The last few months provided me the opportunity to return to one of my first loves, reading. I’m excited to share a selection of books (in no particular order) read (but not necessarily published) recently that have touched me and changed something about the way I move, think, listen, or understand.
Heart Talk by Cleo Wade
A beautifully written and illustrated walk through Cleo’s perspective on and experience in life, love, forgiveness, and the human experience. Normally, I self-help books are not my go-to genre, but the authenticity behind this one stands out. I’ve revisited the many times after my initial read, and each affirmation hits differently and sometimes even more effectively as I’ve gone through different situations in life. Wade’s words show readers that we’re not alone on our life journey and that sometimes the messiness of it all can be the best part; more importantly, an opportunity learn.
The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane with Neil Martinez-Belkin
A fascinating look at the life and story behind the artist, Gucci Mane. Gucci’s singles, albums, and mixtapes have been in rotation for me since middle school. His autobiography takes us even deeper and gives us the reader one of the most authentic looks at Gucci’s childhood, transition to musician, and beyond. The book tackles the realities and themes of poverty, incarceration, and addiction. Gucci’s physical glow-up has been “#goals” for many, but through his autobiography readers are able to see the internal glow-up, which I would argue is most important. Gucci Mane indeed shakes off all his demons and is back to himself.
Can We All Be Feminists? edited by June Eric-Udorie
An eye-opening anthology of essays examining definitions of mainstream feminism and questioning exactly who is covered under the term. This book challenged me in ways that I needed to be and I recommend for anyone who is interested in equity, inclusion, and decency for all women. Without exception, every essay offered me perspective or a privilege check, or both. While I saw myself in so much of the book, a light was also shone brightly on the experience of women who identify differently than I, and the work that needs to be done by all, including myself, to support all women. Smart, uncomfortable, and irradiating. Required reading, in my opinion.
Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
If you were sleeping on YA literature, wake up immediately. Blake’s heart-wrenching story of the complexities of love and abuse broke me in half. I fell in absolute love and empathy with the protagonist as her twin brother is accused of rape by one of her friends. Girl Made of Stars is a powerful and layered story that captures the momentous consequences of first loves, navigating friendships, and most importantly, finding your voice and telling you story even when it’s the most terrifying option.
Additionally, the author has a beautiful letter to her sons on the blog portion of her website that I also recommend.
About the author
Meagan is an educator and writer based in Cleveland, Ohio. You can find her on twitter: @_astoldbymeagan and on her website, www.astoldby-meagan.com