TGE's Current Read

TGE MEDIA  |  Podcast , ±37 min episodes every 5 weeks, 2 days  |  Broadcast schedule  | 
Sam Herbst (co-host of The Great Equalizer) catches up with authors to chat about their books. TGE's Current Read offers word nerds, bibliophiles and literature buffs a glimpse into the mind of an author and showcases the latest books that the world's biggest publishing houses have on offer. Subscribe and join the conversation with TGE and authors from around the globe.

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Charlene: In Search of a Princess by Arlene Prinsloo

In this episode of TGE’s Current Read, Sam sits down with veteran lifestyle journalist Arlene Prinsloo to chat about her new book, Charlene: In Search of a Princess. This unauthorised biography chronicles the life, to date, of Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco.
Prinsloo unpacks the home-grown princess’s early childhood in the suburbs of Benoni, her journey to the Olympics as a competitive swimmer, her first brush with royalty, and a whirlwind romance that quickly became a lifelong vocation under a particularly harsh and critical public lens.
Coming from a somewhat sceptical point of view as a royals grinch, journalist Sam asks the author what she thinks really happened the day the princess said her ‘I dos’, and how she thinks Charlene is fairing now, after a fraught 2021.
About Arlene Prinsloo:
Arlene Prinsloo is a veteran journalist who has worked for Netwerk24, Rapport, Die Burger and Beeld in a career spanning 30 years. She has a very special interest in royal news in particular, and has covered several high-profile royal ‘dos’ including Will and Kate’s wedding in 2011 and, most recently, the late Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.
But her royals obsession extends beyond the British Crown, which is why Arlene Prinsloo penned the life, to date, of HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco in the unauthorised biography, Charlene: In Search of Princess.

About the book:
When Charlene Wittstock married Prince Albert of Monaco in a star-studded wedding watched by millions across the world in 2011, rumours of her getting cold feet and her unhappiness about his love children swirled around the couple.

Ever since then, the statuesque Olympic swimmer has been in the eye of the paparazzi and the centre of endless tabloid speculation and malicious rumour-mongering. Is the bubbly, down-to-earth South African lonely in glamorous Monaco? Is it a marriage of convenience? What is truth behind her health issues? These are just some of the questions that roil so publicly around her.

Journalist Arlene Prinsloo sifts fact from fiction in this revealing unauthorised biography of Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene. Prinsloo traces her life from humble beginnings in Zimbabwe, Johannesburg and Durban to the Olympic Games, her jet-set romance with the bachelor prince, a ‘fairy-tale’ wedding and becoming a mother to twins. At its heart, it’s the story of a woman in search of happiness for herself and her family – and also of the beginning of Charlene defining her own space amid the royal protocol. 

#princesscharlene #monaco #royals #princealbert #princesscaroline #royalfamilyofmonaco #gracekelly #princessgrace #princessstephanie #princerainier #grimaldifamily #royalfamily #monacoroyals #princessgabriella #monacoroyalfamily  #princejacques #bookreview #currentread
Charlene: In Search of a Princess (Jonathan Ball Publishers)

Children of Sugarcane by Joanne Joseph

In this episode of TGE’s Current Read, veteran broadcaster and bestselling author Joanne Joseph joins Samanatha Herbst (co-host and founder of parenting podcast The Great Equalizer) to chat about her debut novel, Children of Sugarcane.

Set against the backdrop of 19th Century India and the British-owned sugarcane plantations of Natal, Children of Sugarcane paints an intimate and heart-wrenching picture of indentured labourers in South Africa, told from a woman’s perspective.

Shortlisted for the 2022 Sunday Times Literary Awards, this book transports readers to a part of South African history that doesn’t get nearly enough airtime, and one that’s strongly rooted in Joseph’s own heritage.

Joseph chats with Sam about her writing process, what it was like to delve into the female experience at different points in history, and how pulling at the thread of ancestry and colonisation exposes so much about our world – and country – today.

Children of Sugarcane by Joanne Joseph (Jonathan Ball)

The Retreat by Sarah Pearse

Bestselling thriller author Sarah Pearse hit it out of the park with the wildfire success of her first novel, The Sanitorium. The debut landed on several bestseller lists, including the New York Times, and was selected as a Reese’s Book Club pick.

In this episode of Current Read, Sarah joins Sam Herbst to chat about getting a call from Reese Witherspoon’s team, writing a bestselling debut during lockdown, and what’s next for Detective Elin Warner, whose story continues in The Retreat, another NY Times bestseller.

The second instalment takes us to another wildly atmospheric setting, a luxury getaway resort set atop a hauntingly beautiful crag with a dappled past. Parallel to Elin's own quest to examine an unfortunate incident (which quickly reveals itself to be a murder), we learn about a family away on a weekend getaway (sisters Hana, Jo and Bea, along with their cousin Maya and their respective partners).

But something is amiss within the family dynamics and we soon learn that theirs and Elin's paths will cross as the story becomes increasingly complex and intertwined as you turn the page.

In a very satisfying way, Pearse ties a lot of the story up neatly, succinctly but believably, leaving room for growth in Elin's story. Thriller fundis who love a female lead will definitely get their fix. Pearse is here for the intrigue, suspense and atmosphere.

A great holiday read, if you're looking.

Let us know what you think at If you’re a Sanitorium fan and you’re looking forward to this next instalment, let us know.

The Retreat

Mad Bad Love by Sara-Jayne Makwala King

Sara-Jayne Makwala King knew that she had a second book in her, but she did not expect the follow up to her memoir, Killing Karoline, to be about loving someone in active addiction. The Cape Talk presenter chats to Samantha Herbst about her second memoir, Mad Bad Love, and how a book initially meant to be about mental health morphed into so much more.

Here's the blurb:

Life looks good for Sara-Jayne. She’s a popular radio personality, a bestselling author and she’s recently been reunited with her long-lost father, nearly 40 years after she was given up for adoption as a baby. Best of all, she’s just found out she’s about to become a mother, with Enver, the ‘love of her life’. She's convinced that she’s finally heading towards her "happily ever after". But six weeks after discovering she’s pregnant, Enver relapses on heroin and disappears...


And if you'd like to get in touch, email
NB Publishers

The Price of Mercy by Sean Davison

On this episode of Current Read, Sam Herbst interviews Prof. Sean Davison, one of the more controversial characters she's ever sat opposite. By South African law, Sean is a convicted murderer three times over but – many would argue – a murderer unworthy of the title, especially when considering motivation and intent.

As of June 2022, Davison completed three years of house arrest. Some might consider this a lenient sentence for the conviction of as many assisted suicides which, to date, is still illegal in South Africa.

But the activist remains unwavering in his belief that every person has the right to die with dignity. It’s something that he unpacks at length in his newly released book The Price of Mercy.

Join the conversation and let us know what you think:

‘Tutu came to my rescue’ – right-to-die advocate Sean Davison on his new book, The Price of Mercy

Toxic Positivity by Whitney Goodman

In this episode of Current Read, TGE hosts Sam Herbst and Charlene Armstrong chat to US-based family and marriage therapist Whitney Goodman.

Whitney is the mastermind behind hugely popular Instagram account @sitwithwhit, as well as a columnist for Psychology Today. She’s been featured on and in dozens of big name stations and publications including the New York Times, Teen Vogue, New York Magazine, Instyle and Good Morning America.

In addition to running her own therapy centre in Miami, Whitney has also authored a book called Toxic Positivity: Keeping It Real in a World Obsessed with Being Happy.

This book is a powerful guide to owning our emotions – even the difficult ones – enabling us to show up authentically in the world.

Here's the blurb:
Every day, we’re bombarded with pressure to be positive. From “good vibes only” and “life is good” memes, to endless advice, to “look on the bright side,” we’re constantly told that the key to happiness is silencing negativity wherever it crops up, in ourselves and in others. Even when faced with illness, loss, breakups, and other challenges, there’s little space for talking about our real feelings—and processing them so that we can feel better and move forward.

But if all this positivity is the answer, why are so many of us anxious, depressed, and burned out?

In this refreshingly honest guide, sought-after therapist Whitney Goodman shares the latest research along with everyday examples and client stories that reveal how damaging toxic positivity is to ourselves and our relationships, and presents simple ways to experience and work through difficult emotions. The result is more authenticity, connection, and growth – and ultimately, a path to showing up as you truly are.


Let us know what you think of the episode. We love to hear from you!

The Shining Girls with Lauren Beukes

In this episode of TGE's Current Reads, Sam Herbst is joined by award-winning and internationally best-selling author Lauren Beukes. Most of us would know her for her novels – Moxyland, Zoo City, The Shining Girls, Broken Monsters and, most recently, Afterland, though Lauren also keeps herself busy as a comics writer, a screenwriter, a journalist and a documentary filmmaker.

The Shining Girls is the reason she features on this week's episode, as it’s been adapted for television by none other than Apple TV, starring none other than The Handmaid’s Tale’s Elisabeth Moss. We pick Lauren's diabolical brain about her award-winning novel, and what she thinks about the TV adaptation. The prolific author also gives insight into why she now sets her novels in America and why we should be reading more South African authors.

Want a sneak peek of what she's currently working on? That's in here too!

Let us know what you think.


TGE KIDS' PICKS! It's Up to Us by Christopher Lloyd

‘Children have a unique curiosity for Nature and for this amazing planet we call home.”

– HRH The Prince of Wales

On this episode of TGE’s Current Read we chat to UK-based author, lecturer, non-fiction storyteller and father of two Christopher Lloyd about his latest children’s book, It’s Up to Us.

It's Up to Us forms part of The Prince of Wales’ Terra Carta initiative, bringing children to the table with a series of pledges that help combat climate change by showing readers how to put Nature first.

Replete with amazing illustrations by no less than 33 award-winning artists from around the world, this book takes us on a beautiful, lyrical and thought-provoking voyage through Nature, the threats we face and an action plan for the future.

In this interview with The Great Equalizer’s Sam Herbst and Charlene Armstrong, Christopher Lloyd shares more on why including children in the Terra Carta initiative and teaching them about climate change mitigation is so important. He also chats about his own educational journey with his then eight-year-old daughter, Matilda, which prompted him to start writing non-fiction for children.

As an added bonus, Christopher gives us the skinny on child-led homeschooling and, of course, tells us what he’s getting up to next.

LISTEN. LIKE. SHARE. SUBSCRIBE. And let us know what you think!
Terra Carta What on Earth Books

TGE BOOK CLUB! Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker

This was a double whammy of firsts for TGE's Current Read. Our first unofficially-official online book club discussing Tina Baker's dark psychological thriller Call Me Mummy featuring none other than the author herself!

Join Sam from The Great Equalizer podcast and a few friends that read along as part of a #buddyread for this title. We delve deep into the many themes unpacked in this book (some of which are extremely triggering) and chat about societal pressures on women as well as the result of the psychological and emotional abuse that filters down through generations.

Call Me Mummy indulges in the idea of a "barren" IVF warrior stealing a child she thinks she can take better care of. It explores why any women would go to such lengths and it unpacks how society lambastes a mother who is just not good enough to be the caregiver she's expected to be (and how this intersects with preconceived ideas about a race or class).

Author Tina Baker also gives us a sneak peek into her next novel, Nasty Little Cuts, which we will no doubt grab with both hands the second it becomes available in February 2022.

Join us in this chat and, if you've read the book, let us know what you think.

Torchbearers by Wendy Maartens

It's Women's Month and no better time to celebrate inspirational women who have formed the backbone of the new South Africa.

In this episode of TGE's Current Read, Sam chats to local children's book author Wendy Maartens about her latest project, Torchbearers.

This series of books, aimed at preteens from 11 and up, features the stories of 12 heroic and inspiring women of South Africa who deserve to be celebrated; women that will inspire anyone. From well-known women like Thuli Madonsela, Caster Semenya and Vanessa Govender, to more unsung heros such as Grizelda Grootboom and Suna Venter.

Wendy reveals why she was inspired to tell these women's stories, what the writing process was like and why she aimed her writing at young people. We also hear about some of the interviews she conducted to best get into the minds of the women featured in the series
With unique, colourful illustrations by Linki Brand,Torchbearers is a must-have for every young reader. The books can be bought individually or in a beautiful box set which serves as the perfect collector’s item for budding readers.
More about Torchbearers

Fragile Monsters by Catherine Menon

Historical fiction is the one genre that will get readers Googling post-read to separate fact from fiction. It’s also done way more than school history books to get us thinking about the world and the impact of our actions on people, individuals.

Historical fiction is the best way to get invested in (and curious about) another culture, another story, another way of life, another period in time.

Catherine Menon's Fragile Monsters traces one family's story from 1920 to the present day, unravelling a thrilling tale of love, betrayal and redemption against the backdrop of natural disasters and fallen empires. Written in vivid technicolour, with an electric daughter-grandmother relationship at its heart, this is a stunning debut novel about what happens when secrets fester through the generations.

This inaugural episode of TGE's Current Reads, host Sam Herbst talks to author Catherine Menon about the novel.
Penguin Random House South Africa

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson

"What if the worst thing that ever happened to you, led you to the best time of your life?"

There’s a kindred spirit among self-deprecating moms 😅 Those moms who know they’re not as perfect as they once hoped they’d be but are happy (most days) to get just a passing grade in the parenting department.

Well, Sadie Foreman from this favourite feel-good book rec is just such a kindred spirit. Not the world’s best mom by any stretch of the imagination... BUT, she’s the best mom to her Norman. And that’s what counts.

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman is a book about growing up, feeling pain, feeling loss, and finding your funny bone again when you least feel like you have any sense of humour left.

Join Sadie, her psoriasis-ridden son Norman and their elderly mate Leonard as they traverse the English countryside and book it to Edinburgh so that (shy, timid) Norman can have a go at the world-renowned Fringe Comedy Festival.

You will laugh. You will cry. You will have the warm and fuzzies once you're done.

In this episode we chat to the author Julietta Henderson about her debut novel The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman.
Penguin Random House South Africa

12 episodes