I have always been a reader, it has always been something that gave me a great amount of peace. It took me away from whatever was going on in my read world and allowed me to dream, travel and disappear. The smell, weight and look of a book was almost sensual. It gave me a full understanding of the power of the mind and imagination. I have never been without something to read in my immediate sight., never. Later on in life I went back to school and in the course of three years, finished up a Bachelors degree and obtained a Masters Degree. It took me awhile after school to get over the burnout of all that reading. I had been burned out from Fictional reading before that though. Remember when there was no ‘color’ to books. You just went and picked out a good story yet you longed to see and read about folks that looked and lived like you. Jackie Collins etc. were all cool, but you really were for the most part, reading a fantasy. Then the black book started to make an appearance. I was SOOO excited and attempted to read everything that was out before it could hit the stands good. Then the Black Romance Novel came out. Lawd have mercy!! that about took me over the edge. I was a reading fool, when suddenly I ran into a literary brick wall. It all started sounding the same, looking the same and as more and more books came out – the quality was starting to go down. I also found that I no longer had the eye to read non-fiction or mainstream books. I was in a Black Book hole. This feeling came just as I began school, so it was cool to put it all on the shelf and just focus on textbooks or people I had identified as my favorite authors. Beverly Jenkins, Carl Weber, Travis Hunter. I have always kept up with their body of works.
Fast forward to maybe a year ago. I came out of my educational sphere looking for something 360 degrees from what I had been reading. Lo and Behold my Brothers and Sisters had it waiting for me…The URBAN GRAPHIC NOVEL. Whewww! I dove in head first – I was a trick, crackhead, hustler wife, golden thongs reading fiend, lol lol lol I immediately found myself some favorites. Deja King, Vickie M. Stringer, Noire and I was hooked. These stories were like nothing I had ever seen and I suddenly became a part of a world that surprisingly turned me on, lol lol
But like all good things, as I tried to branch outside of the folks who’s stories I had grown accustomed to, I found that a lot of the books were thrown together, had the same story line and eventually you kinda got uncomfortable with the way women were being portrayed. My mind started to drift….again.
I have always been a lover of a good romance. I am a romantic dreamer at heart but I also felt like the books read on the constant could get you confused, especially if you were a single woman and hold you up from your true love because you were looking for that brother in that book looking and acting like that. However, being in love I wanted to read about love and passion. A friend at work introduced me to what would become my new obsession: Maureen Smith. I will be writing an entire post on her during this summer reading book month, but let me just say, she redefined the Romance novel for me. There’s Romance, Erotica, and straight nasty – she is the PERFECT combination of all of them AND has a story line every single time!! I have over the past two months or so read EVERYTHING she’s written that I could get my hands on. Even ordering from obscure places if necessary. I pine for her next books. I really do. She is my contemporary to Beverly being my historic. But anyhoo I’ll get into that in another blog entry.
I have been slow to embrace the whole electronic reading thing. I like the feeling of the books in my hand. The smell etc. that is until I couldn’t get a book any other kind of way by Maureen except through Kindle. So download it I went and now with the Iphone and Ipad, I am hooked!! Books are cheaper via the Kindle AND you can just buy books by anyone who can publish. I’ve read some GREAT stuff by folks you have never heard of. and from folks who put out special books just for kindle (like Maureen). I will never give up the traditional book, but my book case on Kindle is full of stuff I’m reading this summer and beyond.
What are my taste now? I am into ALL of the topics I’ve mentioned throughout this blog post in addition to Gay fiction, Straight and Gay Erotica and some odds and ends from well known folks oh and lets not forget a good (Auto)Biography every now and then.
Since July is typically categorized as the Summer Reading Month. You know, vacation, beach, good trashy novel – I thought every Tuesday of this Month, I would review books I’ve read myself over these last few months. I look forward to sharing what’s on my bookshelf.