Sunday, May 20, 2012

Memories of Africa (reflective) - tales of travel, hope, survival

The idea of "getting lost in a good book" brought to mind several memorable stories that I've recommended on BooksYALove over the past year.  These books set in Africa are worth a second look; click on each title to read my no-spoilers recommendation in a new window/tab, then find them at your local library or independent bookstore.
book cover of Now Is The Time For Running by Michael Williams published by Little Brown
Now is the Time for Running, but not just to play soccer. Deo must help his disabled older brother escape guaranteed death in Zimbabwe and stay alive long enough to find sanctuary in South Africa. Wild animals, deceitful travel companions, and city gangs all pose unpredictable dangers to the young teen.

Author Michael Williams lives and teaches in South Africa, where he's seen  first-hand the prejudice of city folk against the flood of refugees caused by political instability, as well as dedicated street-soccer coaches who turn around lives today.

book cover of This Thing Called the Future by JL Powers published by Cinco Puntos Press
Fourteen-year-old Khosi wonders and worries about This Thing Called the Future, trying to balance her schoolwork with caring for her little sister and grandmother while Mama works away, wondering if she should pray only to God-in-the-sky instead of using traditional remedies, knowing that "the disease of these times" could end all her dreams of going to college.

Named to the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2012 list, this novel examines life and love in the South Africa shantytowns where beliefs from the past collide with the modern reality of the AIDS virus.

book cover of Mamba Point by Kurtis Scaletta published by Knopf
Brought from unremarkable Ohio to exotic Liberia by his father's work in the 1980s, Linus decides to reinvent himself as a cool guy. Reading about Africa, he learns that the black mamba snake is secretive and rare. Yet the first thing Linus sees when the plane lands in Africa is a black mamba!

The U.S. Embassy residence area is called Mamba Point, but no one ever sees black mambas there...except Linus. An old man in the neighborhood tells him about connections with spirit animals - is the venomous snake truly his 'kaseng'?

(For all books, review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.)

1 comment:

  1. I dream of visiting Africa. Maybe reading more books like these would be a good, inexpensive way to do it. One of the most interesting books I have read about Africa was Graveyard for Dreamers. It is a memoir.


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