Thursday, December 18, 2008

reading about Africa

I've read a lot of books so far this year. Most of them have been fiction that explores the lifestyles of other cultures in places like India, China, and Africa.

Over the summer I read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, which told the story of an American missionary family trying to survive and "spread the Gospel" in the Congo. It was fascinating. A few days ago, I finished Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Taking place in Nigeria, it is often compared to the great Greek Tragedies. Now I'm right in the middle of A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche (translated from French). If you've seen the movie Hotel Rwanda, you'll be familiar with the subject material of this fiction-based-on-fact novel: the 100-day genocide in Rwanda in which approximately 800,000 people were viciously murdered in 1994.

This morning on the way to work I caught a story on NPR about the conviction of a Rwanda army colonel and two others for their roles in the genocide. Here's the CNN story. I always think it's interesting when past and present link up like this for a split second on the morning news.

And? Today is the anniversary of the day the 13th Constitutional Amendment abolishing slavery went into effect back in 1865.

The irony gives me the chills.


Pamela said...

I loved The Poisonwood Bible. Did you read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? There's a whole chapter about turkey sex. Fascinating. Really.

sherylolb said...

How about Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen. It's old, but very good.