Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Reading 2021

 I am like a lot of the Bibliophiles I know, longing for the casual browse into the bookstore to find that treasure that will give us that heart fluttering, deep inhale, eyes-closed, satisfaction of a good book.

The pandemic has definitely impacted my reading and writing.

A few things, first, I'm still reading and writing. This space, however has been devoted to Black women authors who write literary works. I shy away from stereotyped, one-dimensional stories of what it means to be Black and American or Black and European or Black and Latinx. We are complex and nuanced.

I've also read some amazing works by YA authors and have our list for 2021 on our Bookshelf. Many are by Black women. I love the depth of YA stories that spark conversations. Head over there for a list and if you have an Afrodiasporan teen, consider having them join us for the summer experience. We love books that give then a fuller image of their possibilities. The Hurston and Hughes Literary Circle.  .  

So, I'm sitting here on December 29, 2020 pondering 2021 and what I will read and review. I missed the snow that was here just before Christmas and all melted away by Christmas Eve. I did manage to sit in my kitchen, sip a latte, and read near the sun room for a few days. It was breathtakingly pristine. 




I'm currently finishing up Isabelle Wilkerson's book, Caste. It is not literary fiction, however, deserves to be read, so putting that out there. 

I'm also finishing up Daniel Black's book, The Coming. That is literary fiction, but not by a Black woman. Dr. Black has given us something that is at once lyrical, imaginative, spiritual, healing, and promising. Read it, it will bless you.

Bernice McFadden never disappoints. She always leaves me deeply thinking about the African American experience through the eyes of those not always in the spotlight. I've read and reviewed her on this site before. Sugar
is one of her books that I've possessed for a while but for some reason wasn't ready to read it. When I did, I was alternately disgusted and delighted in this decidedly woman's story of being, despite all that has happened to her and all that circumstances forced her into, she still held onto a bit of promise to live on her own terms. 

Lauren Wilkerson has been delighting me in her novel, American Spy.
Written as a journal to her sons, back-and-forth through time, through Cointelpro, through the experiences as a Black woman in the bureau, through Connecticut, New York, Ghana, and the Caribbean. I am loving this woman's story of not really explaining herself or what happened as much as setting context for her sons so they will know why she did what she did. It is also a strong mother-daughter and sister-sister tale of being, belonging, and becoming through decisions that deemed right at the time, through loss, and through finding. 

Connecticut is supposedly very cold in January and February. I'm on holiday until around the 19th. Lots of reading time with a warm latte and blanket. All our Nor'easter snow of earlier this month melted, but the chill outside promises enough time inside to journey to the imagination. 

Books are my joy and comfort. While the pandemic has prevented me from browsing through collections at the local bookstore, through Instagram, I've had the opportunity to "visit" Black woman owned stores in Philadelphia, D.C., and Chicago. That has made me smile.

What are your 2021 reading intentions? I decided not to say goals because that seems so burdensome in a time when we have all endured the heaviness of Covid. I like intentions better, aspirations, even inspirations.
It is a pleasure to have this time to devote and delve into a real book.  

I miss my Salon. For years, a group of Black women gathered together on Third Fridays to delve into literature, much on snacks that would make a restaurant envious, and simply discuss the world as we saw it. Two of us moved from Missouri and the pandemic cut out gathering in person. Then a thought came to me this morning. We are all Zoomed out, if your work has gone to this virtual space and nothing can take the place of being in person with each other. But, what if there was a way for a group of us to do it? Not a book club, but a Salon. I'm pondering that thought.

These are my books for at least the first part of 2021. All Black women, all born in places outside America, exploring the diaspora. Snap a photo and show us what you are planning to read!

 







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