Still thinking along the line of good books, I should mention some good books by African authors as well.
The first one I came across (and it was a felicitous find for sure) was Nigerian Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. This is the novel that made its author internationally famous, and rightly so. Part of its story involves the first coming of missionaries to Nigeria. When I was teaching that part of Church History in seminary I quoted from these sections and my class just loved it. Though they were not all big readers, they all know who Chinua Achebe is and are very proud of their native son. The other book by him I have read is Arrow of God. I see that there is a third in his African Trilogy – No Longer At Ease – and I guess I will have to get that one and read it too one of these days.
My favorite African theologian is Kwame Bediako, from Ghana. My major regret with Bediako is that I have read so little of his work; they are not readily accessible in our area. Even so, his slim little volume Jesus and the Gospel in Africa: History and Experience was a delight to read, and very enlightening for a westerner just learning about the Church in West Africa.
A larger work is the Africa Bible Commentary, a one-volume commentary on the whole Bible written by 70 African scholars. I was just getting into this book a bit here in NA when I decided I really ought to give it to a friend in Nigeria. When I visit him again I will have to try to reacquaint myself with it.
Sadly, not too many of my African friends are big readers. Several have confessed as much to me, and the evidence of it shows when I am teaching in the seminary there. One young fellow who I taught this past spring complained that all the books in the seminary library were “too old.” I soon disabused him of that thought. The library in Mbu, where my colleague missionary Dave Burgess laboured for many years, is the best library on the Mambilla Plateau and has a good reputation even off the Plateau. When I go there I am amazed at the depth and breadth of the collection.
There are some leaders in the church who are studious readers, though, and eager for more good reading material. If you have [good, appropriate] books that you wish to donate they may be transported via White Cross in Edmonton (you will want to help out with the shipping costs if you do this of course).