Book Review: Memoirs Of A Play-White The Autobiography & Other Writings by Helene Louiesa Mynhardt.

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Title: Memoirs Of A Play-White The Autobiography & Other Writings

Author: Helene Louiesa Mynhardt

Publisher: Helene Louiesa Mynhardt (May 27, 2018)

Publication Date: May 27, 2018

Number of pages: 139 pages

ASIN: B07DC8B494

Memoirs Of A Play-White The Autobiography & Other Writings comes under the category of non-fiction. The book is written by Helene Louiesa Mynhardt. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most interesting autobiographies that I have recently read.

The novel is the journey of little Louiesa from a child with an unprivileged background to an independent and enterprising lady. This book is also the journey of a nation from apartheid to racial and social integration.

Born in South Africa, author Helene Louiesa Mynhardt traces her grandmother and her mother’s journeys from childhood to adulthood. The author talks about the efforts her mother put in to change her situation in life but eventually succumbed to her pains by becoming an alcoholic.

She then goes on to tell us how her birth slowly and steadily helped her mother come to grips with her life and how the author’s desire to excel and overcome all hardships. As the situation in the author‘s life changes for the better, so does that of South Africa.

The beauty of the book Memoirs Of A Play-White The Autobiography & Other Writings by Helene Louiesa Mynhardt is not only her personal journey but South Africa’s journey as a nation. The time when new silver coins were introduced in South Africa is associated with little Louiesa’s memories of her being presented with a silver coin. Louiesa talks about how the government tried to uplift people’s living conditions by building houses and assigning neighbourhoods on racial distinctions. She talks about how birth registration rules were updated in 1952.

Sadly, every positive change that the government made was marred by apartheid. It’s heart-wrenching to hear about how far the segregation went. It percolated to every inch of South Africa’s existence. Author Helene Louiesa Mynhardt describes how in retail stores the coloured population was not allowed to enter the stores. When the government was condemned for apartheid, it came up with the silliest of conditions to maintain the status quo yet projecting an aura of equality. The event with the fashion pageant was a tongue in cheek effort by the government.

Segregation! Discrimination! They exist in every society to some extent. But the level of discrimination the people of South Africa have endured is heartbreaking. Every tale in the book is verified with dates and corresponding events. What stands out is how music united the people of South Africa when apartheid was at its height. Afro-hairstyle, music and plays bonded the people.

The contribution of Standard Chartered Bank in the economy of South Africa is evident. It is the Standard Chartered Bank that helped the author make a career as a banker and succeed in her personal and professional life. The office anecdotes of Standard  Chartered Bank is entertaining and fun.

But South Africa had to break free from all the shackles. The country had so much potential that the country had to rise above everything and everyone. Helene Louiesa Mynhardt, the author, truly represents the spirit of South Africa. She braved all difficulties, sadness, mishaps, to win ethically.

Who could represent the chronicles of the end of apartheid and the transformation of a beautiful but prejudiced nation into a generous one? It could be no one than Helene Louiesa Mynhardt.

Those countries and people who face segregation can learn how to reform from the history of South Africa and that of the author.

My personal take from Memoirs Of A Play-White The Autobiography & Other Writings by Helene Louiesa Mynhardt is that no one and no circumstance can stop you from shining if you have the calibre, the will, the zeal, and the tenacity to achieve your dreams. The author did. And so did the millions of people of South Africa who dreamed of a country unified in spirit and mind- a melting pot of races.

Memoirs Of A Play-White The Autobiography & Other Writings by Helene Louiesa Mynhardt is immensely inspiring.

We at WeLoveQualityBooks give Memoirs Of A Play-White The Autobiography & Other Writings by Helene Louiesa Mynhardt, Five Stars for its excellent storytelling, flow, objectivity, and spirit.

Memoirs Of A Play-White: The Autobiography Other Writings by Helene Louiesa Mynhardt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback Post!

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Who doesn’t love an engaging piece of writing? Who doesn’t think twice before putting down a glossy and intriguing front cover with an interesting synopsis? How many times has a book lover debated on buying a book from the airport or the railway station? Only to give into the temptation!

The answer to all these questions is a superlative ‘Yes’!

Everyone obsesses over some book or the other resulting in re-reads. An alluring cover always tempts everybody to buy a good looking book. Perpetually, all  have succumbed to the urge, in splurging at an over the counter book. Travelling provides the greatest boost to the sale of Books. Travellers prefer handy, short and interesting read while they tour in different modes of transport.

A History of Paperbacks

Invariably the light weighted Paperbacks rule the choice of book buyers! Paperbacks are generally economically more viable and are easy to carry manuscripts. They do not take too much space in a  travelling bag, nor do they pile on the weight of luggage considerably. They are light, inexpensive, and accessible. To top of it all, they serve as a valuable gift for every book lover. So often, a book lover ends up finding excuses for an impulsive splurge at a bookshop. However with little or no regret!

Paperbacks came into existence in the 19th Century. They developed with the improvement in printing methods (like the steam-powered paper printing press and pulp mills). The strategic book distribution processes also led to the popularity of Paperbacks. At one stage the name ‘Yellowbooks’ defined softcover books . They came into existence with a strategy of mass production with publishers like Routledge & Sons, that was founded and prospered between 1836 -1898. Ward and Locke Publications in 1854 were the other publishers earning fame with Paperbacks. Both the publishing houses supplied books through W. H Smiths who monopolised the bookstores in railway stations in the United Kingdom. One can handily find the A W.H Smith bookstore in many of the railway stations of Commonwealth countries even today. Publication houses like the German ‘Tauchnitz’ published famous British and American works by different authors. ‘Reclam’ published the works of Shakespeare from October 1857 to November 1967.

Penguin Publications revolutionised Paperbacks and became a huge success in 1935. They incorporated the pioneering techniques in publishing introduced by the German publication house-Albatross Books. As this ill-fated publishing house vanquished due to the Second World War, without any immediate competition, Penguin Publications flourished. Penguin published ‘Ariel’ by the author André Maurois- its first Paperback in 1935 and have never looked back since. Penguin Publications integrated the ‘Color Coding’ technique of Albatross Publications leveraging their appeal in book publications. In USA Robert de Graf and Simon & Schuster created the ‘Pocket Book’ in an alignment of the Paperbacks.

The availability of finding latest books in the kiosks, over the counter shops and a grandmother’s trunk, always sounds like an incredible surprise! Why not surprise our loved ones with a Paperback someday? Coz reading a book does not demand an occasion or a specific emotion. All it needs is some spare time and a cuppa.


The Birth Of Books- A History

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Books are man’s companion since ancient civilization. They not only peep into the culture, tradition, beliefs, social issues and stature of its time but also reveals the winds of change that are brewing in a society, a country or a civilization. Books retrospect into the past and envision a future as well. Thus Books can appropriately be called a flat, horizontal, layered crystal bowl of life. Or shall we only call them a box of memories? Whatever, we call them, Books say it all with words, images or both.

The Beginning

The history of books reverts to the ancient civilizations. The earliest form of books were clay tablets. They have been carbon dated to the 3rd Millennium BC especially around the ancient Assyria. They were used up to the 19th Century in countries like Germany, Chile, Philippines and the area around the Sahara Desert.

Just like the modern-day, the paper goes through various processes to become the final product such as soaking, draining, pressing, drying and cutting; the Papyrus went through processes like humidification, pressing, drying, gluing, and cutting to become a media for writing. Ancient Egypt from at least 2400 BC used Papyrus. After gluing several sheets of Papyrus gave them scrolls that were between 10-40 meters long. They were kept in a wooden cylinder. The Book of the Dead and several other scrolls have been excavated from Egyptian tombs.

Romans had their own unique way of recording events. They made wax tablets and used an apparatus similar to a stylus to write on them. The Romans and the Greeks also used the Papyrus as a writing medium at one point of time. Romans contributed for making the scrolls popular in around 3rd Century BC. Scrolls were made of animal’s skin like that of the cattle or donkey during that era. Incidentally, paper scrolls are still much in vogue for making a card or an invitation more dramatic and memorable.

Arrival of Paper

One of the biggest contributors to books is most likely China’s invention of paper, during the 1st century A.D. A man named Ts’ai Louen used a bark of blackberry bush to create paper. With the use of this new kind of writing material, Buddhist texts became readily available to many. In turn, paper became the most popular form of media.

The Aztec, Mesoamerican and the Mayan civilization used agave fiber, animal hides or long strips of paper to record events, or to communicate with the masses. Historians through excavated specimens in recent years educate us on how fiber, hides, and paper were originally folded and stored in wooden boxes for preservation in that era.

The Paper today comes in various shapes and sizes! Thus Books too come in different sizes but the most commonly used sizes are Folio, the Quarto, and Octavo. We promise to share more about them in the next blog!

Books have gone through several transformations, yet they have been the darling of every intellectual, every historian, and every person looking for an answer. Pick up an ancient-looking book with yellow pages and the whiff of mildew, or pick up a newly published one with crisp pages and an aroma of freshness, both will intrigue you to flip the first few pages, and then intrigues you to read the first few chapters until you read it till its back cover! That’s what books do to you they pull you into its magnetic ink etchings until they have you completely hooked to them!

Welcome to the world of books! At We Love Quality Books ( , come fall in love with books, over again!