The Books of My Numberless Dreams

I’m alive!

Posted on: May 18, 2007

Barely. My brain’s on vacation but may return on the weekend. In the mean time I’ll have to serve up more fluff, I’m afraid. Sylvia and Amanda tagged me to do the “Eight Random Things About Me” meme.

  1. I’m not qualified to be a litblogger. I’ve never read any fiction by Dostoevsky, Atwood, Voltaire, Melville, Chaucer, god knows how many Greek playwrights, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Munroe, Woolf, never-mind most of the West Indian literary juggernauts; you name it, I haven’t read it.
  2. I’ve read a hell of a lot of romance though. I don’t read that many any more but I still re-read old favourites (over and over) and this book is on my Friday shopping list. (Unfortunately I’m not expecting it to be any good :-(.)
  3. I attended a boarding school at which straw hats were still a compulsory part of the uniform and had to be worn off-property at all times. (It was the only school in the island that retained straw hats.) Boarders had to wear modest white dresses, white socks and black shoes every day after school except on Friday evenings and Saturdays. We walked to church in our white Sunday best, hat on head, every week. It was there that I learnt the meaning of the word “compulsory” and is forever associated with it. Basically it was a convent without neat Roman Catholic rituals to give it atmosphere.
  4. Before then I went to a regular public school and lived at a resort, one of the “benefits” of having a parent work in the tourism industry. No one actually believed I’d graduate from the boarding school until I did, assuming that I’d escape at the first opportunity.
  5. I’ve visited all of the English, French and Spanish Caribbean islands except Montserrat, Guadeloupe and the US territories.
  6. It is probably a horrible thing to say as a reader (particularly one of trashy romance), but there are some authors I will not even try, unless tortured. That list includes Sue Monk Kidd, Yann Martel, Dan Brown, Jack Kerouac, Joseph Conrad, Mitch Albom, Wally Lamb, Saul Bellow.
  7. I’m addicted to The Superficial.
  8. I’ve lived in Canada for 5 years and have never played in the snow.
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16 Responses to "I’m alive!"

Qualified, schmalified. You’re totally a litblogger (I suppose if you don’t WANT to be a litblogger, then I won’t call you one, although I will in my head). I’m kind of curious about your list in #6 — I got it until I came to Kerouac and Conrad and Bellow.

What was it like living in the Caribbean Islands! Do you prefer Canada or the Caribbean? Um, considering your usual posts…I’d say you were a litblogger! And I like it that you read romance alongside DQ–and admit to it! Very democratic really! By the way–cute hat!!

I’m curious too. What qualifies an author for your “won’t read” list?

I wonder if this comment will go through? WordPress not my friend these days.

Totally understand the “some authors I will not even try” – but I believe we will not try them for different reasons – at least I think we differ on Conrad. My experience with Conrad was not Victorious.

Straw hats – cute! For me, it was compulsory to wear a tie with the school uniform. And of course the white socks with white canvas shoes – we had attire checks every week, conducted by the school prefects.

You are a litblogger definitely. You’re just modest.

*Gasp* My comment finally got through! We do the dance of joy!

I’ve read Atwood, Voltaire, Melville, Chaucer, Tolstoy, Munro, and Woolf. πŸ˜›

That is so cool that you’ve been to (almost) all the islands. What’s your favourite Caribbean music?

Dorothy oh I’d like to be, but I always feel so inadequate once it comes to the classics. I’ve read so little it seems! And ideally I should tackle them at once but there are so many other books calling out to me…

The list is longer and authors are on there for different reasons. Jack Kerouac has that “beat” thing right? and the (no doubt simplistic, perhaps even erroneous) impression I have about the beats is a lot of manly men, probably dressed in black, taking road trips across the USA, smoking cigars, writing about things that are “important”.

Conrad, probably for “Heart of Darkness” alone: I’m already tired of reading about white folks trudging into the continent, dealing with its “dark depths” of Africa etc. without ever having read such a book.

Bellow’s writing strikes me as a bore, and really I already intend to read Roth. My shelves are so dominated by dead or almost dead white males that if I’ve heard nothing particularly striking about a writer…*shrugs*

Danielle thanks! (That’s not me in the hat, btw, just an image of the school uniform I found online.) Well I only lived in Jamaica, just visited the rest. I don’t know how to answer the question of what it was like…it was home. Fun, joyous, comfortable but a lot of the times also painful because of the political corruption and crime.

Dark Orpheus I hear you, as WordPress had the cheek to mark my own comments to my own blog as spam. The nerve. (It’s supposedly fixed now.)

Ha! on Conrad. I actually have tried one or two pages of a Bellow and crinkled my eyes in confusion at why it had a Penguin Classics seal….

I had to deal with ties too when I was in 6th form, and before in prep school (private primary school). But we did have to deal with the uniform checks and, as a boarder, surprise dorm checks as well. Romance books were banned (!) so you can imagine how some hearts fluttered when the prefects swept out, unannounced.

Sylvia oh fine, make me feel bad. πŸ˜› (I did try Woolf and mean to do so again.)
My favourite is what is (now called) roots reggae and early ska. I guess I’m a typical arrogant Jamaican in that I think our stuff is the best. I do like calypso though but can only manage the soca occasionally.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I love the Cuban music, particularly the “latin jazz” and changui.

And thanks for commenting wil, sorry to have missed you first time around.

Of course I didn’t say *how much* of those authors I’ve read… πŸ˜‰

Your reasons make perfect sense to me, Imani, and I hope I didn’t sound judgmental in my comment … it’s funny, people like Kidd, Martel, and Brown are people whose books I listen to on audio in the car, feeling that that’s not quite “reading,” so I can take risks with potentially bad stuff more easily — it’s not quite time wasted, since I have to be in the car anyway. I’m not fond of Kerouac, having read On the Road, and finding it to be about what you described. I’m sure someone can come along and tell me that I missed a ton in it…

Sylvia Ha! They don’t count then.

Dorothy oh you didn’t come off as judgemental at all: I expected at least one person to ask for the reasoning behind the choices. I don’t have a car nor do I listen to audiobooks so I don’t have that opportunity to try books I wouldn’t have read otherwise.

I’m enormously tickled to know that was your Kerouac experience. I’ll use it whenever someone bugs me to read him and others of his ilk.

Great, Imani, I am loving reading all the random facts about people. Hey, even if you are not a “litblogger,” as you say (I wouldn’t say that), you KNOW the names of many authors.

I am sad you won’t try Kerouac, but I understand. He is great, but a downside is his characterizations of women. Which is to say, none.

Oh, go play in the snow this winter and do tell us all about it.

I wouldn’t blame you for avoiding Conrad if all his books were like “Heart of Darkness” which, in spite of its brevity, I had to force myself to finish. I like “The Shadow-Line”, though. As for the others on your list, I’m pretty much in agreement. In fact, almost anything written by a living author is off my list.

I’d love to hear more about the experience of living at a resort. Did you grow up there? Was it fun or was it annoying?

And I love that you don’t consider yourself a litblogger – yet you’re paying attention to literature in a way that a lot of people aren’t even interested to try.

I like Keruac’s Tristessa – its messy and like a long prose poem, some nice imagery. I hated On the Road for all the reasons you cited.

Do you still have the straw hat? πŸ™‚

I’m with you on the Wally Lamb, and Conrad, come to think of it. And I’ve picked up Sue Monk Kidd and put it down in bookshops across the land. I agree with all the others, no matter what you say, you ARE a litblogger! Having reading distinctions is an undeniable characteristic of the tribe!! Love the thought of you (not) busting out of boarding school at the first opportunity…

Litkitten well my list is not engraved in stone — one of these days I may read something that compels me to buy the works of every beat writer. Unlikely, but stranger things have been known to happen. πŸ™‚

I don’t see myself playing in snow until I’m….30 maybe?

Chuck aaahh, I don’t mind the living authors; in fact I tend to feel terrible when it takes an obituary and the expected windfall of laudatory articles to get me to read a good author (especially if I’d always meant to).

verbivore maybe I’ll manage to give a literary spin on my hotel years. The very short story is that I loved it when I lived it but as I grew older I began to feel the lack of “homey” stories that most of my friends shared. But, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

I’m glad you think that I’m doing something a bit different here on my blog.

litlove Ha! we’ve had the same experience with Kidd. I am going to try to bolster myself with my “reading distinctions”, which is a better term than the one I had for them.

Oh I was gently conforming daughter in that one regard — it never occurred to me running away was even an option for me (despite the annual occurrence of other students trying to do the same). At that point in my life I had never even taken public transportation before, except a taxi or two with my aunt.

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