My final and fortieth read of the year was Charles Blow’s debut memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones. Prior to reading the book, I attended Blow’s book tour stop in Baltimore. I have not attended an author event with so much energy in the room. I knew I was in for a treat from the moment I stepped into the auditorium.
One of my favorite things about author events is hearing authors speak about those that influenced them. Blow credits his “literary fathers,” James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, and Ernest Gaines (to name a few), for allowing him to see himself. He emphasized the importance of diversity in literature, and all arts, because “you come to know yourself through reflection.”
And it’s always fun to know what writers are reading! What book does Blow have on his nightstand? Encyclopedia of Black Folklore & Humor. He says it stays there. He didn’t have much growing up, so he became used to reading the same stories multiple times and still does! When asked what he wished he had included in his book but didn't, he said, "It's all in the book."