Beyond Literary Landscapes—Community Care

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


Those interested in an introduction to the topic of Community Care may choose to begin with four major authors—both as a reminder of some of the genre’s recent bestsellers and inspiration for further reading.  Those being Sonya Renee Taylor, Bessel van der Kolk, Judith Lewis Herman, and Desmond Tutu.


Many of these works focus on helping individuals overcome difficult situations.  And although most are traditionally marketed in the Self-Help or Self-Care genres, we are never truly alone in learning to love and understand ourselves, or finding ways to cope with trauma, grief, and loss.  Often, the road to healing is often not possible without the assistance others.

Many of these works take the concept of individualistic and isolated self-care further, to also mean turning our compassion for ourselves outwards as well as interdependent community care. This is when we take care of each other and “redistribute resources to those who need them most.”  In particular, Community care “involves more than one person.  It can include two, three, or possibly hundreds of people.”

Some ideas for reads in this genre include The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence by Judith Lewis Herman, and The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Andrea Tutu.


These works take place mainly throughout the United States and South Africa.


These works take place in the 20th and 21st-centuries.


For readers interested in topics related to community care, resilience, compassion, radical self-love, recovery, grief, loss, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and forgiveness, these four works are a start.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to Nigerian Literature are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with a counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic are recommended to look into MAIS 662: Mourning and Trauma: Theoretical and Historical Debates, a graduate-level, three-credit course, which “will look at the historical, psychological, and sociological debates and theories regarding mourning and trauma, and do so from a variety of cultural perspectives.”  Happy reading!