Karoo Roads – First Reader Reactions

Holiday reading in South Africa began early this season – the first reviews of our new book, Karoo Roads, have appeared.

Ask any independent publishers which reviews they value most, and they will pick the approval of a paying customer every time.

It seems our loyal buyers were satisfied (and intrigued) with PostNet and Paxi (Pep Stores) counter-to-counter service, our eccentric packaging, the gifts that accompanied Karoo Roads and, ultimately, the book itself.

Here’s a sampling:

Rodney Muller, Brackenfell:

“Thank you for the notification, I have just got back from Postnet and have collected the parcel. I couldn’t wait to get home to open it so I had a quick look whilst in the car.

It looks awesome as per usual with your publications and I look forward to reading it.

I did however notice that you are planning the release of Karoo Roads II in October 2021. Please advise how I will be able to ensure a signed first edition of that when it becomes available.”

Co-authors Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit at the Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival in Cradock.

Ros Turner, Walter Battiss Foundation, Somerset East:

“What a wonderful book, so much interesting content, and Chris’s photography is amazing.  He gives a whole new dimension to black and white photography.”

Guy Sheehan, Salt Rock:

“I’m three-quarters of the way through Karoo Roads and loving it.”

Arend Hoogervorst, Kloof:

“I have just collected the books from the Kloof PostNet.

They look fabulous.  If I may paraphrase part of your Production Notes, I shall, “…pour the drink….sink into …. (my) favourite armchair…” and immerse myself into tales from the Karoo….”

Please keep me on your list for the next books in the pipeline.”

Cradock’s Melina Smit with a copy of Karoo Roads at the Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival.

Julie Waterston, Knysna:

“We collected your book on Friday and we have both been reading – it is really beautiful and we are so privileged to have it to add to our collection of your previous books. Well done!”

Peter van der Merwe, Vanderbijlpark:

“Hi Julie and Chris, we’ve received our books, thank you so much. I hope you’re doing a reprint soon, because our three copies have already found very happy homes. Love your work.”

Janet Bytheway, Table View:

“Thanks, my parcel arrived.  What a delight. I am loving the book!”

Karoo Roads in the Winelands.

Jeanie le Roux, Cape Town:

“Just picked up my parcel from PostNet. Thank you so much – I haven’t been this excited about receiving a delivery in a long time. What an incredible piece of work.

The packaging is perfect – I might just do the same for my gift wrapping for Christmas this year – what a clever idea :)”

Paul Pollock, Hillcrest:

“Just received my book this morning, thanks so much – lovely wrapping, what a great idea!

Looking forward to a good weekend read…”

Maria-Giovanna Cibotto, Centurion:

“Just brought home my copies (one is a Xmas gift for a friend) of your Karoo Roads and I am actually stopping what I am doing and sitting down to start reading it….it looks riveting as usual.

Thank you so much also for the extra goodies, they are lovely.

Please keep up writing books like these and making so many people enjoy them.”

Bill Davis, KZN South Coast

“I loved reading this book and cannot wait for Number 2.  Please include me when you are ready so I can again get a signed copy.

Reader Wendy Dold posted her Karoo Roads location shot on Facebook.

Wonderful book, well done!”

Elza Albertyn, Darling:

“Thank you so much for my copy – I dipped into it immediately yesterday and love it.  I shall soon order some of your other interesting works.

We just enjoy visiting the dorpies in the Karoo – lucky to stay a couple of times in Prince Albert when Graham was doing stuff on the Swartberg Pass – he is a conservation architect, so I am lucky to go with just for the ride.”

David Alston, Rivonia:

“Karoo Roads safely arrived. Was going to ask Ann to put it in my Xmas stocking, but of course I had to open it and immediately read the first story on the Steam Men of De Aar – lovely stuff.”

Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit present Karoo Roads at the Madibaland International Book Festival.

Wilf Walker, Bloemfontein:

“Have just read all the comments about your newest release, and am very jealous at those who have started/finished reading it already. My promise to myself is that it’s my Christmas present to myself, but all this great feedback is making it very difficult trying to keep my promise.

The other copies are also to be handed to family and friends as Christmas gifts.

Thanks for your efforts for creating what I’m sure is going to be a great read on 25/12/2020. The others can take care of the food!”

Elizabeth Cridland, Cape Town:

A Steamy Affair.

“Just to let you know that we collected our book on Wednesday and are absolutely delighted with it.  Great publication, full of atmosphere and good stories which make for such relaxed reading and it’s difficult to resist the temptation to pack the car and drive straight to your part of the world to see it again for ourselves!

Thank you also for the little gifts which are much appreciated –and Postnet’s service was excellent.”

Nicola Balderson, Johannesburg:

“Your baby has arrived safely. I knew it would be a treat, but it has surpassed my expectations.

It is an absolute gem. Thank you for all your research, poetic prose and stunning photographs. It transports me there in a few words.

Thank you so much for the generous gift – just love the postcards and map. Am going to frame them and gaze at them with longing to travel to Springbok, Cradock and Prince Albert.

The packaging is delightful – only problem is I want to go to Namibia (pages from Flamingo magazine) as well as the Karoo.

For now, on this overcast, rainy day, I am going to settle down and immerse myself in this book which will become a treasured favourite alongside my others from you.”

Peter Dempsey, Plettenberg Bay:

“The book arrived safely in Plett and I’ve started reading …about halfway.

My compliments to you and Chris, you have captured so much of the spirit and taste of the Karoo and its people and stories.

Mountain Zebra – Back from the Brink.

I’m looking forward to completing this one and waiting for the next one.”

WhatsApp Conversation between Alan Duggan, a friend who bought the book for another friend, and the wife of said ‘other friend’:

Wife: “So sad that Nigel didn’t really enjoy the book you gave him. He started it immediately. Continued reading it at every chance. Has referred to it in every conversation I’ve heard. Has taken it upon himself to teach me and others directly from the book about the Karoo and life in general.

And now he’s completed it, every page. I think the word is ‘devoured’. And now he’s telling select, favoured people they must borrow it.

Seriously dude, couldn’t you give him a more appropriate gift next time?”

Alan: “Sorry about that. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. Next time I’ll buy him a self-help book devoted to … er, um … self-help.”

Peter Darroll, Johannesburg

Steel Wheels of the Karoo.

“I have finished it – could hardly put it down. I now want to get some of the other books.”

Lisa Key, Cape Town:

“It’s a wonderful edition of stories. I love the black and white photos.”

Advocate Mike Pothier, Cape Town

“Wonderful stories and wonderful writing! Can’t wait for the next road trip, which I hope will include a stop at Deelfontein (have to say I hadn’t heard of it before, despite having been to the metropolis of Merriman). Looking forward to the next volume.”

Sidney Arnold, Johannesburg

“I received the two books thanks very much and gave one to my cousin who farms in the Colesberg area. He loves it and so do I.”

Karroo Theatrical Hotel.

Ted Collett, Fish River, Cradock:

“I read it cover to cover. An enjoyable read.”

Noel Durie, Cape Town:

“I have so enjoyed Karoo Roads. Congratulations to you both.”

Wendy Dewberry, Knysna:

“I want to thank you for a most glorious read and journey of heart and soul.  I’ve had the best morning reading these treasure stories.  Thank you. So glad we got a few copies – I can’t think of a better gift for special occasions.”

Anthony Galloway, Cape Town:

I completed my reading of your excellent publication last night, and put it down with a smile and a great sigh of satisfaction. Hearty congratulations on not only the photographs and truly well-written content, but the quality of the publication — beautifully produced. You should feel justifiably proud.

Ghost Stories of the Karoo.

The stories of the mense were wonderful, especially to someone like me who has at least a passing knowledge of the Karoo. They illustrate the diversity and character of the region in an evocative and powerful manner, and pay fitting tribute to the magic as well as the challenges of the whole, wide area. Your ‘homework/legwork’ and research was of the highest order, and added a great deal of depth and value to the contents — very impressive indeed.

For anyone interested in an author-signed and numbered copy of Karoo Roads (with eccentric packaging and Christmas presents included), please contact co-author Julienne du Toit at julie@karoospace.co.za


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