The Books of My Numberless Dreams

What a laugh

Posted on: November 20, 2006

Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog – books: The blogosphere takes on the power of the press

This is one of the funniest things I have read about in some time. Long story short: cranky newspaper columnist shakes his stick at Amazon and blog book reviews, author makes the (questionable) claim that litblogs have more power than the establishment in moving books off shelves, a cranky anonymous bumblehead outrageously replies that his/her newspaper will never cover her books again. Take that! And that!

I do not know if blogs have become more influential than newspapers and literary journals in the book world. Back in Jamaica I was unaware of any significant “book world”. Our theatre was thriving, as was our music, and there were even occasional forays into film. In high school (grade 7 – 11) I met a fair number of Caribbean novels, short stories, plays and poetry, but cannot recall any Jamaican novels which gave me the impression that we had no significant ones to speak of.

At around the age of 15 I began to read newspapers–ok a newspaper. There would be an occasional book review in the Lifestyle section of the Jamaica Observer but I skipped it for the social page to see if I knew anyone being covered. Part of it was a distrust in anything local–if it was Jamaican it could not be good–and the other was a skepticism for contemporary literature in general. Besides the occasional purchase of a Nora Roberts or Stephen King–neither of whose works I considered “literature”–I firmly stuck to books with first publication dates no later than the 1950’s. They were what I was raised on and what I was later taught to respect.

Thanks to Geoffrey Philp my brain is slowly adapting to the fact that I didn’t know shit about Jamaican lit. 😉 His mention of Roger Mais faintly struck a mental bell. Roger Mais…that sounds…familiar. Colin Channer’s name rang a bell too, but my instinctive response was of indifference and faint distaste. (No idea why, btw.) Marlon James was looking goooood. Very good even if I will have to scrape up the cash for the hardcover because a paperback for his John Crow’s Devil seems to be a long way off.

For the first time in my life I may end the year having read a full-length Jamaican novel. Fancy that.

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1 Response to "What a laugh"

Glad to have helped. If you get a chance, try out Dennis Scott and Tony McNeill.
Marlon’s book is also very impressive.It’s worth the money.

Peace,
Geoffrey

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