Friday, January 25, 2008

Africa Reading Challenge

Over the last two years oldest son, Ethan, and I have shared several books on Africa. The continent is a life-long intrigue for both of us and while I'm an armchair traveler, he was fortunate to live and work in Namibia for a couple of months in 2006. Before he left, we both read "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" and "Scribbling the Cat", two excellent memoirs by Alexandra Fuller.

Because I enjoyed her writing so much, one of my "blog alerts" is set for "Alexandra Fuller"and this morning a blog alert e-mail led me to a website inviting people to participate in an African Reading Challenge.

Ethan and I decided to participate in the challenge together and had a lively e-mail conversation deciding which books we would read. We decided on the following:
  • I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation by Michela Wong
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • The Shadow of Kilimanjaro by Rick Ridgeway
  • What is What by Dave Eggers
  • Africa: The Next Decade by Arthur Gerstenfeld
  • A continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa by Howard French
As each of us finishes one of the books, we are to blog about it and link the entry onto the African Reading Challenge page. I'm looking forward to the reading and to sharing the experience with Ethan.


Ruth said...

I will have to look up some of these books. As I was born in S. Africa and went to primary school there, Africa continues to interest me greatly. I recently read Paul Theroux's "Dark Star Safari" which was very interesting although sometimes bleak in outlook.

Beth said...

Let me know if you have any thoughts on the books Have you been able to go back since you were a child? It is a fascinating place and one that I've always wished to visit.

Thomas F. Ryan said...

Good morning Beth. Wind cancelled the Bonds and now we're off to Tom, Field and Willey instead. One of my favorite books is "The Power of One". Beautiful stuff there: ""The power of one is above all the power to believe in yourself, often beyond any ability you may have previously demonstrated. The mind is the athlete, the body is simply the means it uses to run faster or longer, jump higher, etc. First with the head, then with the heart, more than mixing brains with guts, it means thinking beyond the powers of normal concentration and daring your courage to follow your thoughts." ~ Bryce Courtenay

Beth said...

Tom, that looks like a good one. I think I'll add it to the list. Archie and I are doing Field and Willey tomorrow. We'll look for paw prints along the trail and take pictures of them.

Ruth said... I haven't been back, but it would be interesting to do so. A lot has changed there since the early to mid 1960's.

Thomas F. Ryan said...

Just back, Beth. You won't see paw prints as he had his booties on today. (But you may see small spots of yellow snow...his, not mine.) We went up Tom, over to Field and Willey, then back to Field and down the Avalon Trail to A-Z Trail. Well broken out the entire way. Butt sliders have had their way with the Avalon Trail, however. Lot of people out today and a lot will be out tomorrow so the trail should be in great shape. Have fun!

As far as the Power of One goes, it's a great book, uplifting but the hero has more than his share of challenges. It's pretty powerful stuff but there are light moments too. Enjoy!