December's Reading group: books from the Caribbean

From Marlon James and Derek Walcott to CLR James, the enviably sunny islands have plenty to offer book fans in colder climes – but what should the Reading group grab as we hit that imaginary beach?

In the UK, the winter solstice approaches. We’re about to enter the darkest month, the weather’s getting colder and everyone’s already started putting out their Christmas lights, even though it’s far too early. And yes, there are nauseatingly sentimental adverts on the TV, we’ve all heard that Slade song far too often already and … Damn it! Let’s just get away from it all, shall we?

Let’s do what many lucky travellers do at this time of year and head for the Caribbean – not least because there’s been a popular request to look at books from the islands here on the Reading group. It also seems appropriate after Marlon James’s recent success in the Booker prize. Indeed, A Brief History of Seven Killings might be a fine place to start, although there’s no need to limit ourselves to the Booker. There are also Nobel laureates Derek Walcott and VS Naipaul to consider.

I’d also be interested to look at Anglo-Caribbean books. Bernardine Evaristo’s funny and touching recent novel Mr Loverman springs to mind. And there are plenty of more established classics. Wide Sargasso Sea might have been written in Devon, but I’ll grab any excuse I can to read that again. Let’s not just stick with fiction, either. CLR James’s Beyond a Boundary remains one of the finest books not just about cricket, but about humanity.

But that’s enough suggestions. There are many more titles to choose from. (There’s a handy list on Wikipedia if you’re short of inspiration.) I’ll put all the nominations into a hat and announce the winner in a few days’ time.

Contributor

Sam Jordison

The GuardianTramp

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