The Millions

A Year in Reading: Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers

The self is singular; the self is communal. What a paradox, especially in this harrowing year, filled with systemic horrors and the threat of more to come. In a cultural moment that seems to insist on the monolithic, the solipsistic, and a begrudging, dangerous littleness, my whole body’s bruised from walking into obduration. I’ve felt anger and, under that, deep sadness, each a reminder that the world is as it always has been. In a valley of shadows, I’ve looked for the light of underground things burst open. I’ve reached for what dispelled my feelings of singularity, of arrested numbness. Short stories and memoir were frequent choices but also the comfort of genre fiction and young adult for the ways they dare to interrogate what’s worst in us while imagining a world at its best. In every case, a scintillating, nervy shiver coursed through me, each book reminding me‘s famed luminous particular: They insist on themselves and the unique ordinariness of what they contain.

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