The Greatest Belgian, Kenyan Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. A Grain Of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

    "A Grain of Wheat" is a historical novel set in Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising against British colonial rule. The story follows a diverse cast of characters whose lives are intertwined by secrets, betrayals, and sacrifices. As Kenya prepares for independence, the book explores themes of nationalism, identity, and the complex aftermath of revolution. Through vivid storytelling, the author delves into the complexities of human nature and the struggle for freedom in a turbulent time.

    The 922nd Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Cheese by Willem Elsschot

    The novel revolves around a Dutchman living in Antwerp, Belgium, who is persuaded by his brother to enter the cheese business. He invests in 10,000 full-cream cheeses and sets up an office, but struggles to sell any of his stock. As he grapples with the nuances of the cheese trade, his personal life and professional relationships also begin to crumble, leading to a series of comical and tragic events. The book is a satirical commentary on business, ambition, and the absurdity of life.

    The 1562nd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Petals of blood by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

    This novel tells the story of four characters living in post-colonial Kenya, who are arrested for the murder of three prominent figures in their village. As the narrative unfolds, it explores their personal histories and how they are intertwined with the political, social, and economic transformations of the nation. The book is a critique of the corruption and inequality that emerged in Kenya after the end of colonial rule, and a call for a return to communal values and practices.

    The 2177th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Pallieter by Felix Timmermans

    "Pallieter" is a classic Flemish novel that depicts the life of a jovial and life-loving man, Pallieter, who lives in harmony with nature in a small Belgian town. The story showcases his love for the simple pleasures of life, his interactions with the townsfolk, and his deep connection with the natural world. However, when industrialization threatens his idyllic lifestyle, Pallieter decides to leave his beloved town. The novel is a celebration of life and nature, while also exploring the impact of industrialization on rural life.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

    "The River Between" explores the lives of the Gikuyu people living in the Kenyan highlands during the early days of white settlement. The novel focuses on the struggle between two villages, each with differing views on the encroaching influence of the Christian missionaries. The protagonist, a young man torn between the traditional values of his people and the new ideas brought by the missionaries, serves as a symbol of the larger conflict. The narrative delves into themes of love, cultural identity, religious conflict, and the struggle for independence.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The deadbeats: a novel by Ward Ruyslinck

    "The Deadbeats" is a gripping novel that follows the story of a man who, after losing his wife and job, descends into alcoholism and homelessness. The narrative delves into the harsh realities of life on the streets, exploring themes of despair, survival, and the human capacity for resilience. Despite the protagonist's struggles, the book also highlights moments of compassion and camaraderie among society's outcasts.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. The Lion of Flanders by Hendrik Conscience

    "The Lion of Flanders" is a historical novel set in the 14th century, during the Battle of the Golden Spurs in Flanders. The story revolves around the struggle of the Flemish people against French oppression, with a particular focus on the life of the main character, a brave knight. The novel is recognized for its vivid depiction of the battle and the spirit of nationalism, making it an important piece of Flemish literature.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The bells of Bicêtre by Georges Simenon

    The novel chronicles the life of a successful newspaper publisher who suffers a stroke and finds himself confined to a hospital bed, unable to communicate with the world around him. As he lies in his hospital bed, he is forced to reassess his life, his relationships and his own identity. The book explores themes of mortality, the meaning of life, and the complex nature of human relationships.

    The 2711th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. On the Fabric of the Human Body by Andreas Vesalius

    "On the Fabric of the Human Body" is a seminal work in the field of anatomy, providing detailed descriptions and illustrations of the human body's structure and functions. The book, written in the 16th century, revolutionized the understanding of human anatomy, challenging the prevailing ideas of the time, which were primarily based on the dissection of animals. Its author, a physician and anatomist, emphasized the importance of direct observation and dissection of human bodies in medical education and research.

    The 2875th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. The Sorrow of Belgium by Hugo Claus

    "The Sorrow of Belgium" is a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of World War II. The narrative follows the life of a young boy in a Flemish town, as he navigates through the complexities of adolescence, family relationships, and the harsh realities of war. The novel provides an insightful exploration of Belgian history, culture, and the nation's struggle under the Nazi occupation, all through the eyes of the protagonist.

    The 3032nd Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Blue Bird by Maurice Maeterlinck

    This classic play tells the story of two children, Mytyl and Tyltyl, who embark on a magical journey in search of the Blue Bird of Happiness. Guided by the Fairy Bérylune, they explore various realms – the Land of Memory, the Palace of Night, the Kingdom of the Future, and more – encountering symbolic figures like the Cat, the Dog, Light, and the Souls of Bread. Throughout their quest, they learn profound lessons about happiness, the nature of good and evil, and the value of appreciating the simple joys of their own lives. The narrative is a rich tapestry of fantasy, philosophy, and a quest for meaning, emphasizing the idea that true happiness is often found closest to home.

    The 3192nd Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Matigari by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

    "Matigari" is a novel set in a post-colonial African nation, where the protagonist, who is a freedom fighter, emerges from the forest after the country's liberation, intent on finding justice and peace. However, he finds a society still deeply entrenched in corruption and oppression. The narrative uses allegory and symbolism to explore themes of justice, truth, and the fight against inequality. The protagonist's quest for justice becomes a threat to the government, leading to a manhunt for a man who is merely a myth.

    The 3270th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. The Blue Lotus by Hergé

    In "The Blue Lotus," a young reporter is sent on a mission to Shanghai during the Sino-Japanese War, where he uncovers a dangerous opium trafficking operation. Along the way, he befriends a Chinese boy who helps him navigate the cultural and political complexities of the region. The story combines elements of adventure, mystery, and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of historical events.

    The 3441st Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. The Life of the Bee by Maurice Maeterlinck

    "The Life of the Bee" is a philosophical and scientific examination of the behavior and nature of bees. The author delves into the intricate world of the hive, exploring the roles and duties of the worker bees, drones, and queen bee, and the complex societal structure within the hive. The book also discusses the fascinating process of honey production and the life cycle of bees. The author uses the bee society as a metaphor for human society, drawing parallels between the two.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. The Strange Case of Peter the Lett by Georges Simenon

    This classic crime novel centers around a man named Peter the Lett, who is suspected of committing a series of murders in Paris. He is a foreigner, a loner, and has a mysterious past, which makes him the perfect suspect for the crimes. However, as the investigation unfolds, it becomes clear that the truth is far more complex. The narrative delves into themes of identity, prejudice, and the nature of guilt and innocence, offering a psychological portrait of a man caught in a web of circumstances beyond his control.

    The 3651st Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. Blake and Mortimer by Edgar P. Jacobs

    "Blake and Mortimer" is a comic series centering on two British heroes, a military intelligence officer and a nuclear physicist. The pair often find themselves embroiled in various international intrigues, battling against super-powered villains, alien invaders, and ancient civilizations. The series is known for its detailed artwork and complex plots, often involving science fiction and paranormal themes.

    The 3661st Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. Facing Mount Kenya by Jomo Kenyatta

    "Facing Mount Kenya" is a comprehensive study of the Kikuyu people, their history, culture, and traditions, written by Jomo Kenyatta, a prominent figure in Kenya's struggle for independence. The book explores various aspects of Kikuyu society, including their political organization, economic activities, social structure, and religious beliefs. Kenyatta's work provides valuable insights into the Kikuyu way of life and offers a critical analysis of the impact of colonialism on their society.

    The 3791st Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. The Crab With The Golden Claws by Hergé

    In this thrilling adventure, a young reporter stumbles upon a mystery involving a drowned man, a tin of crab meat, and a sinister criminal organization trafficking opium. His investigation leads him to the high seas, where he, along with his faithful dog and a cantankerous sea captain, faces danger and intrigue. Together, they navigate treacherous waters, battle desert heat, and confront villains in their quest to dismantle the nefarious operation. This story is a blend of humor, action, and friendship, showcasing the courage and tenacity of its heroes as they pursue justice.

    The 4151st Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. The Madman Of Bergerac by Georges Simenon

    In this gripping detective novel, the protagonist, a renowned Parisian detective, finds himself embroiled in a perplexing case while on vacation in the French countryside. After being shot and wounded under mysterious circumstances, he wakes up in a local hospital, only to learn of a series of bizarre murders terrorizing the small town of Bergerac. Determined to solve the case, he delves into the lives of the town's eccentric inhabitants, uncovering dark secrets and motives. His investigation leads him through a labyrinth of deceit, culminating in a tense and unexpected confrontation with the cunning murderer. This story masterfully combines elements of mystery and psychological drama, showcasing the detective's sharp intellect and unwavering dedication to justice.

    The 4151st Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. The Castafiore Emerald by Hergé

    In this graphic novel, the story revolves around the famous opera singer Bianca Castafiore, who visits Marlinspike Hall, the home of Captain Haddock and Tintin. The visit leads to a series of misunderstandings, mishaps, and a mystery involving the theft of the singer's priceless emerald. Despite the suspicions and accusations that follow, the narrative unfolds with a blend of humor and intrigue, without the protagonists leaving the confines of Marlinspike. The plot cleverly navigates through red herrings and comedic situations, ultimately revealing an unexpected resolution to the theft. This installment stands out for its lack of exotic locations or villainous adversaries, focusing instead on character-driven humor and a tightly woven domestic mystery.

    The 4151st Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. Tintin In Tibet by Hergé

    In this gripping adventure, the young and intrepid reporter, accompanied by his faithful dog, embarks on a perilous journey to the snowy peaks of the Himalayas. Motivated by a vivid dream about his friend Chang being in danger following a plane crash, he is determined to rescue him against all odds. Despite skepticism from his friends and the challenges posed by the harsh mountain environment, including encounters with the legendary Yeti, his unwavering belief in his friend's survival drives him forward. This story is a testament to the themes of friendship, loyalty, and the enduring human spirit in the face of adversity.

    The 4151st Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. Caitaani Mutharaba Ini by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

    "Caitaani Mutharaba Ini" is a captivating novel that explores the complexities of human nature and the consequences of one's actions. Set in a small African village, the story follows the lives of various characters who are entangled in a web of love, betrayal, and power struggles. As the narrative unfolds, the book delves into themes of corruption, greed, and the clash between tradition and modernity, offering a thought-provoking reflection on the challenges faced by individuals in a rapidly changing society.

    The 4526th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. Margot en de engelen by Kristien Hemmerechts

    "Margot and the Angels" is a poignant story about a woman who, after losing her husband and children in a car accident, is left to navigate life on her own. As she grapples with her grief, she finds solace in the company of three angels who appear to her. The angels help her make sense of her tragedy, guiding her towards acceptance and healing. The book explores themes of loss, grief, resilience, and the power of faith, offering a compelling exploration of the human capacity to endure and find hope amidst despair.

    The 4566th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. Passionate Journey by Frans Masereel

    "Passionate Journey" is a silent graphic novel that tells the story of a man's life and experiences through a series of woodcuts. Without the use of words, the book conveys a powerful narrative that explores the human condition, society, and the range of emotions that one encounters throughout life. The protagonist's journey is depicted in a sequence of compelling images that reflect on themes such as love, struggle, joy, and the search for meaning. The novel's visual storytelling invites readers to interpret and imbue the images with their own understanding, making it a unique and personal experience for each individual who engages with it.

    The 4608th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. Red Lights by Georges Simenon

    "Red Lights" is a psychological thriller that delves into the unraveling of an American couple's marriage against the backdrop of a road trip from New York to Maine. As they set out to pick up their children from camp, the husband's penchant for alcohol and the couple's underlying tensions escalate. After a series of bar stops and a fateful decision to pick up an escaped convict, the journey spirals into a nightmarish ordeal. The narrative explores themes of existential dread, personal responsibility, and the search for redemption, as the characters confront their inner demons and the consequences of their choices under the strain of extraordinary circumstances.

    The 4877th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.