I’ll admit I’m already seeing people posting how many books they’ve read 28 days in to the new year and I’m already feeling left behind. Writing projects, emails, work, Wadadli Pen, etc, are all subject to the realities of time and the need for sleep and the to dos that must be done, and just life. So, here we are. Not a book finished so far this year. It is what it is.
I’ll share my reading progress but three things first.
One is this addition to the guest posts section of my Media page, a listicle I was invited to do by shepherd.com which is a platform that invites authors to do themed book recommendations. I chose to write about teen/YA fiction from the Caribbean, specifically some of my favourites from the Burt Award prize. I was limited to give and listed Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh (Guyana), Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay and All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele (Jamaica), Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini (Trinidad and Tobago), and The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nunez (Puerto Rico). Author’s country in brackets, the books not necessarily being set in that country nor in any reality we recognize. You can click the link above to see the reasons for my choices (one caveat I have not read all of the Burt (Caribbean) books but I have read most of them and even had the opportunity to select three as a judge one year, and edit one on commission in another case; and have received review copies of some – reviews subsequently posted; click the book titles).
Another is that I’ve received and uploaded my presentation at the Antigua and Barbuda Conference last year to my YouTube channel. It’s entitled About a Girl: A Close Read of Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’, its stylistic devices and aesthetic intersection with literature in the Antiguan oral (specifically calypso) tradition. I’m not a member of the academy so I was quite nervous about this presentation and about sharing it – but what’s the point of doing it if it’s not shared (to my mind) beyond the comparatively small academic space the conference occupies; so I’m sharing.
The other thing is this review added to the Musical Youth Reviews and Endorsements page just today. It made me laugh and it made me tear up (unexpectedly) because it’s the most intimate critique I’ve read of a book I’ve written years ago now in a long time. I swear as new readers discover this book it’s a reminder of that thing I’ve always said, books are not bread – they don’t go stale. (yes, there are examples of books that are dated but you know what I mean; and in any case, I’m glad MY isn’t one.)
Now, for my sad reading update. I think my last update was in December 2021 (don’t quote me on that) but here’s my progress:
I’m up to page 74 (from 58) of that book I’m reading that’s coming out this year – I’m going to have to move it out of the reading rotation onto the work/priority list if I’m to finish it in time.
I’m at page 101 of Victoire: My Mother’s Mother by Maryse Conde (translated by Richard Philcox), which I started in December, mostly because it’s light enough to be my walking around book.
I’m at page 505 (from 493) of New Daughters of Africa which is unfortunately too thick for walking around and the print too small for when my eyes get wonky at night leaving a very small reading window. But I continue, one story at at time.
I’m at page 80 of The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books Volume 6 Number 1 2013 and the last research paper read on a colonial era Antiguan newspaperman allowed me to update the Media history page on Wadadli Pen.
I’m at page 33 of Joan Underwood’s First Aid Kit: A Practical Guide to Remedy the Three Most Common Managerial Challenges. Gaining only 3 pages, I think.
I’m at page 72 (up from 61) in Monique Roffey’s Mermaid of Black Conch.
I’m at page 266 (up from 242) of the unpublished Barbuda thesis.