10 Books Every Jamaican Should Have

Guh fyne ah book! Those words were an almost prison sentence for many “skylarking” children in Jamaica but for me, they were literary music to my ears. Yes! I’ll admit it. I’ve been a life long, unabashed book worm. I’ve been known to read two, three and four books at a time, (yes I know). I’m always looking for good book, even when I have absolutely no time to read them I still buy them and put them in my ever growing, ‘To Read’ stack.

In the exponentially expanding digital age, I still prefer a good hardcover to anything that I can read on Kindle, even though I do own one. No keypad, or mouse can compare to the crisp, wispy heaviness of the pages of a great book being being turned by your actual fingertips.

Over the years I’ve amassed a collection, starting with my very first Complete Book of Brother Anancy Stories that I’ve had since I was four. Among the many that I have in my slightly haphazard collection the one that I place the greatest value on are those that are about my homeland, Jamaica, because I feel everything that Earn about my country teaches me just a little more about myself.

In acknowledgment of Jamaica’s impending Fiftieth Independence, here are books that every Jamaican should have in their collection.

Reggae Wisdom: Proverbs in Jamaican Music by Swami Anand Prahlad - Reggae music has long been lauded for it’s message of progress and upliftment. This book examines lyrical pearls of wisdom from such noted sources as Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, The Itals, and a variety of other important artists including Bob
The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir by Staceyann Chin - Liberating, beautiful, and life-affirming, The Other Side of paradise is simply incredible…”. Russell Simmons What they said: Stacey Ann Chinn This book is a captivating sometimes startlingly honest coming of age biographical story and a survival. The author, a successful writer,
Book of Jamaica by Russell Banks - The controversy surrounding this book of fiction was enough to drive me to purchase. The plot revolved around a an American who comes to Jamaica and leaves behind his family and career to immerse himself in some of the shady
Pieces of the Past: A Stroll Down Jamaica’s Memory Lane by Rebecca Tortello - It a historical as well as folkloric stories stitched together like colorful insightful panel in the beautiful diverse quilt that is the history of Jamaica. In this volume the stories included are but pieces of Jamaica’s very rich past. Stories
History of Jamaica by Clinton Black - It’s an accounting of Jamaican history from the arrival of the Arawak’s over a millennium ago up to current time are written by the most reliable source, Jamaica’s government Archivist, Clinton Black. History of Jamaica has been revised to bring
Drumblair: Memories of a Jamaican Childhood by Rachel Manley - I’ve always looked upon the Manley family as Jamaica’s Kennedy’s and viewed their idealism in relation to the governing and eve lotion of Jamaica from Camelot-like perspective. Rachel Manley’s memoir is one of the most riveting book I have ever
Out of Many, One People: The Historical Archaeology of Colonial Jamaica (Caribbean Archaeology and Ethnohistory) by Dr. James A. Delle Ph.D. and Mark W. Hauser - “This volume provides a comprehensive discourse on Jamaica’s colonial archaeology from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Not only is the book wide-ranging in both scope and methodological approaches, it is also interspersed with a rich array of maps, figures,
The Natural Mystics: Marley, Tosh, and Wailer by Colin Grant - Certainly a must have for Reggae lovers and everyone loves reggae. It is a comprehensive look at the “Band of Brothers” and not only how they were shaped by the political, social and economic atmosphere of the times and how
Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey by Coin Grant - Independent historian and BBC Radio script editor Colin Grant presents Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey, an in-depth biography of Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887-1940), who is perhaps best-known for his “Back to Africa” movement that
Beautiful Jamaica by Evon Blake - This book renewed my romance with Jamaica. It’s was an easy wonderfully depicted, straight forward telling of Jamaica’s history. I’ve bought newer editions of this book as gifts for friends and loved ones. A beautifully illustrated book on the natural,