Two books about Africa among this reader’s favorites

Bea Wright lives in Raleigh and claims to have more books than shelves to put them on.

Recommended read: West with the Night” by Beryl Markham. Similar in theme to the more well-known “Out of Africa” by Isak Dinesen, this is a memoir of Beryl’s life, most of which takes place in Africa. It’s one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. She speaks of growing up in Africa with an insight and poetry completely unexpected from a woman with very little education and known more for her spirit than her brain.

Who or what taught you to love to read? All of my four siblings and I were homeschooled the year I was in kindergarten, and I kept wanting to be a part of what my older brother and sister were doing. I learned to read as quickly as I could so that I could read their books too. I think I thought it would make me cooler.

What is your favorite reading memory? When I was maybe 7 or 8, I was so into my Nancy Drew book that I didn’t hear my parents calling me for dinner. I think I finished the book around the time everyone else was finished eating and I was so hungry! But it was worth it to get to the bottom of the mystery.

What favorite book from your younger days have you kept? My grandma brought us some books from the Ukraine, where she grew up. They’re just children’s folk stories (I think one of them is even a pop-up book), but I always thought they were valuable and beautiful.

What is your favorite book that nobody’s heard of? “Sound in the Gospel” Paperback by Dave Wright. Of course, I have to say that because my husband wrote it.

What movie was better than the book? “Dead Poets Society.”

Where do you go for book recommendations? I’m part of a couple of Facebook groups that share book recommendations, plus my book club, my co-workers, and my husband’s co-workers. Well … anyone, really. If someone tells me they like a book, I’ll usually check it out.

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West with the Night

Beryl Markham

North Point Press, 293 pages