100 books like Move Your Shadow

By Joseph Lelyveld,

Here are 100 books that Move Your Shadow fans have personally recommended if you like Move Your Shadow. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A History of South Africa

Kenneth P. Vickery Author Of The African Experience: From "Lucy" to Mandela

From my list on Southern Africa as picked by a historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

For fifty years I have studied and taught the history of Africa, which  makes me about the luckiest guy around.  My focus has been on Southern Africa, and especially Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.  Aside from the fantastic physical beauty, the region attracts because of the comparability of its history and experience with that of the United States at many points:  for instance, a colonial past, systems of slavery, and fraught [to say the least] racial dynamics.  I have enjoyed 23 journeys or lengthier sojourns in Southern Africa, and have taught at five universities, including North Carolina State, Duke, and the University of Zimbabwe as a Fulbright Lecturer.

Kenneth's book list on Southern Africa as picked by a historian

Kenneth P. Vickery Why did Kenneth love this book?

Okay, he was my dissertation advisor. Sorry! But Thompson’s is a concise, perceptive, and readable one-volume history of the great country, a splendid introduction. Born and raised in South Africa, the late Thompson was a Rhodes Scholar before seeing extensive service in World War II. Like so many talented South Africans from many fields, he went into exile around 1960 when the apartheid regime moved toward a no-holds-barred stranglehold on all opposition. This was his last book, and in it he distills a lifetime of research, teaching and experience. The fourth edition has an update and new preface by Lynn Berat.

By Leonard Thompson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A History of South Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fresh and penetrating exploration of South Africa's history, from the earliest known human inhabitation of the region to the present

"I did not think it was possible for a white person to write a history of South Africa which a black South African would find to be a fair and accurate account of a beautiful land and its people. Leonard Thompson has disabused me of that notion. His is a history that is both accurate and authentic, written in a delightful literary style."-Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The Fourth Edition of this classic text brings South Africa's history up to date…


Book cover of Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Paul Wood Author Of How to Escape from Prison

From my list on escaping prison and helping you change your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was imprisoned for murder as an 18-year-old. I was a high school dropout who was addicted to drugs and didn’t have any hope for the future. Each of the books recommended contributed to my own journey of transformation. I read them all while I was in prison. Some of them while I was in maximum security or solitary confinement. Each recommendation helped me escape that life and its horrors. 

Paul's book list on escaping prison and helping you change your life

Paul Wood Why did Paul love this book?

Nelson Mandel’s autobiography from his early life through the 27 years he spent in prison before becoming South Africa's first democratically elected President.

This book taught me about trying to be a better person despite your circumstances and being wronged by others. It also gave me hope that my imprisonment could be just a chapter in my journey and didn’t need to be the defining experience of my life.

By Nelson Mandela,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Long Walk to Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2018 is the centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth

'The authentic voice of Mandela shines through this book . . . humane, dignified and magnificently unembittered' The Times

The riveting memoirs of the outstanding moral and political leader of our time, A Long Walk to Freedom brilliantly re-creates the drama of the experiences that helped shape Nelson Mandela's destiny. Emotive, compelling and uplifting, A Long Walk to Freedom is the exhilarating story of an epic life; a story of hardship, resilience and ultimate triumph told with the clarity and eloquence of a born leader.

'Burns with the luminosity of faith in…


Book cover of The Old Drift

Iris Mwanza Author Of The Lions' Den

From my list on immersed in another culture, country and time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Zambia, a small, landlocked country where travel was prohibitively expensive, but through books, I could travel to any place and across time without ever leaving my bedroom. Now, I’m fortunate that I get to travel for work and leisure and have been to over thirty countries and counting. Before I go to a new country, I try to read historical fiction as a fun way to educate myself and better understand that country’s history, culture, food, and family life. I hope you also enjoy traveling worldwide and across time through this selection.

Iris' book list on immersed in another culture, country and time

Iris Mwanza Why did Iris love this book?

This type of book taught me much about my own country, Zambia. It starts with the story of David Livingstone’s “discovery” of Victoria Falls, and many characters, including a choir of mosquitos, took me for a wild ride through colonial history, the struggle for independence, modern-day Zambia, and then into the future.

I had learned about some of the historical events in school, but many were revelations unearthed by Serpell’s meticulous research. I found the characters riveting, and the storytelling complex, creative, and exciting. Reading this incredible book has also made me richer in my knowledge of my home country. 

By Namwali Serpell,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Old Drift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A dazzling debut, establishing Namwali Serpell as a writer on the world stage.”—Salman Rushdie, The New York Times Book Review
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Dwight Garner, The New York Times • The New York Times Book Review • Time • NPR • The Atlantic • BuzzFeed • Tordotcom • Kirkus Reviews • BookPage

WINNER OF: The Arthur C. Clarke Award • The Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award • The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction • The Windham-Campbell Prizes for Fiction

1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the…


Book cover of Nervous Conditions

Kenneth P. Vickery Author Of The African Experience: From "Lucy" to Mandela

From my list on Southern Africa as picked by a historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

For fifty years I have studied and taught the history of Africa, which  makes me about the luckiest guy around.  My focus has been on Southern Africa, and especially Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.  Aside from the fantastic physical beauty, the region attracts because of the comparability of its history and experience with that of the United States at many points:  for instance, a colonial past, systems of slavery, and fraught [to say the least] racial dynamics.  I have enjoyed 23 journeys or lengthier sojourns in Southern Africa, and have taught at five universities, including North Carolina State, Duke, and the University of Zimbabwe as a Fulbright Lecturer.

Kenneth's book list on Southern Africa as picked by a historian

Kenneth P. Vickery Why did Kenneth love this book?

Another remarkable first novel, and the first of a trilogy, now complete. Dangarembga is a multi-talented Zimbabwean woman—filmmaker, playwright, novelist, and not least, political activist. A coming-of-age tale set in the late colonial period [when Zimbabwe was Rhodesia], the focus is on two girls, cousins. Tambu, the narrator, begins the book this way: “I was not sorry when my brother died."  Now, that will get your attention [we gradually learn why]. But it is her cousin Nyasha who will grab you: brilliant, passionate, troubled, sickly. In 2018 the BBC named Nervous Conditions one of the 100 stories that have shaped the world.

By Tsitsi Dangarembga,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Nervous Conditions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14.

What is this book about?

FROM THE BOOKER PRIZE SHORTLISTED AUTHOR OF THIS MOURNABLE BODY, ONE OF THE BBC'S 100 WOMEN FOR 2020

'UNFORGETTABLE' Alice Walker 'THIS IS THE BOOK WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR' Doris Lessing 'A UNIQUE AND VALUABLE BOOK.' Booklist 'AN ABSORBING PAGE-TURNER' Bloomsbury Review 'A MASTERPIECE' Madeleine Thien 'ARRESTING' Kwame Anthony Appiah

Two decades before Zimbabwe would win independence and ended white minority rule, thirteen-year-old Tambudzai Sigauke embarks on her education. On her shoulders rest the economic hopes of her parents, siblings, and extended family, and within her burns the desire for independence. A timeless coming-of-age tale, and a powerful exploration of…


Book cover of Cry, the Beloved Country

Shenaaz Nanji Author Of Child of Dandelions

From my list on stories every teen must read before they turn 18.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer with multiple cultures and heritage. I believe stories are magical, they touch our hearts and change the way we think and behave. Having lived in different continents around the world, my book list reflects stories with diversity of cultures and story settings around the world, and how the impact of these stories reverberated with me for a long time after reading them.

Shenaaz's book list on stories every teen must read before they turn 18

Shenaaz Nanji Why did Shenaaz love this book?

I studied this great work of literature in the 1960s in Secondary School in Mombasa and the injustice of humanity in this tragic story is still indelibly etched in my heart. The story is set in Ndotsheni, a poor, agricultural village in South Africa but with a strong sense of community and in the city of Johannesburg a corrupt, big city where it's every man for himself. It is about a Zulu pastor, Stephen Kumalo, who receives a letter that his sister in Johannesburg has fallen sick. Kumalo undertakes the difficult journey travelling from his village to the city in the hopes of aiding his sister and of finding his son, Absalom, who left to go to the city and never returned. What really moved me is the estranged relationship of two fathers and their sons that evoke anguish in the fathers. Upon reading this book the message that resonated…

By Alan Paton,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Cry, the Beloved Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A novel depicting the racial ferment in the beautiful country of South Africa in 1948.


Book cover of Life & Times of Michael K

Justin Fox Author Of The Cape Raider

From my list on South Africa’s landscape and beauty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a South African travel writer and novelist with a particular passion for the sublime landscape, wildlife, oceans, and wilderness of our corner of Africa. Growing up in Cape Town, I have spent the last 25 years travelling around the subcontinent writing and photographing for travel and wildlife magazines, and writing books about the landscape and its people. My two latest novels are set in the Cape, and although they are World War II adventure stories, they are also celebrations of our unique coastline, maritime culture, and the oceans that wash our shores. All my writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, ends up being a love letter to the landscape.

Justin's book list on South Africa’s landscape and beauty

Justin Fox Why did Justin love this book?

The Life and Times of Michael K is a beautifully written allegory about the troubled apartheid era in South Africa. The author, Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee, was one of my lecturers at the University of Cape Town and this is my favorite book of his. It provides superb descriptions of the arid South African landscape and how a solitary figure ekes out an existence: alone, off-grid, reclusive… waiting for the tide of history to turn. The novel is set in the heart of the Karoo, a semi-desert region that I love to visit to get away from the city and its strife.

By J. M. Coetzee,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Life & Times of Michael K as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From author of Waiting for the Barbarians and Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee.

J.M. Coetzee's latest novel, The Schooldays of Jesus, is now available from Viking. Late Essays: 2006-2016 will be available January 2018.

In a South Africa turned by war, Michael K. sets out to take his ailing mother back to her rural home. On the way there she dies, leaving him alone in an anarchic world of brutal roving armies. Imprisoned, Michael is unable to bear confinement and escapes, determined to live with dignity. This life affirming novel goes to the center of human experience-the need for an…


Book cover of White Tribe Dreaming: Apartheid's Bitter Roots Witnessed By Eight Generations Of An Afrikaner Family

Lewis DeSoto Author Of A Blade of Grass

From my list on about life, literature and South Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up during the apartheid era of racial segregation and oppression. A Blade of Grass was written with a sense of exile and regret, but also with love. It is not overtly about South Africa and apartheid. It asks a fundamental question: Where is home, and how shall we live there?

Lewis' book list on about life, literature and South Africa

Lewis DeSoto Why did Lewis love this book?

I was born in South Africa almost 300 years to the day after the first white Europeans arrived to establish a permanent home at the tip of the continent.

This book begins with that arrival and follows the history of the author’s family through eight generations.

It is a history of individuals, related by bloodlines, but diverse in ambitions and actions, and seeks to trace and explicate how some of those first settlers and their descendants became the Afrikaners of the 20th century. 

While my own antecedents are less well documented, I like to believe that they are not dissimilar to de Villiers’s,  and were touched by the same major events in the history of the Afrikaners.

By Marq de Villiers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White Tribe Dreaming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a history of the Afrikaner as seen through the history of one family, the de Villiers, who first moved to South Africa in the 1600s. The book traces the history of the family and the Afrikaner, showing how the Afrikaner acted at the turning points in their history and revealing how that has made them what they are today. It also charts the development of the hallmarks of apartheid, including the pass system and tribe mentality. Journalist Marq de Villiers includes memorable scenes from the family's history culled from the diaries and papers.


Book cover of Imaginings of Sand

Gretchen McCullough Author Of Shahrazad's Gift

From my list on books influenced by Thousand and One Nights.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a fiction writer and currently live in Cairo, where I have lived for over twenty years. I noticed that the way I started telling stories was influenced by learning Arabic and by listening to the stories of the people in the city. My interest in Arabic also led me to read Arabic literature, like A Thousand and One Nights.   

Gretchen's book list on books influenced by Thousand and One Nights

Gretchen McCullough Why did Gretchen love this book?

I admired the creativity and originality of this epic novel. Brink has yoked the harsh political reality of South Africa with the frame of the One Hundred and One Nights

On the eve of cataclysmic change in nineties South Africa, a young South African émigré, Kristien, who lives in London, has been summoned back to her grandmother’s deathbed. In between the tense atmosphere before impending elections in post-apartheid South Africa, the ancient Ouma tells her granddaughter the history of all of the women in their Afrikaans family, blending fable, African folktale, and actual fact. One relative even turns into a tree! Once Ouma finishes her last story, there is one more tragedy which hits very close to home.

I loved the wide sweep of this novel, which reminded me somewhat of Faulkner, that traces the literal Calvinism and fierce militarism of the first Afrikaans settlers to South Africa—and…

By Andre Brink,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Imaginings of Sand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When expatriate Afrikaner Kristien Müller hears of her grandmother's impending death, she ends her self-imposed exile in London and returns to the South Africa she thought she'd escaped. But irrevocable change is sweeping the land, and reality itself seems to be in flux as the country stages its first democratic elections. Kristien's Ouma Kristina herself is dying because of the upheavals: a terrorist attack on her isolated mansion has terminally injured her. As Kristien keeps vigil by her grandmother's sickbed, Ouma tells Kristien stories of nine generations of women in the family, stories in which myth and reality blur, in…


Book cover of How Long Will South Africa Survive?: The Looming Crisis

Gail Nattrass Author Of A Short History of South Africa

From my list on modern South Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

Gail Nattrass was born in Northern Rhodesia. She was educated at Mufulira High School and the universities of Natal, Rhodesia, Nyasaland, and UNISA. She relocated to South Africa with her husband in 1967, and subsequently lectured in the history department at the School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand for 20 years. She has written materials for students and presented papers on various aspects of South African and international history at four universities in South Africa. She is also the author of The Rooiberg Story, the co-editor with S B Spies of Jan Smuts: Memoirs of the Boer War, and a contributor to They Shaped Our Century and Leaders of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902.

Gail's book list on modern South Africa

Gail Nattrass Why did Gail love this book?

R W Johnson, an international commentator on South African affairs, first wrote a book with this question in 1977. It provided a controversial and highly original analysis of the survival prospects of the apartheid regime. 

Now, after more than twenty years of post-apartheid ANC (African National Congress) majority rule, the situation has become so crucial that he feels the question must be posed again. He moves from an analysis of Jacob Zuma’s corrupt rule to the increasingly dire state of the economy and concludes that South Africa under the ANC is fast slipping backward.

He feels that twenty years of ANC rule have shown that the party is hopelessly ill-equipped to cope with the challenges of running a modern industrial economy.

By R.W. Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Long Will South Africa Survive? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1977, Johnson's best-selling How Long Will South Africa Survive? offered a controversial and highly original analysis of the survival prospects of apartheid. Now, after more than two decades of ANC in government, he believes the question must be posed again. 'The big question about ANC rule,' Johnson writes, 'is whether African nationalism would be able to cope with the challenges of running a modern industrial economy. Twenty years of ANC rule have shown conclusively that the party is hopelessly ill-equipped for this task. Indeed, everything suggests that South Africa under the ANC is fast slipping backward and that even…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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