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Happy Reading Season!

Habari Gani!

Kujichagulia! Self-Determination!

We love all the Kwanzaa Principles – Umoja – Unity, Kujichagulia – Self-Determination, Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility, Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics, Nia – Purpose, Kuumba – Creativity, and Imani – Faith; but there is something about this one on a Tuesday, when The Hurston and Hughes Literary Circle® sets aside a few hours every summer to read, that is so empowering.

To be able to read and consider the world through words is a wonderful gift and skill.

It is why we call this the Reading Season.

Now, We love the holiday season for all the promise that it holds. People are nicer, time seems to slow down, and the feelings of care and comfort abound. Community. Connections. Culture, all of that invites us to just be present with those we love.

It gives us time to slow down and enjoy family, friends, and festive gatherings.

The Covid 19 pandemic is still altering our lives for another season, Omicron is the big one that has almost completely altered whatever most of us thought would be for the holidays.

What didn’t change though, was that there on the calendar was the second day of Kwanzaa, the second day of Christmas, and the first Monday when most students are facing an entire week without classes.

Classes that may be altered, here in the Northeast, several of the universities have already informed their students that the beginning of the spring semester will be virtual. I’m sure there may be some high schools that won’t be far behind with the fast moving variant.

So it presents an opportunity.

An exploration of literature that was published in 2020 and 2021 that perhaps hasn’t been read yet.

A change to check out the award winners.

Or simply a time to revisit a cherished favorite.

My son was talking to my daughters about Wuthering Heights, not an H&H selection, but Emily Bronte certainly has left an indelible mark in the literary world. Like Betty Smith and a Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and all of Jane Austin, some stories still resonate as parts of great literature.

Because I only review Black female literary works for Tayé Foster Bradshaw’s Bookshelf and we only read Afro Diaspora literature in the summer for The Hurston and Hughes Literary Circle, the winter solstice changing the seasons also gives me a change to explore others parts of my bookshelf.

I took a MOOC this fall, exploring Literature class through Harvard X.I love that they give us a chance to consider ways the story was written, how emerging technologies – like parchment – impacted how far and wide once oral tales were now written and accessible for all. One of the stories I want to consider a bit more is by Orhan Pamuk, his Nobel Prize in Literature novel is My Name is Red. He set the entire book in sixteenth century Istanbul, a country where he lives and writes. The other book I’m considering is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. It is a winner of the Pulitizer Prize. And the final one is Four Spirits by Sean Jeter Naslund.

We believe that stories connect us to the humanity of each other and allows us to explore the world from their point-of-view.

I can’t wait to curl up with a warm blanket, a mug of rosemary brown sugar latte, and one of these books to chill for the week.

What are you reading?

Who are you discovering that you wouldn’t normally read?

What makes you curious about literature?

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