Every once in a while, those of us who read will come across a novel whose vibrant tales of foreign lands and cultures strike us with a sudden sense of wanderlust. Have you ever come across a book that inspired you to travel? A chapter that described a country outside of our own in such a beautiful way that its reality became your fantasy?
We've compiled a short list that just might make you feel that way. These great reads — each with a different perspective and tone — will undoubtedly pique your interest in Africa's beauty and history:
West with the Night by Beryl Markham
This 1942 memoir chronicles the author's childhood and career as a bush pilot and horse trainer in Kenya in the early 1900's. Barkham recounts beautiful stories of her adventures, discoveries, and life experiences in this beautifully written novel, and her love for the country that she was raised in radiates brilliantly throughout each chapter.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith
Smith's bestselling series follows Botswana's only female private detective Mma Precious Ramotswe through a series of captivating adventures. Readers far and wide have fallen in love with the series, and the author is revered for his impressive ability to entertain while also shedding light on conditions in Botswana. In fact, Smith's vignettes featuring Precious became such a hit that her agency, still maintained in Botswana, remains a popular tourist destination in Africa.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Poisonwood Bible is a bestselling classic about the Price family, told from the perspective of the wife and four daughters of an evangelical Baptist who moves his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in the 1950's. Through her riveting exploration of Africa as told by the Price women, Kingsolver does an excellent job of transporting you from your couch to the soil of a continent that is both culturally and historically complex.
Of course, our list could go on and on. For more reading suggestions, check out this list of great African novels from The Guardian!