No you didn’t sleep through the tail end of hurricane season, Independence season (if you’re in Antigua and Barbuda), nor, heaven forbid, Christmas season, but book blogger Kristen Kraves Books has announced this tag and as a Caribbean literary space, we never miss the opportunity to talk books…Caribbean books. So I’ll be answering the tag questions but in Caribbean. Read through and play along.
Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?
I don’t remember exactly when I started it but I would love to finish Trinidad and Tobago writer Monique Roffey’s The Mermaid of Black Conch. It’s picked up tons of awards, is in translation in many places, is critically acclaimed, is a book I’ve even used in the Jhohadli Writing Project workshop as it has some great craft moments, but, yes, I still need to finish it and I really really want to.
I should finish it at least before the new The Little Mermaid comes out (right?) just so I can check any notion when I write about it (because it feels like one of those books I’ll be wanting to discuss in Blogger on Books) that non-white mermaids do not exist, because in any world where mermaids exist at all, we’ve been there.
ETA: Finished before the end of 2022 and, as promised, discussed in Blogger on Books, my online book review series. Post excerpt: “It’s the paradox of the thing you’re not sure you want, until you have to let it go, a part of your heart breaking at the loss.”
Do you have an autumnal book to transition to the end of the year?
I’m going to interpret this as books with endings since we don’t have autumn in the tropics and I’m going to be very literal about it since I’ve been reading Antiguan-Barbudan writer Gayle Gonsalves My Stories have No Endings, because it’s right there in the title and because I am in sight of the ending. This is an indie which has picked up several indie awards and which I’ve read in waves and stops; hoping to hit another wave.
ETA: Not quite finished as end of year looms (fingers crossed though) but check the Antiguans and Barbudan Awarded page here on the blog to see some of the prizes this indie has picked up.
Is there a New Release you’re still waiting for?
Based on Kristen Kraves Books response, this one is about books that have been announced but are not yet on the market. But I’m going to take the opportunity to boost a recent release from an Anguillan author, Cassilda Brookes who reached out to me recently to share news of the official launch of children’s book Anansi and The Hurricane, which has been in the market since earlier this year.
I met Cassilda when I went to the Anguilla Literary Jollification in 2015 and, a reminder that you never know how your energy is impacting another’s journey, because she said I helped motivate her and I appreciate her saying that. Maybe I needed to hear that. And we stan an Anansi tale in the Caribbean. So much is generational now that I tested this by asking my youngest kid about Anansi recently and, yep, he knew all about the trickster spider so we’re still passing on knowledge of this West African demi-god by continuing to tell our own Anansi tales. This one seems timely too with its focus on hurricane preparedness.
ETA: Want more Anansi? Check out this CREATIVE SPACE on Re-Imagining Anansi, my art and culture column.
What three books you want to finish before the end of the year?
I would like to finish books I’ve started before turning to new books, so I’m going to list three in-progress books. Jamaican writer Curdella Forbes’ Songs of Silence, set so far in rural Jamaica, Reclaim Restore Return: Futurist Tales of the Caribbean edited by Barbadian writer Karen Lord and Grenadian and US and British Virgin Islands author Tobias S Buckell, and Fortune, which is shaping up to be a historical epic beginning in the oil fields of Trinidad, by T & T writer Amanda Smyth.
ETA: I finished Songs of Silence by Curdella Forbes in November 2022 and shared my thoughts in Blogger on Books, but at this writing I’m only up to page 57 in Fortune and am even further behind in Reclaim Restore Return.
Is there a book that could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?
I don’t think I’d be shocked but, keeping it Caribbean, I have finished and am working on my review of New Daughters of Africa. This book is almost 800 pages and there were times I thought I wouldn’t finish it. It was a marathon and right now, in addition to the review, I am working on a paper focussed on Caribbean authors in NDOA for the Antigua and Barbuda Conference, organized annually by the Antigua Studies Association, and focussed this year on “The Current State of the Global Black Struggle”. It’s in a couple of weeks. I may be in over my head.
Challenging as this book was in terms of sheer volume, it is easily a top tier read, and, yes, possibly my favourite of the year.
ETA: I did finish it in time and presented at the Antigua and Barbuda Conference in October – I shared my presentation and paper here, and also discuss it in Blogger on Books.
Have you started making reading plans for
I don’t make reading plans as such, though I do have an ever-growing TBR and do want to get caught up especially on Caribbean releases of the last few years. As there’s lots of exciting new content and I haven’t been able to keep up.
How about you?
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.