Livest Lit: Biblio-bites

In this section, literature that I highlight will have to fulfill at least one of the following requirements: (a) grabs me and makes me sit upright, (b) brings a smile to my face, (c) gives me a sense of anticipation and/or trepidation about the next immersive reading (d) feeds me creatively.

I often take about three to four routes towards immersion. At any given time I'll likely be leisurely strolling through or rapturously sprinting within a printed work, a digital copy or an audiobook; whatever the format it's always a mixture of non-fiction and fiction works. This consumption of writing sort of feeds me and keeps me alive, creatively speaking.

Living and commuting in NYC makes it easier to dive in and get lost in a good book due to my relatively long commute. Whether you're trying to avoid/make eye contact on the subway, take a walk in your neighborhood, or just walk to your local bodega, active reading and listening is a wonderful way to ensconce yourself in the vibrant weave of your surroundings.

I'll find myself, by accident mostly, engaging with works that contextually overlap or communicate with one another; and then those connections outpour into my lived experiences and public interactions. Or at the very least the textual connections inspire me to intentionally reach out and connect with others.

This section isn't meant to be prescriptive or even be a forecast of what of popular reads, so I won't even call them reviews. The biblio-bites also aren't even written in the order in which I've devoured them, but when possible I'll note any overlapping observations with other works.

Another common thread tying together the types of work that satiate my palate is literature about or by women of color. It's almost perfunctory at this point for me and no apologies will be made for the specificity of my scope. It is not just a preference. It is not mere vanity. It is a necessity in the way I've been able to re-examine whose narratives are deemed important and why; and also break free from the panoply of Western literary tropes. For me, by re-casting my gaze, a more self-affirming light emerges within me as I shine brighter lights on people/voices that have often been othered. Of course, within this parameter, a myriad of topics and stories are addressed, because to be [of or by] a woman of color--that alone-- defies categorization rather than limits one's content. Likewise, I don't only imbibe works by/about women of color, and in this section I will talk about other (pun intended) works and authors who defy categorization as well.

Suggestions are always welcome. Let us know what you're reading or wanting to read.

~Ohemaa Serwaah