By Megan M. Seckman

Latisha prefers reading books for increasing her personal growth and knowledge. Photos by Patti Hartog

Like many former English majors, Latisha Reynolds, 44, has a passion for literature. She’s long had a soft spot for thrillers, poetry, and the work of African-American writers such as Toni Morrison. She still proudly displays her gargantuan…

…Shakespeare anthology on the bookshelf of her Old Louisville home as a nod to her undergrad years. But as any mother and professional knows, life tends to get in the way of reading for pleasure. So now, this mother and University of Louisville librarian reads what tends to teach her something in her (not so frequent) spare time.

Latisha still finds time for reading despite her busy schedule. 

“I was much more of a reader, ironically, before librarian school,” Latisha says. “My reading patterns changed after I had my son and finished graduate school. Now, I do a lot of work-related reading. I’m on the Kentucky Women’s Book Festival committee (event will be March 5), so I read a lot of Kentucky authors. But mostly, I tend to read a book that’s going to teach me something new. I really do like to read, so I’ll read cookbooks, books on jewelry-making or African-American history — much more nonfiction. I want to read something that will inspire me.”

Read on to see what inspires this busy and bookish librarian with a passion for the page.

What She’s Reading

  • Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes — This book really inspired me to overcome my insecurities. The author is the creative genius behind the television shows Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and How to Get Away with Murder but is also an introvert and struggles with feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. The book is about her journey through a year of intentionally saying “yes” when life presents her with an opportunity instead of her typical behavior of hiding behind her work, making excuses, and over-thinking unfamiliar or uncomfortable possibilities.

Whether she’s reading about self-improvement, history or food, her book list will always be diverse. 

  • Voices: From Historical African American Communities Near Louisville, Kentucky by Carridder “Rita” Jones — I was presented with this book through my work with the Kentucky Women’s Book Festival, and I found it incredibly interesting. There is a lot of work about African-American communities in urban areas of the state, but this focuses on smaller African-American communities or “hamlets” on the outskirts of the city such as Berrytown, and communities in La Grange and Jeffersontown. It provides a lot of history on how these communities originated, the founding families, and how they were able to sustain themselves through turbulent times.
  • My Life On A Plate: Recipes From Around the World by Kelis with Carolynn Carreno — Kelis is a singer-songwriter and rapper who also happens to be a certified chef. Her cookbook has a memoir element about her travels abroad while touring and the culinary experiences she was exposed to. It’s a beautiful book with wonderful recipes from around the world.
Latisha doesn’t miss a chance to watch her favorite shows during the week. 

What She’s Watching

  • Scandal (Thursdays @ 9, ABC) — This is Latisha’s favorite show, which returns with a new season February 11. Written by the author of Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes, this show covers the secrets kept by America’s elite and the woman who works to keep them under wraps.
  • Blood, Sweat and Heels (Sundays @ 10, Bravo) — This reality show features women from various boroughs of New York attempting to climb the corporate ladder. Latisha says she likes this show because the women are hardworking professionals trying to make it.
  • Empire (Wednesdays @ 9, Fox) — Main character Lucious Lyon is a hip-hop mogul who was diagnosed with a debilitating illness. When the sharks start to circle, he must question the future of his empire.
Latisha embraces various genres of music.

What She’s Listening To
Latisha says she is the product of a jazz-loving father and the MTV generation, and therefore she loves anything and everything (especially if it reminds her of Prince). Her recent favorites on her playlist are from:

  • Janet Jackson’s new album Unbreakable
  • Adele’s 25
  • Alabama Shakes
In addition to managing her busy days as a librarian, Latisha is preparing for the Kentucky Women’s Book Festival happening next month.