Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Top 10 Favorite Books set in Africa

I am joining in on this weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week there is a different top ten list topic and a bunch of bloggers weighing in.  Head on over there to see more of the great blogs participating.

Today's topic was really interesting because we got to choose the setting we wanted to talk about.  I thought right away of four books that are set in Africa so decided to go with this one. I had a lot of fun coming up with this list and may come back to this topic on my own to include different settings.  I know it would be easy to put together a list of books with futuristic settings or fantasy kingdoms and that is why I chose this topic instead.  I also think it might be fun to think up a list of books that are set on an island.  Hmmm, future blog posts?  

For now, we will travel to Africa for a list of great books.  

I love Barbara Kingsolver's writing and this is one of my all-time favorite books.  Since it is written from the point of view of a missionary family, it really shows Africa from the perspective that many of us would take if we were transplanted there.  If you haven't read this one, you need to remedy that!

I am cheating a little bit with this one.  Copper Sun by Sharon Draper is not set the whole time in Africa.  Rather, it starts there in a small village when white men come to destroy the village and take the healthy villagers to be slaves.  This is a powerful story and it is important that it starts in Africa because it shows how awful slavers were and is a great discussion starter.  

The Animal Healer series by Lauren St. John is a series of magical realism books.  I am not a huge fan of magical realism but I really love these books.  The White Giraffe is a beautiful book about grief and change and family.  It is set, for the most part, on a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa.  I loved reading about this breathtaking setting as much as I enjoyed the story.  

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer is a must-read book.  It starts out being about a Bonobo sanctuary in Africa and quickly changes to a book about surviving in a region of civil unrest.  The story of the Bonobos is intertwined with a story of survival and is one of the best books I read last year.  

I read July's People in high school and it stuck with me for a long time.  The book helped me to learn about the inequalities that exist in the world and opened my eyes to other cultures.

If you haven't read this memoir, you need to go find it immediately.  It is about a woman who was in the closest circles to the Moroccan royal family until her father was arrested and executed for an assassination attempt.  She and her family were immediately put in prison.  

This book is the third book in a young adult series by Isabel Allende.  The first book in the series, The City of the Beasts, is set in the South American jungles.  All three books are magical realism books that weave legend into the story. This one is set in Kenya and is full of adventure.  

I love that the protagonist of this series is a woman.  A detective living in Africa would be interesting on its own, but it is even more interesting because of this character.  If you like mysteries you will like this series.  

Another must-read book for young people.  It gives another perspective in the story of South Africa and injustice.  

How could I not talk about this book?  Have I mentioned that when I was younger I read everything  Agatha Christie wrote?  In this book Hercules Poirot is on the case when a murder occurs during his holiday in Egypt.  

This is a list of books that I want to read that are set in Africa: Things Fall Apart, Cutting For Stone, Zulu, A Long Walk to Water

Did I miss a book that you would include on this list?  Any suggestions for other books set in Africa? Please make a comment below.  


  1. Wonderful theme! I haven't read any of these books - I think I've only read one set in Africa, actually! I clearly need to read more.

  2. Great choices. My favorite African setting is definitely The Poisonwood Bible. I had to read it in high school, and I loved it.

    My TTT.

  3. Great list! I haven't read many books set in Africa, and the ones I have are mostly set in Egypt. These books look really good, especially The Poisonwood Bible (I've wanted to read that forever) and The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT! :)

    Ashling @ Reading, Writing, & Anything but Arithmetic