We don’t have Fall where I live but it’s hurricane season…does that count? Ugh. Inappropriate humour aside, I can’t wait for it to be over. I’ve been through my share of hurricanes since David in 1979 (it’s one of my earlier memories and, boy, did it imprint) but Irma is eternally in the bad books of Caribbean people after this season. As I write this, Maria is out there somewhere with Lee behind. How did M get in front of L? It’s been that kind of season.
In the midst of this nightmare hurricane season, there are still books. I already reported how I finished Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter during Irma. So, it being ‘Fall’, I’ll tell you what I’m reading now. It’s my contribution to Top Ten’s Fall TBR List. These are all going slowly so I’ll run them in descending order from the ones I’m most engaged with to the ones I haven’t touched yet.
Saint Lucian Literature and Theatre: an Anthology of Reviews compiled and edited by John Robert Lee and Kendel Hippolyte –one of the authors sent this to me a while ago and I’m really enjoying reading it. I don’t think I expected to when I started because it’s a decades long collection of reviews of writers whose work I don’t know (for the most part) and plays I’ll never see. I appreciated the effort, and the value of pulling together a collection like this; I wish our Culture department had the instinct to take on these kinds of projects – to document the arts and art criticism as a foundation to build on. But I thought my interest would begin and end with that sort of indifferent appreciation. But I’m really enjoying the insights, especially the section on theatre where I can see the productions and the arc of their theatrical tradition through the writings of the critics. In the articles, I can also read the all too familiar challenges of creating in a Caribbean space (where arts is so under-resourced that its full potential is stunted) and the conversations around that. I feel like I am in conversation with the critics as well. It’s a valuable collection. ETA: Finished! Read the review here.
Nobody owns the Rainbow by Kristene Simelda – this is an Advance Review Copy (ARC) I recently received. Started reading it in the line at the APUA (the power company) which is interminable if you don’t have reading material (though it’s gotten better); so that’s how it jumped the queue. I’m not mad at it though. It’s okay so far.
The Black Rose by Tananarive Due – I have a feeling if I could nab some uninterrupted reading time, I could get in to this. It’s thematically dense but the main character is a spunky young girl, now young woman, trying to pull herself up from a hard scrabble life, and, since, the book is a fictionalized re-imagining of the life of Madame C J Walker, into a self-made destiny as one of the first African American millionaires (which is not too shabby for a pre-civil rights era black woman who was born in to a family of former enslaved people cum sharecroppers, i.e. de facto enslaved people, who lost both her parents in infancy).
All the Joy you can stand by Debrena Jackson Gandy – I haven’t shelled out money for a self-help book since the heyday of Iyanla Vanzant (when she was inspirational author not reality star); and, while Iyanla resonated with me, I don’t like think-and-grow-rich self ‘help’ books generally. I didn’t buy this one – a friend gave it to me when she was leaving the island some years ago, and it’s been sitting on my bookshelf unenthusiastically since then. I read it in snippets. Sometimes I’m even into it. We’ll see.
Singles Holiday by Elaine Spires – I’m almost embarrassed about this one. It’s written by a friend of mine and I bought it forever ago (because I was drawn to the laugh out loud humour of her writing after attending a reading) and I think I’ve been reading it just as long. I need to finish already. But it’s just not pulling me right now. It might you though – it’s about a group of Brits on a Caribbean vacation, hookups and hurricanes; many hookups and one hurricane, but, when it comes to hurricanes, one is plenty.
DiaCritica – I am going to chalk this one being even on the list up to me not being able to leave any book in my possession unread. It’s really not for me. But it was given to me by a research student after she interviewed me about my books. Most of it isn’t in English, but it wouldn’t be the first book not-in-English that I’ve struggled through. Only, in addition to being in a foreign language, what English there is in this one is in that deep dimension where academics live, i.e. somewhere way over my head.
Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya – This one is only all the way down here because though it’s migrated from the bookshelf to the active reading pile, I haven’t actually cracked it yet.
The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell – I legit looked at this one when I picked it off the shelf (it was next in line) and couldn’t remember how it came to be in my possession, and when I realized it was one of those think-and-grow-rich self help books, I was decidedly unexcited…but see my insistence on giving every book in my possession a chance. Sigh.
A History of Seven Killings by Marlon James – this is my most recent purchase – got it just this week (FINALLY!). I enjoyed his Book of Night Women and the chatter around this Man Booker Prize winner has been crazy. I’m really pumped…but I gotta finish one of the book’s uplist first (or something). We’ll see; I may end up pulling rank on this one. ETA: I pulled rank; this one is officially in the active reading pile.
Anything Jonathan Kellerman – I actually don’t have a new Kellerman (when I asked for him at the bookstore they were bemused, apparently nobody ever asks for him, and sent me to the used books pile which I went to though I know I’ve probably read any Kellerman likely to be in that pile). The fact that I’m even scoping for him is likely to have the many unread books on my shelf right now going…wait, what? But I’m feeling the need for an Alex Delaware fix. The series may be like fast food but there’s a reason we line up for fast food every now and again. Sometimes you just need food to be quick and fun, not good for you. And Alex and Milo and Robin are…okay, they’re not fun, what with digging in to the seedy underbelly of life in LA solving crimes and what not…but it’s usually a quick read, and as we say in Antigua, I long to see them.
While you’re here, if you’re here, I just want to point you to three recent posts on my blog:
After the Storm (mostly because if you can I want you to check the links and help with hurricane relief)
Now available for pre-order – Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure (this is my picture book – got any kids in your life?)
Papa Jumbie Published in Akashic’s Duppy Thursday Series (I wrote a ghost story! Go read it).