Milwaukee literary reviewer finds need for promoting authors of color

NOW: Milwaukee literary reviewer finds need for promoting authors of color

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It's her goal to get you to read a book, and one Milwaukee woman has taken her passion and creativity to social media to make that happen.

Cree Myles is a well-known literary critic whose online book reviews are gaining quite an audience.

On CBS 58 Sunday Morning, Kim Shine highlighted Cree Myles' power of words and shows us why thousands of people are following her lead.

Instagram probably isn’t the first place you’d go, if you’re looking for your next book.

But Cree Myles is working hard to make sure it’s your first stop.

Her page, which is her name, is filled with video reviews and posts sure to catch your interest.

“That’s very intentional because I’m trying to make the best books accessible to everyone," she said.

She considers herself a literary activist, and with more 13,000 followers, people seem to like what she’s doing. 

“Entertaining people is a very basic formula. People like dancing, people like to laugh and people like things that are aesthetically engaging.”

Her mother worked in education, so Cree grew up valuing stories and gained peace in her local library.

One of her earliest life lessons came, from a book she read, while finding her way through middle school.

“It was basically about, way ahead of its time, a non-binary person, who does not fit into any type of box because that was the type of accusation, that I didn’t present Black enough. And so I was trying to figure out what that meant, and what Black meant.”

Over the years, Cree’s literary pursuits have expanded tremendously. 

And she devotes at least two hours a day to reading, writing or editing her social media posts.

“I went through a year where I just read the canon, so you knock Hemingway out the way, and Tolstoy and Novikov.” 

But, like any bibliophile, she has her favorites, and uses much of her platform to promote Black authors, especially Black women.

“So, Sula takes place in the fictional Ohio town of Medallion, follows Nell and Sula two young girls who just grow up in the community," she explains in one of her video reviews. “The book is very similar to the Bluest Eye, in that all exposition and conflict.” 

“I think my favorite part about these books is, first, they give Black women, they’re whole people," she told CBS 58. "And we never get the opportunity to just show up as these complex, autonomous beings who are making decisions for themselves, but when you look at these authors that’s exactly how they lived their lives.”

Through her reviews, Cree wants to inspire others to speak up and to live their own truths, whether that’s reacting to a book’s plot, or simply maneuvering through life.

“For me personally, so much of my life it was just dumbing it down to make my Black as palatable and comfortable as possible literally for the white people in the room, literally for the men in the room and you get socialized to do it that you don’t even know you’re doing it.”

And so for her, “Cree Myles”, is liberation. 

It’s an invite to open your mind, respect certain spaces, laugh and find another good book to read. 

“My end goal in life is that I want everyone to be braver," she said. "I just want people to follow the thing inside of them that’s whispering, ‘you should really do this.’”

To visit Cree's Instagram page, click here.

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