June is #ReadCaribbean Month (shout out Book of Cinz) and today is Top Ten Tuesday (shout out the Artsy Reader Girl) That’s right, bookish worlds are colliding on my blog today. I’m putting my own spin on it though because I can’t promise I’ll get through a reading challenge but I’ll use the challenge, inspired by Caribbean Heritage Month, to post my top ten, this being a choose your own adventure freebie Tuesday.
If you’re a regular here, you know I’m a Caribbean author, reader, and blogger, and I stay reading Caribbean, but I could stand to read a lot more and I’d bet you could too (so consider yourself recc’d). I’ll be picking from among books I’ve blogged (books I’ve blogged because that’s easier to track), some books organized under the various 2021 #ReadCaribbean sub-themes for my top 10. I’ll try not to repeat books from my Black History Month #abookaday series.
10. Talk Poetry to Me –
Poems by Martin Carter (Guyana)
Other options – Evolution: Weaving in and Out of Consciousness while the Truth is Somewhere in the Middle by Felene M. Cayetano (Belize); 40 Dayz by Motion (Canadian-Antiguan); The Nakedness of New by Althea Romeo-Mark (Antigua-born, USVI-raised, US-Africa-Britain-Switzerland-resident); YaYa Surfeit by Chadd Cumberbatch (Montserrat); Pineapple Rhymes by Veronica Evanson Bernard (Antiguan and Barbudan); The Fountain and the Bough by Eileen Hall
9. Queer Caribbean Reads –
Fear of Stones and Other Stories by Kei Miller (Jamaica)
Other options –A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Jamaica); and (breaking my own rules since I don’t have a link from my book blog series but I would have to revoke my own Antigua and Barbuda card if I left these out) – Considering Venus by D. Gisele Isaac and My Brother by Jamaica Kincaid. ETA: Can’t believe I forgot to throw in my favourite read of 2020 (it’s a lot of dark fun; I see potential for a series) Derry Sandy’s Greyborn Rising which has a number of queer-coded characters including trans and, I believe, bi characters.
8. Caribbean Folklore –
With Grace by Joanne C. Hillhouse (not a book I’ve blogged but a Caribbean faerie tale of my own)
Other options – The White Witch of Rosehall by Herbert G. de Lisser; Broo Nansi and the Tar Baby – Story as told by Ector Roebuck, Collected and written by Lois Hassell-Habtes (USVI); Littletown Secrets by K. Jared Hosein (Trinidad and Tobago); and (rules broken again, no link) How the East Pond got Its Flowers by Althea Prince (Antiguan-Barbudan-Canada resident)
7. Caribbean Women Authors I love –
Other options – After Leaving Mr. McKenzie and Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (Dominica); Dido’s Prize by Eugenia O’Neal (BVI); The Whale House and Other Stories by Sharon Millar (Trinidad and Tobago); The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Dandicat (Haitian-American); (and breaking my rules again because I don’t have a link) Buxton Spice by Oonya Kempadoo (Guyana and more recently Grenada); Ladies of the Night and The Politics of Black Women’s Hair by Althea Prince (Antigua and Barbuda); The Swinging Bridge by Ramabai Espinet (Trinidad-Tobago); White Woman on a Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey (Trinidad and Tobago); It begins with Tears by Opal Palmer Adisa
6. Books from each Caribbean Island (how about I do books from islands I haven’t mentioned yet) –
A Dark Iris by Elizabeth J. Jones (Bermuda)*
Dancing in the Dark by Caryl Philips (St. Kitts and Nevis); Juletane by Miram Warner-Vieyra (Guadeloupe); (no link but) Praisesong for the Widow by Paule Marshall (Barbados); The Road to Wadi Halfa by Claudia Francis (Barbuda); The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Dominican Republic); The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nunez (Puerto Rican author + Cuban setting); Saint Lucian Literature and Theatre: an Anthology of Reviews compiled and edited by John Robert Lee & Kendel Hippolyte (St. Lucia); (couldn’t think of a Bahamian book off the top outside of the Sydney Poitier autobiography, so I’ll drop this award winning story) Granma’s Porch by Alexia Tolas; also clearly I need to do more literary island hopping.
*I don’t have a link but I was one of this book’s editors and it is a Burt award winning book.
5. Books from the Indies (meaning locally published and/or self-published books) –
Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses by Floree Williams Whyte
That’s where #readCaribbean ends so I’m going to add some categories of my own.
4. Anthologies and Melanges*
Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon (Trinidad and Tobago)
Other options – Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean, Closure (edited by Jacob Ross) who is from Grenada, Miguel Street by V. S. Naipaul (Trinidad and Tobago); Round My Christmas Tree (edited by Carol Mitchell) who is from St. Kitts-Nevis with writers from some islands not already mentioned including Tortola, Aruba, and Anguilla
*Writers from several islands or a Carnival of characters.
3. Hottest Male Lead
Fire in Waiting in Vain by Colin Channer (Jamaica)
2. A Caribbean Writer writing a world outside of the Caribbean
Home to Harlem by Claude McKay (Jamaica)
Other Options – Small Island by Andrea Levy
- Historical epic
Unburnable by Marie Elena John (Antigua and Barbuda)
Other Options – The Book of Night Women by Marlon James (Jamaica)
This took way longer than anticipated – it’s almost Wednesday; I’ve got to stop here. If you’re looking to #readCaribbean, here’s hoping something sparks your interest. I think many somethings will. If (improbably) not, there’s always, my books.