Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature on the Artemis Reader, covering a wide range of topics. Look for more Top Ten Tuesdays here!
I’m spending this week escaping an unusually cold New England March in Turks and Caicos and decided to spotlight a few books and authors in the Caribbean! I’ve been fortunate to spend a large part of my childhood and adulthood in the US Virgin Islands (where my father currently resides) and island hopping with my mother (BVI, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Aruba, Turks and Caicos and Puerto Rico) on various vacations. It is an experience I don’t take for granted. St. John (USVI) has been like a second home to me, and I cherish all the friendships I’ve made there in the last twenty years. Enjoy a list featuring a little bit of what the Caribbean has to offer.
- Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman, one of my favorite authors and a definite I need to read this book, The Marriage of Opposites takes place on St. Thomas (neighbor to St. John).
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, the most popular pirate story every written how could I not include this in the list! Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands is supposedly mentioned in it.
- Jean Rhys, originally Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams, was a Caribbean novelist who wrote in the mid 20th century. Her first four novels were published during the 1920s and 1930s, but it was not until the publication of Wide Sargasso Sea in 1966 that she emerged as a significant literary figure. A “prequel” to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea won a prestigious WH Smith Literary Award in 1967.Rhys was born in Dominica (a formerly British island in the Caribbean) to a Welsh father and Scottish mother. She moved to England at the age of sixteen, where she worked unsuccessfully as a chorus girl. In the 1920s, she relocated to Europe, traveling as a Bohemian artist and taking up residence sporadically in Paris. During this period, Rhys lived in near poverty, while familiarizing herself with modern art and literature, and acquiring the alcoholism that would persist through the rest of her life. Her experience of a patriarchal society and feelings of displacement during this period would form some of the most important themes in her work.
- An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude by Ann Vanderhoof, is a delicious chronicle of leaving the type-A lifestyle behind — and discovering the seductive secrets of life in the Caribbean. I haven’t read this but it definitely seems interesting!
- Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan’s Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws’ Blood Reign by Stephan Talty, a “real story of the pirates of the Caribbean” and honestly who doesn’t love stories about pirates?
- And A Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails by Wayne Curtis, for history lovers and bartenders. I really enjoyed this book way back in 2010.
- Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende, I love love love Allende. I haven’t read this one yet but will be adding it to my to-read list.
- Pleasures and Perils: Girl’s Sexuality in a Caribbean Consumer Culture by Debra Curtis, a professor of mine during my undergraduate degree who I deeply admired and had a huge impact on why I went on to get my Master’s degree and the type of impact I hope to make in my profession.
- Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique, another book that takes place in the US Virgin Islands. Yanique is a Caribbean fiction writer, poet and essayist, born in the USVI. In 2010 the National Book Foundation named her a 5 under 35 honoree.
I hope you all enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday! Look for a few scheduled posts and then back to more reviews when I am back stateside over the weekend. Enjoy!