So, about this week, month. Blog Update.

Today was a trip. Literally. Nothing to take the stress off like a long drive – especially if you don’t have to do the driving – with many of your favourite things. Beer and coffee ice cream plus one of the best sunsets ever.

Time outs are self-care, my people. And enjoyable, especially when unplanned.

Also enjoyable and unplanned is this video.

A friend shared it with me about a week ago but I only just last night got around to uploading it. It’s a reading from my children’s picture book With Grace at a community event. I had no idea until I saw the video. There’s something kind of special about others discovering your work and hearing them read it and having them share it with its target audience.

with_grace

Work/Life

It’s been a tight week, a squeeze. Day before yesterday I co-facilitated a creative writing workshop for teens as part of a literacy festival organized by the Ministry of Education. And then once I was done with that, Friday was all about catch-up – catch-up on housework, work-related email and phone communication, working through editor/writing mentor notes on one of my creative pieces, research/prep on a soon-due commissioned article, JSYWP 2019 pre-planning teaser flyer 1 , pitching potential advertisers for CREATIVE SPACE (issue 3 also written this week and focusing on the daring folk rowing the Atlantic and landing here, one of whom I went out to see arrive past midnight one night on a …Wednesday?)52699379_579039442568443_5970573697621164032_n, creating and adding client content to their social media, pitching (or formulating, or thinking about how to pitch) new publications, and this and that and the other thing…and life (i.e. all the personal demands and more). There was also this and that and the other thing; who can keep track of it all. Life keeps coming but I like the work I do (workshopping, writing, editing et al) so getting motivated is uuuusually not my problem…more time, more money, more sleep, more…rain, less stress, less anxiety, less non-constructive energy etc etc etc….these are my problems, but not getting motivated. Of course, motivation is not enough but it’s not nothing.

Books

Like I’m very motivated to read (see what I did there, book blogging community) so I’m making space for it in my daily life but it’s never. enough. time. – just ask the somehow still growing TBR pile that keeps glowering at me (read me! read me!). So, I finished two books this month and I feel pretty good about that because I enjoyed them, because one of them felt like it would never finish, and because…well, that’s two more books finished this month (for a total of 10…hm I guess the community tendency to keep count is rubbing off on me…but it really doesn’t matter to me, it’s about rediscovering the joy of reading and I’m not about to let math steal my joy). Check my reviews for Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis innerand The Black Rose by Tananarive Dueblack rose; I’ll even re-add Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker Possessingwhich I finished last month, simply because I did an ETA to the original review after another level of interpretation occurred to me while reading another book. This past week among the books I’ve been reading but haven’t finished are Inferno by Dan Browninferno (I’m into it), a couple of unpublished books/theses on subjects of interest, and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne the secretwhich is truly not my cup of tea (self-help books in general) but it’s been sitting there since I was gifted it a while ago and I guess I had time today (lol).

Additions to the TBR-in-hand include Songs of Silence by Curdella Forbessongs of silence, whom I met a decade or so ago at a writers’ panel in which we were both participating (looking forward to reading) and Harriet’s Daughter by Marlene Nourbese Philip Harriet's daughter(the discovery of books by Caribbean authors continues). These were extras from the gifts for participants in the workshop I facilitated. The engagement with both students and a couple of the teachers (who are introducing my book Musical Youth, which is now on the local schools reading list musical_youth_nov1-e1415925946338, to their students by the way) was the highlight of that experience. The request by a couple of students, who had read The Boy from Willow BendThe Boy from Willow Bend - COVER.p65 (which has been on the reading list for a few years), for a photo with the author was nice. Surprising but nice. People appreciating the books will, I hope, always be as fresh as the first day – even if when I become an international bestselling author (just speaking positive intention like The Secret says).

This week, I received the latest copy, issue 32, of The Caribbean WriterTCW-Cover-VOL-32-2, a literary journal from the University of the Virgin Islands which includes my story The Night the World Ended inspired by 2017, the hurricane season from hell but thank God we made it (though for a number, the recovery continues). In other new and forthcoming books news, I’m looking forward to receiving my contributor copy of New Daughters of Africa NEW_DAUGHTERS_HIGH-RES-670x1024which is due out this month. That one, as I’ve written here before, includes my story Evening Ritual. also want to shout out writer-friend Preeta Samarasan who has an entry in this new collection The Principal Girl preeta  another one for my TBR.

The Blog.s

I talk about two of my faves – Edwidge Dandicat and Earl Lovelace over on my Wadadli Pen blog. Meanwhile, on this blog, I was sad to wrap my She’s Royal series (spotlighting royal women Hollywood might want to consider if it ever wants to take a break from spotlighting the same 2-3 British queens) . You can read the entire series here.

Speaking of Hollywood, did you enjoy the Academy Awards at the start of the week? I did (though I was bummed for Glenn Close) right up until the, for me, jaw dropping win by Green Book. If you’ve read my Oscars post, you know that I think Green Book was entertaining but problematic and not particularly groundbreaking cinematically. You know, too, that I was rooting for Black Panther, Blackkklansman, or Roma…but especially Black Panther (I knew it was a long shot but am very happy at its win for costume and production design, deserving, and was surprised by its score win, also deserving, but I knew competition was strong).

Anyway, click the links for what’s new on the blog and that’s it #thefreelancinglife #TheWritingLife #justlife and some #bookchat

And remember, if you don’t know my books and want to, here’s where you go; and if you want to access or help me spread the word re my services, here’s where you go. If you want to know if I know what I’m doing, read writing reviews (from critics, bloggers, readers) here, and read reviews (from clients, workshop participants) re my services, here.

Linking this one up to a few Saturday to Monday memes, namely:

Saturday Situation

Stacking the Shelves

Sunday Post

Mailbox Monday

Oh, one last thing, my blog readership is a mix of local and international, so some of this may not interest you but a reminder for anyone interested that this is the last month of the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Book of the Year challenge, a project of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize – which I founded in 2004 to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. The annual writing challenge is on hold this year, but you can still support the literary arts by showing a local author some love and giving one of their books – a book you legitimately like – a boost. I’m happy to report that we have two patrons on board and a selection of books by local and/or Caribbean authors valued at EC$600 will be going to either the winning author’s alma mater or a school of their choosing.

Okay, that’s all she wrote.

This is a books post

… specifically a my books post (yes, one of those shameful/shameless plug alerts you’ve heard about); read on or not at your own discretion…but how’s this, I’ll drop at least one new tidbit/bit of inside knowledge about the writing or publishing of each book (and as I type this even I don’t know what I’m going to say). We’re on a slippery gangplank, guys; we’re in this together. Let’s do this.

Children’s picture books
Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure + its Spanish language edition ¡Perdida! Una Aventura en el mar Caribe (publisher Caribbean Reads Publishing, Caribbean/USA)

Tidbit: So you may know that the book is an anthropomorphic tale of an Arctic seal stranded in the Caribbean sea, and was inspired by actual events. Well, as a Caribbean girl I didn’t know a lot about seals (outside of Happy Feet, which I loved), so I researched and found, among other things, that seals are semi-aquatic creatures classified as pinnipeds (meaning, they have fin feet or literally winged feet). So, in the original draft of this story, I called baby seals mini-pinnies, which I think you’ll agree was too cute by far even for a children’s book.

Best of Books

With Grace (publisher Little Bell Caribbean, Caribbean/USA)

Tidbit: With Grace is the first book I published without pursuing publication – is that the definition of making it? (Ha! I wish) I wasn’t even considering making it in to a book. I had mentioned it on my blog after it won honourable mention as a short story and Mario, an independent writer/publisher I knew reached out with “Joanne, I would love to read With Grace. May I?” and then after reading it responded with “Could not wait. Just finished. Loved it.” This was in the wee hours of the night, and I may have cried a little but I was so joyful especially with his detailed explanation of why he loved it: “Traditional elements of the fairy tale and 100% Caribbean. I say it as the highest praise. The have and have nots, the illegitimate child, mango as central to us as apples to Europe, how treating a tree (a person, an animal) can make it thrive or wilt, the obeah, the song, generosity rewarded, selfishness punished, sisters: two sides of a coin, isolation and privilege corrupting the soul… and a fairie. Again, loved it.  I think you got a winner.
Let’s talk about the possibility of publishing…Thanks for such a beautiful, well thought, and meaningful story.” The path to publication has never been so emotional – in a positive way – for me.

with_grace-a-peek-inside

In the case of both Lost! and Grace, I became a children’s author five books in without planning to (though I had been branded as such for many years due to the publishing marketplace’s broad strokes and my first book being The Boy from Willow Bend).

Teen/Young Adult books
The Boy from Willow Bend (publisher Hansib, UK)

Tidbit: The original title for this book was Swamp Boy…due to the lily pond that was one of main character Vere’s meditation spaces. I think you’ll agree with me that it was too generic and set up the wrong expectation (horror, maybe?).

The Boy from Willow Bend - COVER.p65

Musical Youth (publisher Caribbean Reads Publishing, Caribbean/USA)

Tidbit: This is the first and only book I wrote consciously thinking about genre (notwithstanding that The Boy from Willow Bend, due to the age of the character, falls into this sub-genre, it was written without consciousness of genre just as the story of a boy) as I wrote it in a two week burst of writing in direct response to the call for submissions to the Burt award for teen/young adult Caribbean fiction; and I remember the editing experience as being particularly frustrating and challenging with a tight, though perhaps not the tightest, turnaround. Sometimes I wish I had more time with it, sometimes I think the tightness and intensity of both the writing and editing of it (and the fact that I wrestled with it) made it the book it is, and, though I’ll always think I can make it better I can make it better about everything I write probably, I can’t knock that.

musical_youth_nov1-e1415925946338

Adult contemporary fiction
Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings (publisher Insomniac, Canada)

Tidbit: A convent school student in Dominica posted an online review of the original edition of Dancing which I discovered years later. She wrote, “Dancing Nude in the Moonlight is a story of love between cultures. It goes in depth into the hardships and tensions of immigrant life in Antigua, where people from the Dominican Republic are greeted with much suspicion and hostility. Yet, though the languages and ambitions of the Antiguans and Dominicana differ, the culture and religion of these countries have much in common. The writer of this novel, Joanne C. Hillhouse, clearly wrote this novel for readers of romance. Not only that, but she seeks to evoke the themes of racism and love in this novel. …  When the Antiguan Michael meets Selena it is love at first sight for him, but Selena has been too deeply hurt by misplaced love in the past and Michael must take his time to ‘woo’ her with much understanding.” It was a surprise and a bit of irony to discover that a Catholic school in Dominica had been reading or teaching the book considering that one teacher’s attempt to teach it in Antigua met with backlash (but then I was also ‘called to the principal’s office for Willow Bend’ so maybe not so surprising).

Dancing cover 2

Oh Gad! (publisher Simon & Schuster, USA)

Tidbit: This one is currently out of print; and I haven’t quite figured out if/when/how it has a future yet but I’m mentioning it because it is one of my books (actually my third published book, my first book represented by an agent, and the first book for which I earned both an advance and royalties of any significance), so it did open doors and have its success; including positive critical attention in Caribbean Vistas, The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books, The American Scholar, Literary Hub, NPR, and other places, and because of it I even landed on a course list at Hunter College in the US. I will always be grateful for the doors it opened and the love it received from the readers. But it is an example of the uncertain fortunes of the publishing world. And, as I have reclaimed rights and had books return to print three times now, I know its future is still unwritten.

New Stories

The Night the World Ended in The Caribbean Writer Volume 32
Evening Ritual in The New Daughters of Africa

Tidbit: I had to re-read The Night the World Ended on receiving notice of its acceptance to remember writing it much less submitting it (even though I do track my submissions); it was written post hurricane Irma and I was in a bit of a fugue when I wrote it…but it all came back to me as I read it in an exhilarating reminder of how therapeutic writing can be. Evening Ritual, meanwhile, started one night in the Museum – I saw a picture that inspired a story that linked women working in the sugar plantation economy with women working in the tourism resort economy, but, as written, it felt forced and disjointed as was pointed out to me by one response from a journal to which I submitted it…I ended up separating the parts (which was perhaps the easy way out) and the part set in modern times became this story that, with some editing from one of my mentors, the person who suggested me to the Daughters editor in the first place, was selected from the three stories I submitted for consideration. It wasn’t even the one I was rooting for and it still feels like a part of a greater whole, but I’m delighted that as an independent, self-contained work it found a place in this global collection.

NEW_DAUGHTERS_HIGH-RES-670x1024

So I’m sharing my books because, obviously, I am about helping them to find new readers; and I’m sharing the tidbits to give a little insight to this bumpy journey that is The Writing Life. Ask me anything…I can’t promise to answer but, if I do, I promise to be truthful.

Finally, I want to thank book reviewers, book media, book bloggers, book buyers, book stores, and especially book readers; you have literally thousands of books to choose so, as a Caribbean author, writing to the world, I thank you for considering me as you continue to expand the diverse offerings on your shelves.

Author Kit Single Doc

Joanne C Hillhouse Books

 

 

 

 

The Final Book Count of 2018

I’m doing this post for the Saturday Review of Books: End of the Year Book List Round-up, 2018 and especially so that I can share my final review of the year. the latest in my Blogger on Books series, ValourMary Robinette Kowal’s Valour and Vanity.

ETA: Also just posted, a review of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House which I read earlier this year.

I never thought about counting books (nor am I entirely convinced of the value of that – much like counting words while writing) before becoming aware of the book blogging community but that’s my 20th book this year (one more than last year for whatever that’s worth). If it matters, 4 of those were audio books (which is a first for me), 2 of those were children’s picture books (which totally counts), 3 were comic books (actually comic book novelizations, so thicker than your average comic), and 2 were picture books (of the adult coffee table variety), which leaves 7 actual books of fiction and 1 book of non-fiction and 1 poetry collection read cover to cover (turning the pages and all). I quit 2 books this year and put 1 back on the shelf to return to later (the latter is not unusual but not finishing a book at all is rare, but there you have it).

I’m probably behind on everything that’s contemporary since I determined to remain true to my pledge to only buy 1 new book for every 10 finished as part of my strategy to empty my shelf of unread books – that doesn’t quite keep your stock from growing, what with there being book faeries and all (not to be confused with the mango tree faerie in one of my own books, With Grace). The TBR and the wish lists have grown is what I’m saying.

with-grace

But I will say this I was reminded recently that reading is a quiet in the storm for me, it de-stresses me, it calms my mind, it stimulates new writing, and it’s something I love, so so be it. This life isn’t easy so find your happy place and go there as often as you need to; books is one of my happy places – I’m not about counting how many I’ve read but immersing myself in the different spaces they give me access to.

Since you’re here, I invite you to check out these other recent posts of possible interest from my blogs:

The Top Posts of the Year over at Wadadli Pen
The Top Posts of the Year here on Jhohadli
Parts 1 and 2 of my new #womancrushWednesday #wcw series

Oh, one  last time, here’s what I’m currently reading  – Evolution: Weaving in and out of Consciousness while the Truth is Somewhere in the Middle (a poetry collection) by Felene Cayetano, Inner City Girl (fiction) by Colleen Smith-Dennis, The Secret (not sure what this is) by Rhonda Byrne, The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books Volume 11 Number 1 Summer 2018, The Black Rose (biography) by Tananarive Due, Possessing the Secret of Joy (fiction) by Alice Walker, PEN America In Transit #18, and London Rocks (fiction) by Brenda Lee Browne – this last is a re-read of sorts as I was one of the editors of this book and I wrote about the launch of it in my CREATIVE SPACE series.

Anyway, this post is my final book count of 2018 since I don’t anticipate finishing any other books until the clock counts down to 2019…though, never say never.

Bookish/Artsy Stuff

This is a link-up with book blogs Stacking the Shelves and The Caffeinated Reviewer, so will focus on what bookish/artsy stuff I’ve been up to (I know, I know, it’s all book-ish and artsy around here, but still). For general site updates (interesting stuff there too), check out this link.

Book-ish

Valour
Today I’ve been reading Valour and Vanity by American author Mary Robinette Kowal, fourth in her British regency era historical fantasy fiction glamourist series. For my reviews of previous books in the series – go visit Shades of Milk and Honey, Glamour in Glass, and Without a Summer. I’m enjoying the adventures of Lady Jane and Lord Vincent, whose skill for weaving images out of the ether and getting in to all kinds of life threatening trouble remains undimmed. They’re currently in Venice which is taking me back to my visit to this city of, as Jane puts it, “long graceful canals, arching bridges, and sun-dappled buildings”.

PossessingEn route to and from the Miami Book Fair (somewhere between three to four hours from Antigua), I started reading Alice Walker’s Possessing the Secret of Joy (and re-watched the last Avengers film and watched A Quiet Place, since we were delayed on the runway due to engine trouble and then traffic) and it right away began pulling me in (love Alice and can’t recommend enough previous reads The Color Purple, The Temple of My Familiar, In Search of our Mother’s Gardens, Living by the Word, Her Blue Body Everything We Know). I did re-shelve a book in progress, something I rarely do, but re-shelving at least means I’m open to revisiting it; and moved Evolution by Belizean writer Felene Cayetano, whose poetry and fiction I have enjoyed, what I’ve read of it, off the shelf to the active reading pile – haven’t started reading it though. Since we’re on the subject of books, I do hope you’ll consider adding one of mine to your shopping list.

Artsy

the-walking-dead-season-9-rick-grimes-final-episodes-comicbookco-1132739-1280x0.jpgI haven’t watched any new films or much television (it’s been a catch-upcatch-upcatch-up sort of week) but I am watching The Walking Dead again (yes, after my whole has it become soulless torture porn post of a couple years ago). I mean, I never stopped 100 percent but the last couple of seasons (in fact the entire Negan arc), it wasn’t appointment TV for me as it had been in the early seasons. With Andrew Lincoln (whom I’ve loved since Love, Actually) set to leave, I tuned in (maybe to say goodbye, I don’t know) and kinda kept tuning in. In discussing with another Dead head, I said, The Walking Dead without Rick is not the same but it’s not trash…his final episode is rough for fans of the Sheriff (as I am) but, as happens, when we lose someone or there is a major disruption in our lives (or favourite TV show), because things are shifting trying to adjust to the change, new and sometimes interesting things happen even as we grieve…plus the time jump helped.

jane fonda

The only other thing I viewed, apart from clips from my favourite satyrists who make the Drumpfocalypse bearable, was Jane Fonda in Five Acts – which pretty much covered the same ground as her book, My Life So Far, which I read and reviewed some time ago. Still interesting; she’s led an interesting life. One of my takeaways, the way women (even seemingly strong, feminist women like Jane) are conditioned to fit and shape themselves to the men in their lives (an element of male privilege), often at cost of their own identity, but if you live long enough and stay open to self-reflection, you can find yourself…hopefully before it’s too late.

Books, some of Mine, some of Others’; An Update

First thing Saturday morning, a rep from the Wadadli Pen team was on local radio chatting up our new #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda initiative to select a readers choice Antiguan and Barbudan book of the year (well, technically, the last two years). As I’ve blogged, this initiative is meant to boost new and new-ish Antiguan and Barbudan lit, and fill the gap brought about by the absence of the Wadadli Pen Challenge, which has been a staple of the project since it launched in 2004. Life is heavy sometimes and I needed to put something down; Wadadli Pen was something.  But because it’s something that brings me an immense sense of purpose, I couldn’t let it go altogether. This project is less time intensive but will hopefully pay off for Antigua and Barbuda lit arts. And hopefully when I feel less like I’m flaying and taking in water (yes, in spite of all the recent good news because, happy and thankful as I am about those developments, none of that is the full story; it never is), I can put the full weight of Wadadli Pen on my back again. But enough about me (just keeping it real for a minute). Check out the books (you don’t have to be Antiguan and Barbudan), read the books (which range from children’s books to romance to deep thoughts), read even one of the books (step outside your usual zone), if you like it, go to the Wadadli Pen #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda post linked in the article on this blog, and say why. By so doing, you’ll be registering your vote and giving it a boost which is always a gift to a writer.

Poetry readAntiguaBBarbuda 2018
It brings me great pain that I’m such a snail reader these days but periodically I do finish a book. This week’s finish was book three in Mary Robinette Kowal’s historical fantasy Glamourist series which, as I said in the beginning of my review, I have really come to fall in love with. Excerpt from the book and review:

“She looked at the barely contained chaos and turned to Vincent. He was staring at her with the strangest expression on his face. He blushed and looked away, wetting his lips. Still looking across the yard, he leaned down to whisper, ‘I was thinking about what my father would say if he knew that I found you attractive in trousers.’

Her coat seemed too warm, suddenly. She whispered back, ‘I do not care what he would say, if you like them.’

The corner of his eye wrinkled into his small private smile.”

Read the full review of Without a Summer. Now on to book four, Valour and Vanity.

Remember to scroll to the bottom of the Blogger on Books page for recent reviews including most-most recent Lisa Allen-Agostini’s Home Home.

More book talk. Of the I wish I could variety.  Like I wish I could catch up on sleep and then disappear to my own private island and read to my heart’s content. These are some of the books I’d pack.

Some of the good news I mentioned above: I am happy to announce the release of ¡perdida! Una Aventura En El Mar Caribe, a Spanish language edition of my most recent book, the children’s picture book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure which came out last November. I will be presenting both editions November 17th 4 p.m. at the Miami Book Fair. In advance of that, I wanted to share the first page as I do for all my books (click on the book titles). Please let me know if you, or anyone you know, would like to review the Spanish language edition as I try  get the word out.

Here’s the Caribbean Reads Publishing newsletter with these updates and news of Musical Youth being added to the Antigua and Barbuda schools curriculum.

While you’re here, don’t forget to check out the latest in the CREATIVE SPACE series – one on the service of British West Indians in WW1, one on our Independence art exhibition, and an update about Eileen Hall – who is Eileen Hall? Well, read to find out.

Linking this up to The Sunday Post by Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s been a while. Also linking to It’s Monday, What are You reading?

Haven’t checked out any of my books yet? Children’s picture books to teen/young adult fics to adult novels; read more. If you’ve read my books, please consider posting a review to Amazon or Goodreads if you haven’t already done so. It makes a big difference. Thanks! For information on my writing and editing services, here’s where you go. – blogger, author, mango lover, Joanne C. Hillhouse.

Top Ten ‘Fall’

This is the Top Ten Tuesday which, this week, is about your fall TBR. There’s a question mark around the whole thing because my TBR (i.e. books I wish to read) are the books I have been reading…and because I’m in the Caribbean and we don’t have fall here. But I’m doing this anyway; call it stress relief.

1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – I’m actually listening to the audio book while I work and do other things so as you can imagine I get distracted and have to go back and that slows the reading; but when I am able to focus on it, it’s quite spooky and interesting.

black rose2. The Black Rose by Tananarive Due – why oh why can’t I finish this book …I mean, I know why, and it’s definitely not the book; it’s me, it’s time.

WithoutSummer-rough-rev-500x7473. Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal – this book is in an even worse way – it feels slower than other installments in the series so that’s part of it – but still.

kellerman4. Straight into Darkness by Faye Kellerman – this has been my most active read of the TBR…so much so I feel like I should be done with it already…but I’m no closer to having a clue whodunit.

agostini5.  Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini – I’ve started it and when I paused it had started to pick up; that’s all I’ve got so far.

6. Beneath the Lion’s Wings by Marie Ohanesian Nardin – This is set in Venice and the imagery – the gondolas, the water taxis, is making me nostalgic to go back.

on a water taxi venice travels throwback photoI have struggled to find time to read this though, part of that might have to do with the fact that the author sent me an electronic copy instead of a physical copy; my work has me on the computer a lot and when I’m taking a break, I don’t want to be looking at the screen. So I’m inching along even more than normal.

7. The Storm limited series written by Eric Jerome Dickey – glad to be finally reading this; though my teenage self wishes she could just put everything down and lose herself in it.

8. Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin – listening to the audio book – might need to start it over (see my problem ‘reading’ audio books in this and every post where they’re mentioned)

9. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery – someone in my social media timeline mentioned this recently as a personal fave and it stoked my interest; I started listening to it this week.

10. Freedom Song by Amit Chaudhuri – I’m not in to this vivid as the imagery is but I’m not one to give up on a book (shelve for another time sure but give up altogether is rare); we’ll see.

beowulf2Bonus: Author: the Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan got it just before the weekend and almost finished…I mean, it is a picture book of so many authors I love (plus I’m in it) which is what made me so soup to start flipping through it.

There are other things but this is as close to a top 10 as I can get.

Monday Meme (September 10th 2018)

The It’s Monday, What are You Reading? meme is a space to share what you have been, are, and are about to read.

hiddenDidn’t get much reading done this week but did finish and post a review of Hidden Secrets of St. Croix by Clarice C. Clarke, and start listening to The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I am still struggling with the audio book format – I miss stuff and have to go back because it doesn’t hold my concentration the way turning the pages does. That said, like the World War Z audio book (my second successful go of an audio book this year or ever after Born a Crime), it is the type of book that lends itself to the format with all of its unsettling atmospheric spookiness. We’ll see how I get through. The only other reading I did this week was the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books. Not finished but the last couple of articles were interesting and there was an article on my books of which I am deeply appreciative. Finally, in bookish news, I didn’t read these books but I did revisit them, my contributions to the 7 days 7 covers facebook challenge.

Also feel free to check out another of my throwback reviews; this one for Vegas Bites.

What am I reading…today, well, Sunday, I did plan to clear my head by reading (it’s a stressful time and I thought it was just what the doctor ordered) but the day didn’t work out that way. So I suppose the only reading I’ve gotten done today was one or two articles on the women’s finals of the US Open – like this one (Of Course, Serena was Fined $17,000. Of Course) at The Root and this one (Billie Jean King: Serena is Still Treated Differently than Male Athletes) at the Washington Post:

(from the latter)
“Women are taught to be perfect. We aren’t perfect, of course, and so we shouldn’t be held to that standard. We have a voice. We have emotions. When we react adversely to a heated professional situation, far too often, we’re labeled hysterical. That must stop. Tennis is a game, but for (Serena) Williams and (Naomi) Osaka, it’s also their job, their life’s work. Yes, Williams was heated during the match because she felt Ramos wasn’t just penalizing her, but also attacking her character and professionalism. Her true leadership and character were revealed after the match, in the trophy presentation, when she shifted the spotlight to Osaka. She didn’t have to, but she did. I know her — that’s who she really is, and she knew it was the right thing to do.”

I actually agree with King (another tennis legend’s) take. Not here to debate it, just sharing what I was reading and won’t tolerate any Williams sisters hate on my blog (FYI). Disagreement is one thing but I’ve seen some really hateful language lobbed at her and willful obliviousness to the realities King articulates. Besides this is Naomi Osaka’s moment (so charmed by her), kudos to her for a match well played. If I’m annoyed at anyone its the media which insists on erasing the Haitian half of her heritage; get it right – this is the first US Open win for someone who by her own words was born in Japan, and raised in America by a Japanese mother and a Haitian father and a Haitian grandmother in a Haitian household.

Champions both.

both champions

“She played well and this is her first grand slam and I know you guys were here rooting and I was rooting too but let’s make this the best moment we can…let’s not boo anymore….congratulations, Naomi.” – Serena Williams during the 2018 US Open awards ceremony.

As for what I hope to read, anything sitting in the active reading pile by my bedside would do. Plus I’ll be reading up on and prepping the stories I’ve selected for my Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series which has been pushed back one week and begins September 15th 2018.

JWP Sept 2018

Shout out to Britain-based Jamaica-born writer Leone Ross on the publication of her story Meat Kind (still tickled to see such a Caribbeanism making it in to the literary lexicon) in The Mechanics’ Institute Review 2018: 15: Short Stories

Check out the music in the current edition of my CREATIVE SPACE series (singer Joss Stone with local Antiguan and Barbudan artist Asher Otto) and… happy reading.