What We Are Reading Today: The Confounding Island by Orlando Patterson

Updated 19 November 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Confounding Island by Orlando Patterson

Author Orlando Patterson investigates the failures of Jamaica’s postcolonial democracy, exploring why the country has been unable to achieve broad economic growth and why its free elections and stable government have been unable to address violence and poverty.
Patterson “is a Jamaican who has long lived in the US, working as a sociology professor at Harvard University, which allows him both an intimacy with the island and a degree of distance through which to analyze it,” said Carrie Gibson in a review for The New York Times.
Gibson said: “Although Patterson provides extensive citations and robust discussions of theoretical frameworks, he also offers a personal story of affection and frustration, perhaps most evident in the questions that form all but one of the eight chapter titles. These include: ‘Why Has Jamaica Trailed Barbados on the Path to Sustained Growth?” and ‘Why is Democratic Jamaica So Violent?’ Indeed, these two questions are so significant, he devotes the first half of the book to them.”


What We Are Reading Today: Texas Flood

Updated 10 December 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Texas Flood

AUTHORS: Alan Paul & Andy Aledort

Texas Flood by Alan Paul and Andy Aledort is a phenomenal biography of guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan that hits on every level, including interviews with those closest to him.

A review in The New York Times said: “An oral history is only as good as its sources, and Texas Flood is thorough and far-reaching, with Vaughan’s bandmates, crew and family taking center stage.”  It added: “Especially fascinating is Vaughan’s complicated relationship with his older brother, Jimmie,  and Vaughan’s ill-fated role in David Bowie’s band, an apparent big break that he quit because he was told he could not promote his debut album.”

The review said: “If there’s a disappointment in the book, it’s the lack of Vaughan’s own voice. Aledort interviewed him several times during his lifetime, but since those conversations were focused on specific projects, the quotes pulled for Texas Flood don’t leave much impression. Both authors are accomplished musicians and longtime contributors to Guitar World magazine, so occasionally things get a little gear-heavy.”