Wednesday, 12 June, 2024

The mountains of Jamaica rise up out of the turquoise-blue Caribbean. From those jaggy peaks, rolling hills — covered in lush green rainforests — taper down to soft-sand beaches along the coast.

It makes perfect sense that the first Jamaican inhabitants — the Taíno from South America — gave the island a name that means ‘Land of Wood and Water.’ It’s all as if paradise is beckoning you to come, sit, relax.

Music floats on the air in both the rhythmic lilt of reggae music and Jamaican patois, a creole language that combines elements of English, Spanish, and African languages.

Yes, there are pirates in Jamaica’s past, along with Spanish conquistadors, British interlopers, and a history of slavery. But Jamaica is now a cultural superpower, sharing its feel-good music (with a message), colorful cuisine, star athletes, and multicultural gifts with the world.

our podcast

In this episode, we explore the so-literal-they’re-poetic names of some Jamaican towns, sing along to our favorite Bob Marley tunes, dig into the history of jerk chicken, and spy on Ian Fleming’s Jamaican estate. Then we recommend five great books that to us to Jamaica on the page, including two delicious cookbooks, a YA adventure with a side of social justice, a sweet family saga, a short story collection that will punch you in the feelings, and a painfully beautiful story about an (extra)ordinary Jamaican woman named Amamine. (show notes / transcript)

recommended books

Black Cake

buy | read review

If I Survive You

buy | read review

Black Heart of Jamaica

buy | read review


buy | read review

West Winds

buy | read review

The Last Warner Woman

buy | read review

The Last Warner Woman

buy | read review

Top image courtesy of Lyncoln Miller/Shutterstock.

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featured posts

There's so much to recommend a trip to Jamaica. Where else to eat some callaloo, sip smooth Blue Mountain coffee, walk in the footsteps of pirates, sing with the rebels of reggae, and splash in the warm Caribbean?
By conjuring images of a mermaid — a beautiful, graceful, free mermaid — this prose poem by Jamaican writer Kei Miller speaks eloquently of the damage caused by imperial rule to colonized people, lands, and seas.
Take a virtual trip to Jamaica with a YA adventure, delicious cookbooks, a sweet family saga, a short story collection that'll punch you in the feelings, and a novel about an (extra)ordinary woman named Adamine.

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