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What I'm Reading: May
We're 5 months in, how many books have you read?
Ahhhhh a new month with new reads!
I can’t lie, April was ROUGH for reading. It was National Poetry Month and of course, as a poet, it’s one of 3 months out of the year I know for sure I’m going to be booked, busy and out of breath (the other two being June, cause queer, and October, because all poets love a coffee shop/cozy sweater/Hufflepuff moment).
May has become a reset month for me, and that includes resetting my intentional TBR. I’m still sticking to 3 books, but I may have room for a fourth, who knows? Either way, I’m taking my time, breathing in this new (or new to me) work, and relishing the joy that comes along with the written word. I hope you are too!
My best friend recommended this book to me (and subsequently sent it to me as he knew I’d forget to look it up) because I mentioned wanting to write a novel in verse in script. I’ve just started it but it’s SO good already, I’m ready to devour it.
Here, Ella Townsend, a young African American anthropologist whose roots are Caribbean, researches Louisiana folklife and discovers not only the world of voodoo and carnival but also the mystical connection of the living and the dead. With her tape recorder she explores the rich heritage of Creole Louisiana, but Mammy, Ella's primary informant, dies during the project. Then, from beyond the grave she continues to transmit messages. Although the academically minded Ella is dubious about the authenticity of the medium, gradually, as she confronts her prejudices, the tapes convey enriching mysteries about the past lives of Mammy and her friend Lowly. From this supernatural experience, Ella learns much about herself and her background. Louisiana celebrates the magico-religious culture of hoodoo, conjure, obeah, and myal.
The Louisiana of her title represents two places sharing the same name--the American state and Brodber's native parish in Jamaica. Through this blending of localities, Brodber shows how elements from the African diaspora are kept alive in the Creole culture of the Americas.
I’m a bit of a woo-woo kinda gal, so this book was a no brainer for me. Poetry, spells, queerness, liberation? Count me in!
Written for poets, spellcasters, and social justice witches, Poetry as Spellcasting reveals the ways poetry and ritual can, together, move us toward justice and transformation. It asks: If ritualized violence upholds white supremacy, what ritualized acts of liberation can be activated to subvert and reclaim power?
In essays from a diverse group of contributing poets, organizers, and ritual artists, Poetry as Spellcasting helps readers explore, play, and deepen their creativity and intuition as integral tools for self and communal healing and social change. Each section opens with a poem and includes prompts that invite the reader to engage more deeply with: Portals of Inheritance: Ancestral Teachings, Possible Futures, Languages of Liberation, Disruption, and Magic, Invoking Radical Imagination, Sacred Practices: Rituals of Repair and Revision, Lighting Fires, Breaking Chains and Elemental Ecologies, Spiritual Technologies.
Both poetry and occult studies have been historically dominated by white, cishet writers; here, Poetry as Spellcasting reclaims the centrality of queer and BIPOC voices in poetry, magic, and liberatory spellwork.
I absolutely love a non-white family drama, and in Deepa Varadarajan’s debut we get all the tender, quirky, juicy mess that comes with the evolution of family after a crisis. I wanted to have one “just fun” book this month (who but me thinks of drama as fun? lol) and luckily, it’s available at my local library, no holds!
After thirty-six years of a dutiful but unhappy arranged marriage, recently divorced Suresh and Lata Raman find themselves starting new paths in life. Suresh is trying to navigate the world of online dating on a website that caters to Indians and is striking out at every turn--until he meets a mysterious, devastatingly attractive younger woman who seems to be smitten with him. Lata is enjoying her newfound independence, but she's caught off guard when a professor in his early sixties starts to flirt with her.
Meanwhile, Suresh and Lata's daughter, Priya, thinks her father's online pursuits are distasteful even as she embarks upon a clandestine affair of her own. And their son, Nikesh, pretends at a seemingly perfect marriage with his law-firm colleague and their young son, but hides the truth of what his relationship really entails. Over the course of three weeks in August, the whole family will uncover one another's secrets, confront the limits of love and loyalty, and explore life's second chances. Charming, funny, and moving, Late Bloomers introduces a delightful new voice in fiction with the story of four individuals trying to understand how to be happy in their own lives--and as a family.
That’s it for this month! Super simple, quick, and fun. Let me know if any of these make it on to your TBR, and we should probably discuss book club again soon? Maybe we’ll do some summer reading with it, who knows? The possibilities are endless, and we like it that way.
Comment below and tell me how many books you’ve read so far this year, there’s no shame in this space!
Until next time <3