Finding stories for everyone

I have been thinking recently about classics and communities of readers finding diverse literature to share. When I look back on my college education in the 1980s, I am ashamed that even as my American literature class focused on feminist literature, including Charlotte Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, we never read any Richard Wright, Zora Neal Huston, Langston Hughes, or James Baldwin. We have to make an effort to read diversely. One of the greatest benefits of reading fiction is an increase in empathy – good fiction touches our hearts. We need to be aware of the weakness in our experiences and our understanding of our world. It makes us better citizens and humans. That doesn’t mean that we can’t still enjoy our comfort foods, see ourselves, our friends and our families reflected in the words we read. People come to request books at the library, sometimes embarrassed that they like a cozy mystery, a steamy romance, or an adrenaline-filled thriller. I hope we can always find stories for everyone.