… It has a way of repeating itself, or that’s how the saying goes. Within that repetition comes new ways in which historians and the general public alike find themselves trying to change the course of history while attempting to record for posterity the profound impact events have had on the country.
One of the ways in which American history is preserved is through food and charting the way different recipes and crops have impacted our culture. James Beard Award nominee and semifinalist Matthew Raiford honors his formerly enslaved great-great-great-grandfather and the ways in which Gullah culture has shaped food and culture, building and connecting communities for generations.
This past year has been historic, particularly in the ways in which the world has been connected through grief and loss. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie penned Notes on Grief, which explores types of loss that expand beyond the COVID-19 crisis. While Notes on Grief navigates the feelings around her father, another tragedy and unexpected loss shook Adichie’s world: Her mother, Grace Ifeoma Adichie, subsequently died on March 1, 2021, which happened to also be the 89th posthumous birthday of Adichie’s father. “How Does A Heart Break Twice?” she captioned a poignant Instagram post.
Additionally, Tracy K. Smith and John Freeman collected a series of essays, poems and letters surrounding the summer 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and the different types of grief that the uprising created.
Stacey Abrams made history this past year with her efforts to expand voter registration, which ultimately impacted the 2020 election in a way that hadn’t been seen before. Her long-awaited political thriller, While Justice Sleeps, is an exciting and anticipatory read which also examines the truth behind politics and the vast web of controversial decisions.
So yes, history has a way of repeating itself, but without that repetition, we wouldn’t have the brilliant and poignant stories you’ll find in this week’s literary releases.