As we round out the month of June and the weather has properly heated up in NYC, it is time to share another book with you beautiful souls! Summer reading is one of those things I HATED in school; remember those awful summer reading lists and the test you would have to take as soon as you got back in class? It seems like the joke is on me now, as I find myself purchasing and reading new books frequently, which has deepened my desire of one day writing a book. More on that later.
So, for this edition of What I’m Reading, we have Neon Soul: A Collection of Poetry & Prose by Alexandra (Alex) Elle. Earlier this month I attended one of my La Brujas Club meetings at Bluestockings, an independent feminist bookstore in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and had a lovely time with the super-inspiring group of women that attend. Upon the meeting wrapping, I took a gander at all the lovely titles in the shop and Neon Soul just stood out to me. Whenever I am in a bookstore I have this thing where I feel that the right book will find me at the right time. Perhaps it was the lo-fi book jacket with bright green accents that initially caught me, but once I opened the book randomly to a page, I felt as though it was speaking to me. The layout of the poems in the book looked extremely familiar to the last book I reviewed, Milk and Honey, and after a quick scour it all made sense as I saw they have the same publisher, Andrews McMeel.
Self-love and discovery have been a constant theme for me in these past few months, and I have noticed that in addition to attending therapy sessions, meditation, and physical fitness, reading titles by fellow women of color who have or are currently experiencing what I am going through, is helping me heal. Yes, I was happy when upon further reading, I realized Alex Elle was a Black girl. Why wouldn’t I be? Representation matters, and when you read the work of someone that looks like you, it is a reminder that your current experience is valid, and a glimmer of hope emerges from the darkness.
when you’re a giver
it’s hard to remember
that you must contribute
and pour into your
The above poem is one that really knocked the nail on its head of my current experience. I am a giver, and not giving to myself for so long is truly what led to a breakdown of sorts. Finding comfort in words and in my downtime have been so necessary in my process of picking up the pieces. In the book, there are pieces about love, heartache, self-doubt, relationships, and the overall experience of womanhood. It is an easy read given poem length and structure. I personally finished it in 24 hours. I would highly recommend it to women who sometimes feel they are misunderstood for being too much or not enough, letting them know that their journey is not exclusive, but inclusive to us all.
You can purchase here -> Neon Soul: A Collection of Poetry and Prose