Not My Typical Summer Read :: Swapping Romance Novels for Anti-Racism Reflections


School’s out, and summer is halfway over. I usually start my summer with a book or two waiting for me to read. Before kids, I had the goal of reading 10 books each summer. Let’s just say that has drastically changed. I’m lucky if I finish two books! Wait, who am I kidding? More like one book. 

My go-to book is the one where you may have to hide the cover when you’re reading in public. The one that includes language you don’t want your children reading over your shoulder. The one that takes you to another place and lets you escape your day to day. Let’s just say I am a sucker for cheesy romance novels. Fabio is my go-to!

However, this summer is different. I think we can all agree this year is different.

And I have made a conscious decision to change up my typical summer reads for something else. I am halfway through “Me and White Supremacy,” a book created from the 28-day Instagram challenge by Layla Saad. This book examines white privilege and how to fight racism. I didn’t choose this book myself. About a month ago, my son’s principal sent an email introducing a summer book club with this book as the focus. Being a white woman, I decided it was time to take some action and learn. Each week, there are affinity group Zoom meetings to discuss and reflect upon what we have read. We have assignments, reflections questions, and topics to discuss. 

I have never read a book like this before. I have never done so much thinking while reading. This book is making me take a look at myself — a real hard look — and think about my life, who I am, where I am from, and what that means. 

It’s not easy to see the things I don’t like.

It’s not easy to have the hard discussions. 

But I am making a conscious effort to change. 

This year has certainly thrown us for a loop, and changing up my summer reads seems like a minimal change I can make. I want to set an example for my children. I want them to know I am being active in making a change. I want them to know I did not just sit back. I think it is important that I expand my reading horizons and tackle the difficult reads. I also know reading this book is just the tip of the iceberg for me, and I am committed to continuing to educate myself, having the hard discussions, and working through a pivotal moment in history. 

So, for now, Fabio, this mama is setting you aside. She has some work to do! But I will come back to you… I promise.