Book Beat – Poems & Lit to Read in the Wake of Charlottesville

Hi, book lovers! Ashley here! I’m still trying to work my way through Stephen King’s IT. I really like it, but one time I woke up in the middle of the night and lay frozen because I didn’t want to close my closet door or let my legs dangle. I worked a couple of shifts this week at the bookstore, and I saw so many young people buying the Dark Tower series books, and you know what? I’m tired of people saying it’s uncool to only read the books if a movie is being made. Why deter any kind of reading at all? Who cares what sparks the interest!

It’s been hard to navigate this week with the racist, vile, events that occurred in Charlottesville in the United States and the so called President’s news conferences since. Perhaps it’s because I walk through this world as a brown woman who was adopted into a Jewish family, or perhaps it’s because I had to confront a sympathizer, but this week has been devastating at times.

I remind myself in times like this that books and literature have power and the ability to give us hope and to remind us of our histories and what can never happen again. Here are 17 poems to read by black authors that speak to survival, strength, and loss. And this is a collection of books to give solace when the world goes mad, recommended by four Canadian reader and writers. Let us turn to lessons and love in literature and lean on each other and support each other through these hard times still to come ahead.

Headshot in black and white of Poet Nikki Giovanni who wrote Where Do You Enter
Poet Nikki Giovanni who wrote Where Do You Enter

Women dominated the 2017 Hugo Awards, which are considered the most prestigious science and fiction fantasy prizes. As stated in this article by the L.A Times, N.K Jemisin won the award for novel for the second year in a row, with her first win marking the first black author to win the Hugo novel award for her book Fifth Season. The sequel The Obelisk won this year. Women also won in the novella and editing award sections.

Annie Clark who is also known by her stage name St. Vincent, a rock artist and Grammy winner, is set to direct the newest adaption of the classic story The Picture of Dorian Gray. There’s a twist though! The titular character will be a woman. Not sure how this is going to play out, but I’m excited. So far, my favorite interpretation was done by the TV show Penny Dreadful. Happy Thursday!

Ashley Ash

Ashley Ash

Ashley is a proud Torontonian, third year social worker student, full time child advocate and national award winning writer. She will defend Anakin Skywalker and Jon Snow till she dies.