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Hello again, and books

It's been a long time since I've posted here. I spend a bit of time on Twitter and Facebook now, and since I don't feel like i have a whole lot to say, those tend to be a better forum for what I do say, if that makes sense.

reeseszymanski and I were in the UK for the BSB UK event in Nottingham, which I enjoyed. I got to know a little more about some of the BSB authors and editors as well as meeting and talking to readers. Plus we made sure to eat plenty of tikka masala before we came home. As always, I came home with about 20 books, many of which are not available in the U.S. I'm slowly but surely making my way through that stack. I love walking by my to-be-read bookcases; there's so much waiting for me on them!

Right now I'm reading Chasing the Devil: On Foot through Africa's Killing Fields by Tim Butcher. In 2009 I read another book by Tim Butcher: Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart, which was a fantastic book. Here's the cover blurb from Blood River:

When "Daily Telegraph" correspondent Tim Butcher was sent to cover Africa in 2000 he quickly became obsessed with the idea of recreating H. M. Stanley's famous expedition - but travelling alone. Despite warnings that his plan was 'suicidal', Butcher set out for the Congo's eastern border with just a rucksack and a few thousand dollars hidden in his boots. Making his way in an assortment of vessels including a motorbike and a dugout canoe, helped along by a cast of characters from UN aid workers to a campaigning pygmy, he followed in the footsteps of the great Victorian adventurers. Butcher's journey was a remarkable feat, but the story of the Congo, told expertly and vividly in this book, is more remarkable still.


When I heard Tim Butcher had written another book (Chasing the Devil), I couldn't wait to read it. As with Blood River, the author has followed in a famous man's footsteps, this time Graham Greene, who with his cousin Barbara undertook a 350-mile journey by train, by foot, and by boat across Sierra Leone and Liberia. Greene's book about this experience, called Journey Without Maps, was published in 1936. Mr. Butcher re-created this journey in 2009, some 75 years after Greene, and only a few years after the end of Liberia's brutal civil wars--which Mr. Butcher viewed firsthand as a correspondent for the Telegraph.

Because so much of Chasing the Devil is about the paradoxes of an Africa that is both changed and unchanged since Greene's visit, I decided to read Journey without Maps as well.

Next up: The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe, by Peter Godwin, who also wrote Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa and When A Crocodile Eats the Sun.

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