Great African Reads discussion

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Contemporary Lit | Planning > Contemporary: Narrative Non-Fiction (Sep 2012)

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message 1: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Please suggest books for this genre. Remember that the author must be African. Setting does not matter.


message 2: by Tinea, Nonfiction Logistician (last edited Sep 11, 2012 03:20PM) (new)


message 3: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Millicent wrote: "Does narrative non-fiction include political science, development, or economics? I'm trying to read more African theorists."

Hmmm...Millicent, i'm not sure. in the past Muphyn and i have avoided books that skewed too academic because we figured that generally members here would be unlikely to vote for those books...but of course active membership changes and what they look for here also changes. so i'm certainly not averse to changes! however, i want to encourage as much participation from as many members as i can in order to create dynamic conversation.

i want to find ways to include books like this, and at last one other member has chimed in with you about wanting to read and discuss theoretical books, but i'm not sure how to do this just yet. i'm not sure they count as "narrative."

one idea i have would be to set up a folder for theoretical books to see what develops and take it from there...what do you think? i certainly don't want to exclude these books or discourage you from finding this type of discussion here at this group.

i am thinking of doing something similar for travel literature, since Elizabeth asked about including non-African writers for travel literature in teh Comptemporary Lit project, which i can't do because i want the Contemporary Lit project to focus on African writers.

But i have no problem finding other ways of incorporating these ideas.


message 4: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 543 comments Looking for Transwonderland - Noo Sara-Wiwa

I will look for a couple of others


message 5: by Tinea, Nonfiction Logistician (new)

Tinea (pist) | 406 comments Mod
Limits & focus for a project like this are good. I would love a thread or folder though, as I find this group to be very educational!


message 6: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 543 comments Millicent wrote: "Limits & focus for a project like this are good. I would love a thread or folder though, as I find this group to be very educational!"

Millicent -

I thought of you when I saw this upcoming book:
Rwanda, Inc. How a Devasted Nation Became an Economic Model for the Developing World by Patricia Crisfulli and Andrea Redmond.

This book will be published in Nov 2012.
It is not eligible for the Contemporary read as the authors are not African and for the Tour Rwanda is still a little way off.


message 7: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Millicent wrote: "Limits & focus for a project like this are good. I would love a thread or folder though, as I find this group to be very educational!"

i will create a folder tonight. :)

What should i call it...Works of Theory? and then you (or anyone) could create threads for subgroupings, like African Feminist Theory, Aid & Development Theory, etc. or for specific books if you think that is better...let me know what you think would create the best type of Resource for you and others...


message 8: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Beverly wrote: "Looking for Transwonderland - Noo Sara-Wiwa

I will look for a couple of others"


I agree it's a good idea to put this book in this category.


message 9: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 543 comments Of Africa - Wole Soyinka (Nov. 2012)
A member of the unique generation of African writers and intellectuals who came of age in the last days of colonialism, Wole Soyinka has witnessed the promise of independence and lived through postcolonial failure. He deeply comprehends the pressing problems of Africa, and, an irrepressible essayist and a staunch critic of the oppressive boot, he unhesitatingly speaks out.

In this magnificent new work, Soyinka offers a wide-ranging inquiry into Africa's culture, religion, history, imagination, and identity. He seeks to understand how the continent's history is entwined with the histories of others, while exploring Africa's truest assets: "its humanity, the quality and valuation of its own existence, and modes of managing its environment—both physical and intangible (which includes the spiritual)."

Fully grasping the extent of Africa's most challenging issues,Soyinka's exploration of Africa relocates the continent in the reader's imagination and maps a course toward an African future of peace and affirmation


message 10: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Hello everyone,

this will be our genre for May but i think we need some more ideas. Does anyone have any suggestions? Let's aim for me to post the poll this coming Saturday morning and we'll make it a short one. I apologize for having lost track of time (again).


message 11: by Ndeye (new)

Ndeye Sene (undertheneemtree) | 14 comments Dambisa Moyo have three books on Africa and Economics, easy to read and not 400 pages: Dead Aid, How the west was all, winners take all (Zambia)
Wangari Maathai : The challenge for Africa (I believe it is mentioned up somewhere) (Kenya)
Calestous Juma: The New Harvest, Agricultural Innovation in Africa (Kenya)
Cheikh Anta Diop: The African Origin of Civilization:Myth or Reality (Senegal) a bit tedious and long but really interesting


message 12: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Thanks Ndeye! I'll be poking around today to look for ideas, too.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I'd like to finish Dead Aid.


message 14: by Carolien (last edited Apr 09, 2013 11:56AM) (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 449 comments In a Different Time: The Inside Story of the Delmas Four
One of the best books (including fiction) I have read in the past 4 years - part spy thriller, part memoir, part history, it reads like a legal thriller. Absolutely brilliant.

The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War
Photographer Greg Marinovich, Pulitzer prize winner in 1991, was runner up in the investigative journalism awards for 2012 in South Africa announced this week for the work he has done on the Marikana massacre. He has some interesting insights in how current events compare to the events described in this book - articles on www.dailymaverick.co.za. If not to read, then watch the movie.

The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade - short listed for the Alan Paton Award. Written by a South African on the global arms trade and how it affects Africa.

Architects Of Poverty. Highly respected political analyst and brother of the former South African president analysing Africa's problems and looking specifically at the role of political elites.

I'd love to nominate Jonathan Jansen and Eusebius McKaiser, but their works are probably too South African centric.


message 15: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Carolien, feel free to nominate any book that is narrative non-fiction and written by an African (any race or ethnic group or member of the diaspora. Diaspora writers should have parents from Africa and should have a reasonably strong tie to some place on the continent or islands.)


message 16: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 543 comments Another one to add to this category:
There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra - Chinua Achebe


message 17: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 449 comments I think we are scratching the surface here in terms of nominations. There are really excellent African nonfiction at the moment. I'll have time in the next few days to go into Exclusive Books and I'll go and peruse their African shelves to come up with a few ideas for us. The Alan Paton awards had a long list of 45 books last year so we are not short of possibilities.


message 18: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 449 comments Rat Roads. Journey of a Tutsi from the Rwanda genocides to South Africa in search of an education

Thinking Up a Hurricane coming go age story set on board a yacht on a trip around the world.

The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe

Telling Tales. Collection of Nadine Gordimer's nonfiction work from 1954 to present.

I Will Try. A Malawian boy's walk from his village to America in search of education
Memories at Low Altitude: The Autobiography of a Mozambican Security Chief

Little Liberia: An African Odyssey In New York City or The Number: One Man's Search for Identity in the Cape Underworld and Prison Gangs

Sanctuary: how an inner city church spilled onto a sidewalk by Christa Kuljian


message 19: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 543 comments Another one to add to this list:

The Devil Taht Danced on the Water: A Daughter Quest by Aminatta Forma


message 20: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
I'm sorry i have been so slow. Work has been a real beast recently and saps all my energy for online stuff like this. it will get better very soon. i'm going to try to get the poll set before i leave for work today.


message 21: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
So here are the top five after putting the list into the random list generator:

Looking for Transwonderland - Noo Sara-Wiwa
Calestous Juma: The New Harvest, Agricultural Innovation in Africa
I Will Try.
Memories at Low Altitude: The Autobiography of a Mozambican Security Chief
Telling Tales


message 22: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 543 comments Marieke wrote: "I'm sorry i have been so slow. Work has been a real beast recently and saps all my energy for online stuff like this. it will get better very soon. i'm going to try to get the poll set before i lea..."

Thanks much for setting up the poll.
I hope you have a good day and work will be kind to you todat.


message 23: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Thanks Beverly! i'm hopeful...i have a draft of a paper due on Friday and it's coming along, i guess...lol....


message 24: by Ndeye (new)

Ndeye Sene (undertheneemtree) | 14 comments Ok guys, I read somewhere here that the poll was posted but...where? can't seem to find it


message 25: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Ndeye wrote: "Ok guys, I read somewhere here that the poll was posted but...where? can't seem to find it"

Hi Ndeye, if you look in the upper right corner of this page, you'll see a box with links to other areas of the group. One link is "polls" and when you click on it, the very first poll is the one for this group read. if you have trouble, try this link:

http://www.goodreads.com/poll/list/97...


message 26: by Ndeye (new)

Ndeye Sene (undertheneemtree) | 14 comments Thanks


message 27: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Anytime! I know it can be a little confusing!


message 28: by Susan (new)

Susan | 70 comments I don't know if you guys have come across this website yet called www.africanbookscollective.com, but it has quite a list that I think is relevant for this topic. I thought this Ugandan one looked pretty good.
Beyond The Dance. Voices Of Women On Female Genital Mutilation by Violet Barungi Beyond The Dance. Voices Of Women On Female Genital Mutilation


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