Aside from having been to Africa, Schulman read over 70 books to write this novel. Of those, she'd recommend the following:

The Railroad across British East Africa:

The Lunatic Express, Charles Miller

Man-eaters of Tsavo, Lt. Col. J. H. Patterson

Democratic Republic of Congo:

In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz, Michela Wrong

Africa in My Blood, Jane Goodall

The River Congo, Peter Forbath

King Leopold’s Ghost, Adam Hochschild


The Key to My Neighbor’s House, Elizabeth Neuffer

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, Phillip Gourevitch

Shake Hands with the Devil, Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire


Ghosts of Tsavo, Philip Caputo

The Serengeti Lion, George Schaller


Gorillas Among Us, Dawn Prince-Hughes

Gorillas in the Mist, Dian Fossey

Woman in the Mists, Farley Mowat

In the Kingdom of Gorillas, Bill Weber and Amy Vedder

Year of the Gorilla, George Schaller

The Dark Romance of Dian Fossey, Harold Hayes

Gorilla, George Schaller


In Praise of Plants, Francis Hallé

Life at the Limits, David A. Wharton

Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan

Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine in Africa, Abayomi Sofowora


No Mercy, Redmond O’Hanlon

The African Slave Trade, Basil Davidson

Travels in West Africa, Mary Kingsley

The Zanzibar Chest, Aidan Hartley

Famine Crimes, Alex de Waal

Across African Sand, Phil Deutschle

Wild Africa, John Murray

Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond

Asperger's Syndrome:

Songs of the Gorilla Nation, Dawn Prince-Hughes

The Way I See It, Temple Grandin

Look Me in the Eye, John Elder Robison

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Haddon

Born on a Blue Day, Daniel Tammet