LEAP into Sub-Saharan Africa: Great Books for Adults

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The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood
Helene Cooper

BIOGRAPHY 921 COOPER

The author traces her childhood in Liberia and her reunion with a foster sister who had been left behind when her family fled the war-torn region.


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Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
Alexandra Fuller

BIOGRAPHY 921 FULLER

The author’s mother is a Scot who was raised in Kenya, married an Englishman, and passionately made her home in East Central Africa; her story is a remarkable look into the mindset of colonial settlers in Africa.


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Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War
Leymah Gbowee

BIOGRAPHY 921 GBOWEE

Gbowee, a Liberian activist and 2011 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, discusses how she united Christian and Muslim women to campaign for an end to war in her nation.


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You Will See Fire: A Search for Justice in Kenya
Christopher Goffard

HISTORY AFRICA 364.1523 GOF

Goffard explores the life of Father John Kaiser, an outspoken critic of the Moi regime in Kenya who died under mysterious circumstances in 2000, and of Charles Gathenji, a passionate lawyer who sought to find the truth of his death.


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Strength in What Remains
Tracy Kidder

BIOGRAPHY 921 DEO

Kidder tells the true story of Deo, a young man who ekes out a precarious existence in America after surviving a civil war and genocide in Burundi; eventually he fulfills his dream of becoming a medical doctor and is able to devoted his life to healing.


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Unbowed
Wangari Maathai

BIOGRAPHY 921 MAATHAI

The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement tells her story as one of the first women in Kenya to receive an education and become involved in the political life of the country.


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Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir
Ngugi wa'Thiong'o

BIOGRAPHY 921 Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o remembers 1950’s Kenya, his childhood, education, and the complexity of the rising African nationalism of the era as evidenced within his own family.


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The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe
Douglas Rogers

HISTORY AFRICA 968.9105 ROG

Rogers, now a travel writer in New York, grew up in Zimbabwe and returns periodically to visit his parents; while there he worries about their safety and documents the changes and decline of their formerly prosperous backpacker lodge.


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One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir
Binyavanga Wainaina

BIOGRAPHY 921 WAINAINA

In telling his life story, Wainaina, a Caine Prize for African Writing winner and currently a teacher at Bard College in NY state, tells also the contemporary history of Kenya as seen through the eyes of a unique child and young adult.


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The Thing Around Your Neck
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

ADICHIE

12 stories that take place in Nigeria and the United States explore questions of belonging and loyalty and the divides between genders, classes, and cultures. See also her novels, Purple Hibiscusand Half of a Yellow Sun.


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The Joys of Motherhood
Buchi Emecheta

EMECHETA

The immense cultural changes in Nigerian life from the 1930s-1960s are portrayed through the experiences of Nnu Ego, an Ibo woman whose identity is bound up in providing for her children, but whose children choose a more modern lifethan she is prepared for.


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Oil on Water: A Novel
Helon Habila

HABILA

Two journalists embark on a journey full of danger and unintended consequences when they are sent to find the wife of a British oil executive who has been kidnapped In the oil-rich and environmentally devastated Nigerian Delta.


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Chronicler of the Winds: A Novel
Henning Mankell

MYS MANKELL

A 10-year-old orphan who has become the mystical leader of a group of street children in Mozambique tells his story to the baker who finds him as he is dying.


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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Book 1)
Alexander McCall Smith

MYS MCCALL SMITH

This popular series follows the “traditionally built” Mme Ramotswe, Botswana’s one and only female private detective, through her personal and professional life in the country that she loves.


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Beneath the Lion's Gaze: A Novel
Maaza Mengiste

MENGISTE

A doctor and his sons make difficult choices during the Ethiopian revolution of the 1970’s.


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I Do Not Come to You by Chance
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

NWAUBANI

Kingsley Ibe, an educated young man in Nigeria who is unable to find employment, gets hooked into working an Internet scam with his uncle after incurring debts from his father’s illness and funeral expenses.


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Baking Cakes in Kigali: A Novel
Gaile Parkin

PARKIN

Angel, a native of Tanzania, has moved to an international apartment complex in Rwanda where she becomes a confidant and counselor to the many customers who have heard of her skill in making cakes for special occasions.


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Wife of the Gods: A Novel
Kwei Quartey

MYS QUARTEY

Darko is called from the capital city of Accra, Ghana, to his small ancestral town to solve the mysterious murder of a young medical student. In the process, he uncovers the mystery of his own mother’s disappearance long ago.


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The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives: A Novel
Lola Shoneyin

SHONEYIN

When a vain patriarch in Nigeria takes a young educated woman as his 4th wife, his household is disrupted until secrets are finally revealed.


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Butterfly Burning: A Novel
Yvonne Vera

VERA

Residents of a black township of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, in the 1940’s experience lives of harshness and hope, conveyed through the poetic voice of one of the country’s best-known authors.


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