Africa TBR #1: Nonfiction Past & Present

Five books set in Africa that I’ve read, and six on my shelves that I plan to read.

I posted in my entry for the NonFiction Reading Challenge that my first goal is to read 10 books about Africa, set in Africa, or written by members of the African diaspora.

Normally I don’t post many book hauls or TBRs, because I almost never stick to a TBR.  I read a lot, my tastes and reading needs vary, one book might not be available at the library but another might turn up at the thrift store, and I never know what might be happening in my everyday life to allow me to read more or less than expected.

Also, I read at a decent speed, but I’m slow to review books and sometimes (especially if it’s a library book) never get around to reviewing them at all.  That’s okay with me, but I do feel it’s unfair to those of you who might see a haul/TBR and be waiting for a review.  So consider yourself warned!

What I’ve Read Before

I loved the adult memoir Born a Crime (set in South Africa), enjoyed the YRE of The Life of Olaudah Equiano (Benin but travels through other areas), and recommend The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (primarily Malawi).  I wasn’t as into Kisses from Katie, although it was interesting.  Honestly, I’m shocked at how little African nonfiction I’ve read.  There’s quite a few novels and short story collections that haven’t been reviewed yet, but this is all the nonfiction!

What I Already Read This Year

Tears of the Desert cover resized

Tears of the Desert is a book from my wishlist that I was gifted for Christmas.  I read it during the first week of 2018.  It was not an easy read, but it is an amazing book.  Highly recommended.

Books I Already Own

These are books that I already own, so it makes sense for me to read them as it would count for two areas of my challenge.

These three I’m excited about.  As mentioned above, I enjoyed the adult version of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.  The details have faded from my mind enough that I’m excited to read this young reader’s edition and refresh my memory.

I think Chinua Achebe is better known for fiction, but this memoir is about his experiences of the Biafran War in Nigeria.  If memory serves, he also wrote a novel about this topic too.  Although I’ve read a good amount of Nigerian fiction, Achebe is new to me.

Paul Rusesabagina is hotelier who saved over a thousand people during the Rwandan genocide.  I’ve only heard good things about his autobiography, but it does sound emotionally charged.

While the first three were all books I purchased specifically even though they were bought used, these are more random.  No Future Without Forgiveness is Desmond Tutu’s study of reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa.  I found this on the free shelves after reading Trevor Noah but could never get into it.

Infidel is a book I was given and wouldn’t have chosen myself.  The author is Somali, and the book takes place in various parts of Africa, the Middle East, and eventually Europe.  I’m not entirely sure, but it seems like the author has left Islam and is very angry.

Long Walk to Freedom is a special case.  Since this is a challenge book, set in Africa, that I already own, it would count three times over!  But it’s also 625 pages (not counting the index).  I was excited when I first found this book at the dollar store, but it’s lost some luster as I’ve tried, and failed, to read it.

Author: colorfulbookreviews

I work in a library by day and parent the rest of the time. I am passionate about good books representing the full spectrum of human diversity for every age group and reading level. This blog is my attempt to help parents, educators, and librarians find the best children's books authored by or featuring characters of color.

10 thoughts on “Africa TBR #1: Nonfiction Past & Present”

  1. Such a great list! And I feel you, I’m always wary about writing down my TBR because for some reason I always deviate? 🙈 Still very interesting to see your list, so don’t feel bad if you don’t review all of them!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Her viewpoint is definitely intense – she’s very angry about what she and others have been through (but that includes mutilation, murder, and almost becoming radicalized so considering where she’s coming from…) and she doesn’t really walk any middle line opinion-wise. She’s very open about her beliefs in terms of Islam needing reformation. I can see where/why people take offense with her, but I really appreciate her storytelling and the strength of her voice. It’s definitely one to read and mull over. I think I’ve read all but one of her books, I really love her writing.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ahh see this was gifted to me by a person who supports the Muslim immigration ban and so on, so just reading the blurb I assumed it was something about conversion or anti-immigration. Now that you’ve explained further, it sounds more along the lines of Persepolis which I really enjoyed. Thought-provoking is definitely good, and knowing you enjoyed this I’m going to move it over into the “anticipated” side, if only to learn what both of you love about her writing!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ugh I could definitely see how someone could take everything she says here and use it totally in the wrong way when what she’s constantly arguing for is reformation (speaking out about that is basically why she gets death threats) and awareness and attention for women’s rights and the cultural differences that can be problematic. There’s one story she tells here that will always stick with me, about how she and another refugee didn’t understand buying on credit and the mistakes they made. Obvious as that should’ve been, it never would’ve crossed my mind, it was eye-opening. I’m so looking forward to your thoughts on this one once you get to it!

            Liked by 1 person

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