Sailor Dance by Eleanor Joye Donaldson

by Shivanee Ramlochan, Paper Based Blogger

Welcome to the 2015 Paper Based Advent Book Blog! Day Twenty’s selection soars with the tribute song of a deeply lived, culturally ingrained life of a quintessentially Trinidadian son of the soil, recounted faithfully and with fond, insightful accuracy by his daughter: Sailor Dance: John Stanley Donaldson – The Story, by Eleanor Joye Donaldson.

It has always been easy enough to play party card politics, yet even in the zenith of his service to the People’s National Movement, John Donaldson distinguished himself in his inclusive calls for service to country. This was one of the qualities for which the multiply-laurelled diplomat and former government minister most made his name known: in the consistent application of selfless integrity to his portfolio of achievements. A formidable athlete; prominent statesman; and perhaps most touchingly, a man whose committment to his family life is handsomely detailed in this biography, Donaldson epitomized an existence of patriotic, passionate investment.

These truths of one man’s extraordinary accomplishments and tenderly domestic particulars are brought lovingly to life in Eleanor Joye Donaldson’s uncluttered, affectionate writing style. With equal parts clarity and clear-eyed reminiscence, the daughter reflects on her father’s humble beginnings, tracing a trajectory that is every inch an upwardly mobile success story.

We recommend it for: readers of Reginald Dumas’ The First Thirty Years and Anthony Sabga’s A Will and A Way; biography aficionados who like civically-grounded and culturally accomplished subjects; longtime PNM adherents interested in delving deeper into the origins and successes of one of its historically key figureheads.

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Trinidad & Tobago: A Caribbean Expression of Colourful Diversity by Edison Boodoosingh

by Shivanee Ramlochan, Paper Based Blogger

A Plain Vision Publishing production (2012), Trinidad & Tobago: A Caribbean Expression of Cultural Diversity showcases the photographs of prolific freelance photographer for publications such as Caribbean Beat and the Trinidad Guardian, Edison Boodoosingh. The glossy-paged, coffee-table title sets itself the herculean task of providing as panoramic a series of perspectives on Trinbagonian culture as possible. The frequently breathtaking shots presented by Boodoosingh represent more than six years of curating, colour composition and journeys throughout the republic. In the book’s preface, Boodoosingh expresses his desire to showcase more than just the inarguable splendour of T & T’s Carnival.

Close-up of a blue-crowned motmot bird, from the Land of the Double Chaconia subsection of the Eco-Systems and Natural Wonders segment.

Close-up of a blue-crowned motmot bird, from the Land of the Double Chaconia subsection of the Eco-Systems and Natural Wonders segment.

He explains that he draws inspiration for his photographs from the full flourish of the islands’ many observances: “the captivating fusion of the drums of Hosay; the duelling of the Kalinda Stick Fighters; the colours of Phagwa,” and numerous other festivities. The photographer’s images are accompanied by text from Emmanuel Guadeloupe. In seven sections: People & Culture; Architecture & Monuments; National Festivals & Observances; Eco-Systems & Natural Wonders; Commerce & Industry; Sights & Scenes, and The Ever Evolving Faces of the Races, the vistas of Trinbagonian people embracing various aspects of their ample cultural legacies are given generous room to unfold.

Nrityanjali's production, "Shiva the Cosmic Dancer", in the East Indian Cultural Dance subsection of People & Culture.

Nrityanjali’s production, “Shiva the Cosmic Dancer”, in the East Indian Cultural Dance subsection of People & Culture.

Guadeloupe’s written descriptions are informative and suitably vibrant, complementing Boodoosingh’s artistic vision in each arm of the book’s explorations of T & T’s beauty and multiplicity. Transcending the typical expectations for a standard coffee table conversation piece, Trinidad & Tobago: A Caribbean Expression of Colourful Diversity marks an indispensable addition to any solidly patriotic Trinbagonian’s bookshelf, as well as to anyone even casually interested in joining Boodoosingh on an unforgettable tour of two islands in vivid, compelling captures.