Friday, 12 August 2011

READING ROOM: It's Caribbean Books Month at Bookophilia!

Currently observing Caribbean Books Month, the St. Andrew-based dealer Bookophilia has put together a delightful and varied series of titles rooted in West Indian life and folklore, historical and contemporary. Below, a sample of the offerings:

Title: The Dead Yard
The skinny: In this absorbing work, author Ian Thomson walks the streets and rides the buses that most middle-class Jamaicans, let alone white visitors, avoid like the plague. He describes poverty, the reality of gang rule and police brutality. He meets Jamaicans who are trying to make a difference, and astonishingly complacent members of the elite. This is an unforgettable portrait of a country that has had a huge influence on British culture, for good and ill.
*****
Title: Caribbean Erotic
The skinny: Featuring the work of well-known writers, the likes of Nalo Hopkins, Colin Channer, Kwame Dawes and the work of many fresh new talents such as Obediah Michael Smith, Christian Campbell, and Tiphanie Yanique, this anthology aims to create a new framework in which the full spectrum of the erotic in Caribbean literature and life can be freely explored. A wide-ranging anthology of poetry, short fiction, and critical essays designed to generate thought about what is still a conflicted area of Caribbean literature and culture, this revealing, in-depth examination explores the many facets of the erotic in contemporary Caribbean lit.
*****
Title: Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist At Work
The skinny: In this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, reflects on art and exile, examining what it means to be an immigrant artist from a country in crisis. Inspired by Albert Camus' lecture, "Create Dangerously," and combining memoir and essay, Danticat tells the stories of artists, including herself, who create despite, or because of, the horrors that drove them from their homelands and that continue to haunt them. Winner of the 2011 Bocas Lit Fest OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature in the Non-Fiction category and named a 2010 New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice.
*****
Title: 22 Jamaican Stories: A Selection of Prize-winning Short Stories
The skinny: This anthology of prize-winning stories from 1967-1983 reflects the themes which caught the attention of all Jamaicans in the first 25 years after independence. Several of these prize-winners have since established themselves as some of the finest Jamaican writers- making this not just a collector's item, but an enjoyable read. Featuring the work of Dennis Scott, Hazel Campbell, Nova Gordon and Olive Senior.

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