The Book Lounge
71 Roeland Street, Cape Town, South Africa
After rowing on flat water in my single scull, Cape Town's biggest independent book shop, The Book Lounge, is my most favourite spot on earth. Every week, for most weeks of the year, it is my enormous privilege and pleasure to work there as a literary journalist, covering the bookish events happening in Cape Town. Earlier this week the final fundraising party was hosted for Book Dash, a non-profit organisation striving to make books freely available to South African children under the age of five. The Book Lounge hosted this charity event because it believes in and is committed to facilitating literacy. The vision of Mervyn Soman extended some years ago to initiating Open Book Festival which brings international authors to the city, enriching the cultural life and stimulating important and relevant debates. In particular the representation of "black" writers at "white" festivals was explored in an open, respectful, courageous way.
The vision of this book shop as a place that embraces everybody (even the noisome homeless at times) to think, to listen to writers, to engage with public intellectuals as they talk about books and politics and the energy of the city, to find comfort in the life of the imagination and solace at the page, is a pleasure beyond words.
I gave up on church a long time ago but this is a space, both sacred and profane, that offers me a way to grow as a writer, to refine my journalistic notions, to expand my thinking and to find friends.
The Book Lounge
Mervyn Sloman, founder and owner
Xola dos Santos and Nkanyezi Hlatshwayo
Looking up at the entrance
Liesl Jobson and Niq Mhlongo
Margie Orford and Mervyn Sloman
What one book would you buy from there as a Christmas present, and who would you give it to.
The Man Who Couldn't Stop by David Adams is a gift I will be giving myself. I saw it on the display table as I dashed out one evening after work. As if the book had arms, nay, tentacles, that reached out
and attached to me, I hovered, mid-stair, knowing that this was the one book that had been written expressly for me this year.
Antjie Krog and Alfred Schaffer discuss translating poetry at Synapse/Mede-wete launch: http://t.co/A6scq4KEdh via @BooksLIVESA #LoveMyJob
— Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) December 10, 2014
#LoveMyJob: SJ Naudé's launch of The Alphabet of Birds with Michiel Heyns: http://t.co/G6T7owJzAj @Umuzites https://t.co/DD3hNGb3y4
— Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) November 13, 2014
#LoveMyJob: @mntshanga’s debut The Reactive was launched with Imraan Coovadia at @Book_Lounge: http://t.co/3cOHOuVpuu via @BooksLIVESA
— Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) November 20, 2014
#LoveMyJob: @Greg_Lazarus’ Paradise was funniest launch in a while. With @HenriettaRI at @Book_Lounge. @NBPublishers http://t.co/6hOHk4Ew49
— Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) May 27, 2014
Check out The Book Lounge at their website and on Twitter. Liesl Jobson can be found at her blog and on Twitter.