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AFRICA – Reading the World


(click on map to enlarge)

Countries read are in bold blue

Potential books to be read are listed below each country. Books read are in red. An asterisk (*) indicates books I own but have not read yet.

1. Algeria (Algers)

  • Children of the New World: A Novel of the Algerian War, by Assia Djebar
  • Between Sea and Sahara: An Algerian Journal, by Eugene Fromentin

2. Angola (Luanda)

  • Angola Beloved, by T. Ernest Wilson

3. Benin (Port-Novo)

  • The Viceroy of Ouidah, by Bruce Chatwin

4. Botswana (Gaborone)

  • White Dog Fell From the Sky by Eleanor Morse (finished 30 January 2013; rated 5/5; read my review)
  • The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith

5. Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou)

6. Burundi (Bujumbura)

  • This Voice in My Heart: A Genocide Survivor’s Story of Escape, Faith and Forgiveness, by Gilbert Tuhabonye and Gary Brozek

7. Cameroon (Yaounde)

8. Central African Republic (Bangui)

9. Chad (N’Djamena)

  • The Translator: A Tribesman’s Memoir of Darfur, by Daoud Hari (finished 15 February 2008; rated 5/5; read my review)

10. Comoros (Moroni)

11. Congo (Brazzaville)

  • The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver (finished 12, July 2008; rated 5/5; read my review)

12. Congo, Democratic Republic of (Kinshasa)

  • A Bend in the River, by V. S. Naipaul (finished 3 October 2009; rated 1/5; read my review)
  • The Catastrophist, by Ronan Bennett
  • Facing the Congo: A Modern-Day Journey Into the Heart of Darkness, by Jeffrey Tayler

13. Cote d’Ivoire/Ivory Coast (Yamoussoukro)

  • As The Crow Flies, by Veronique Tadjo
  • Whiteman, by Tony D’Souza
  • The Suns of Independence, by Ahmadou Kourouma

14. Djibouti (Djibouti)

15. Egypt (Cairo)

  • Nefertiti, by Michelle Moran (finished 30 November 2008; rated 4/5; read my review)
  • The Heretic Queen, by Michelle Moran (finished 05 December 2008; rated 4.5/5; read my review)
  • The Cairo Trilogy, by Naguib Mahfouz*
  • Three Novels of Ancient Egypt, by Naguib Mahfouz*
  • The Yacoubian Building, by Alaa Al Aswany

16. Equatorial Guinea (Malabo)

  • Travels in West Africa, by Mary Kingsley

17. Eritrea (Asmara)

18. Ethiopia (Addis Ababa)

  • There is No Me Without You, by Melissa Fay Greene (finished 09 June 2010; rated 4/5; read my review)
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (finished 07 August 2010; rated 5/5; read my review)
  • The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, by Dinaw Megestu
  • Sweetness in the Belly, by Camilla Gibb

19. Gabon (Liberville)

  • African Silences, by Peter Matthiessen

20. Gambia (Banjul)

21. Ghana (Accra)

  • The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, by Ayi Kwei Armah
  • All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou

22. Guinea (Conakry)

  • L’Enfant Noir (aka: The Dark Child: The Autobiography of an African Boy), by Camara Laye

23. Guinea-Bissau (Bissau)

24. Kenya (Nairobi)

  • Wanderers: Stories, by Edward Belfar (finished 19 January 2013; rated 3.5/5; read my review)
  • The Camel Bookmobile, by Masha Hamilton
  • Out of Africa and Shadows on Grass, by Isak Dinesen

25. Lesotho (Maseru)

  • Singing Away Hunger: The Autobiography of an African Woman, by Mpho Matsepo Nthunya
  • Stories By and About Women in Lesotho, by K. Limakatso Kendall

26. Liberia (Monrovia)

27. Libya (Tripoli)

  • In The Country of Men, by Hisham Matar

28. Madagascar (Antananarivo)

29. Malawi (Lilongwe)

30. Mali (Bamako)

  • Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold, by Michael Benanav

31. Mauritania (Nouakchott)

32. Mauritius (Port Louis)

  • The Last Brother, by Nathacha Appanah (finished 21 February 2011; rated 5/5; read my review)

33. Morocco (Rabat)

  • Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail, by Malika Oufkir adn Michele Fitoussi (finished 16 May 2007; rated 4/5; read my review)

34. Mozambique (Maputo)

  • Dumba-Nengue, by Lina Magaia

35. Namibia (Windhoek)

  • Born of the Sun, by Joseph Diescho

36. Niger (Niamey)

37. Nigeria (Abuja)

  • Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (finished 7 January 2007; rated 5/5; read my review)
  • Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (finished 24 January 2007; rated 5/5; read my review)
  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, by Lola Shoneyin (finished 20 July 2011; rated 4/5; read my review)

38. Rwanda (Kigali)

  • Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron (finished 3 February 2012; rated 5/5; read my review)
  • A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali, by Gil Courtemanche*

39. Sao Tome and Principe (Sao Tome)

40. Senegal (Dakar)

  • So Long A Letter, by Mariama Ba
  • Scarlet Song, by Mariama Ba
  • The Ambiguous Adventure, by Cheikh Hamidou Kane

41. Seychelles (Victoria)

42. Sierra Leone (Freetown)

  • Someone Knows My Name, by Lawrence Hill (finished 12 August 2009; rated 4.5/5; read my review)
  • The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (finished 17 June 2012; rated 5/5; read my review)
  • A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah

43. Somalia (Mogadishu)

  • Knots, by Nuruddin Farah

44. South Africa (Pretoria, Cape Town, Bleoemfontein)

  • Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee (finished 14 December 2007; rated 4.5/5; read my review)
  • Life and Times of Michael K, by J.M. Coetzee (finished 17 February 2008; rated 4/5; read my review)
  • The Scent of Oranges, by Joan Zawatzky (finished 30 May 2009; rated 3/5; read my review)
  • Playing in the Light, by Zoe Wicomb
  • Cry The Beloved Country, by Alan Paton

45. Sudan (Kartoum)

  • The Translator, by Leila Aboulela (finished 23 March 2007; rated 4.5/5; read my review)
  • Acts of Faith, by Phillip Caputo*

46. Swaziland (Mbabane)

47. Tanzania (Dodoma)

  • Baby Khaki’s Wings, by Anar Ali
  • Desertion, by Abdulrazak

48. Togo (Lome)

49. Tunisia (Tunis)

  • Lion Mountain, by Mustapha Tlili
  • Pillar of Salt, by Albert Memmi

50. Uganda (Kampala)

  • Tropical Fish: Tales From Entebbe, by Doreen Baingana

51. Zambia (Lusaka)

52. Zimbabwe (Harare)

  • The Grass is Singing, by Doris Lessing*
  • Don’t Lets Go the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller
  • Nervous Conditions, by Tsitsi Dangarembga
  • Rainbow’s End, by Lauren St. John



  1. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 26, 2007    

    For a great Somali novelist, you should check out Nuruddin Farah. He is currently living in exile in South Africa, I believe. I might steal your country list, it’s quite handy!

  2. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 27, 2007    

    Thanks for the suggestion! I am currently researching ideas for all these countries and appreciate ANY suggestions!! Feel free to use my list 🙂

  3. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 27, 2007    

    Wow, what an ambitious project! Don’t forget the small but impressive Caribbean region in the process of plotting your map. 😀 Caribbean Writers

  4. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 27, 2007    

    Imani, Thanks for that GREAT link! Can’t wait to peruse it 🙂

  5. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 28, 2007    

    Wow, what an amazing project. Is this something you’re doing on your own, or as part of a challenge, or …?

  6. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 28, 2007    

    I have sort of combined a couple of different challenges and made up my own. If you go to this link you can read my introduction post for this. I have created a post for each ‘region’ and listed books there. Here is the link for all those posts.

  7. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 31, 2007    

    I’ve been making a list like yours for Africa. What a delightful find! I have the following suggestions for you:
    Kenya—The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton.
    Mali—Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold by Michael Benanav.
    South Africa—Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. (I know you’ve already read a couple of South African books, this one is a favorite.)
    Botswana—No. 1 Ladies’ Detectove Agency

  8. Anonymous Anonymous
    August 2, 2007    

    Sherry, Forgive my delay in responding to you! I’ve been a bit slammed at work these days and finding it hard to keep up 🙂
    Thank you for the recommendations for Africa reads – I’m planning to update my list here with all the wonderful suggestions I’ve been getting!

  9. Anonymous Anonymous
    August 10, 2007    

    Wendy, this is a fantastic challenge! I’m impressed! There are some great French-African novels out there. I particularly like Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter, which I see you already have on the list. Assia Djebar has another good one, Women of Algiers in Their Apartment. Here are a few more that I know are available in English and on Amazon (the first two are among my favorites):
    The Dark Child: The Autobiography of an African Boy, by Camara Laye (Guinea)
    The Ambiguous Adventure, by Cheikh Hamidou Kane (Senegal)
    The Suns of Independence, bu Ahmadou Kourouma (Ivory Coast)
    The Sand Child, by Tahar Ben Jelloun (Morocco)

  10. Anonymous Anonymous
    August 12, 2007    

    Thanks for these GREAT recommendations, Kelly!! I’m adding them to my list 🙂

  11. April 3, 2008    

    Wendy, thanks for the link to this challenge. I’m going to dip in and out of your lists in my attempt to do more international reading. I’m particularly intrigued by the book from Algeria because I spent most of 1993-2002 living and working in that country. I would love to read some contemporary fiction from there if any has been translated. Those were some very ugly years for that country.

  12. April 4, 2008    

    Sam: You’re welcome 🙂 I will look forward to seeing your lists and reviews!

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