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Suggested Reading

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(@Iris Tramm)
Posts: 1

I need suggestions for a good read. I enjoyed "Don't Stop the Carnival" and "An Embarrassment of Mangoes" (although I was disappointed that she called Waterlemon, "watermelon"). It's 95 degrees here in the Midwest and I'm trying to keep the Caribbean vibes alive by submersing myself in good books and rum! Unfortunately the body of water that I'm living out my fantasy on is the public swimming pool. However, if I close my eyes after drinking enough rum, I can see my favorite view as I look out from Leinster Bay... 🙂

Any good books I should stick my nose in to keep the dream alive?

My due date is November 24...the date I'm back to the USVIs! It is simply sinful when you look forward to your return date to St. John the way you look forward to major family events and milestones -- maybe even more! My husband says I'm an addict. It's true! ...and how sweet it is!

Thanks everyone!
Have a great night!

Posted : July 31, 2006 8:42 pm
Posts: 44
Trusted Member

You may want to try Buffett's "A Salty Piece of Land." I enjoyed it, but I'm also a bit biased. 🙂

Posted : July 31, 2006 10:39 pm
(@Iris Tramm)
Posts: 1

Thanks Buffet Guy! I'll pick it up this week. I appreciate the suggestion!

Posted : August 1, 2006 8:38 am
Posts: 249
Reputable Member

Hey Iris...we are going back too....nov.29th!!!
I think it's too soon to plan a get together for Nov/Dec.....but I hear ya 'bout the midwest heat....104 today here!!! I did try a rum cocktail last nite.....but I was missing the ocean breeze!!

Posted : August 1, 2006 8:42 am
Posts: 117
Estimable Member

Dear Ms. Janet West 😉

I just finished reading "Don't Stop the Carnival" and have moved on to re-reading "A Pirate Looks at Fifty". It's Jimmy Buffett's autobiography as he approached his 50th birthday and decided to fly his seaplane around the Caribbean. I am a huge Buffett fan, so I think it's genius, but I think anyone obsessed with the Caribbean will at least find it entertaining. (scary, but Jimbo will be turning 60 this Christmas!). I echo Buffett Guy's suggestion of "A Salty Piece of Land" though you may want to start out with "Tales From Margaritaville" to get a little back story on the lead character.

Enjoy, Lisa in CT

Posted : August 1, 2006 9:33 am
Posts: 75
Trusted Member

Try a book called Life in the Left Lane. A humerous read, that I will be rereading shortly as I start living life in the left lane...

Posted : August 1, 2006 11:25 am
Posts: 763
Prominent Member

Probably my favorite book on the VI is called Mango Madness. The author Reuben D. Dowling recounts the life of a little boy growing up in the 60s in the VI. I think he is from STX, but the stories are not necessarily geographic dependent to an island. Unfortunately, it was published by himself and printed by

The only place I have seen the book was at the VI Native Arts & Crafts Store in downtown C.A. STT. The store is two doors down from the Hosptitality Center across the Street from the flea market / taxi area.

If you have a cingular cell it is a free call. I am pretty sure their number is 340-777-1153

I can tell you it would be a great read on the plane down. Short, but oh so funny! I had tears running down face I was laughing so hard on the plane home.

Maybe one of the STX or STT locals know where to find it online. I search could not.

Posted : August 1, 2006 12:53 pm
Posts: 407
Reputable Member

Although it's quite heavy (literally-- it's a big book) and maybe not best read while partaking of multiple rum beverages, I always loved James Michener's "Caribbean." (Title should be underlined or in italics, but I can't find the place to do that here.) It gives the history of all the Caribbean islands from their "birth" until the 20th century. It's really historical fiction, not a history book, but it is loaded with factual information.


Posted : August 1, 2006 4:21 pm
Posts: 2026
Noble Member

I, too, am currently reading "Don't Stop the Carnival" - again 😉 Norm is hilarious and I love finding all of the little hints that the story is about the USVI.

Other great island stories:

A Trip to the Beach - about the couple who open the Blanchard's restaurant on Anguilla and their adventures. Ever thought of opening a restaurant or bar in the islands? Read this first! True story.

Blown Away - About a guy and his family who take off from Claifornia to live out his sailing dream across the South Pacific. High drama and funny. True story.

Posted : August 1, 2006 7:36 pm
(@Iris Tramm)
Posts: 1

Thanks so much everyone for the great ideas! I've already ordered a few of these and can't wait to dive in! (pun intended -- sorry.) I will get to each and every one of these books eventually. I wish I would have asked sooner because I've been without a good book for the last few days. That drives me crazy because I read on breaks, in waiting rooms, while waiting for trains to pass, etc.

Bluwater & ByRequest1 -- Isn't "Don't Stop the Carnival" just priceless? I can just picture it being produced as an hysterical comedy movie! I think Robin Williams would make a good Norman Paperman.

TomB -- I'm going to make it my mission to locate "Mango Madness" in that bookstore when I'm there in November. That will make for a fun little quest. Thanks for the idea!

If anyone has any others to suggest, that's great too. I'll add them all to my list. If I don't read them before my beloved week in November, there's always the rest of the long, long, long Iowa winter!

Thanks to all!

Posted : August 1, 2006 10:31 pm
(@Iris Tramm)
Posts: 1

Hi sitter,
We will definitely have to plan a get-together when November approaches! Maybe drinks at Woody's or something? I think we're finally going to get a break from the heat here in Iowa, later this week. The only thing to do when it's 95 degrees is to go for a swim! When you don't have an ocean nearby, it's not nearly as fun!
Have a great night!

Posted : August 1, 2006 10:36 pm
Posts: 1

Iris, thanks for starting a conversation on books. I'm from Iowa, too, and we are planning our first trip to St. John in December. Just finished An Embarrassment of Mangoes and loved it, even though we are not "cruisers", and have been stockpiling Buffett books to take along and have now added Life in the Left Lane and Don't Stop the Carnival to the list to look up. Don't you wonder why we want to go to the tropics when all we have to do is step out the door? No ocean view in Iowa, tho, and we are looking forward to trying snorkeling. Happy reading!

Posted : August 2, 2006 1:32 am
Posts: 171
Estimable Member

It's extremely light murder/mystery fiction in the style of Murder, She Wrote, but I'm very fond of the three books by Kate Grilley - Death Dances to a Reggae Beat, Death Lurks in the Bush, Death Rides an Ill Wind. They're set in fictional St. Chris, they're fast reads, and I'm SURE you would swear you know some of the people and places.

Posted : August 2, 2006 8:30 am
Posts: 2026
Noble Member

Don't forget about "Desiring Paradise" about the couple who moved to STJ from the states.

It is all about their plan to move, how they pulled it off, the funny things (and not so funny things) that happened along the way, the switch to island life, etc. I bought my copy at Starfish Market, but now see that is offering it through this website.

Iris, (hey, "Iris" is another main character in "Don't Stop..." ha ha)......

Robin Williams or Tom Hanks as Norm Paperman, for sure! I see Sharon Stone as Iris. Bette Midler as Henny.

Somebody call Paramount!

Posted : August 2, 2006 8:59 am
Posts: 763
Prominent Member


Love your casting

Robin Williams my choice for Norm
Bette without a doubt
Sharon Stone – strong choice

Here are my picks:

Senator Pullman – Sidney Poitier
Hippolyte – Blues Singer Taj Mahal

Lester Atlas that was the tough one for me. I could not think of a fat, pompous, obnoxious man in the public arena, who is sneaky but justifies his actions for the good all.
Then it came to me: Ted Kennedy
(not a political statement just an observation)

Posted : August 2, 2006 12:28 pm
(@Iris Tramm)
Posts: 1

I love the idea of Sharon Stone as Janet/Iris! Good call! And Bette M. -- perfect!

I'd cast John Goodman as Lester Atlas.

Posted : August 2, 2006 1:25 pm
Posts: 1

Other suggestionss:

Grandma Raised the Roof by Walbridge McCully
About an older woman from NYC who built a house on St John in the 50's

Glassbottom Days by Willie Wilson
About a family who relocates from the states to St Thomas

Two on the Isle by Robb White
About the couple who bought (or thought they bought) Marina Cay in 1937

All are from times past and are really a pleasure to read. You can buy Glassbottom Days but you will probably need to borrow the other 2 from your library.

Posted : August 2, 2006 4:31 pm
Posts: 1

As you look up into the USVI sky, you may ask "Where Is Joe Merchant?" Another Jimmy Buffett novel albeit one the professed Parrotheads forgot.

Posted : August 2, 2006 4:59 pm
Posts: 3881
Famed Member Admin

Quick Note:

We carry Life in the Left Lane, Desiring Paradise and Glass Bottom Days, if anyone was interested in getting any of those. You can find them at under Relocation in the Navigation.


Posted : August 2, 2006 5:24 pm
Posts: 2026
Noble Member

TomB- Sidney Poitier as Sen. Pullman is brilliant! I will forever see SP's image when reading the book!

John Goodman as Lester - yes. I can see that - and his cheeks would have to be red and a cheap pastel suit and bright, white loafers....rubbing his foreheard with a handkerchief.

Vashti, thank you for the suggestions. Those are new to me and I would love to at least get Glassbottom Days for those long-awaited beachy days.

Posted : August 2, 2006 6:47 pm
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