What Are You Reading? with David Kelly

To celebrate National Read Across America Day 2020, the RLB Library is starting our new blog series focused on book reviews and reading suggestions from the RLB Library staff.

The What Are You Reading? blog series highlights books recommended by the RLB Library staff. Follow the blog to learn what we are all reading and find ideas for your next page-turner!

Today we hope you enjoy learning about David’s most recent reading adventure in his own words:

Name: David Kelly, Writing Services Coordinator, Academic Success 

David in the RLB Library

What are you reading?

I am currently reading, The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. 


I am about a third through this dialect-rich, period book. I think Coates’ imagining and operational contextualization of slavery in Virginia was very interesting. He describes the white-black constructs of slavery as ‘Quality-Tasked.’ I am most enjoying Coates’ vivid descriptions of this work as told through the main character, Hiram (Hi), the son of a Quality father and Tasked mother. The book follows Hi, a young man with a photographic memory, as he tries to grapple figuring out where he fits in a world not meant for him.

Why did you choose this book?

This was a highly anticipated book, as it was Coates’ first fiction novel. I decided to read this book because I admire and look up to Coates as a Black man and writer from west Baltimore. I read some of his other published non-fiction works and essays, and decided to give his fiction work a try.

How does this compare with what you typically read? 

I am more familiar with Coates as a non-fiction writer. I have a hard time in general gravitating to fiction work. My reading preference tends to be non-fiction. In some ways the dialect, and long descriptive sentences of the book stretch my boundaries, but at the same time the dialectic nuance feels familiar.

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