Red Land, Black Land

By Barbara Mertz
Star Rating

Rated by Sam S.
Jul 12, 2018

Red Land Black Land is a historical exploration of ancient Egyptian civilizations that discusses religion, rulers, and artifacts, but also focuses on the daily lives and experiences of ancient Egyptians – peasants and pharaohs alike. Some of the topics I found most interesting centered on the smaller details of life, like how people viewed pets, how clothing was made, what foods were popular, and what people did in their spare time. 

Mertz uses a conversational tone for this title, making it feel far from a textbook and much more like an interesting story being told by a friend. It's easy to

Machine Gun Preacher Documentary

By Zac Simpson

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Nov 18, 2015

When a documentary is made about a polarizing figure, the film itself may receive praise simply for existing rather than earning acclaim as a well thought-out film. Zac Simpson’s documentary about Sam Childers, otherwise known as the Machine Gun Preacher, has capitalized on Childers notoriety. Already in the spotlight through a successful biography, news stories, and even a feature film starring Gerard Butler, his transformation from a drug dealer and user, as well as a member of a biker gang, to a born-again Christian that patrols South Sudan with a gun in his hand, has been well documented

Die Again

By Tess Gerritsen
Star Rating

Rated by Hilary S.
Mar 4, 2015

Die Again is the 11th title in the Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen. This mystery features a dual story line that takes place in Africa and in Boston, Massachusetts. The mysteries are not simultaneous in their execution, although they are presented to the reader in alternating segments. Eventually, of course, the mystery of what occurred in Africa ties into and becomes part of the Boston murder. But figuring that out and tying them together proves to be tricky. 

Africa: Eye to Eye With the Unknown

By James Honeyborne
Star Rating

Rated by Megan C.
Feb 20, 2015

Stunning! This series offers a sweeping panorama of the African continent. However, the stories presented here are often intimate, following individual animals through both ordinary and special events in their lives. Many of the animal behaviors this series captures are firsts in wildlife filmmaking. Even the series narrator, David Attenborough, who boasts a lifetime of wildlife observation, is surprised by these unexpected dramas.

The cinematography is top-notch, and I really enjoyed following the cameramen and women behind the scenes to see how they labored to catch some of their amazing

Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad

By Waris Dirie and Cathleen Miller
Star Rating

Rated by Megan C.
Jul 20, 2014

This memoir explores the life of Waris Dirie, recognized by many for her work as a model, and by others for her advocacy for human rights and a battle against female genital mutilation. The reader follows her from her early life as a nomad in the deserts of Somalia, to her difficult and sometimes dangerous journey to Mogadishu and eventually London. Working there as an underappreciated maid for her own family, she is "discovered", and sets off on an equally nomadic life as a model. Throughout her journey, Waris has to face the world with her own wits and tenacity. The best part of this story

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Aug 30, 2012

Finally! Something to challenge the dominance of white, Eurocentric fantasy. Not only that, but it does it beautifully. Akata Witch is about Sunny Nwazue, an albino, American-born Nigerian girl who learns that she is one of the Leopard People, a magical group who occupy their own world alongside the normal human, or Lamb, world.  It’s not easy settling into a dual life, and it’s made much more difficult with a rogue Leopard out there sacrificing children for power.

The idea of an ignorant child being whisked off to a magical school is hardly novel, but it's the execution that makes me giddy

Crossbones by Nuruddin Farah

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Dec 10, 2011

In Crossbones, two Americans from Minneapolis’ Somali expatriate community, in search of a runaway teenager, navigate the dangerous Mogadishu – a city torn apart by civil war, criminal anarchy, and religious extremists.  One of the men, Malik, a war correspondent, is intent on understanding the current situation and interviewing as many key players as he dares.  His brother, Ahl, is the teenager’s stepfather, who is desperately afraid for his son, Taxiil.  The family has received information that the youth is being indoctrinated as a martyr for Shabaab,… or maybe he is serving as a translator

A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Jan 22, 2010

A Change in Altitude by Anita ShreveTwo newly –wed Americans in their late 20s, Margaret and Patrick, find themselves in Africa in the late 70s, where Patrick, a medical doctor, is working a year in Kenya as part of his fellowship in equatorial medicine.  An adventure, climbing Mount Kenya with two other couples, takes a deadly turn, and deeply affects the relationship between Margaret and Patrick.  Anita Shreve fashions this almost autobiographical story (she lived in Kenya in the late 70s and climbed Mt. Kenya herself, and visited many of the towns she writes about) in a low-key but thoughtful manner, without getting overly

Secrets of the Savannah by Mark and Delia Owens

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Jan 14, 2010

Secrets of the Savannah by Mark and Delia OwensThis poignant story of a remarkable and complex struggle in one of the darkest corners of Africa brings light to our shaken world. Mark and Delia Owens have developed a revolutionary and enlightened economic system which uplifts the local population and preserves wildlife. Devoted to conservation, the Owens survived threats to their lives and overcome ruthless corruption. Working within unfamiliar cultures, they successfully helped elephants, lions, and other native animals recover and flourish. The lion-hearted Mark and doe-eyed Delia bring hope to us all. For anyone interested in Africa or