The Importance of “Light” Reading

While I have a post on the importance of Net Neutrality in the works I wanted to take a moment to talk about something that has been on my mind lately: Self-Care and the importance of light reading. Those of you who have been reading me since my original Fifty Books by Authors of Color project know I have a tendency to read very serious (and often depressing) books. This is something that both my husband and my friend Lauren have pointed out to me on multiple occasions. This year, while I haven’t posted about it, I’ve been working on incorporating “light” reading into my routine.

Audre Lord said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare” and one of my goals for 2017 was focusing on self-care and self-love. This is the part where I have to make a confession, readers, one that I’m kind of ashamed to admit. I’d never read a Terry McMillan book. There, I said it. It’s out in the open now. Now before you cast me out, I have seen Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back several times, but never actually read one of her books. I don’t have any particular reason for never reading her books, I suppose if someone asked me I probably would have said that her books were for people at a different life stage than me.

I recently picked up I Almost Forgot About You, McMillan’s 2016 book and I love it. I’ll do a post on it alone, but I’ve realized that in the last two years I’ve increased the amount of “chick-lit” that I read. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that McMillan is “chick-lit” but I’ve found that I have a desire to read “fluffy black books”, books about black women living their lives to the fullest. Books that might have serious/dark/depressing parts, but overall focus on the adventure of life and not the struggle.

I think having books like Ernesssa T. Carter’s 32 Candles, where black women are the central characters, but with the same tonality of a Jennifer Crusie is an important part of self-care for black women. It’s important to have works of literature where black women can make mistakes in life, pick the pieces and have none of it be Earth-shatteringly serious. We deserve books that make us laugh, books about our trails and tribulations as people. It’s not self-indulgence, it’s political warfare.