Monday, December 17, 2007

Africa Reading Challenge

This challenge, hosted by Dave at Siphoning off a Few Thoughts, fits in perfectly with my reading plans for next year, so I had to join. The challenge is to read 6 books by African authors, or about Africa. I plan on reading more literature from many of my former clients' (refugees and asylum seekers) homelands. Here is my preliminary list:

Links - Nuruddin Farah (Somalia) (Finished 08 Jan 2008)
The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur - Daoud Hari (Sudan) (finished 19 February 2008)

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith (takes place in Botswana) (finished 4 May 2008)
The Yacoubian Building - Alaa Al Aswany (Egypt) (finished 28 June 2008)
A Long Way Gone - Ishmael Beah (Sierra Leone)
The Cairo Trilogy - Naguib Mahfouz (3 books, Egypt)
The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears - Dinaw Megestu (Ethiopia)

Books I would recommend:

Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
No Future Without Forgiveness - Desmond Tutu (non-fic)
Life and Times of Michael K - J.M. Coetzee
Cry, the Beloved Country - Alan Paton
Aman: The Story of a Somali Girl - Virginia Lee Barnes (biography)
A Bend in the River - V.S. Naipal
Season of Migration to the North - Salih El Tayyib

7 comments:

dave said...

These look like great reads. I haven't read any of the ones you're starting and - depending on what you think of them - may add a few to my list!

Welcome to the challenge!

Nyssaneala said...

Dave - thanks! I'm looking forward to reading them next year. Thanks for hosting this challenge!

Eva said...

If you haven't read Dinesen's Out of Africa, I highly, highly recommend finding space for it on the list. It's really a collection of essays, and the writing is possibly the most lyrical I've even encountered. I reviewed it awhile back and included lots of favourite passages:
http://astripedarmchair.wordpress.com/?s=%22out+of+africa%22

dave said...

I would not discourage you from reading Out of Africa as its such a classic, but I will say that I was quite unimpressed, mostly because the racism really bothered me. She's always comparing the locals to animals and talking about how they're a piece of nature. It seems like it's "good-natured" if one thinks of paternalism as good natured, but I think it reflects a time when Europeans didn't really think Africans had much intelligence. Anyway, that took away a lot for me.

Nyssaneala said...

eva & dave - I actually have already read Out of Africa, a few years ago. It didn't leave much of an impression on me, but I do recall feeling it was a racist, which is likely because of the time it represents.

For this challenge, I'm keeping the personal goal of only including books written by African authors.

Bookgirl's Nightstand said...

The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears is a great story. I'm planning to read Half of a Yellow Sun next year and I'm looking forward to it.
Good luck with your challenge!

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