp tongue.

According to Wikipedia  a Gallup poll in 1987 voted Jani as the most admired person in South Africa. Yet I don’t know how many people would recognise her in the flesh without her heavy make-up, a mask behind which she concealed herself.

A-Girl-Walks-into-a-barThe saying goes that all good things come to those who wait. Well, I had to wait a couple of weeks before receiving my Durban Bloggers get together (#DBNBloggersmeet) lucky draw prize - a copy of Helena S. Paige's erotic novel "A Girl Walks into a Bar" which was sponsored by Jonathan Ball Publishers.

Having been so incredibly spoilt at the function, I wasn't concerned that my prize had not arrived in time.

maos last dancerIf I had seen this book in a bookstore I wouldn’t have given it a second glance. I am so glad however that a friend lent it to me to read. It is inspirational and interesting on several different levels.

The author, Li Cunxin (pronounced “Lee Schwin Sing”) one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world tells his story in a humble but not self pitying way.

Open by Andre AgassiAndre Agassi and Steffi Graf have always been my 2 favourite tennis players. So, it was with great excitement that I read Andre’s biography. For 2 days I was "unavailable" as I became glued to this book with a box of tissues close at hand.

Unusually Andre chose J R Moehring a Pulitizer prize winning author to assist him to write his biography and it has resulted in a beautifully crafted book which is so much more than a diary of a star tennis player. He is a colourful character who has had a life filled with incredible successes and dreadful humiliation and failures combined with numerous injuries suffered by most professional sports people.

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