100 books like The Whisper of the Palms

By Harriet E. Michael,

Here are 100 books that The Whisper of the Palms fans have personally recommended if you like The Whisper of the Palms. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most

Joan Deneve Author Of Saving Eric

From my list on the wonders of life and mission work in Africa.

Who am I?

My passion for Africa came from my college days at Tennessee Temple University. Each year, the university would sponsor a missionary conference, and I always found myself drawn to the African exhibits. I am particularly passionate about missionary work in Africa and the challenges that it presents. Africa is a vast and splendid place with cultures as diverse as the climates in which they live. My research has only deepened my great love for this continent and the precious people who live there.

Joan's book list on the wonders of life and mission work in Africa

Joan Deneve Why did Joan love this book?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Too Small to Ignore. Dr. Wes Stafford, the son of missionaries, wrote amusing anecdotes of his boyhood adventures in a West African village. Also in the book, Dr. Stafford, head of Compassion International, writes of the challenges that children in Africa often face. This book is inspiring and captivating to read and will leave the reader with a greater understanding not only of the beautiful country of Africa but also of the compelling need to champion all the children of the world.

By Wess Stafford, Dean Merrill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Too Small to Ignore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The time has come, argues Dr. Wess Stafford, for a major paradigm shift: Children are too important and too intensely loved by God to be left behind or left to chance. Children belong to all of us and we are compelled to intervene on their behalf. We must invest in children–all across the world.
There are strategic, persuasive reasons–beyond love and kindness–to invest in children. Today they may snuggle into your lap, if you let them. But tomorrow you may not have access to them in the corridors of power they might occupy. Now is the time to shape the…


Book cover of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Medical Missionary's African Challenges

Joan Deneve Author Of Saving Eric

From my list on the wonders of life and mission work in Africa.

Who am I?

My passion for Africa came from my college days at Tennessee Temple University. Each year, the university would sponsor a missionary conference, and I always found myself drawn to the African exhibits. I am particularly passionate about missionary work in Africa and the challenges that it presents. Africa is a vast and splendid place with cultures as diverse as the climates in which they live. My research has only deepened my great love for this continent and the precious people who live there.

Joan's book list on the wonders of life and mission work in Africa

Joan Deneve Why did Joan love this book?

I found Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory a compelling and interesting book about Dr. Gess and his work as a doctor in Africa. Although he treated various medical conditions, his work focused on the plight of the blind in Africa. This dedicated Christian doctor brought not only physical healing to his patients, but also spiritual help and guidance to his patients and their families. The book includes many photographs of the events being described. By end of the book, I had a new awareness of the physical and spiritual needs of the people in this vast continent.

By Lowell A. Gess,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Lowell A. Gess


Book cover of The Hand on My Scalpel: Humorous & Heartbreaking Stories from a Jungle Operating Room

Joan Deneve Author Of Saving Eric

From my list on the wonders of life and mission work in Africa.

Who am I?

My passion for Africa came from my college days at Tennessee Temple University. Each year, the university would sponsor a missionary conference, and I always found myself drawn to the African exhibits. I am particularly passionate about missionary work in Africa and the challenges that it presents. Africa is a vast and splendid place with cultures as diverse as the climates in which they live. My research has only deepened my great love for this continent and the precious people who live there.

Joan's book list on the wonders of life and mission work in Africa

Joan Deneve Why did Joan love this book?

The Hand on my Scalpel was interesting and amusing to read. Dr. Thompson gave a first-hand account of his work in Africa as a surgeon. He is an excellent writer who was able to relate his life and challenges in Africa with vivid clarity and descriptions. I was able to envision each scene as if I were there. 

By David C. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hand on My Scalpel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is not just a book about surgery. It is not even just about surgery in a remote jungle station.

It is about God and His unpredictable working in the life and ministry of a missionary kid from Cambodia who ends up as a medical doctor at an isolated hospital in Gabon, West Africa.

You will laugh when a "simple" outhouse building project turns into a comedy of errors. You will cry when a pregnant, retarded and epileptic girl arrives at the hospital and gives birth to "Grace." But most of all, you will come to understand that there is…


Book cover of Angola Bradt Travel Guide 2nd

Joan Deneve Author Of Saving Eric

From my list on the wonders of life and mission work in Africa.

Who am I?

My passion for Africa came from my college days at Tennessee Temple University. Each year, the university would sponsor a missionary conference, and I always found myself drawn to the African exhibits. I am particularly passionate about missionary work in Africa and the challenges that it presents. Africa is a vast and splendid place with cultures as diverse as the climates in which they live. My research has only deepened my great love for this continent and the precious people who live there.

Joan's book list on the wonders of life and mission work in Africa

Joan Deneve Why did Joan love this book?

I found this book helpful because my books are set in Angola. This travel guide gave specific details about the terrain, climate, and geographic challenges of life in Angola. A travel guide such as this one is invaluable to anyone considering a short-term trip to Africa. This particular book even offered help with conversational language terms and gave thorough and interesting information that helped give my books the authenticity I wanted.  

By Mike Stead, Sean Rorison, Oscar Scafidi

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Angola Bradt Travel Guide 2nd as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Angola is changing at a rapid pace. This new edition reflects the continued resurgence of tourism following years of conflict. While no city comes close to matching Luanda for sheer size, venture outside the capital and you will find everything from frontier diamond towns to relaxed beach resorts. The country offers over 1,000km of unspoilt beaches, excellent fishing and some of the best surfing waves in the world. Rain forests and bird spotting opportunities abound. Whether business traveller or pioneering adventurer, Angola provides all the practical and background information you'll need to tackle this vast country. It also acts as…


Book cover of The Famished Road

V.G. Yefimovich Author Of This Enchanted Realm

From my list on for readers who want a story to challenge them.

Who am I?

I've always been a writer. Most recently, though, I have completed a PhD in philosophy and I decided to write a book that deals with the issues that I wrestled with over the course of my studies in a way that can be appreciated by a popular audience. This Enchanted Realm is my first book—though I'm the author of a dissertation on Charles S. Peirce and two academic papers on Peirce and Arthur Schopenhauer. Like Franz Kafka before me, I was employed in a job unrelated to creative writing which is where I realized that good poetry is only the right words in the right order—I decided to move from writing technical protocols to writing—technically—stories.

V.G.'s book list on for readers who want a story to challenge them

V.G. Yefimovich Why did V.G. love this book?

The Famished Road is often categorized as a novel of “magical realism” although the author rejects this categorization. Okri’s tale follows Azaro, a spirit child in Okri’s native Nigeria as he watches the post-colonial state transform with the acceleration of global technology. While Okri weaves the spiritual and physical realms into his narrative, the juxtaposition of the spiritual and physical realms for Okri is a cornerstone of traditional African religion (and is therefore not seen as “unrealistic”). More accurately, The Famished Road resembles Fyodr Doestoevsky’s Notes from Underground: a classic philosophical novel. In The Famished Road, Okri argues that there is no salvation on Earth—even for the spiritual realm that resides alongside us. Azaro sees the people of his village being exploited by politicians and foreign actors and there is nothing he—as a transdimensional creature—can do about it. Transforming Doestoevsky’s cynicism into something even more all-encompassing or…

By Ben Okri,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Famished Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Man Booker Prize: “Okri shares with García Márquez a vision of the world as one of infinite possibility. . . . A masterpiece” (The Boston Sunday Globe).

Azaro is a spirit child, an abiku, existing, according to the African tradition, between life and death. Born into the human world, he must experience its joys and tragedies. His spirit companions come to him often, hounding him to leave his mortal world and join them in their idyllic one. Azaro foresees a trying life ahead, but he is born smiling. This is his story.
 
When President Bill Clinton first…


Book cover of Incidents at the Shrine

Wole Talabi Author Of Incomplete Solutions

From my list on collections of African speculative fiction stories.

Who am I?

Novels are great. I’ve written one myself. I have also written many short stories for major science fiction and fantasy publishing venues—Asimov’s, F&SF, Analog, Lightspeed, etc. But there is something special about single-author short story collections. They are like tasting platters. They reveal running themes and can be a unique way to explore places—through the imaginations of its authors. For example, many of my stories are set in or feature characters from Nigeria. I hope you enjoy the books on this list and that they show you something new about Africa and what (some) African authors dream about. 

Wole's book list on collections of African speculative fiction stories

Wole Talabi Why did Wole love this book?

I really enjoyed this excellent, ethereal collection of stories from Booker Prize winner Ben Okri who, from early on, has always infused the supernatural and dream logic into his literary work to get at a deeper truth in his very grounded stories about post-independence Nigeria and Nigerians. The lightest on its speculative elements out of all the books I’ve recommended, it’s also a great entry point for literary fiction fans looking to ease into the more flighty and wild parts of African speculative fiction. There are all the realities of life – anxiety, joy, poverty, war, love, but there are spirits and strange things too. Okri’s writing lures you in and takes you on a journey to observe Nigerian life from a skewed angle with unexpected tenderness. 

By Ben Okri,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Incidents at the Shrine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Incidents at the Shrine is the first collection of stories by the author of 1991 Booker Prize-winning novel, The Famished Road. Whether the subject is a child's eye view of the Nigerian Civil War, Lagos and the spirit world or dispossession in a decaying British inner city, Okri's lyrical, poetic and humorous prose recreates the known and the unknown world with startling power.


Book cover of A Month and a Day: A Detention Diary

Andrew Cairns Author Of The Witch's List

From my list on set in Africa that move, uplift, and inspire.

Who am I?

I am a Scottish writer who enjoys travelling and meeting people of different cultures and beliefs. I have always been a fan of adventure stories, particularly those with a strange or supernatural bent. My travels to The Ivory Coast and North Africa, hearing accounts of various witch stories, and encountering strange events and practices firsthand inspired me to write The Witch’s List Trilogy: the first two books published and the third in progress. 

Andrew's book list on set in Africa that move, uplift, and inspire

Andrew Cairns Why did Andrew love this book?

This is an interesting and moving account by Nigerian writer, Ken Saro-Wiwa, which describes his non-violent struggle against big petroleum companies and the military dictatorship who were involved in human rights and environmental abuses of the Ogoni people. He describes his detention and the events leading up to it in harrowing detail and gives lucid convincing arguments against his accusers. A truly inspirational message, especially given that much of it was written in secret in prison, and knowing that he was unjustly tried and executed in 1995, shortly after the book’s publication. 

Book cover of A Good Man in Africa

Keith B. Richburg Author Of Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa

From my list on Africa about journalists, diplomats, and spies.

Who am I?

I’ve been a journalist since high school and I spent 33 years as a reporter for The Washington Post, mostly as a foreign correspondent based in Asia, Africa, and Paris. My book Out Of America chronicled my three years as a correspondent in Africa during some of its most tumultuous events, the Somalia intervention, and the Rwanda genocide. I’ve always thought a well-crafted novel often captures a place or a time better than nonfiction — books like The Quiet American about the Vietnam War, and The Year of Living Dangerously about Indonesia. I now teach a university course on The Role of the Journalist in Popular Fiction, Film and Comics.

Keith's book list on Africa about journalists, diplomats, and spies

Keith B. Richburg Why did Keith love this book?

This laugh-out-loud story of a bumbling British diplomat, Morgan Leafy, in the fictitious African country of Kinjanja evokes the immediate British post-colonial with a dark wit and a sense for the absurd. The colonial expats depicted in the book are all thoroughly dislikable, but as Leafy gets mired deeper and deeper into problems, I found myself rooting for him to find a way out. His characterisation of the expats and the locals, and the hilarious interactions between them, seem searingly accurate, probably because Boyd grew up in Nigeria and Ghana, giving him rich material for his first novel.

By William Boyd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Good Man in Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A funny first novel about the misadventures surrounding Morgan Leafy, a young, overweight, oversexed British diplomat in West Africa. The book won the 1981 Whitbread Literary Award and the 1982 Somerset Maugham Award.


Book cover of The Fishermen

Feyisayo Anjorin Author Of Kasali's Africa

From my list on African post-colonial life.

Who am I?

I was born in Akure, a hilly, ancient, rainforest town that became the chief administrative town of the newly created Ondo State in 1976. As a child, I witnessed the old town’s effort, both deliberate and inevitable, to wear a modern look. I’m naturally attracted to stories, fiction or non-fiction, that gives voice to the individual right to resist the old or the new; resistance that will not be without consequences. Kasali’s Africa is the theatre of ideas for Kasali, a rural farmer courted by the educated elites, and his view on what Africa should be. If you love Africa, I know you will enjoy these books.

Feyisayo's book list on African post-colonial life

Feyisayo Anjorin Why did Feyisayo love this book?

The Fishermen is set in Akure, the first town I ever knew intimately, and a town I have fallen in love with once again as an adult. In Akure you will see hills and rivers and green scenery, you will see stories. This gives me rare insight into the childhood adventures of the protagonist, Ben, and his 3 brothers, whose lives were shackled by the rantings of a mentally disturbed man. I love the author’s use of historical figures and events of 1990s Nigeria as a backdrop for this tragic story about a normal Nigerian family.

By Chigozie Obioma,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A striking debut novel about an unforgettable childhood, by a Nigerian writer the New York Times has crowned "the heir to Chinua Achebe."

Told by nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of a childhood in Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river, they meet a madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by…


Book cover of Hunting Midnight

Wendy Lee Hermance Author Of Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

From my list on why Portugal is weird.

Who am I?

Wendy Lee Hermance was heard on National Public Radio (NPR) stations with her Missouri Folklore series in the 1980s. She earned a journalism degree from Stephens College, served as Editor and Features Writer for Midwestern and Southern university and regional publications, then settled into writing real estate contracts. In 2012 she attended University of Sydney, earning a master’s degree by research thesis. Her books include Where I’m Going with this Poem, a memoir in poetry and prose. Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat marks her return to feature writing as collections of narrative non-fiction stories.

Wendy's book list on why Portugal is weird

Wendy Lee Hermance Why did Wendy love this book?

Portugal: The Impossible Revolution? a 1990s dissertation on rainfall patterns, and Richard Zimler's 1998 best-seller, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon were the only books on Portugal I could find with useful content - more than enough to book a flight. Zimler´s second novel about the Zarco family connected with me because it connects Portugal with South Carolina, where I lived for decades. It was the first book to explain Portugal as weird—confusing, full of contradictions—because Portugal is not one country, but a mosaic of world cultures. For example, the main character´s father also went back and forth to Africa in the 18th century, which was mind-blowing to me. Zimler's depiction of the bond between former African slave Midnight, and John Zarco, each a survivor of state-sponsored violence was deeply moving. The book's period atmosphere, magical occurrences, and bird markets primed me to expect the same here. Which I have. 

By Richard Zimler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Zimler's dazzling tale, John Zarco Stewart is an impish child of bold inquisitiveness, the unwitting inheritor of a faith shrouded in 300 years of secrecy. Dark and bitter events put an end to his innocence and almost destroy him, but he is healed by the arrival in his household of a mysterious young man from Africa.

Midnight is a freed slave brought to Porto by John's seafaring father, and he becomes John's greatest friend, ultimately determining the course of his life. But as John grows to manhood Midnight is lost to him, Napoleon's armies invade Portugal, and John's fragile…


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