Great African Reads discussion

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Tour d'Afrique: Africa A-Z > Visiting the Republic of the Congo in May & June!

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message 1: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments I know we're only just getting into the DRC but I thought we could open the discussion floor for suggestions for our next shared book - I think it'll actually be really good to follow-up with a book from/about the Republic of the Congo!

So, here are some thoughts but, as usual, feel free to suggest other books:

Fiction
* Emmanuel Dongala The Fire of Origins: A Novel
* Sony Labou Tansi The Seven Solitudes of Lorsa Lopez
* Emmanuel Dongala Little Boys Come from the Stars
* Alain Mabanckou African Psycho

Non-fiction
* Redmond O'Hanlon No Mercy: A Journey Into the Heart of the Congo
* Rory Nugent Drums Along the Congo: On the Trail of Mokele-Mbembe, the Last Living Dinosaur


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoyed Mabanckou.


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

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
these look great. i'll poke around for some more, but these look like really great selections for a poll. i'll try to remember to vote this time!


message 4: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendywoo) | 82 comments Not sure if I'm following this thread correctly, so please forgive me if this is not helpful, but I read The Catastrophist : A Novel set in the Congo on the eve of independence. It was a fast and interesting read if anyone else is interested.
BTW, I'm not sure if I tagged that book properly -- if I did it against the rules (sorry Muphyn) I'll try to do it properly next time :-)


message 5: by Muphyn (last edited Mar 15, 2010 03:27PM) (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Marieke wrote: "... i'll try to remember to vote this time!"

Haha, yes, you always forgot!! ;) (well, not always... but then again, you're way better than me with following through and actually reading the books chosen!)


message 6: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Wendy wrote: "...BTW, I'm not sure if I tagged that book properly -- if I did it against the rules (sorry Muphyn) I'll try to do it properly next time :-)..."

Haha, don't worry, I'm sure you did! :)


message 7: by Manu (new)

Manu (manuherb) | 166 comments Strongly recommended: The Laughing Cry: An African Cock and Bull Story (Readers International Series) (Paperback)
~ Henri Lopes (Author), Gerald Moore (Translator)

From Publishers Weekly (via Amazon)
The author, a former prime minister of Congo-Brazzaville (now the People's Republic of the Congo) who works for UNESCO in Paris, offers a seamless blend of lyric sensuality and finely honed political satire. The narrator of this tale, known only as "Maitre," lives in the capital city of a fictional African country. After a coup d'etat, Daddy, the thug who becomes president, chooses Maitre to become the maitre d'hotel of the presidential palace. However, Maitre is a political innocent who would rather be left alone to carry on his adulterous dalliances, most notably with the fiery Soukali. Still, he is at the center of political action in the country, and he chronicles the monomaniacal leader's "reforms" and the subsequent degeneration of the country. In the end, Maitre's affairs of the heart prove to be both his undoing and his salvation: because Soukali phones him from her job at the Bulgarian embassy, he is denounced as a communist plotter; but he is given safe passage into exile by Daddy's wife, who takes fierce pleasure in cuckolding her husband with the very willing narrator. This superb book, done in fluent translation, should focus much-deserved attention on an author who is virtually unknown in the United States.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

I have an as-yet unread copy of African Psycho by my bedside so will probably vote for that. Currently wading through Ronald Suresh Roberts' biography of Nadine Gordimer, No Cold Kitchen, 639 pages plus nearly a hundred more of notes and index. Overlong, patchy but full of great gossip and remarkable insight by an author who first arrived in South Africa in 1994.


message 8: by LDB (new)

LDB | 66 comments Manu - The Laughing Cry sounds very interesting. Very reminiscent of what has probably happened in reality too many times before. The blurb about it reminds me a little bit of "The Last King of Scotland" (I saw the movie and haven't had a chance to read the book). If you aren't familiar with this book/movie, it is about a doctor that travels to Uganda and ends up being the personal physician to Idi Amin; with a little love story on the side. It is apparently based on actual events. Might make for a good Uganda book to read, once we make it to that end of the alphabet.


message 9: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 660 comments Looks like we'll have lots of good choices again this time. I'm looking forward to summer reading! Of course, I guess for some of you that will be winter reading. Reading about Africa is almost too depressing in winter in Michigan.


message 10: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendywoo) | 82 comments I wanted to mention a book I just read a blurb about which is a memoir written by a woman who started a foundation to assist Congolese women -- A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman. I don't know anything else other than what is posted on Amazon, but if anyone is interested in checking it out . . .


message 11: by Alex (new)

Alex Oh God, that one scene in "Last King of Scotland"...I could not watch that scene. You know the one I mean.


message 12: by Muphyn (last edited Mar 17, 2010 04:53PM) (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Andrea wrote: "Looks like we'll have lots of good choices again this time. I'm looking forward to summer reading! Of course, I guess for some of you that will be winter reading. Reading about Africa is almost t..."

:) Hm, yes, I'm heading into winter now... very sad, I love summer but I tend to get more time for reading in winter so that's a positive! :D


Have wanted to watch "Last king of Scotland" for some time now - so it's really good then, is it?


message 13: by LDB (new)

LDB | 66 comments It has been awhile since I watched "The Last King of Scotland" and have probably blocked out some of the more painful scenes. The scenes that do pop into mind are the gun/shooting scene where the doctor essentially proves himself to Idi Amin and the one where the doctor helps our cher Amin with a gastro-intestinal problem... I still laugh when I think of that scene. What scene are you referring to (a hint, so as not to ruin it for anyone)?


message 14: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 660 comments If anyone's interested in something more on the Amin era, I readThe Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forgetlast summer. It was disturbing, but helped me understand Ugandan history much better.


message 15: by Alex (new)

Alex LDB...it's, ah, near the end? I can't think of a hint that wouldn't give it away.

Muphyn, no, actually, "Last King of Scotland" isn't really good. It's good. Forest Whitaker is a terrific actor at his best here, so it's worth it just for him; but if it weren't for his performance I doubt anyone would even have noticed the movie.


message 16: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
I love forest whitaker. Strangely I can't remember if I actually saw the film! I must have. I wonder if the book is good.


message 17: by Alex (new)

Alex Forest Whitaker's in two of my favorite movies ever: Species and Ghost Dog.

...shut up, Species is awesome.


message 18: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
i haven't seen Species but Ghost Dog is MY favorite! that was the first DVD i ever bought. i had to have that movie all for myself.


message 19: by Alex (new)

Alex Don't go rent Species. It'll just make you respect me less.

So glad we have a shared love of Ghost Dog though. :)


message 20: by Diane , Head Librarian (new)

Diane  | 470 comments Mod
I loved him in The Crying Game.


message 21: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Alex wrote: "LDB...it's, ah, near the end? I can't think of a hint that wouldn't give it away.

Muphyn, no, actually, "Last King of Scotland" isn't really good. It's good. Forest Whitaker is a terrific actor..."


Uh, ok. I think I won't rush to see it then. Thanks!


message 22: by LDB (new)

LDB | 66 comments I have this weird thing about hardly ever remembering the ends of movies. My mind seems to purposefully block those memories so that I can see the same movie again and get just as much pleasure out of it since I experience it all anew. Its very odd...


message 23: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 660 comments LDB, you're lucky your mind is so selective! Mine seems to block out things purely at random, like, where I left my keys, or what time that meeting was etc.


message 24: by LDB (new)

LDB | 66 comments Yeah, my selective memory loss actually works out pretty well. Although I suspect that someday, when the Alzheimers sets in (family tradition...), my mind may not be quite so selective in what it forgets ;)


message 25: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments If you have any other book suggestions for visiting the Republic of the Congo, let's know by Sunday, March 28, so that I can then set up poll for us to vote.


message 26: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
I wonder if I will remember to vote.
;-)


message 27: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Marieke wrote: "I wonder if I will remember to vote.
;-)"


Yes, so do I! ;) Maybe I'll bombard you with messages until you get so sick an tired of me that you vote! :)


message 28: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Poll for the May & June book closes on Sunday, April 11, so make sure you vote if you want to have a say (and that includes you, Marieke! ;) ).


message 29: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Haha! Mindreader from across the world is what you are, muphyn! I've just been telling myself to check the deadline.


message 30: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
i VOTED!!! and man was that a hard decision. i think i'll be pretty happy whatever the outcome, though! :D


message 31: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Marieke wrote: "i VOTED!!! and man was that a hard decision. i think i'll be pretty happy whatever the outcome, though! :D"

Woohoo, oh my goodness you actually voted!! I am so impressed! ;)


message 32: by Muphyn (last edited Apr 11, 2010 06:27PM) (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Thanks to all who voted for the May&June read - the winner is Alain Mabanckou's "African Psycho"!

Happy reading and look forward to some interesting discussions!

Feel free to also read any of the other suggested books and discuss those. :)


message 33: by Manu (new)

Manu (manuherb) | 166 comments Interesting article on Mabanckou:

http://www.economist.com/node/18925807


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks, nice write-up.


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