Escape to Africa with a few good reads!
Anticipating a trip to Africa soon, allow me to share some of my favorites from an incredible continent I find both fascinating and frightening. I have sought out books about Africa and by African-born writers since reading “Out of Africa” by Isak Dinesan. If you have only watched the movie, read the book.
Beryl Markham was a British-born Kenyan aviator and one of the first bush pilots. Her account of her non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic is recounted in “West with the Night.” Both are excellent books for girls to read and feel the power of hard work and determination.
The story of Rhodesia becoming Zimbabwe as told by Alexandra Fuller is titled “Let’s Not Go to the Dogs Tonight.” Her affection for the country is clear, but she is never sentimental. This is an honest account of growing up with her intrepid and slightly eccentric parents who moved to Rhodesia from England to manage a large farm and the upheaval of the transition to Zimbabwe. The sequel is “Cocktails Under the Tree of Forgetfulness.” Both are favorites of mine and are great material for middle school to high school age as well. In the same genre is “When a Crocodile Eats the Sun” by Peter Godwin, another Brit also raised in Zimbabwe. His memoir covers the turn of the millennium when Robert Mugabe was in power. Startlingly honest.
If you prefer animal stories, try “The Elephant Whisperer” by Lawrence Anthony. You will never look at an elephant the same way again. The ending is simultaneously astounding and poignant.
“Half a Yellow Sun” and “Americanah” are novels by acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her short story collection is “The Thing Around Your Neck.” I strongly encourage you to read at least one of her works.
Becky Bechhold is a Daniel Island resident who describes herself as “a voracious reader.” Prior to moving to the island, she was part of a book club that had met for over 20 years. She has a record of all the books they read! After Becky contributed a list of book suggestions for a summer reading issue in The Daniel Island News this past June, a reader got in touch to compliment Becky’s insights and ask for more! She was more than happy to oblige. This is the first of many reviews we hope to feature from Becky.