Books, Growth and Personal Affirmation

I have this friend, I’m going to call her “Laura”, that I’ve gotten very close with over the last year and she’s really helped me figure out who I am and what I want out of life. I highly recommend all of you get you a friend like Laura, hell, get a whole group of Laura’s who support and love you because sometimes you are your biggest critic and the little hater inside yourself (to quote Jay Smooth). The reason I mention this is because I somehow managed to not blog about my new favorite book. The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat. I read it in, I think 2016 when I was on my light reading kick, and it’s one of those books about some really messed up situations, written hilariously, but the key component to the book is the friendship between the main characters, Barbara Jean, Odette and Clarice. This book will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and if you’re black you might get whiplash to overhearing your mom/aunts/sisters throwing shade in the kitchen after a family meal.

In my post in February (I’ve been terrible about this whole blogging thing) I listed a series of goals and you’ll be proud to know I’ve completed the following:

  • Moved
  • Led a book discussion (on The Hate U Give)
  • Begun work on one of my scholarly publications
  • Started a new job
  • Am continuing to live my best life

This isn’t really a post about a book, but I think it goes very well my post The Importance of Light Reading. Self Care isn’t just about yourself, it’s about letting those around you support you, uplift you, to lean on you in your times of need and remind you that you are enough, just as you are.


2018 Goals

This is a combination of personal, professional, blog and book goals.

  1. Host at least one book discussion
  2. Post at least 6 blog posts by December 31st, 2018
  3. Begin work on 2 scholarly publications
  4. Read 50 books (with at least 25 being authors of color and/or LGBTQA+ and/or feature a protagonist of color and/or an LGBTQA+ – preferably both)
  5. Complete work on the Bethel church project
  6. Start a new job
  7. Move
  8. Read 3 books the year they were published
  9. Read 5 books I got at a conference
  10. Continue to live my best life.

On James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room and Staying in my Lane

I recently reread Jame’s Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, a novel that even though I know how it ends, always brings me to tears. I wanted to write this long post talking about bi-sexuality and homosexual and it’s relation to blackness and alienation. While David, in Giovanni’s Room is a white blonde American man and Giovanni is Italian, Giovanni’s Room is inexplicitly tied to the blackness and sexuality of James Baldwin.

This book always leaves me with so many questions, will David forever be wracked with guilt over his abandonment of Giovanni?

Will he ever find happiness and his true-self?

I always come back to critiques that declare David wholly a homosexual male. We know from David’s life that he’s had many sexual encounters with women, that he plans to marry Hella, that he was, until meeting Giovanni, happy(ish) with Hella.

But then I sit here, neither a homosexual male or bisexual male and am reminded that while this is an important conversation to be had, it’s not one that I as a black woman should be leading. I can talk to you about the need to feel acceptance. How toxic masculinity is a recurring theme in this book in how it impacts men with the idea that they are supposed to marry women and have babies and anything outside of that is the norm. This is a book about social alienation and while I can write about that from my perspective as a black woman – it’s not the same experience Baldwin had when he wrote the book.

So I’m going to post this as a “conversations I’d like to participate in, but not lead” because sometimes as a blogger, you need to know when to stay in your lane. Who knows, you might get a guest blog from someone more educated on the subject.

2015 In Review

2015 has been an amazing year – even if it hasn’t been as well reflected in my blog. I’ve almost, ALMOST hit my goal of 50 non-school related reads for the year, but with only a few weeks remaining I decided I should start my year in review post now.

The Personal:

Big news for those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Livejournal, I got engaged on July 4th! So a lot of the time I would have spent updating this blog has been spent wedding planning. Who am I kidding, I’m terrible at keeping this thing updated. Maybe my goal for next year will be fifty blog posts in a year.

Blogging for me is a multi-fold sneaky hate spiral, full of “why am I writing about this, no one cares” and “you should really be doing something like homework, or housework”. I think my goal for 2016 should be to blog for the same reasons I read, personal fulfillment. Anyways, on to the books!

The Books:

I read books differently now, it’s very evident that my year of reading books by authors of color really impacted how I select books to read and how representation really does matter to me in my enjoyment of a book. While I still don’t read a lot of non-fiction, the non-fiction I did read was thought provoking.

I’m also a member of several book clubs, the student group that I’m president of has a monthly book club, a Facebook based one called Bookretorts, and Reading Between the Wines, which have also impacted the books I’ve read this year.

Next year my friend Alana and I are doing Survivor: An Octavia E. Butler Book Club (message me for details).

Best Books:

Americanah by Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie

While the book focuses on the relationship between Ifemelu and Obinze what I loved about it was the fact that it was unapologetically black. Ifemelu has relationships like I’ve had, goes to the hair salon and has similar experiences to what I have, and writes a blog that I’d read in a heartbeat. I’ve recommended this book to so many women (especially black women) because in addition to being well written it really has a level of heart, soul and passion that I related to.

Earlier this year I’d read Purple Hibiscus and I was amazed at how the dialog and verbiage changes so drastically between the books. It made me realize how skilled an author Adichie is, in Purple Hibiscus  the dialog seems stilted because the characters are, Americanah is silk because Ifemelu and Obinze are.

Overall Rating: 5/5

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

I joke that one day when my life has settled down I’m going to read nothing for a year but Margaret Atwood books. The Heart Goes Last reminds me of why I say that. The characters are engaging, even if they aren’t always likable (I’m looking at you Stan)  – but Atwood manages to make characters that are like that so well. You root for them to win, but also to get knocked down a few pegs.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by John Krakauer

One of my favorite things about Krakauer is that his non-fiction books still read as a novel – a depressing novel – but I knew that going into it. This is a hard book to read especially when you realize that Missoula isn’t an oddity, it’s the norm. In December of 2014 the Department of Justice released a report that estimates 110,000 women between the ages of 18 and 24 are raped each year, Krakauer explores a few cases in Missoula that I feel demonstrate why women can be so hesitant to step forward.

Stephen King – Finders Keepers and The Library Policeman

I like Stephen King as a person, and I honestly liked this book more than Mr. Mercedes. The writing is strong, the characters are likable. Though I feel like Jerome and his alter-ego “Tyrone Feelgood Delite” is the unfortunate result of someone showing Stephen King the Urban Dictionary entry for Code-Switching. I’m not saying that young black men don’t code-switch , I’m just saying it didn’t ring true to me, a person who actually does code-switch.

The Library Policeman however is King in the creepy-zone. It’s an older work, from his Three Past Midnight collection but I hadn’t read it before. Just ok, not my favorite but I think that when I want creepy I’m more likely to turn to King’s son, Joe Hill and stick to King for his sagas like The Dark Tower series.

Coming Up:

Christmas with the soon to be in-laws! Nostalgia Reads: My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews, and “books I missed when I was a kid” featuring Alanna: The First Adventure.


2013 In Review

I think I can easily consider 2013 to have been the year of the re-read. It’s not that I didn’t read a lot of things, it’s just that most of them were either things I had read before, or Library Science related journal articles. While interesting, I don’t think anyone would want to read about me dissecting the intricate details of virtual reference services. I did however read some very good (and very bad) things in 2013 so here’s the breakdown.

The Great:

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood

The conclusion to Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, following Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, we rejoin the remaining humans and the Crakers. You get a lot of back-story when at the same time it progresses the “main” story. These books have been some of my favorites and I recommend them whenever I can to anyone who I think would like them. While I was really, really excited for MaddAddam to come out I knew it would be the final book in the series and as I was reading it, I didn’t want it to be over.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve put time and effort into other series only to be disappointed or disgusted with the endings (namely The Dark Tower) but I feel like Atwood gives the readers an ending they deserve. Not to say that the book is without criticisms, there are some characters whose changes I absolutely loathe. Overall thought I think that Atwood knows how to deliver an ending that gives the reader a sense of completion.

The Good:

Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff

A friend recommended the movie to me and I enjoyed it so much I decided I needed to read the book. This is not a happy book, but if you’ve read my blog or if you know me, you know I don’t tend to read happy books. This book touched on a family’s inner darkness while telling a beautifully heartbreaking story.

The Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse and Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth

I got sucked into the amazing PBS/BBC drama Call the Midwife. These three books follow young Jenny as she serves as nurse and midwife in post-WWII London’s East End. The stories are not only compelling they’re  interesting look at medicine during a time period that seems like forever ago.

Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson

Ethiopian born, Swedish raised Samuelsson currently run The Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem and can be seen on this season of The Taste on ABC.  It’s the story of Samuelsson’s adoption to Swedish parents and his eventual re-connection with his Ethiopian roots. It gets a little big headed at times but I think all memoirs about a rise to fame can be like that. Overall pretty good.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I got this as an audiobook and I’m glad I did. It’s narrated by Wil Wheaton, Wil freakin’ Wheaton! Do you like video games? Do you like Easter Eggs in video games? If you answered yes to either of those questions you should read this book. It’s full of nostalgic gaming. I think the audience is really people who are slightly older than me but I still thought it was great.

The Bad:

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis.

I didn’t hate Bud, Not Buddy, but this book made me seriously reconsider why I read a lot of children’s books. I know I like children’s books where the children are likable, but that is so not the case in this book. 

The Ugly:

The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King

It’s not so much that The Wind Through the Keyhole is horrible, it just has a lot of thing that I don’t like. The first is the assumption that if you haven’t read any of The Dark Tower books. I mean, you can, but it’s not going to make a lot of sense. It’s good world building. The second is the story within a story. It didn’t need to be  a story within the story of Roland Deschain’s ka-tet. It could have easily been listed as a Dark Tower Universe book and it would have been great.

Honorable Mentions:

Lilith’s Brood – By Octavia Butler

I am Nujood: Age 10 and Divorced – Nujood Ali

Black Girl , White Girl – Joyce Carol Oates

Mom & Me & Mom – Maya Angelou

First World Problems

So I’m kind of back. Did I mention that I started Graduate school? So not only have I done my usual procrastinating, but I have school work to do, so this poor blog gets neglected horribly.

BUT I had to post because I am having the most ultimate of First World Problems that only other book people will understand.

My hold on MaddAddam is in the system, but it’s listed as being in transit so it won’t be checked in until after 2:30.


This is seriously me right now.

Whatever, Whatever, I Read What I Want

So I failed at my goal of 75 books last year, and I could post a bunch of excuses about how real life got in my way, how my sister had a baby, blah, blah, blah, but I won’t. I actually did come pretty close, I think I hit about fifty but I didn’t come close to blogging about all of the books that I read.

But it’s 2013, a new year and a new blog, 2011 brought you 50 Books by People of Color, which completely changed how I look at not only what I consider to be “literature” but what types of books that I grab for my casual reading. 2013 was Reading the Rainbow, in which I read books by Authors of Color as well as Gay, Lesbian and Transgender authors.

2013, is going to be different. This year is going to be the year of Cartman.

Well, sort of. In the past I tried to pick books that I wouldn’t be ashamed to be reading in public. This year, I’m saying to hell with it and thus Whatever, Whatever, I Read What I Want. Granted a lot of the books will be the same type I’ve been reading and posting about, some, as you’ll soon see, will be different.

Some other changes:

When I read multiple books in a series I might group them together in one entry.

I added the GoodReads widget so you can get a preview of what will be reviewed and track my progress.

I might update the look of the blog, I might not, whatever, whatever I do what I want.