Diversity Reading List for 2017

“Beware! Reading can seriously damage your ignorance.” I’ve no idea who said those words. But I agree. So, I read as much as I can. If I can’t completely kill ignorance, I plan to keep it maimed and twitching and screaming for mercy.

I just finished my self-imposed Goodreads reading challenge for 2016. I didn’t add specific titles to that list… I just danced through my to-be-read mountain. This year, I have added 9 books—fiction and nonfiction. And, as usual, I’m reading/rereading a handful of books written in Spanish.

At the end of this post, there is an empty list. I would like to fill it with the title of a book read by you. Not just any book, I want to read one of your favorites. Would you please leave the title of one of your favorite books in the comments? I will throw all the titles in Random.org and read the winner.

One more thing, I’ll write a poem review for each of the books on the diversity list.

Diversity Reading List:
Borderline, by Mishell Baker
* Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older
* The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, by Nancy Isenberg
* The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick
* The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, by Azar Nafisi
* Size 12 Is Not Fat, by Meg Cabot
* Dhalgren, by Samuel R. Delany

Books in Spanish (some of these are rereads):
* Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude), by Gabriel García Márquez
* La casa de los espíritus (The House of the Spirits), by Isabel Allende
* Vivir para contarla, by Gabriel García Márquez

The Favorite Book of One of My Wicked Darlings:
Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

* Read, but not reviewed.



Not All Witchy Souls Are Religious

Does the idea of a soul not being religious sound oxymoronic to you? If so, why? My soul is of the witchiest of persuasions, but I am not religious. I’ve said that to people and have gotten strange looks. When I was younger, I used to believe that in order to be a Witch I had to be religious as well. Then I opened my eyes and opened them again… My mind’s eye saw deeper… I looked into my soul… and I realized that in order to be a Witch all I had to do was be a Witch. I’ve found many others who feel just like I do. And that is so good.

I’m discussing the Witchy-Religiosity-Theism topic, in the middle of Witches in Fiction 2015… Death Rites and Remembrances, because earlier my beloved Ms Misantropia, said, “I am not joining this giveaway [The Ghost Tarot], being an atheist an’ all…” Well, for me and for many others, tarot cards have nothing to do with religions or gods. It’s like lighting a candle—some light it to illuminate a room, others light it to feed a magic spell, many light it as an offering to gods and saints, I light them for all kinds of reasons… most often, for fire and scent which helps me focus my intent. “Shaking It and Twisting It until It Says Yes” sheds light on the latter.

So how does a person who is not religious or a theist claim to be a Witch who believes in souls, transcendence of the spirit, energy… and so many other abstract concepts? Easy, for me to be a Witch is to know who I am and why I am. I am sentient nature. I am a human animal. I am what I do. I am memories and experiences. And the latter allows me to evolve into more.

At one point in my life, I thought I was a religious theist. I mean, I believed that everyone was made of the same thing; and that our individualities came from how we used what we were and what we learned from our experiences… I believed that as a whole, we—all things, sentient and not—were united by Something Bigger than our individual selves. I gave that Bigger Something the names of gods and goddesses. And if one believes in the gods and goddesses of myth, then one becomes a religious theist by association. It makes sense, right? I used to believe that.

Today, I know different. I don’t need to name the energy that makes the universe in order to know that it is there and that it is part of me. That makes me a human being, not a religious theist, even when my human mind nudges me to give a face to said energy… and perhaps name it—Hekate, when it’s dark and unforgiving; Sin/Nanna/Ishtar when it’s violent, protective and loving; Pan, when it’s wild and lusty; the Morrigan, when its rage fills my blood with red fire and sharp edges; Grandmother, when its wisdom calms me down and helps me see deeper; Wicked Angel, when it’s ruled by harmless mischief…

I’m a storyteller, my Wicked Luvs. I feel in poetry and think in tales. My life is guided by all my experiences. My soul is a mixture of what I’ve learned and what I feel because of that learning. Religion has been described as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods”; that definition has no room for me—I choose to control myself and take responsibility for my actions. Theism: “the belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation…” and most definitely not me.

I celebrate all people who choose to believe in whatever makes sense to them, as long as those beliefs don’t lead them to intentionally harming others; for like Terry Pratchett said, “Human beings must become ever more diverse, valuing and enjoying each other’s differences rather than fearing them or suppressing them.”

So… I believe that the souls of my dead can reach me through the Veil of the memories we shared. I believe in the magic of a wish… because wishing something with all my heart makes me work for it with all that I am. I believe in the Earth Mother that shelters and feeds me. I believe in the healing powers of friendship, love and Nature. I believe that a tarot card can tell me what my dead grandmother might have done in a particular situation, because I remember what she did in life. I am a Witch because of all these things… and I believe other people are just fine when they believe they aren’t Witches because of the same reasons.

Our different experiences help us understand the world and each other. Trying to understand and value—or not—the world and each other, while considering and respecting the importance of our differences, makes us humans who are worth the air we breathe. What do you think?

Magaly Guerrero, parkour
Yes, I also believe in urban fairies and parkour
(I got wings from Rhissanna)
To enter the Witches in Fiction giveaways, go HERE and HERE and continue visiting; there will be giveaways and witchy fun all the way to October 17th… and probably after that, too. 😉