My summer reading list: Kamilah Okafor

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Kamilah Okafor
Fiction, 3rd year

With my last year of school completed and the arrival of summer, it’s time to dive back into that fun activity we book junkies call reading. My summer reading list can be described as contemporary with a dash of oldies but goodies:

All about Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color, edited by Jina Ortiz and Rochelle Spencer — This multicultural collection of prose addresses themes such as racial prejudice, the media’s portrayal of beauty, family relationships, and more. I am thrilled to read this anthology because it’s an opportunity to familiarize myself with more Black women writers of African American and Nigerian race.

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah — Her novels explore female relationships between mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and so on. This novel is a sequel to Firefly Lane, and it uses a past tragedy to bring together a mother, daughter, and a goddaughter as they mourn what was lost in their own ways, while being transformed by one another.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume II by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — As a mystery fan, this series is a classic favorite of mine. There is an endless thrill in reading about the adventures of Detective Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as they solve mysteries of puzzling proportions in the streets of London.

Excavation: A Memoir by Wendy C. Ortiz — After hearing Ortiz read from this book at Fresno State this past year, I was hooked. At the heart of this memoir is an affair between teacher and student. I have only read about this type of incident through fiction, so I am curious to see how Ortiz confesses this true story on the page.

White Butterfly by Walter Mosley — Mosley has created a witty and engaging character through Detective Easy Rawlins. Rawlins is a streetwise detective, living in the 1950s when racial tension is at its highest. The police call on this detective to solve crimes in the Black community, and yet these same police look at Rawlins as not that different from the culprits. Mosley has a knack for blending mystery with real-life racial prejudice in a natural way that makes you wonder who the real threat to society is.

There’s also some repeat offenders from last summer’s reading list that I hope to read, along with staying up to date with popular fiction. As always, a writer’s reading list is never finished. Happy Reading!

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