By Briana Whiteside
I have always been one to write in books as I read them. Ask any of my friends, or anyone who has loaned me a book. I find it difficult to read without engaging in some type of written dialogue with the story.
Before, when I marked texts, I would simply look for various themes, concepts, metaphors, and symbolism. Today, I look for ways that different texts support various schools of thought and theories by scholars.
For instance, when reading books by black women writers such as Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison, or Zora Neale Hurston, I look for the ways that they are in conversation with the works of Hazel V Carby’s “Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist,” Patricia Hill Collins Black Feminist Thought, and bell hook’s Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, to name a few.
If I am reading books by men writers such as Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist, or Ta-Nehisi Coates's The Beautiful Struggle, I look for possible ways that they may signify on works by Michael Awkward or Henry Louis Gates Jr., for example.
Over the last two years, I have learned more about the theories of African American scholars. Taken together, it has greatly influenced my critical thinking skills which in turn has heightened the way I read/mark texts.
Briana Whiteside is a graduate student in English at SIUE and a contributing writer for the Cultural Front.