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1. South Africa avoided a second recession in two years, with the economy growing by 3.1% in the three months to end-June, according to Stats SA. This is much stronger than expected: A Reuters poll of economists had forecast growth of 2.4%. The mining sector rebounded with growth of 14.4% – contributing a full 1.0 percentage point to GDP growth. This was thanks to the end of strikes at gold mines, but also due to a major rally in metal prices. Gold is currently trading at its highest level in six years, while platinum jumped from below $800/oz in June to above $930 currently.

The rand rallied almost a percent to R15.10/$.

2. The Nigerian government is taking action against South Africa amid  xenophobic attacks in Gauteng. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s government on Tuesday summoned South Africa’s envoy and said it would dispatch a delegation to Pretoria to express “deep concern” over attacks on Nigerians.

3. Former president Jacob Zuma has expressed doubts over whether former Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson’s death in a car crash last week was an accident. Zuma addressed mourners at Watson’s funeral that was held in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

4. Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has said that differences in determining the fate of Postbank were behind the decision of Mark Barnes to resign as CEO of the South African Post Office, and that talks are still underway to determine a path forward.

5. It an “extremely challenging” environment, Cashbuild, southern Africa’s largest retailer of building materials, posted a 6% increase in revenue to almost R11 billion in the year to end-June. Cashbuild says that in the six weeks after year-end, revenue only increased by 1% compared to the same period last year.   And Fortress, the largest owner and developer of logistics real estate in South Africa, saw an increase in the revenue of less than a percent as vacancies rose and it received much lower rent from Edgars and Jet stores.

The 10 best books of 2019 so far, according to Amazon

Reported by Remi Rosmarin

Each month, Amazon’s editors curate a best new books of the month list where they share their favourite reads of the moment. At the end of the year, they tackle the best books of the whole year. Halfway through the year, the editors check in with us readers and let us in on their picks for the best books of the year so far.

Business Insider spoke with Sarah Gelman, editorial director of Amazon Books, and got some insight into how the top 10 books of the year so far got their spot. From creepy thrillers and ambitious memoirs to fun fiction and lighthearted novels, this list has it all.

If you want to skip right to the selections, head over to Amazon to see a complete list of the best books of year so far.

Keep reading for the 10 best books of 2019 so far, and why they made the list, according to Amazon editors:

Captions attributed to Amazon Books editorial team.

“City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert


It’s the 1940s and the frivolous and fun-loving Vivian Morris arrives in New York with the goal of “becoming someone interesting” (and in short order she is, but for all the wrong reasons). The latest novel by the author of “Eat, Pray, Love” is bawdy, big-hearted, and wise.

Gelman says: This was a unanimous pick across the team. Readers know Elizabeth Gilbert from “Eat, Pray, Love” and she’s not as well known as a novelist, but she deserves to be. It’s just a fun book – it’s been described as a champagne cocktail of a book. Everyone read this book and just felt a breath of fresh air.

“The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides


While it’s only halfway through the year, this debut thriller with the twistiest of endings may be the thriller of 2019.

Gelman says: The team got to read this book early on and one of our editors predicted this would be the debut literary thriller of the year. It’s a fun, twisty read with a surprise at the end.

“Once More We Saw Stars” by Jayson Greene


In the face of unimaginable tragedy, they say the only way out is through. That’s exactly what Greene learns when his daughter dies from a freak accident. This emotional memoir shines a beacon of light in the darkest of places.

Gelman says: This book- which details the author losing his 2-year-old daughter in a freak accident- which helps put words to grief, will help you face tragedy.

“Mrs. Everything” by Jennifer Weiner


Sweeping in its personal and political scope, this tale of two sisters is a multi-layered and very moving story for the #MeToo era, one that traces how far women have come, and how far we have yet to go. Weiner’s most ambitious novel yet.

Gelman says: Jennifer Weiner has been writing books for almost 20 years, and this book is ambitious – deeply researched, personal, and imagining her mother’s life from a fictional point of view. I felt proud of her as a reader.

“The Night Tiger” by Yangsze Choo


Supple and powerful, like the predator that stalks the shadows of Choo’s ensnaring tale, this historical novel set in 1930s Malaysia swirls around a strong-minded apprentice dressmaker and a young houseboy whose destinies collide as they both search for a very unlucky mummified human finger.

Gelman says: A gripping historical novel -“The Night Tiger” will win over readers who love to be captured by a great story.

“Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Presented as a series of interviews, this novel about a young, captivating singer who came of age in the late ’60s/early ’70s will leave you thinking that “Daisy Jones & The Six” really existed.

Gelman says: You’ll forget that this is about a fictitious band while reading it. My husband who isn’t a reader read this and loved it.

“Underland” by Robert Macfarlane


A one-of-a-kind book, “Underland” explores the universe beneath our feet, diving into catacombs, caves, and the land under Greenland’s shrinking ice cap to delve into the darker recesses of our imaginations – a place where artists, adventurers, and criminals have traveled, willingly and otherwise.

Gelman says: The author did all of his research for this on his own. It’s a richly rewarding exploration of the world beneath our feet.

“The Unwinding of the Miracle” by Julie Yip-Williams


Julie Yip-Williams’ beautiful memoir speaks to one of our greatest fears, that we would be diagnosed with a terminal disease, and to our greatest hope, which is that we could face life straight on, fully, without squinting, and live each day with honesty, ambition, and true feeling.

Gelman says: This book deals with how to come to terms with one of our greatest fears, dying before we’re ready.

“Save Me the Plums” by Ruth Reichl


“Save Me the Plums” chronicles how food writer Ruth Reichl came to be editor-in-chief of the magazine she’d pored over as a child, how she transformed it from a stuffy relic of the old guard into a publication that embraced a new culinary era, and how “Gourmet” magazine met its end. A memoir to savor.

Gelman says: A fun, insider look at life during the magazine era. And, while I don’t think this is her intention, you’ll walk away realizing how remarkable of a woman Ruth Reichl is.

“Cari Mora” by Thomas Harris


Thomas Harris’ harrowing new novel of greed and survival, “Cari Mora” is as cinematic as one might expect (and hope for), charged with smugglers and lawmen, gruesome deaths, and deceit that crisscrosses the ocean between Colombia and Miami. Harris is a masterful storyteller who knows exactly how to get under our skin and into our heads.

Gelman says: Harris is the author of “Silence of the Lambs.” This thriller has some gruesome spots. And the editor that loved it read this one twice!

And, the top pick in children’s books: “The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise” by Dan Gemeinhart


An unforgettable middle-grade novel about a girl and her father on a cross-country journey, the people they meet, and how they find their way home again. This is a book young readers won’t want to miss. Coyote’s story is wise, funny, and holds onto your heart long after you’ve read the final page.

Gelman says: Full of life lessons, this is the book you want every 9-12 year old to read.

Originally Published @ Business Insider