Come again?

By Andrew Donaldson & Mandy Rossouw (Kwela Books, R135)

Come Again? is, I take it, the follow-up to The Year in Quotes 2010, as it also quotes “from the famous, the infamous and the ordinary”, but on mostly 2011 topics.

The Year in Quotes 2010 was very dynamic, its content shocking, relevant, controversial, insightful and a lot of the time humorous.

It is because of these elements that I enjoyed reading it so much and was eager to read Come Again?

What awaited me was subtle yet tangible vagary that was apparent from the disgruntled introduction.

Yes, the compilers address facts, and they do have a right to their opinions, but these are presented in a way that is melancholic.

A significant change from the energy and openness of The Year in Quotes 2010.

It could be I am hung over and experiencing post-2010 disillusionment, what with “Feel-it, aka Phillip” gone and the Protection of Information Bill having everyone on tenterhooks.

Nevertheless, with the previous instalment, one could read through the quotes and interpret them as seen fit.

In this book you come across quotes like: “Usually when he comes, the whole hall catches fire. Yesterday, we didn’t get that.”

Vavi is quoted saying this after the muted response Zuma received from delegates at a meeting. So what?

I mean, where’s the fun in quoting the mundane?

The few quotes that are interesting are taken from the public, through smses, social networks and opinion pieces. The rest is political and humdrum, which is the most distinguishable aspect of this book.

It tries too hard to make implicit impressions of the political status quo.

Not only that, but a lot of the time you feel as if the authors are leading you by the nose to agree with their opinions in a vague and roundabout kind of way.

Most of the quotes are taken from newspaper articles.

So for the person who does not read the newspapers often, and who has no interest in politics, there is no telling what they will think of this book. – Tshepo Tshabalala