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Our Caribbean Inspired “Must Read” List

July 31, 2014

One thing that is true of life on an island is that there’s always time to read.  On the beach, on a boat, on the couch by candlelight when the power goes out (inevitably around here, thanks to WAPA)… tons of opportunities to pick up a whole new world in a book and disappear for a while.

We’re lucky to be here pretty much all the time, but we know y’all miss the Caribbean when you’re not around, so here are a few of our favorite Caribbean beach reads.

Islands In The Stream, Ernest Hemingway


in 1970, 9 years after his death, this final novel follows the adventures (and misadventures) of Thomas Hudson, a painter living on the island of Bimini.  In Hemingway’s trademark terse prose, we follow Hudson from fishing trips in the Gulf Stream to anti-submarine missions off the Cuban coast.  For a full description, see here.


The Rum Diary, Hunter S Thompson


You just can’t talk about Iconic Literature Set In The Caribbean without mentioning this book.  Lifestyle guide to some, cautionary tale to others, memorable to everyone… begun by a then-22-year-old Hunter S Thompson, the novel takes you through the chaos that was life in 1950’s San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Includes a cameo of St Thomas Carnival as well as a nearly untouched Vieques.  Read the description and reviews here.


Archipelago, Monique Roffrey


Set further down island than our first two recommendations, Archipelago follows the sailing adventure of Gavin and his young daughter.  When tragedy drives them from their home in Trinidad, the pair set out on a journey to the Galapagos Islands via the Panama Canal.  A striking novel of loss and the growth that comes from grief, the novel also benefits from its lush settings along the southern Caribbean.  More description and reviews are found here.


Don’t Stop The Carnival, Herman Wouk


This book.  It’s basically a timeless user’s guide to life in the islands as a stateside transplant.  I own two copies.  One friend of mine keeps copies in her room, her living room, and her guest room, just in case everyone in the house wants to read it at once.  New York City press agent Norman Paperman moves to a Caribbean island and buys a hotel (mid-life crisis, anyone?)… the kind of ridiculousness that only happens down here ensues.  Just do yourself a favor and read it.  Description and reviews here.


Go forth and read!  Think I missed a crucial book?  Please share your thoughts and recommendations on Facebook or on Twitter (@Just_BEach)!





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