Let’s face it. With all the time we have on our hands in the midst of this pandemic, one of the best things we can do with our time is read. I say this after spending countless hours binge watching the latest series, movie, or reality show available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max and Disney+. Yes, I enjoy watching television. But I love words. And books are my safe place. When the crazy rises around me, I retreat into the comfort of a book.
Normally, I would visit my local book store to pick out a stack of books to read each year. Getting lost in the rows of bookcases, finding a quite nook to read beyond the inside cover, feasting on a delicious pastry and washing it down with a gourmet hot cocoa – I miss the ritual of it all.
But like most things in this panoramic, we have learned to adjust. So, instead of going out to purchase new books, I thought I would revisit some of my favorites already in my collection. Who knows when we will get the ponderosa under control enough to return to “normal” life. In the mean time, I am clinging to as many annual rituals as possible in the most creative of ways.
2021 Reading List Part 1
1. Becoming Brave by Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil
We saw the calls for racial justice reach a feverish pitch in 2020, and like many black people, I struggled with containing my rage and anger at the reality that we are still having to declare Black Lives Matter because we exist in a world where they increasingly don’t. I am super excited to read this book for a number of reasons. One, I know the author personally and have the privilege of witnessing her passion for racial reconciliation. But I have also been able to bear witness to her courageous metamorphosis to challenge the status quo of a white-centered conversation about racial reconciliation. To me, that means finally moving toward accountability and justice. This book is all about that journey, told through the context of Queen Esther. Like, what?! Get into it.
2. Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu
We are almost a year into the foolishness that is this global pandemic. I say foolishness because we clearly could have done things differently to respond to the outbreak and treat those infected. But we are here now and we are all trying to figure out how to make sense of life. I don’t know how successful I have been at figuring it all out. One thing I know is that I have not only hit the COVID wall of productivity, it has come crashing down on me. I am exhausted – physically and emotionally. That is why reading this book is probably the best thing I can do for myself. Tiffany shows us how to achieve more by doing less and that is strategy I can get on board with! In full disclosure, I also know Tiffany personally.
3. More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth
If you have ever wanted to do something and fear greeted you at every turn, but you did it anyway, this one is for you. I started following the career of Elaine when she took over as editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. Suddenly, it was the wokest publication in existence and I was all for it. When she dropped her memoire I decided to grab a copy. Fun fact about me, I often buy things like music and books and never give them a listen or read. Thanks to the pentatonic, I can actually spend time reading the books in my collection. Hopefully, I can claim space for who I am no matter what others say, in the process!