100 books like Weep Not, Child

By Ngugi Wa Thiong'o,

Here are 100 books that Weep Not, Child fans have personally recommended if you like Weep Not, Child. 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 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.

Who am I?

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 Grass Is Singing

Evadeen Brickwood Author Of The Rhino Whisperer

From my list on Southern Africa with wild life.

Who am I?

I moved from Germany to Botswana when I was a fledgling translator, and then on to South Africa 2 years later. I fell in love with this part of Africa that had a hand in making me the person I am today. Since I used to travel a lot, not all of my books are set in Southern Africa, but I have a passion for sharing my African stories with the world, and in a few of my novels, I include African wildlife in the storyline. Being a translator, I also translate books into German/English, and four of my own books - so far - are also available in German.

Evadeen's book list on Southern Africa with wild life

Evadeen Brickwood Why did Evadeen love this book?

I don’t remember if there is actual wildlife in this book (apart from a dog), but nature plays a big part in the story. It was one of the first novels about Africa I read and it moved me deeply. Doris Lessing has written quite a few books about Africa, some political, others with a focus on the land, its people, and nature. She grew up in Zimbabwe (which was called Rhodesia back then) and is an award-winning author. I had to include at least one of her books in my list, so there.

By Doris Lessing,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Grass Is Singing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing's first novel is a taut and tragic portrayal of a crumbling marriage, set in South Africa during the years of Arpartheid.

Set in Rhodesia, 'The Grass is Singing' tells the story of Dick Turner, a failed white farmer and his wife, Mary, a town girl who hates the bush and viciously abuses the black South Africans who work on their farm. But after many years, trapped by poverty, sapped by the heat of their tiny house, the lonely and frightened Mary turns to Moses, the black cook, for kindness and understanding.

A masterpiece of realism,…

Book cover of The Pickup

Benjamin Kwakye Author Of Obsessions of Paradise

From my list on the complexities of migration.

Who am I?

I was born in Ghana and migrated to the US, where I have spent most of my adult life. The antipathy in certain circles towards immigrants still surprises me. I have tried to address this in my own way through fiction in the hope that readers can come to see migrants as multi-dimensional people with similar hopes, dreams, and aspirations. As such, I am similarly drawn to books that address the humanity of migrants. It has always been my belief that a better understanding of those we think are different from us will help bridge our various divides. I hope my recommendations help get readers there. One book at a time.

Benjamin's book list on the complexities of migration

Benjamin Kwakye Why did Benjamin love this book?

Nadine Gordimer’s book sucked me into its post-apartheid South Africa setting.

I greatly admired how Gordimer bravely tackles the thorny matter of interracial relationships, chronicling an improbable love affair between an illegal immigrant in South Africa and a privileged white South African. Gordimer navigates the complexity of the relationship with insight and empathy, sidestepping the expediency of simplicity to deal frontally with matters of love, race, and class struggle.

By Nadine Gordimer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Pickup as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Julie Summers' car breaks down in a sleazy street, a young Arab garage mechanic comes to her rescue. Out of this meeting develops a friendship that turns to love. But soon, despite his attempts to make the most of Julie's wealthy connections, Abdu is deported from South Africa and Julie insists on going too - but the couple must marry to make the relationship legitimate in the traditional village which is to be their home. Here, whilst Abdu is dedicated to escaping back to the life he has discovered, Julie finds herself slowly drawn in by the charm of…

Book cover of The Power of One

Micki R. Pettit Author Of A Kiss for Maggie Moore

From my list on heart-tugging coming-of-age for aging readers.

Who am I?

I'm not Maggie, my title character, but we share a smart mouth, and it has put me in the dog house more than once. Coming-of-age stories appeal to my “Will-I-ever-grow-up?” nature. At any given moment you’re as old as you’ve ever been, which is why an adolescent, lost in unfolding maturity, seldom has the sense of a zygote—nor does a twenty-something, thirty-something, and on up the line (sixty-six and counting). A backward glance is your best bet at gleaning pearls of wisdom. Passing from one life-phase into another is awkward at best. Its navigation, something humans share regardless of time or place, lends to humor. Oh, there’s heartache. Often suffering. But in laughter lies hope.

Micki's book list on heart-tugging coming-of-age for aging readers

Micki R. Pettit Why did Micki love this book?

Never would I expect to fall in love with a book whose anchor is boxing, but that’s exactly what happened when I read The Power of One. Possibly because Peekay—an abandoned boy of English heritage growing up in South Africa after the Boer War and during the rise of Nazi Germany—is so damn loveable. Possibly because the author is adept at weaving audacious characters, cultural clash, and mysticism into a delightful yet thought-provoking yarn. The Power of One had me at chapter one when Peekay’s Zulu nanny, a medicine man, and a chicken named Granpa Chook cure his “night water.” It takes some fancy footwork for Peekay to go from bed-wetter to welterweight champion of the world, and I was in the ring with him every step of the way.

By Bryce Courtenay,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Power of One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

“The Power of One has everything: suspense, the exotic, violence; mysticism, psychology and magic; schoolboy adventures, drama.”
–The New York Times

“Unabashedly uplifting . . . asserts forcefully what all of us would like to believe: that the individual, armed with the spirit of independence–‘the power of one’–can prevail.”
–Cleveland Plain Dealer

In 1939, as Hitler casts his enormous, cruel shadow across the world, the seeds of apartheid take root in South Africa. There, a boy called Peekay is born. His childhood is marked by humiliation and abandonment, yet he vows to survive and conceives heroic dreams–which are nothing compared…

Book cover of Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir

Neill McKee Author Of Kid on the Go! Memoir of My Childhood and Youth

From my list on memoirs of childhood and youth.

Who am I?

As a creative nonfiction writer, I’m interested in exploring how the environments of our early years shape us. I read many different childhood memoirs while writing my own. Many of us have stories worth telling if we dig into our memories and let our creative juices flow. But it helps to have had an antagonist. The chemical stinks and pressure to conform in my hometown provided that, allowing me to use the humorous theme of escape. Everyone has had challenges to overcome, rivals, opponents, supporters, and friends, and that is the stuff of good stories. The feedback I have received indicates that, as I hoped, my memoir strikes a chord with many.

Neill's book list on memoirs of childhood and youth

Neill McKee Why did Neill love this book?

I recommend this book because it takes the reader to a totally different world of a child growing up in the 1940s and 50s in Kenya, East Africa, during the war between the British colonials and Mau Mau freedom fighters. The author was born into a typical African compound ruled by a patriarch with four wives. He had many adventures in his attempts to escape the restrictions of his native culture. In Chapter 3 of my memoir, titled “First Dreams of Africa,” I describe how I saw shapes which looked like African animals on a hill, the other side of the chemical factory and town dump. That’s when I started to dream about going to a more verdant faraway land. Ngugi wa Thiong'o became a novelist and playwright and I became an international film and media producer, and much later a creative nonfiction writer. 

By Ngugi Wa Thiong'o,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dreams in a Time of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Dreams in a Time of War, Ngugi wa Thiong'o paints a mesmerising portrait of a young boy's experiences in an African nation in flux.

Beginning in the late 1930s, this moving and entertaining memoir describes Ngugi's day-to-day life as the fifth child of his father's third wife in a family that included twenty-four children born to four different mothers. Against the backdrop of World War II, which affected the lives of Africans under British colonial rule in unexpected ways, Ngugi spent his childhood as the apple of his mother's eye before attending school to slake what was then considered…

Book cover of Histories of the Hanged: The Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire

Paddy Docherty Author Of Blood and Bronze: The British Empire and the Sack of Benin

From my list on colonial wrongdoing.

Who am I?

I’m a historian of empire, with a particular interest in the British Empire, colonial violence, and the ways in which imperialism is shown and talked about in popular culture. I studied at Oxford University, and having lived in and travelled around much of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, I am always trying to understand a bit more if I can… but reading is best for that… My first book was The Khyber Pass.

Paddy's book list on colonial wrongdoing

Paddy Docherty Why did Paddy love this book?

This is the kind of book that all British historians should be trying to write: an honest, factual, detailed account of what British officials actually did in the service of the Empire. There is no scope for imperial nostalgia over this horrifying story of the brutal violence employed by Britain in the 1950s in an effort to hang onto its colony of Kenya in the face of the Mau Mau Rebellion. With concentration camps, collective punishments, and multiple judicial murders, British methods were among the worst. The ideal Christmas present for any Empire supporters among your friends & family.

By David Anderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A remarkable account of Britain's last stand in Kenya. This is imperial history at its very best."--John Hope Franklin

In "a gripping narrative that is all but impossible to put down" (Joseph C. Miller), Histories of the Hanged exposes the long-hidden colonial crimes of the British in Kenya. This groundbreaking work tells how the brutal war between the colonial government and the insurrectionist Mau Mau between 1952 and 1960 dominated the final bloody decade of imperialism in East Africa. Using extraordinary new evidence, David Anderson puts the colonial government on trial with eyewitness testimony from over 800 court cases and…

Book cover of Tale of Kasaya

Harriet Levin Millan Author Of How Fast Can You Run

From my list on astonishing idealism and survival in East Africa.

Who am I?

When I first met Michael Majok Kuch and he asked me if I was interested in writing his life story, I knew nothing about South Sudan. Over the next several years, we met weekly. I’d interview him, write a chapter, research it, and then show it to him for his approval. I read everything I could find on South Sudan and the adjacent countries. In fact, I became so obsessed with Michael's culture that once I read Francis Mading Deng's Dinka Folktales, Mike’s sister arranged a meeting between Francis Mading Deng and me. These books prepared me for writing How Fast Can You Run, helping other “Lost Boys” of Sudan reunite with their mothers.

Harriet's book list on astonishing idealism and survival in East Africa

Harriet Levin Millan Why did Harriet love this book?

I was fortunate to have met Eva Kasaya at a writing retreat in Kenya shortly after she wrote this book. Part novel, part biography, Tale of Kasaya is the astonishing story of Eva Kasaya’s journey from a 13-year-old village girl in rural Kenya to a published author in Nairobi. Kasaya, who leaves her family’s farm for a job as a domestic worker in the city recounts the horrific situation some domestic workers undergo. Sexually assaulted, she overcomes her trauma and finds solace in the written word. A beautifully written book that deserves to be a classic.

By Eva Kasaya,

Why should I read it?

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

Book cover of A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons

Anthony Ham Author Of The Last Lions of Africa: Stories from the Frontline in the Battle to Save a Species

From my list on wild Africa.

Who am I?

For more than two decades, I have been travelling to the wild places of this planet looking for stories. Africa in all its diversity has always been my first love. Whether I’m off the grid in the Kalahari, or scanning the far horizon of the Serengeti looking for lions, Africa feels like home to me, and I’m passionate about finding, and then telling the stories of the people I meet, and the wildlife I encounter, along the way. And driving me every step of the way is my great belief in the power of the written word and that of a good story to transform the way we think about, and interact with, the natural world. 

Anthony's book list on wild Africa

Anthony Ham Why did Anthony love this book?

Funny and wise in equal measure, A Primate’s Memoir is a window on baboon social dynamics with plenty of forays into the world of safari tourism that he observes from askance. Sapolsky has since gone on to become one of the science world’s keenest observers of human behaviour, and his portrayals of baboon and human interactions are priceless.

By Robert M. Sapolsky,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Primate's Memoir as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, Robert Sapolsky, a foremost science writer and recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, tells the mesmerizing story of his twenty-one years in remote Kenya with a troop of Savannah baboons.

“I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead, I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla,” writes Robert Sapolsky in this witty and riveting chronicle of a scientist’s coming-of-age in remote Africa.

An exhilarating account of Sapolsky’s twenty-one-year study of a troop of rambunctious baboons in Kenya, A Primate’s Memoir interweaves serious scientific…

Book cover of Out of Africa

B.W. Powe Author Of These Shadows Remain: A Fable

From my list on vistas and fantasias of the subconscious.

Who am I?

My name is B.W. Powe—and I’m a writer, poet, teacher, mentor, and musician. I’ve written since I was a boy, when I began to dream of beautiful sentences, and finding a way to turn music into literary expression. I live in Stouffville, a small edge town near Toronto, Canada—and a portion of the year in Cordoba, Spain, where my wife is from. I was encouraged by my mother, an amateur pianist, and my father, a politician, and novelist. We lived in Toronto through the 60s-90s and witnessed how the city sprawled. I’ve written about the Genesis Overdrive that informs culture and lives. My latest book, Ladders Made of Water, will be available on February 14th, 2023.

B.W.'s book list on vistas and fantasias of the subconscious

B.W. Powe Why did B.W. love this book?

A poignant, perceptive memoir of the author’s time in Africa—and her experiences there, her discovery of love and the loss of that love; evocations of people and sky, contemplations of weather and landscape unlike any other I’ve read.

It should be read (and always honoured) because it’s as close to a reverie on sorrow and wonder, the mystery of stark wildernesses and solitudes, as I’ve found. It’s the book I wish I’d written, above so many others.

By Isak Dinesen,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Out of Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1914 Karen Blixen arrived in Kenya with her husband to run a coffee-farm. Drawn to the exquisite beauty of Africa, she spent her happiest years there until the plantation failed. A poignant farewell to her beloved farm, "Out of Africa" describes her friendships with the local people, her dedication for the landscape and wildlife, and great love for the adventurer Denys Finch-Hatton.

Book cover of Bitter Money

James A. Robinson Author Of Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

From my list on Africa.

Who am I?

I am a social scientist who has been doing fieldwork and research in Africa since 1999. For me, there’s no more fascinating part of the planet – Africa is the cradle of civilization, more diverse than anywhere else and culturally and institutionally vibrant and creative. I have worked in Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zimbabwe investigating the determinants of political institutions and economic prosperity. I have taught courses on Africa at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, the University of Ghana at Legon and this summer the University of Nigeria in Nsukka.

James' book list on Africa

James A. Robinson Why did James love this book?

It isn’t just African politics that is different. Economics is too. If modern economics had been invented by an African, instead of Adam Smith, it would look very different. Wealth would be measured in people rather than material objects, property, and capital. There would be much less emphasis on markets. Some things, should never be sold, and if they were it would create “bitter money” and bad luck. This book is a great place to start to re-think your ideas about economics.

By Parker Shipton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“fascinating little book adds to the study of culture to political economy” MacGaffey ~Journal of Anthropological Research “presents fascinating material on beliefs about money in some Luo-speaking communities of Kenya… an insightful analysis… a case that will generate fruitful discussions for years to come” Ferguson ~American Ethnologist BITTER MONEY unites symbolic and economic analysis in exploring the beliefs about forbidden exchanges among the Luo of Kenya and other African peoples. Shipton's multi-paradigmatic theoretical explanation briefly summarizes a century of anthropological thought about African exchange, while integrating ways of understanding rural African economy, politics, and culture.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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