#RavynnReads: Pandemic Edition

I realized that I had offered a list of books that I’ve loved recently. Despite being a Spring Break regular, the pandemic, teaching and dissertating, one of my favorite BGDGS traditions has fallen to the wayside.

So, even though we don’t have a Spring Break proper this year, I am going to forge ahead with a list of books that have really gotten me through the pandemic.

What I’ve loved…

  1. The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches and Meditations by Toni Morrison

Honestly, at this point I am pretty sure my students are tired of me quoting Toni Morrison, but she’s literally always relevant and there’s a 110% she has already articulated something I was trying to find the words for in this book.

Read it slowly.

Then read it again.

2. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

This is a book I think about a lot. Stella and Desiree and Jude and Kennedy stayed with me longer than I expected them too. They lingered. And I don’t know whether it’s because I started my graduate school journey on a class that dealt a lot with passing literature from the 19th and 20th centuries or because so much happened all at once, but there was so much of my personal and scholarly interests that got folded up into this book. I love the process of untangling in literature; this was a masterclass.

3. Nubia: Real One // Words by L. L. McKinney & Art by Robyn Smith

Fun fact: Wonder Woman has a Black twin sister.

We don’t talk about her often. But L. L. McKinney said, “We talking about Nubia today.”

A fun, sweet, thought-provoking, and tender take on one of DC’s gems, McKinney and Smith offer a Nubia story fit for the contemporary moment.

I’m currently loving the YA and MG DC graphic novels. I might argue they’re a little more beginner comic reader friendly because it’s a self-contained story that you don’t have to do a lot of digging to find the backstory on. So if you’ve been looking for a place to dive into the world of comics, maybe this is your book!

4. Twins // Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright

Another fun fact, but this time about me: When I was in the 7th grade, I ran for class president against my best friend.

And while it’s no where near the same as running against your twin sister, Twins took me right back to that moment in time where I was learning to be a friend, a honorable competitor and good person all in one fell swoop.

It’s a middle grade graphic novel, so if you’ve got tweens in the house itching for something to occupy them for a while, this might be the book!

5. Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

I love a good Greek myth. I also love a good Greek myth retelling. But I adore Greek myth retellings that center Black and brown kids.

Rivera rewrites the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice in a captivating Young Adult book that positions the main characters as Afro-Latinx kids living in the Bronx in the summer. Filled with music and love and grief, Rivera makes you feel so much on every page, yet you come away with a genuine feeling of strength.

6. 7. 8. The Brown Sisters books by Talia Hibbert

I think we all know I love a good romance. Talia Hibbert’s books have been my first foray into adult romances and they’re perfection. Beautiful plus sized Black woman being loved out loud? Sign me up.

9. Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA ed. Nova Ren Suma and Emily X. R. Pan

I didn’t realize how badly I needed/wanted a craft book until I found Foreshadow. The stories are truly incredible, from a variety of new voices in Young Adult fiction, which practical craft notes throughout and prompts to get you started. It’s a truly multifunctional gift to all YA writers who are trying their very best.

What I’m reading now

Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis

The BreakBeat Poets vol. 4: LatiNext ed. Felicia Chavez, José Olivarez, Willie Perdomo

Black Futures ed. Jenna Wortham & Kimberly Rose Drew

What’s on deck…

Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Something I’m looking forward to…

This Poison Heart

Kalynn Bayron

Coming June 29, 2021


Well, here’s a glimpse of some of what I’ve been reading and thinking about recently! This list does not include things I’ve been rereading and thinking about for class or book club books, so there’s plenty more.

Happy reading!

2 thoughts on “#RavynnReads: Pandemic Edition”

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