Great African Reads discussion

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Welcome > Welcome to new members!!... and introduction... if you want

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message 1: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Just wanted to say hello and welcome to the group to all people who have just join!

Feel free to start discussing any book dealing with Africa at any time, or join in the discussion already underway. If you're interested, we're also doing a book club, reading books from each country in Africa. Have a look in the Book Club section!

Have fun!! :)


message 2: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 171 comments Welcome, Aldawen!


message 3: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Yes, welcome Aldawen!! And wow, what a project your Africa literary tour is!! Sounds like a fabulous idea! Have you published your "results" of your Tour d'Afrique? Looking forward to fruitful discussions and great recommendations!! :)


message 4: by Alex (new)

Alex This thread is ooooooold, sorry to revive it, but I wanted to introduce myself. I'm Alex and I live in Boston. I like reading about Africa, and I'm psyched to find this group.

Is there a master list of countries somewhere? Are we literally hitting every country, or are we, for example, combining Eritrea and Ethiopia?


message 5: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Hello Alex, welcome to group!! :) (Hm, yes, old thread but glad you revived it! :) )

Hm, no master list as such as yet but that's a really brilliant idea - I'll see if I can't get one together on the weekend.

So far we've just been going through every country, starting with A, but have struggled here and there to find suitable/interesting books to read. But it's been real fun and enlightning for others.


message 6: by Alex (new)

Alex Seems like there might be an argument for combining some areas.

I've struggled to find books about specific areas of Africa too, which is one reason why I'm excited to find this club. If we were having trouble with a particular country, I'd be fine with combining it with neighbors. Many of these national lines are sadly arbitrary anyway, of course.


message 7: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Not a bad idea. I'll get a list going, which should then help us to discuss when we run into "trouble" with countries...


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I've located at least one book from every country. Some are perhaps less interesting than we'd like, but there is a book out there for every country.


message 9: by Alex (new)

Alex That's kinda my fear, actually, Shoshana; I don't want to compromise and read a book that's not totally awesome just to check something off a list, y'know? If there's not a compelling book in English from a place, I'd just as soon modify the master plan in the interest of awesomeness.

And again, country lines are so...weird in Africa. I mean, no one can even agree whether Western Sahara is actually a country or not.

I don't want to sound totally dogmatic here - I'll go with whatever the group decides - just throwing in my two cents. :)


message 10: by Diane , Head Librarian (last edited Feb 23, 2010 08:47AM) (new)

Diane  | 474 comments Mod
Hi, my name is Diane, and I am also new to this group. I am trying to read a book from every country (see my journey here: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF...). I have a list I have compiled of books from different countries. I am still working on the list, but Africa is mostly complete. It isn't necessarily accurate, since I haven't read all of the books, but can give you a good starting place. You can find it here:
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2...


message 11: by Alex (new)

Alex Wow, Diane. That is impressive work there.

I love your "Around the World in 80 Books" challenge, too!
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2...
I might just flip back through the past year and see if I'm close. I know, retroactive challenge is totally cheating; I won't call myself an actual flier. Just curious. :)


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

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
I understand what you're saying Alex---a couple of the selections haven't been so good so far. however, the point of "Tour d'Afrique" is to make our way around the continent alphabetically. Not everyone participates for every selection, so please don't feel pressured to read something just to check it off a list. Once so far i've been unable to finish a book because it wasn't engaging me. We do our best and part of the fun, some of the best learning, and a lot of the discussion, has come from the exercise of finding books to vote on. Also, some of the less-than-great books have generated the best discussion. Tour d'Afrique is an adventure...not a list! :D

As for Western Sahara, it is a member of the African Union so i think we can consider it a distinct country.

Anyway, if you think that Tour d'Afrique is not for you, that's fine...you could start another book club that is more regional, or time-period oriented...however you think it would work best for you. i'm sure there will be plenty of willing participants!


message 13: by Alex (new)

Alex No, sure, I totally didn't mean to come in and start yelling about changing the rules! I think hitting every country is a very cool idea. And like you said, I can jump in and out of it as time and interest allows; I'm in like a million book clubs here, so that's what I'm tending to do anyway. :)


message 14: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
absolutely; the caravan definitely lets you hop on and off!
and don't hesitate to throw your 2 cents in whenever you want. discussion is always good!


message 15: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 660 comments Once or twice, when the chosen book has been unavailable or something I don't want to read, I've read a second book from another country or something nearby. Alex, welcome and hope you enjoy the tour.


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

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "Hi, my name is Diane, and I am also new to this group. I am trying to read a book from every country (see my journey here: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF......"

i LOVE that you included antartica!


message 17: by Muphyn (last edited Feb 23, 2010 01:34PM) (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Diane wrote: "Hi, my name is Diane, and I am also new to this group. I am trying to read a book from every country (see my journey here: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF......"

Wow, Dianne, that list is so impressive!! My goodness, I can't quite believe the time and effort you must have spent compiling this list! What a wonderful resource, I'm sure to get lots of ideas from your list. :D

ps: Welcome to the group!!


message 18: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Alex wrote: "No, sure, I totally didn't mean to come in and start yelling about changing the rules! I think hitting every country is a very cool idea. And like you said, I can jump in and out of it as time an..."

Yeah, Alex, don't worry - it's good to hear what other members think! And as Marieke said, do join in when a book interests you, if not, don't worry. Read some other book and discuss that or take a break from Africa... ;)


message 19: by Alex (new)

Alex Awesome. And I'm totally stoked about King Leopold's Ghost. Already ordered it.


message 20: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Cool!! I think so many people are - it's amazing and it's going to be a great discussion!! :)


message 21: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendywoo) | 82 comments I am gonna have to check out Diane's list. Sounds amazing! It's just fun to connect w/ people that are interested in learning, appreciating and discussing other parts of the world :-)

And Alex, for what it is worth, I was really gung ho to get this group active and Marieke and Muphyn have done all the work (huge thanks) -- but I have a pretty specific "type" of Africa book that I enjoy reading and have passed on lots of the selections simply b/c they just aren't my cup of tea. There are so many ways to "learn" about Africa. My interests just happen to be more focused on socio-political aspects of the various regions. Lots of the book picks have been geared more toward authentic African literature. While I totally respect the genre it just doesn't happen to be my favorite so I have sort of just skimmed the discussions and skipped the books. I'm always so impressed though with how wonderfully well-read this group is and constantly get ideas for books I do want to read at some point. I think it's totally cool to hop in and out of the group as your time and interests permit :-) Glad to have you in the group -- and yes, I'm always willing to share my low-brow taste in reality TV w/ others of a similar bent :-D


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

I'll add that the game I'm playing is to read a book by a writer from each country, so when this group's selections don't meet that criterion I either read a different book for the country of just read the discussion.


message 23: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 660 comments Shoshanapnw wrote: "I'll add that the game I'm playing is to read a book by a writer from each country, so when this group's selections don't meet that criterion I either read a different book for the country of just ..."
Never thought before about all the different ways a tour could be set up. Then, one can set up a different system and do it all over again!


message 24: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
my thought exactly, andrea! i think we all did a good job of figuring out basic rules/parameters for the first go round...then we can switch things up when the tour starts over. and also, as people already do, anyone can tweak things on their own and get what they want out of it. i think the tour has been quite successful so far. :D


message 25: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 171 comments Welcome everyone! (Sorry, I have been a bit behind on some of the threads)


message 26: by Marie-Ange (new)

Marie-Ange Somdah | 2 comments Hello to All,
I just joined the group. I'm published writer and professor from Burkina Faso living in Boston. I'm currently overseas running a program at the University of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. I hqve published books in French and English languages.

Hopefully, I will be able to share some thoughts with you all. Cheers! ..... A bientôt!


message 27: by Alex (last edited Mar 12, 2010 02:15PM) (new)

Alex Salut Marie-Ange! I'm in Boston too. Do you teach somewhere around here normally?


message 28: by Marie-Ange (last edited Mar 12, 2010 05:36PM) (new)

Marie-Ange Somdah | 2 comments I taught at Salem State then at Middlebury College (Vermont) and Humboldt State University (California). In 2006, I was sent to Djibouti to setup and implement a new department of studies at the university of Djibouti. But, every summer, I always return to Boston.


message 29: by Alex (new)

Alex Salem State, cool. I graduated high school right next door in Beverly. Your job in Djibouti sounds like quite an honor. I'd be thrilled. What department is it? We'll have to catch a beer this summer.


message 30: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 660 comments Welcome, Marie-Ange. One of our local universities, Michigan State, is also setting up a program in Djibouti. Seems to be the thing these days. Hope you will enjoy the group!


message 31: by LDB (new)

LDB | 66 comments Hello everyone! I am so happy to find a group of other Africa book lovers! I love to travel to and read about Africa, as well as read books by African authors and have several waiting on my bookshelf. While I never have enough time to read all the books I want to, at least I have GR to read about all of the books I don't have or haven't yet had the time to read. So, I look forward to reading all of the discussions in this book group and hopefully finding the time to join in one or two!


message 32: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Hello LDB, welcome to the group - hope you enjoy reading and following the discussions and maybe even reading a book or two yourself! ;)


message 33: by Alex (new)

Alex Hi LDB! Where've you gone in Africa? We've only been to Ethiopia, last year. Top five next destinations in Africa: Madagascar (lemurs!), Egypt, Uganda (gorillas!), Malawi, prob'ly Ghana.


message 34: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Welcome Marie-ange and LDB! My apologies for my belated welcome; I've been traveling and somewhat limited in being able to post in goodreads. It's wonderful to have such knowledgeable and enthusiastic readers join us here. But please don't hesitate to participate in discussions if you haven't read a particular book. You may have unique insight that no one else has...


message 35: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 660 comments LDB, welcome to the group. I'm glad to hear there's someone else who likes to "listen in" on discussions of books they haven't yet read. I agree with Marieke that people who haven't read the book can still participate in some useful ways. Alex, I'd love to go to Madagascar, but would you really go just for the lemurs:).


message 36: by Alex (new)

Alex Er.........sortof.

I like lemurs?


message 37: by LDB (new)

LDB | 66 comments Thanks for the welcome everyone!

Alex - I have been to several countries in Africa: DRC, Liberia, Benin, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Senegal. I may actually be headed back to the DRC soon, which would be well timed with DRC being this month's read. Whenever I travel, I like to bring a book about that country or by an author of that country. I have already read (and loved) King Leopold's Ghost but plan on taking a look at the other DRC books considered to see what new book I may want to try out.

I look forward to participating in discussions as much as I can!


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

I've been to Egypt and Tunisia.


message 39: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
I've only been to Egypt, but I have a nice connection with Kenya since my dad lived there for a couple of years. He and his wife made some wonderful friends, some of whom I have met here in the states. I wish I had been able to visit them when they were there. :(


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

I'd really like to go to Morocco, Madagascar, and Comoros, but life seems to take me to SE Asia these days.


message 41: by Muphyn (last edited Mar 15, 2010 09:35PM) (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments I've only been to Tunisia (on holidays some ten years or so ago) and South Africa (several months over the last few years).

South Africa was a challenge (went by myself every time) but essentially loved it! :) Would love to do an overland Cairo to Cape Town one day. And want to travel to Morocco!! (Loooove Moroccan food! *yumyum* :) )


message 42: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 171 comments So jealous of you all! I have not had the chance to go to Africa, but am hoping I will get there one day. :)


message 43: by Alex (new)

Alex I love this conversation. :)

LDB, I love that too - reading about or by authors from a country as I visit it. It makes travel so much richer. And wow, you've been all over. Jealous. Any particular reason? Or do you just like Africa?

Shoshana, we still haven't hit Asia. Fingers crossed, this year we hope to hit Vietnam or Laos.

Mupyhn, there are those who travel to relax and those who...don't, right? Ha. My wife and I find most of our trips challenging. Some people get confused. "You spent how much money to go to a place where none of the toilets work?" Well, we like challenges.


message 44: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 660 comments LDB, please tell me what you do for a living that allows you to go to all those wonderful places! I may need to change careers!


message 45: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
yeah...i'm jealous of LDB's trips taken and Alex's trips planned. including the lemurs!

when i was in alexandria, egypt i read Miramarwhich was fun to do since the weather was exactly as described. then i started No One Sleeps In Alexandriabut had to finish it at home. i think i would have enjoyed that book without having visited egypt, but my trip definitely affected my reading and vice versa.


message 46: by Alex (new)

Alex Well, y'know, you can plan trips too. That part is free!


message 47: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Yes. You are right. Okay, well...sigh. Everywhere. I like interesting geographical formations.


message 48: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 16, 2010 10:26AM) (new)

Alex, when you get to the Vietnam planning, shoot me a note if you plan to go to Hanoi. I can offer some suggestions.


message 49: by LDB (new)

LDB | 66 comments I work in international development,which takes me to all kinds of places. My focus has been Africa, which is a continent I continue to enjoy traveling too (even though I tend to focus on the conflict/post-conflict countries). Most recently my job has me focused more on the Middle East though (Iraq in particular). I tend not to travel as much as a tourist (except to the Caribbean) because I find that traveling to a country where I have a specific purpose allows me to meet people, do things, and learn about things I otherwise never would have the opportunity for.

I would love to go to Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritius (I tend toward the French speaking countries...). I would also love to go back to Liberia to see it now versus when I was there in 1998.


message 50: by Muphyn (new)

Muphyn | 816 comments Alex wrote: "I love this conversation. :) ...Mupyhn, there are those who travel to relax and those who...don't, right? Ha. My wife and I find most of our trips challenging. ..."

haha, so true - and in-between my challenging and confronting times in SA, I also did the 'relaxing holiday' bit, when visiting a few game reserves, the outdoors and Cape Town (which I just looooved!).

I guess most people in this group would much rather be a traveller than a tourist, right?! :)


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