Well, it’s my last weekend of freedom before I go back to work. This fall is going to be a journey for sure, diving back into online teaching with over-enrolled courses, and fingers crossed that all the technology holds up. Just remember, reading can keep you sane during the insane times. And as Sarah Kendzior tells us in the article I’ve shared below, we all need to find ways to be our own light in this darkness. For me, that’s reading. What is it for you?


On Witness and Respair: a Personal Tragedy Followed by Pandemic by Jesmyn Ward via Vanity Fair

This essay was simply heartbreaking. Jesmyn Ward, most well known for her novels such as Sing, Unburied, Sing, shares with us her very personal story of losing her husband this January, followed by the pandemic and then melting into the Black Lives Matter protests. Her prose are powerful, allowing you a glimpse into her sorrow. “The absence of my Beloved echoed in every room of our house.” It’s a difficult, but beautiful read. (Read the essay)

We’re Heading Into Dark Times. This is How to Be Your Own Light in the Age of Trump by Sarah Kendzior via de Correspondent

This is actually an old article that popped back into my feed this week. If you’re not familiar with Sarah or following her work, definitely add her to your reading list. She was out front before Trump was elected, warning people of how dangerous a Trump presidency would be. It was helpful to go back and read this article, and sort of re-center myself. She’s gives a powerful reminder that, “we are heading into dark times, and you need to be your own light.” So as we sit in dark times currently, how are we all being our own light? (Read the essay)

The Short Life of Toyin Salau and a Legacy Still at Work by Samantha Schuyler via Jezebel

Some of you might have heard the name Toyin Salau. She was murdered early on in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests. Her murder was not connected to the protests, but her loss deeply impacted those she marched alongside. Making the loss even more painful was the lack of response, lack of urgency felt from the local authorities to find her and discover the truth of what had happened. This essay delves into the broader implications of systemic racism in America, and the ways it particularly impacts Black women, as they are often invisible in a justice system not built to care for them. (Read the essay)

Lydian Nadhaswaram: From Musician to Actor – and Back by Vishwas R. Gaitonde via Serenade

During my time as managing editor at The Mantle, I had the wonderful opportunity to edit a number of essays by Vishwas. It was always fun, as I learned something new with each piece. He’s been following the career of young Lydian for many years, and this essay here gives us a glimpse into what the musical genius has been up to lately. If you’re unfamiliar with Lydian, below is just one brief video example of his immense talent. Enjoy! (Read the essay)


Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Ok, I’m cheating a little on this one because I actually read this book over the summer. It was so good though, I couldn’t pass up sharing it with you. This is book one of a great YA series following a young Zellie as she tries to bring back magic, which has been banished from her world. I read a number of YA books this past year, and I have to say this one was simply in another league from the others. I’ve also heard rumor it may soon be a Disney movie, so best get on it soon!

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