Looking for a good read during this time of sheltering in place

Christina Greer, Ph.D. | 4/16/2020, midnight
During this time of sheltering in place, many of us have found solace in catching up on television and movies ...
Dr. Christina Greer

During this time of sheltering in place, many of us have found solace in catching up on television and movies to escape our surreal reality. Some of us are binge watching new series on Netflix or watching our former favorite shows from childhood. Some have found books on the bookshelf and rediscovered their favorite author. Hopefully during this time people are finding a moment to rest, reflect, and regroup. I am convinced there must be a reason our global community is forced to take a moment to pause and remind ourselves what this life is all about.

I must admit I have been indulging in lots of old school television these past few weeks. However, I am particularly excited to rediscover my love of reading. What I am incredibly excited to crack open is Michael Arceneaux’s latest best seller “I Don’t Want to Die Poor.” In this collection of essays, Arceneaux explores the financial and emotional cost of following Oprah’s advice and chasing your dreams. How finances affect all facets of his life are laid out in witty and poignant language that leaves the reader nodding in agreement and chuckling along the way.

Some of you may have been introduced to the sharp intellect and nuanced humor of Arceneaux in his first best seller “I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé.” In his debut literary work, Arceneaux lays bare some universal thoughts pertaining to being vulnerable in a country and a world that is less than welcoming at times. His essays on life, race, love, and maturing touch the reader despite differences in race, age, gender, sexuality or geographic locale. It is rare that an author can write so honestly and connect with such a diverse group of readers. It is also rare that an author can delve into personal areas of his life while leaving the reader laughing and nodding in agreement to the point of tears.

Arceneaux’s first work largely explores the author’s early life as a young Black gay man growing up in a religious household. Arceneaux’s upbringing in the southern United States also adds to the intricacy of his story telling. However, his second work focuses much more on essays focused on his student debt and the larger universal theme of dealing with money in this capitalist structure.

If you are looking for a book to keep you entertained and thinking more broadly about society through a myriad of lenses, I strongly recommend supporting Arceneaux and his vein of impactful essays by a politically astute young Black author.

During this time of pause we can support an author on the rise, nourish our need to think holistically about our society and shed a few laughs along the way.

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, political editor at The Grio, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC.