International Literary Project: Africa Part I

Yes this is still a thing.  I forget that I can only read so much non-fiction before I have to take a break and enjoy some classic literature.  Had I remembered this sooner I could have posted about this months ago.  In the meantime, I halfheartedly attempted but never finished a handful of dull books.  This was after reading a half dozen fantastic books.  I sincerely enjoyed every book on this list.  Africa is a fascinating continent and learning about the people, politics and land is quite overwhelming but in a good way.  Six books on Africa is not enough and I will read more after a formal hiatus.
  1. Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux – I fell in love with this book instantly. An all encompassing account of eastern countries of Africa from top to bottom.  It’s similar to my Asia favorite, A Fortune Teller Told Me. I felt like I went on vacation and didn’t have to leave the couch. Highly Recommend
  2. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen – I’m not sure how they got a movie out of the book.  It must be about the last couple chapters.  Old school in its view of Africans and the land, it wasn’t my favorite but not a bad read.
  3. Unbowed by Wangari Maathai – An interesting look at social activism in Kenya.  Maathai is an example of the strong, female leader the world needs to see more of.
  4. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah – This powerful account of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone was captivating.  For the first time in years I finished a book in one day. Recommend
  5. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – This book allowed me to see the differences between African countries and their people.  I stay away from modern literature but this novel was worth the read.
  6. This Child Will Be Great by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – Political memoirs always leave me a little skeptical but it was fascinating to learn about the Liberian president.  This book also provided the best example of why I’m doing this project – I had no idea Liberia was founded by America.

Part one’s movie choice is sentimental in honor of Lauren BaCall.  Admittedly, The African Queen is a dated film but it’s classic.  It stars BaCall’s husband, Humphrey Bogart, and Katharine Hepburn.  I enjoy the stories about The African Queen more than the film itself.  Hepburn recounted entertaining tales from the Congo in her book The Making of the African Queen or How I went to Africa with Bogart, BaCall and Huston and almost lost my mind. The memoir is a fun easy read that is worth picking up if you can find it (I own it).


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