This is a we're-in-middle-of-a-pandemic-with-some-epic-anti-racism-protests-and-oh-yeah-it's-pride book summary. What a wild ride 2020 is turning out to be. And I'm still over here reading books. I have a feeling that a lot of folks' reading habits have changed lately. Not only because of the pandemic and new/newly understood economic reality (working from home, schooling from home, lay-offs, sickness, isolation), but also because of Black Lives Matter. I've never seen anti-racism work get so much attention on social media! "All of a sudden" starting one month ago I was slammed with anti-racism book lists, black joy book lists, Juneteenth book lists, afrofuturism book lists. I write all of a sudden in scare quotes because I have been reading Black authors for a lot of years. That was just part of my reading goals. The urgency, and speed, and seeming need to get educated overnight was very overwhelming. Activism, organizing, and making systemic changes are all part of a long game. The longest game. Once I got over the initial social media stress, I was able to look at what I was already doing, make some small changes, and keep moving forward deliberately. I write more about this in my GOALS section below.
But enough about the world, let's talk about books.
Compared to the first quarter of the year, I feel like these ones were a mixed bag. Heck, I don't even remember reading Autonomous. I am clearly still adjusting to not having easy access to my library, and diving into my bookshelf. Margaret Laurence is a classic I read in school, and The Book of Negroes is one I bought years ago but never read.
All three non-fiction books were excellent, with two being very timely. Stupid to the Last Drop made me seethe with a fiery fury, and The Inconvenient Indian reminded me why I love reading indigenous voices.
My favourite from the past few months is one that my sister passed along. The Lake House is an absolutely stellar mystery, covering 70 years of one family's secrets (on secrets on secrets). There are MANY mysteries to be solved, and just when you think you're done she whacks you over the head with another reveal. Truly heartwarming as well.
The past three months have looked like "surviving" and "pivoting" and reading what felt good in the moment, or what was the closest in proximity to my hands. Not a lot of focus on my reading goals, as I am still very limited in the books I can (choose to) access. Now more than ever my "read more books by BIPOC" goal is super relevant. I've had a diversify my bookshelf goal since 2015 when I made a commitment to read only women authors for a year. It changed my bookshelf forever - and for the better - and I have never looked back. Is this something I could teach others? Help other white folks while not speaking over the voices of BIPOC? Hmmmm.
I have three books on deck that I am looking forward to absorbing slowly and with intention:
The Skin We're In by Desmond Cole
Righting Canada's Wrongs - The Komagatu Maru by Pamela Hickman
Righting Canada's Wrongs - Residential Schools by Melanie Florence
Because of that heavy subject matter, I am going to try and balance it with some sci-fi. And I am still on the lookout for more short story collections and a book of poetry.
FURTHER READING (& LISTENING)
SFF Yeah Podcast - Episode 80.5: Backlist to the Future with Black Female Authors
All The Books Podcast - Episode 265: Anti-Racist and Pride Reading Recs
17 Books by Black authors that are shaping our conversation about race on Mashable. But really, if you google any combination of "Black" + "author" you are going to get lots of recommendations.