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Melissa_W
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TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

I apologise for heavier assignments at the beginning of the month. I was having trouble dividing the book up into "episodes". :smileyvery-happy: I'm using this edition, which is an abridgement done by the author (and is the most affordable), so I've included the chapter titles as well in case anyone happened to get their hands on an older, unabridged edition. I will also be in Austria for the middle two weeks of the month so I'm not sure how much time I'll have to check in on the group - internet access is pretty good in Vienna but some of the smaller towns and hotels may not; I'll have to find the local coffeehouses :smileyhappy:

  • September 4 - September 9: The Author's Introduction and Chapters 1 - 6
    Chapter 1: Liverpool to Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast
    Chapter 2: Fernando Po and the Bubis
    Chapter 3: Voyage Down Coast
    Chapter 4: The Ogowe
    Chapter 5: The Rapids of the Ogowe
    Chapter 6: Lembarene


  • September 10 - September 16: Chapters 7 - 11
    Chapter 7: On the Way from Kangwe to Lake Ncovi
    Chapter 8: From Ncovi to Esoon
    Chapter 9: From Esoon to Agonjo
    Chapter 10: Bush Trade and Fan Customs
    Chapter 11: Down the Rembwe


  • September 17 - September 23: Chapters 12 - 16
    Chapter 12: Fetish
    Chapter 13: Fetish (Continued)
    Chapter 14: Fetish (Continued)
    Chapter 15: Fetish (Continued)
    Chapter 16: Fetish (Concluded)


  • September 24 - September 30: Chapters 17 - 20 and the book as a whole
    Chapter 17: Ascent of the Great Peak of Cameroons
    Chapter 18: Ascent of the Great Peak of Cameroons (Continued)
    Chapter 19: The Great Peak of Cameroons (Continued)
    Chapter 20: The Great Peak of Cameroons (Concluded)
  • Melissa W.
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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    [ Edited ]
    Thanks for finding the time to do this Melissa. You and I will be in Europe at the same time - I will be passing through Austria on the 15th, on the way back from Italy, so will wave to you across the Dolomites:smileyhappy:. I am taking my Everyman edition with me so will be with you all in spirit, although I doubt I will bother to use an internet cafe amidst the beauties of the gardens I will be visiting - your devotion to duty is impressive!




    pedsphleb wrote:
    I apologise for heavier assignments at the beginning of the month. I was having trouble dividing the book up into "episodes". :smileyvery-happy: I'm using this edition, which is an abridgement done by the author (and is the most affordable), so I've included the chapter titles as well in case anyone happened to get their hands on an older, unabridged edition. I will also be in Austria for the middle two weeks of the month so I'm not sure how much time I'll have to check in on the group - internet access is pretty good in Vienna but some of the smaller towns and hotels may not; I'll have to find the local coffeehouses :smileyhappy:

  • September 4 - September 9: The Author's Introduction and Chapters 1 - 6
    Chapter 1: Liverpool to Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast
    Chapter 2: Fernando Po and the Bubis
    Chapter 3: Voyage Down Coast
    Chapter 4: The Ogowe
    Chapter 5: The Rapids of the Ogowe
    Chapter 6: Lembarene


  • September 10 - September 16: Chapters 7 - 11
    Chapter 7: On the Way from Kangwe to Lake Ncovi
    Chapter 8: From Ncovi to Esoon
    Chapter 9: From Esoon to Agonjo
    Chapter 10: Bush Trade and Fan Customs
    Chapter 11: Down the Rembwe


  • September 17 - September 23: Chapters 12 - 16
    Chapter 12: Fetish
    Chapter 13: Fetish (Continued)
    Chapter 14: Fetish (Continued)
    Chapter 15: Fetish (Continued)
    Chapter 16: Fetish (Concluded)


  • September 24 - September 30: Chapters 17 - 20 and the book as a whole
    Chapter 17: Ascent of the Great Peak of Cameroons
    Chapter 18: Ascent of the Great Peak of Cameroons (Continued)
    Chapter 19: The Great Peak of Cameroons (Continued)
    Chapter 20: The Great Peak of Cameroons (Concluded)




  • Message Edited by Choisya on 08-31-2007 06:02 AM
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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    There's something entirely appropriate in a woman exploring the wilds of Austria while reading a book about a woman exploring the wilds of Africa. Of course, slightly different centuries, and slightly different dangers to face, but still, there's a certain symmetry there!

    I'll e using the Folio edition until my NG edition arrives. The Folio is also an abridged edition but in this case abridged and edited by Elspeth Huxley. Once nice feature of it is the large number of photographs from the period, and some really nice maps to keep track of where she goes. I'm a map freak, so really appreciate this.
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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    [ Edited ]
    I tried to order this book from B&N (same edition as Melissa) about a month ago. I received an email at that time saying it was expected to ship Aug. 30. Then today I got an email saying they couldn't get it and they canceled my order! Anyone else having a hard time getting this book?

    Message Edited by KristyR on 08-31-2007 12:24 PM
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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    Kristy, maybe this will help in the meantime:

    http://www.bookrags.com/ebooks/5891/



    KristyR wrote:
    I tried to order this book from B&N about a month ago. I received an email at that time saying it was expected to ship Aug. 30. Then today I got an email saying they couldn't get it and they canceled my order! Anyone else having a hard time getting this book?

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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007


    CallMeLeo wrote:
    Kristy, maybe this will help in the meantime:

    http://www.bookrags.com/ebooks/5891/




    Thanks! That will definitely work for now. Ordering it from another source will take awhile because of the Labor Day weekend.
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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    I think what happened is we broadsided the publisher! Travels in West Africa is a title that doesn't get much play so I don't think National Geographic was expecting to get slammed in the middle of August because we bought up all the BN and "insert other bookstore here" stock :smileyhappy: I hope you're able to find a copy - perhaps a library near you has one?



    KristyR wrote:
    I tried to order this book from B&N (same edition as Melissa) about a month ago. I received an email at that time saying it was expected to ship Aug. 30. Then today I got an email saying they couldn't get it and they canceled my order! Anyone else having a hard time getting this book?

    Message Edited by KristyR on 08-31-2007 12:24 PM


    Melissa W.
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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    Excellent, Leo. Thanks!

    My book is supposed to ship September 8, and I haven't received notice (yet) that it won't, but who knows.

    Meanwhile, what with my Folio edition and the on-line edition you found, I'm all set. Thanks!

    CallMeLeo wrote:
    Kristy, maybe this will help in the meantime:

    http://www.bookrags.com/ebooks/5891/



    KristyR wrote:
    I tried to order this book from B&N about a month ago. I received an email at that time saying it was expected to ship Aug. 30. Then today I got an email saying they couldn't get it and they canceled my order! Anyone else having a hard time getting this book?




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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007



    pedsphleb wrote:
    I think what happened is we broadsided the publisher! Travels in West Africa is a title that doesn't get much play...

    Indeed. It's rank is 89,380 in BN online. I don't know how many SKUs BN online has, but this is pretty low in rank. The most popular edition of Wuthering Heights, for example, was at 1,400. Quite a range of reading for this group!
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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    LOL. I bought from the Other Used and New - it may be easier to do that.




    pedsphleb wrote:
    I think what happened is we broadsided the publisher! Travels in West Africa is a title that doesn't get much play so I don't think National Geographic was expecting to get slammed in the middle of August because we bought up all the BN and "insert other bookstore here" stock :smileyhappy: I hope you're able to find a copy - perhaps a library near you has one?



    KristyR wrote:
    I tried to order this book from B&N (same edition as Melissa) about a month ago. I received an email at that time saying it was expected to ship Aug. 30. Then today I got an email saying they couldn't get it and they canceled my order! Anyone else having a hard time getting this book?

    Message Edited by KristyR on 08-31-2007 12:24 PM





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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    Alibris has 3 entire pages of used copies.
    Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    Yes, a very wide and eclectic range of reading. I am very pleased to be discussing a work of non-fiction this time too. Thanks for suggesting it Everyman. (Are those B&N survey figures or USA ones?)




    Everyman wrote:


    pedsphleb wrote:
    I think what happened is we broadsided the publisher! Travels in West Africa is a title that doesn't get much play...

    Indeed. It's rank is 89,380 in BN online. I don't know how many SKUs BN online has, but this is pretty low in rank. The most popular edition of Wuthering Heights, for example, was at 1,400. Quite a range of reading for this group!


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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    I was able to get a copy through interlibrary loan at my library. It is the version from Virago Press and I believe it is unabridged. Melissa, how many pages are their in your abridged version? I am just curious as to how much longer this version is. I will also be trying to keep up with The Iliad reading in the epics group as well as participating in an in-person "Great Books Foundation" discussion group where I have to have Aristotle's The Highest Good read by Wednesday! Yikes!!!
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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    Yikes, yes, but what a fantastic set of readings you're enjoying!

    Wildflower wrote:
    I was able to get a copy through interlibrary loan at my library. It is the version from Virago Press and I believe it is unabridged. Melissa, how many pages are their in your abridged version? I am just curious as to how much longer this version is. I will also be trying to keep up with The Iliad reading in the epics group as well as participating in an in-person "Great Books Foundation" discussion group where I have to have Aristotle's The Highest Good read by Wednesday! Yikes!!!


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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    I don't know where to necessarily post these comments, but it is this book by Mary Kingsley that I am particularly interested in. I had just finished reading Adam Hochschild's book King Leopold's Ghost and was riveted by the history of the Congo and the European and American invasion (I use the word "invasion" rather freely, but it does seem to fit with the history.) A couple of years ago, I read Jeffrey Taylor's book Facing the Congo. This is the Congo during the 1990's and his experience traveling the great river. And, of course, reading Conrad's book Heart of Darkness is a must for all readers of literature. However, all three of these books have male authors and I assume this book thread is for literature (fiction and non) by women, which for me will be a wonderful insight, during this period of the 1890's.

    In Hochschild's book there is only one paragraph in the 375 pages that mentions Mary Kingsley, but by reading that paragraph I think I am convinced that her story is a must read. He states, "An importance influence on Morel (E.D. Morel spent the majority of his adult life trying to alleviate the plight of Africans under colonialism.) was the writer Mary Kingsley, who became a friend just before her death, in 1900. Kingsley's 1897 Travels in West Africa is both a high spirited classic of travel writing and one of the first books by a European that treats Africans as human beings. She saw them not as 'savages' in need of civilization, but as people living in coherent societies that were being torn apart by colonialists and missionaries who had no appreciation of African life."

    Now, I see that I must get a copy of Kingsley's book soon if I wish to learn even more of this awesome land that for so very long Europeans referred to as the Dark Continent. Meanwhile, thanks to the poster who gave the link to BookRags. :smileyhappy:

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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007

    [ Edited ]
    I read the Poisonwood Bible and in Kingsolver's bibliography she listed Travels in West Africa which put a bug in my ear for several years - I am glad I am reading this so the bug will quit bugging - :smileyhappy: -jd

    Message Edited by jd on 09-03-2007 05:48 AM
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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA

    In the past, it was a common practice for people to keep "commonplace books" where they would write down favorite passages from the works they were reading, jot notes of this and that, information, etc. I have occasionally thought I should create my own commonplace book of favorite passages, but have never gotten around to it.

    But if I ever did, this passage from Travels in West Africa would be one of my most prominently copied passages.

    There is an uniformity in the habits of West Coast rivers, from the
    Volta to the Coanza, which is, when you get used to it, very taking.
    Excepting the Congo, the really great river comes out to sea with as
    much mystery as possible; lounging lazily along among its mangrove
    swamps in a what's-it-matter-when-one-comes-out and where's-the-
    hurry style, through quantities of channels inter-communicating with
    each other. Each channel, at first sight as like the other as peas
    in a pod, is bordered on either side by green-black walls of
    mangroves, which Captain Lugard graphically described as seeming "as
    if they had lost all count of the vegetable proprieties, and were
    standing on stilts with their branches tucked up out of the wet,
    leaving their gaunt roots exposed in midair." High-tide or low-
    tide, there is little difference in the water; the river, be it
    broad or narrow, deep or shallow, looks like a pathway of polished
    metal; for it is as heavy weighted with stinking mud as water e'er
    can be, ebb or flow, year out and year in. But the difference in
    the banks, though an unending alternation between two appearances,
    is weird.

    At high-water you do not see the mangroves displaying their ankles
    in the way that shocked Captain Lugard. They look most respectable,
    their foliage rising densely in a wall irregularly striped here and
    there by the white line of an aerial root, coming straight down into
    the water from some upper branch as straight as a plummet, in the
    strange, knowing way an aerial root of a mangrove does, keeping the
    hard straight line until it gets some two feet above water-level,
    and then spreading out into blunt fingers with which to dip into the
    water and grasp the mud. Banks indeed at high water can hardly be
    said to exist, the water stretching away into the mangrove swamps
    for miles and miles, and you can then go, in a suitable small canoe,
    away among these swamps as far as you please.

    This is a fascinating pursuit. But it is a pleasure to be indulged
    in with caution; for one thing, you are certain to come across
    crocodiles. Now a crocodile drifting down in deep water, or lying
    asleep with its jaws open on a sand-bank in the sun, is a
    picturesque adornment to the landscape when you are on the deck of a
    steamer, and you can write home about it and frighten your relations
    on your behalf; but when you are away among the swamps in a small
    dug-out canoe, and that crocodile and his relations are awake--a
    thing he makes a point of being at flood tide because of fish coming
    along--and when he has got his foot upon his native heath--that is
    to say, his tail within holding reach of his native mud--he is
    highly interesting, and you may not be able to write home about him-
    -and you get frightened on your own behalf; for crocodiles can, and
    often do, in such places, grab at people in small canoes. I have
    known of several natives losing their lives in this way; some native
    villages are approachable from the main river by a short cut, as it
    were, through the mangrove swamps, and the inhabitants of such
    villages will now and then go across this way with small canoes
    instead of by the constant channel to the village, which is almost
    always winding. In addition to this unpleasantness you are liable--
    until you realise the danger from experience, or have native advice
    on the point--to get tide-trapped away in the swamps, the water
    falling round you when you are away in some deep pool or lagoon, and
    you find you cannot get back to the main river. Of course if you
    really want a truly safe investment in Fame, and really care about
    Posterity, and Posterity's Science, you will jump over into the
    black batter-like, stinking slime, cheered by the thought of the
    terrific sensation you will produce 20,000 years hence, and the care
    you will be taken of then by your fellow-creatures, in a museum.
    But if you are a mere ordinary person of a retiring nature, like me,
    you stop in your lagoon until the tide rises again; most of your
    attention is directed to dealing with an "at home" to crocodiles and
    mangrove flies, and with the fearful stench of the slime round you.
    What little time you have over you will employ in wondering why you
    came to West Africa, and why, after having reached this point of
    folly, you need have gone and painted the lily and adorned the rose,
    by being such a colossal ass as to come fooling about in mangrove
    swamps.
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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA: Discussion Schedule September 2007



    jd wrote:
    I read the Poisonwood Bible and in Kingsolver's bibliography she listed Travels in West Africa which put a bug in my ear for several years - I am glad I am reading this so the bug will quit bugging - :smileyhappy: -jd

    Message Edited by jd on 09-03-2007 05:48 AM





    jd, I also have had that same bug buzzing around. I empathize with you completely. :smileyhappy:

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    Re: TRAVELS IN WEST AFRICA


    Everyman wrote:
    In the past, it was a common practice for people to keep "commonplace books" where they would write down favorite passages from the works they were reading, jot notes of this and that, information, etc. I have occasionally thought I should create my own commonplace book of favorite passages, but have never gotten around to it.

    But if I ever did, this passage from Travels in West Africa would be one of my most prominently copied passages.

    What little time you have over you will employ in wondering why you
    came to West Africa, and why, after having reached this point of
    folly, you need have gone and painted the lily and adorned the rose,
    by being such a colossal ass as to come fooling about in mangrove
    swamps.




    I am mesmerized and then chuckling, as I'm sure you were also while reading this passage, and then Kingsley ends up with a very self-deprecating comment. One that I would undoubtedly appreciate in my own experience if I was there with her.

    While reading this passage though I could not help but think of the film The African Queen. Where Hepburn and Bogart were trying to manuever through the terrain at the mouth of the river through reeds and mud. The scenes of H and B in the boat are filmed at a stage setting, but the majority of the film actually was filmed in central Africa. It was very hard on the cast and crew, but lends an undeniable authenticity to the film. I'm sure all of the film crew would attest with Kingsley wholeheartedly when it came to expressing the oppressive heat.

    leelee