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Ten Books Bahamians Should Read (Ian Strachan)
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Page 1 of 1Total of 5 messages
Posted by:Apr 19th 2007, 08:30:21 am
smittyOh yes I nearly forgot A must read "Desperate" by Ken Smith. The struggles of a New York man of breeding trying to phathom the workings of the minds of west coast women.
Posted by:Apr 18th 2007, 03:05:32 pm
KimberlyHmmmm .. only ten books?

Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid; Bahamian Scene by Susan Wallace; Small Island by Andrea Levy; Exquisite Vodkas of the World From B-Z, Ken Smith; Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway; How to Build An Abaco Sloop Out of Palm Fronds and Sand, by Winer Malone; Krik Krak, Edwige Danticat; the directions on a desalination kit; Ten Thousand Islands by Randy Wayne White, and Don't Stop The Carnival by Herman Wouk.
Posted by:Apr 11th 2007, 05:12:53 pm
yazoomoonThat is an impressive list ; how could you miss Black reconstruction in America by W.E.B. Du Bois or The price of the ticket by James Baldin ,Native Son by Richard Wright,The sea around us by Rachel Carson,The measure of a man by Sidney Poitier....what about Dreams from my father??
Posted by:Apr 11th 2007, 03:39:39 pm
smittyA dandy list, but if I could read, let me offer my 10.
1. The Bible
2. Any thing by Patterson or DeMille
3. The last 7 issues of Victories Secret
4.And lastly, a little something I put together Called" How To Avoid Mt. Gay Rum".
Posted by:Apr 11th 2007, 03:20:55 pm
Fig Tree News TeamMy 10 must-read books
IAN G. STRACHAN, playwright and author

Here's a game I used to enjoy playing when I was in university—which probably means it was a lame game. But I'll play here with you anyway. Just cause I can. It's called "What 10 books would you take with you if you had to be marooned on a desert island." But since living on New Providence sometimes feels like being stuck on a desert island anyway, let's just call this exercise, "10 Books Bahamians Should Read."

1. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave written by Frederick Douglass, the son of a plantation owner and a slave, who escaped servitude, taught himself to read and became the most influential man of African descent in America. Arguably, with Martin Luther King as the lone exception, Douglas was the most eloquent and courageous advocate for black equality in American history.

2. The Wretched of the Earth. The author, Frantz Fanon was a psychiatrist from Martinique who wrote one of the most perceptive books ever written on the process of decolonization (colonies throwing off their European "Mother Countries" and trying to chart their own course). Published in 1961, this book describes, in very readable language, the challenges and pitfalls underdeveloped nations face in trying to create egalitarian societies after centuries of exploitation and oppression. Most importantly, it shows how the betrayal of the people by their own independence leaders is almost inevitable because of the corrupting drives of power and profit, and because of the people's own excessive dependence on those leaders.

3. In the Parish of the Poor by Jean-Bertrand Aristide. When I was a student in Philadelphia Aristide came to my university and spoke. It was a day I'll never forget. He had recently been expelled from Haiti by way of a coup led by American-trained and CIA-paid General, Raoul Cedras. Aristide writes, "The rich of my country, a tiny percentage of our population, sit at a vast table covered in white damask and overflowing with good food, while the rest of my countrymen and countrywomen are crowded under that table, hunched over in the dirt and starving. It is a violent situation, and one day the people under the table will rise up in righteousness, and knock the table of privilege over, and take what rightfully belongs to them . . . It is our mission to help them stand up and live as human beings." It is incendiary language like this that made the charismatic Aristide the hope of the destitute, an enemy of the powerful in Haiti and a security risk to the same people who have called for Hugo Chavez's removal and assassination. Whatever his flaws, I think this book will open your eyes about Haiti.

4. The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman. This is a compelling and highly readable discussion of the influence that multinational corporations and powerful nations have had on life in the farthest reaches of the planet in this Information Age. Although Friedman is a little too enamored of globalization, the book is a wonderful resource for understanding the way economies and cultures the world over are being affected by companies and technologies that wield astonishing power. As inhabitants of a small, vulnerable island state, this book provides an education in the inevitability, cruelty and positive potential of globalization for just $15 (US price). That's way cheap.

5. A Small Place. What can I say about Jamaica Kincaid's amazing little book about tourism in her native Antigua? About her people, and their history, about their leaders, about the things they must do to make a living in the middle of the sea? I'll just say this: you can read it in just a few hours—maybe in the time it takes to watch King Kong--but you'll never forget it. You'll see. Dis woman ain't monkeyin around.

6. The Bluest Eye. This is my favorite of all Toni Morrison's novels. It is a simple story, really, of the psychological and social price a girl-child, and indeed her entire family, pays as a consequence of poverty and racism. Morrison writes, "The Breedloves did not live in a storefront because they were having temporary difficulty adjusting to the cutbacks at the plant. They lived there because they were poor and black, and they stayed there because they believed they were ugly. Although their poverty was traditional and stultifying, it was not unique. But their ugliness was unique. No one could have convinced them that they were not relentlessly and aggressively ugly. Except for the father, Cholly . . . " This beautifully told story of a black girl who prays for blue eyes will stay with you always. In our bleaching, perming, colored contact-wearing nation, this book is a must.

7. The Wine of Astonishment. Earl Lovelace tells the story of the banning of the Spiritual Baptists by the colonial government in 1917, in his native Trinidad. Like Morrison's novel, this book is beautifully crafted and short too! Written from the perspective of one of the women of the church, it tells of how the "Shouters" are banned from worshipping as they are accustomed (with clapping, catching the Spirit, and speaking in tongues). It speaks of the aspirations of poor people in an island colony and the powerful temptation the ambitious face: the temptation to turn their backs on their roots and the people who have helped them climb to the top, so that they may become the oppressors they have envied rather than despised.

8. The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. Even though they ain't put no Bahamian poets in this book, I still recommend it. Poetry is such a mighty art form. And so many Bahamians enjoy writing, performing and hearing it. But we need to be exposed to the best poetry in order to write the best poetry. This book brings together poets from every Caribbean nation—almost.

9. Democracy for the Few. We have a lot of work to do in this country in terms of improving our democratic processes, encouraging everybody to feel responsible for the way the country is going, and ensuring that our elected "representatives" actually represent us and tell the truth. So do many other countries! Michael Parenti gives an easy-to-understand breakdown of just how the effort to create a real democracy has been going in the USA. It is eye-popping in its disclosures about the power of wealthy men and companies to shape public policy and how these policies are passed off as being in the interest of the majority. But it also shows the instances where the common good was achieved through the efforts of people dedicated to equality.

10. Fast Food Nation. Eric Schlosser writes a chilling expose on the rise of fast food chains in America and tells you in stomach-turning detail just what's in those burgers we've been eating. If anything can cure us of our protracted dietary suicide, books like this are it. But then again, peas and rice, macaroni, potato salad, fried plantain and corn don't get served at McDonald's, now do they?

Well, I hope you'll go out and buy some of these books. A few stores take orders and bring books in. Or, if you have a friend with a credit card or if you have the misfortune of owning one yourself, you can buy these texts new or used on line.

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