Book Buzz Episode 43 – Trust & Africa Is Not A Country

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Air date: March 31, 2024 

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Africa Is Not A Country

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Episode 43 - Air date: March 31, 2024 


Hi, this is Jessica Russell. I’m the assistant director of collection services at Sno-Isle Libraries. And welcome to Book Buzz. 

Today's two reading recommendations are from the genres of historical fiction and sociopolitical nonfiction.  

First, let’s hear from Kathy, librarian at the Snohomish Library, for different perspectives on wealth and privilege. Over to you, Kathy. 


In the book “Trust” by Hernan Diaz, set during the booming economy and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary and reclusive Wall Street tycoon with an awesome ability to work the stock market even as it begins to collapse, and others lose everything. She is the worldly and very reserved daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly limitless wealth. But who are they behind the façade of immense fortune? This is the mystery at the center of “Bonds,” a successful 1937 fictional account that all of New York supposedly knows is based on Andrew and Mildred Bevel. Yet in successive voices and forms, this private but very wealthy couple is shown in wildly different lights. 

Who was Mildred Bevel, really? Which version of her is truer, the novel or the unfinished, ghost-written autobiography by her husband, Andrew Bevel? With each successive narrative, who is warping the truth more, and who are they trying to convince? 

At once an immersive story and a brilliant literary puzzle, “Trust” engages in a quest for the truth, while confronting the reality-warping force of capital and the ease with which people in power can manipulate facts. 


Thanks, Kathy! Sounds like a captivating glimpse into the lives of the wealthy elite.  

Next, let’s hear about a richly diverse part of the world from Hattie, library associate for Library on Wheels. Take it away, Hattie. 


How many countries in Africa can you name? And how much of their history do you know? If you’re like me, the answers might be: only a few and embarrassingly little. If so, you need to read “Africa is Not a Country” by Dipo Faloyin.  

Starting in Lagos, the largest city on the continent, Faloyin traces the history of modern Africa, revealing how arbitrary boundaries drawn by colonizers led to tribal and cultural clashes that continue to the present. He dives into the rivalries at the heart of the African Cup of Nations tournament, and joins the heated debate over which West African country makes the best jollof rice. Finishing with a sense of hope and optimism, he speaks with local activists, artists, and writers who are reimagining the future of the continent.  

For my fellow audiobook commuters, the author’s outstanding reading brings his work to life and repeatedly had me sitting in my car for just *one more minute* before I had to turn it off and go inside.   

Exuberant, opinionated, and stereotype-busting, “Africa is Not a Country” made me laugh and broke my heart, and most importantly vastly broadened my world. Faloyin gives a brilliant introduction to the world’s most diverse continent, and I cannot wait to learn more. 


Thanks, Hattie! I was not expecting to hear that this book made you laugh. That makes it even more intriguing. 

Our recommendations this week are: “Trust” by Hernan Diaz and “Africa is Not a Country” by Dipo Faloyin. 

Join us next time, when we’ll explore more great reading recommendations — interesting books you can find at your favorite local bookstore or at your local library.   

Until then, I’m Jessica Russell from Sno-Isle Libraries.  

Thanks for joining us for Book Buzz on KSER. 

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