I was just about to update Joanne’s Picks which means erasing what was there before …and I wasn’t ready to part with this list. So I decided to add it as a post. Don’t forget to check Joanne’s List to see what’s replaced it.
This is an all-book post. For this update I looked through the blogger on books pages of books read and blogged since 2006 at Wadadli Pen, and ranked a top five according to how fun reading them was for me. Now fun isn’t necessarily laugh out loud but how engaging I found them. Like I can’t blog these yet because I’m not done reading them but Eugenia O’Neal’s Dido’s Prize, Dorbrene O’Marde’s Nobody Go Run Me, and Stephen King’s On Writing are favourites on my current reading list (ACTUALLY I’M FINISHED TWO OF THE THREE AT THIS RE-POSTING AND HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT THE KING BOOK WHILE CONTINUING TO WORK UP A WRITE UP ON THE O’MARDE BOOK…AND CAN ADD TAYARI JONES SILVER SPARROW AS A CURRENT FAVOURITE ON MY LIST) because, they are wholly captivating and I pick each up come reading time with a sense of anticipation (which can’t be said for other books currently on the list – problem is I have a problem not finishing a book once I start it). So suffice it to say this list isn’t about what’s critically favoured (though they all are) but which books were full of surprises and delights and moments that made for a wholly captivating experience: a perfect storm of right mood, right book and time enough to lose myself in it. Oh and this is an all Caribbean post. How about that!
The Dancing Granny by Ashley Bryan – I hear you…a children’s book? Really Joanne. Well, a fair enough of adults have told me they plan to buy my new children’s book Fish Outta Water, enough to let me know that I’m not alone with this. When you read to nieces and nephews and school kids and cushion club kids and library kids as I do and have over the years, you never really lose touch with the genre anyway. And I love that I can always reach for this particular Anancy book with certainty whenever I have to read to kids; they always love it. It might have something to do with the fact that I let them beat the chairs while I rap, dance around and generally make a fool of myself and that we have a ball while reading it. The author is New York born of Antiguan descent.
Create Dangerously by Edwidge Dandicat – I feel a sisterhood with this woman and bow at the altar of her talent; if I ever meet her, I probably will make a fool of myself. And this isn’t even my favourite book of hers – that would be Farming of Bones – but this one is no less stirring…and instructive to other writers trying to find the courage to always be brave on the page and in life. Dandicat is Haitian born.
Fear of Stones and Other Stories by Kei Miller – I loved this so much I posted a fan note on the author’s facebook page. Plus I like books that prompt me to write myself and teach me things about craft…this one did. Plus the stories are so bold and so unflinching, they physically hurt sometimes; but isn’t that it…they drag you in, they make you feel, they shift something in you. Isn’t that what we all want to do as writers? Miller is Jamaican.
Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid – there were times when I was reading this that I was just hypnotized by the poetic flow of her prose, and the depth of meaning in each line. See the picture on this page, by Mali Olatunji; it was taken in a park in New York while I read this book. I forgot I was supposed to be posing and I fell in love with Jamaica’s writing even more than I had when I – a young wannabe writer in Ottos, a lick and a drop from her home base of Ovals in Antigua – discovered Annie John.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz – This was the most inventive book I’d read in a while; like just rich and creative and compelling. Diaz is of Dominican descent…Dominican Republic not Dominica.
Okay, okay, since I led with a children’s book, I’ll add another novel…
White Woman on a Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey – This book was just so fun and surprising and brave in its own way, and as with all the others rich with insights to our Caribbean existence. Roffey is a Trini…and you’ll recognize lots of familiar Trini icons in her book.
But bottom line with each of them, they were just fun reads; fun and fascinating.
UPDATE! Hmmm…I just remembered Waiting in Vain by Jamaican writer Colin Channer
…loved it so much I was nervous and tongue-tied when I met him…though not too tongue tied to press for a photo. But the list does only date back to books I’ve blogged since 2006, darn it.
UPDATE! Since we’re talking Caribbean books/authors lists, thought I’d link this one from Eugenia Writes! on which you’ll find my book Oh Gad! as well as Channer’s Waiting in Vain …and seriously, how cool is that?