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Topic: can anyone recommend a book set in Africa

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Subject: can anyone recommend a book set in Africa
Date Posted: 4/24/2011 11:58 AM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
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I love novels that are full of interesting characters.  I do not read crime novels, but many good stories have some sort of crime to solve as the premise of action. 

I am specifically looking for a book set in Africa for a reading challenge. 

Any recommendations?

Subject: Depending on what kind of book you like...
Date Posted: 4/24/2011 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2009
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A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer is an excellent book - it's geared to a younger ("young adult") audience but is an excellent read.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a classic, and often assigned in advanced high school courses or in college.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is one of the best books I've ever read, hands down, and it's set in Africa for the most part.

Date Posted: 4/24/2011 2:33 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.

Date Posted: 4/24/2011 3:24 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2009
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This is also part of a series, period mystery piece.

Treasure of the Golden Cheetah: A Jade del Cameron Mystery by Suzanne Arruda

and of course there is Out of Africa by Isak DInesen/Karen Blixen



Date Posted: 4/24/2011 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
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There's a mystery series that takes place in South Africa, by James McClure. The Steam Pig ws the first one.
Date Posted: 4/25/2011 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
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I heartily second The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  It's in my all-time top ten favorites.


Last Edited on: 4/25/11 4:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/28/2011 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2006
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It's old (set in 1913) and written for YA but The Flame Trees of Thika is very enjoyable.  Here's the blurp from Amazon

Elspeth Huxley's stirring account of her childhood in Kenya and her novel of the destructive forces of colonization.
In an open cart Elspeth Huxley set off with her parents to travel to Thika in Kenya. As pioneering settlers, they built a house of grass, ate off a damask cloth spread over packing cases, and discovered--the hard way--the world of the African. With an extraordinary gift for detail and a keen sense of humor, Huxley recalls her childhood on the small farm at a time when Europeans waged their fortunes on a land that was as harsh as it was beautiful. For a young girl, it was a time of adventure and freedom, and Huxley paints an unforgettable portrait of growing up among the Masai and Kikuyu people, discovering both the beauty and the terrors of the jungle, and enduring the rugged realities of the pioneer life.


Date Posted: 4/28/2011 5:18 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
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Margaret, your suggestion reminded me of a book (and movie) that I absolutely loved.... Old, but don't know I didn't think about it!  Born Free by Joy Adamson.  I defy anyone to get through that book without a good cry.  What a wonderful read!

Date Posted: 4/28/2011 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
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There's also a sequel to The Flame Trees of Thika, titled The Mottled Lizard. That and a couple of Elspeth Huxley's mysteries are currently posted (not from me). Not available but in the PBS database is Nellie's Story, a compilation of Elspeth's mother's letters and journals - I enjoyed that one a lot, too.
Date Posted: 4/29/2011 2:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2005
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Wilbur Smith has several books that take place in Africa. I read When The Lion Feeds a long time ago and it was pretty good. Stephen King calls him the best "historical writer".


Date Posted: 4/29/2011 8:55 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Also, Cry, the Beloved Country. by Alan Paton, and some of the books by Nadine Gordimer, such as Burger's Daughter and  July's People; or Buchi Emecheta, such as Double Yoke or The Joys of Motherhood; or N'gugi wa Thiongo, such as The River Between.    Also, The Stone Virgins, by Yvonne Vera.

Last Edited on: 6/4/11 7:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/29/2011 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2009
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I agree with The Poisonwood Bible, one of my all time favorites.

Date Posted: 4/29/2011 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2010
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The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay is a very good book, an epic novel with a terrific ending.

Date Posted: 5/4/2011 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
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I would strongly recommend "Cutting for the Stone"  by Abraham Verghese.  Most of it is set in Ethiopia.  A very interesting story, with a lot of very valid medical elements.  I enjoyed it a lot.

Date Posted: 5/5/2011 12:40 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2008
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My vote is for the following 2 that have already been recommended:


The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kinsolver


The series by Alexander McCall Smith Beginning with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Date Posted: 5/5/2011 9:18 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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I wanted to echo the recommendation for

The Power of One
Author: Bryce Courtenay

Fabulous book! Read it 20 years ago and I still find myself thinking about it.

Date Posted: 5/6/2011 2:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
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A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley (set in Botswana)

Date Posted: 5/6/2011 8:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2009
Posts: 41
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Cutting for Stone is absolutely one of my all time favorite books.


Say You're One of Them, by Uwem Akpan


Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tongiht, by Alexandra Fuller


Somebody's Heart is Burning, by Tanya Shaffer

Date Posted: 5/8/2011 10:34 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2009
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Oh, and I forgot the classic, The Grass is Singing, by Doris Lessing

Date Posted: 5/24/2011 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 6/14/2007
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Most of the books mentioned here I've either read or have on my list.

The Poisonwood Bible, On my top 3 best ever reads. Love it, re-read it often, have 4 copies so I can freely lend it!

King Leopold's Ghost, OMG this non-fiction ends where Poisonwood starts. The aweful history of the Congo.

What is the What, A Sudanese man is living in the US after spending 10 (20?) yrs in a refuge camp.

A Girl Named DIsaster, I didn't read it, but my teenage daughter loves it.

The Camel Bookmobile, An Irish woman brings books to Africa & is left unsure about it's affect.


Date Posted: 6/4/2011 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2008
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Shirley Palmer

Deep in the heart of Africa lies the terrible truth about a brutal death. And the woman searching for answers can't even imagine the consequences exposing the truth will have on her life. — When Joel Stanton left for Kenya to find the perfect site for a new hotel, it was just another routine business trip for the young architect. But when his bat... more »tered body came home in a body bag, his twin sister and partner, Cat, knew something had gone terribly wrong. Something someone was determined to cover up.

Heading to Nairobi, Cat hires the same safari outfit her brother used. And soon realizes that Dan Campbell, the man charged with Joel's safety -- and a man with is own demons to fight -- knows more than he's saying about her brother's death.

Retracing her brothers footsteps across the rugged and heartbreakingly beautiful terrain of Africa, Cat embarks on a journey that will change her life... and put her in the same kind of danger that got Joel killed. 
Date Posted: 6/4/2011 7:52 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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The River God by WIlbur Smith is excellent.

Date Posted: 6/5/2011 4:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2011
Posts: 286
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Some great ones already mentioned.  I'll add:  _A Story Like the Wind_ and _A Far Off Place_  by Laurens Van Der Post.  

Date Posted: 6/5/2011 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2005
Posts: 1,466
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Haven't read it yet but I thnk Little Bee by Chris Cleave starts out in Africa.

Date Posted: 6/5/2011 11:39 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,567
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Lioness......wasn't this also published with a different author's name?