Africa is high on my bucket list. If I never make it there, I’d be pretty upset, so I get in a mode from time to time where I start thinking about when I am going to plan for my eventual African trip. A big part of that is books. I love reading about other countries, I think great authors can paint a romantic image of a country that you can’t quite get from just looking at pictures or watching a movie.
Africa is one place I love to read about. The continent has so many different countries, cultures, climates, it’s always called to me as a really special place. Not surprisingly, when I nerd out and get into a place I try to find any group of books I can about it and then read them all. No, I’m not OCD, why do you ask.
Alexandra Fuller grew up in the southern part of Africa in what was then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and now resides in maybe the opposite of Africa: Wyoming – beautiful of course, but in a very different way. Now, she is a pretty famous author and has written a variety of books on her African childhood and her unforgettable (and slightly crazy) family. My favorite would probably be Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, all about the author’s mother an import from the Isle of Skye and a pretty incredible woman. I love the story simply because her life was just so different from the way I grew up. She’s also written Don’t Let’s Go to the Dog’s Tonight and Scribbling the Cat, both about her childhood in Africa.
You’ve probably heard of this really famous movie called Out of Africa starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Did you know that it was actually a book first? Meryl Streep’s character, Karen Blixen, wrote this first hand account of her life on her coffee plantation in Kenya in the 1910’s and 1920s. She writes Out of Africa, under pen name Isak Dinesen, in amazing prose with such beautiful descriptions that you feel like you are also sitting at the foot of the Ngong hills with her.
I’ve mentioned this book before, but I’m going to push it upon you again, so take it and like it already! West With the Night by Beryl Markham is not only one of my favorite books, but gives a fantastic account of life in post colonial Africa. It follows much of a similar time period as Out of Africa, but Beryl was an aviator, one of the very very few in all of Africa at the time. She tells amazing stories of her life, her childhood playing among the local tribes and her days of cris-crossing East Africa bringing supplies and goods to camps and safari groups.
If you have any great books that you love on Africa, or any books in general, let me know so I can share it with everyone!