Saturday, July 28, 2007
Ghost: Please tell him that I am sorry to have cheated on him with brother.
JLH: She says she is sorry that she caused you so much pain.
That's not what she said! Is she in so much of a hurry to get them to walk into the light that she has to abbreviate everything?
But the ghosts never protest.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
started 7/21/07 finished 7/25/07 (way too long, in the eyes of most 11 year olds)
Worth the wait.
All questions answered.
Can't wait for the movie.
What the hell am I supposed to read now?
started 7/9/07 finished 7/21/07 (just in time for Harry Potter)
I love books where the story is told through it's relationship to other things: food, location, people. This hilarious book tells the story of Gigi Anders' love life through the iconic fashion items associated with each man. There is the pink raincoat from the title that is enlisted to get back an ex-boyfriend. There are the perfect red shoes to wear on an out-of-town date with a man selected for her by close friends. There is the expensive lingerie to mark an affair with a married man. Of course, none of the relationships last (except with the clothing) and in the end she learns a lesson about measuring her worth through material things and men.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I normally don't take these online tests, but being caught up in the Harry Potter mania makes you do strange things. By the way, this is so dead on:
|You scored as Luna Lovegood,You are Luna Lovegood. You daydream and often seem to be drifting off into your own world. You have very strong opinions that many agree are not logical. You place a lot of faith in these beliefs. Possibly, you see more than what meets the eye. You are very accepting of others. You may have only a few close friends because you refuse to sacrifice your opinions and true self for social graces.|
Harry Potter Character Combatibility Test
created with QuizFarm.com
Thursday, July 19, 2007
started 7/10/07 finished 7/15/07
There were a couple of factors that prevented me from reading this series:
- I considered it an "old lady book". There are certain books that Southern old ladies read. They are usually set in a small quaint town. The main characters knit, bake pies, and sometimes solve mysteries (Murder She Wrote).
- Although the characters are African, the author is of European descent. I make it a point not to read books with majority Black characters written by White people. I never think they get the "voice" right. (Exception to this rule: George Pelecanos and Barbara Hambly in her Benjamin January mysteries set in slavery-era New Orleans). Case in point: I used to read the James Patterson books that featured Alex Cross. The lead character is black and it is set in Washington, D.C. No brainer. There is a scene in one of the books where Alex is speaking with a visitor on his front porch. I don't remember the details, but there is a short exchange with his young son in which the child responds with a curse word! In front of company! On the front porch! Alex may have said something benign like "watch your language"or something. A real black parent in inner city Washington, D.C. would have made such a show of beating his ass that the whole neighborhood would have come out on their porches to watch.
But, then I read reports that a television movie was being made based on The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. The cast includes Jill Scott, Anika Noni Rose, & Idris Elba. So I gave in and read it. The story follows an African woman, Precious Ramotswe, living in Botswana who uses money inherited from her father's passing to open a detective agency, the first one opened by a woman in the whole country. She has no formal training and pretty much uses her common sense. Each chapter tells the story of a different case so it almost reads like a book of short stories. Smith successfully captures the voice of the African people that reside in these pages. It was a fast read and I look forward to reading the next 6 titles in the series.
Now, if they do to this book what they did to The Starter Wife...
Sunday, July 8, 2007
started 6/10/07 finished 6/14/07 (4 days; musta loved it!)
I would probably have read it anyway, but once I saw the names of Tananarive Due & Stephens Barnes attached, I was in. I was a little hesitant when I saw that Underwood thanked Zane in his acknowledgements (not a huge fan), but then after reading the first sex scene I was fully committed. This is a mystery involving a rapper, an actor/former male escort, and an up and coming reporter. Portrays contemporary South Central Los Angeles the way that Walter Mosley does the same areas in his books that take place in the 40's, 50's, & 60's. The Tennyson Hardwick character is well thought out and complex and I can't wait for the next installment. Plus any book that mentions the Florida A & M University Rattlers (my alma mater) and Audobon Middle School (in my former neighborhood) can't be all bad.
Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich by Richard Frank
started 6/16/07 finished 6/25/07
There have been several reports lately about the widening economic gap in this country. There has been so many new millionaires and billionaires created in the last 20 years, that the Wall Street Journal assigned Richard Frank to cover solely the New Rich. This book covers such topics as butler school (although the New Rich, who don't want to appear stuffy, prefer the title of Household Manager), the competition to build the biggest yacht & the biggest house, and a school to teach rich children what to do with their money. One of the most interesting stories is about a group of Colorado billionaires who pooled their money and power to successfully defeat the Republicans.
Insatiable: The Tale of the Rise of a Porn Star by Heather Hunter
started 6/22/07 finished 6/23/07 (yeah, 1 day)
If you know anything about hip-hop, then you know that it has its very own porn star. During the early and mid-90's, Heather Hunter was in all of the rap videos and lyrics. We haven't heard from her in a few years, but I can't believe that the whole time was writing this book. This is a novel that is supposed to based loosely on Hunter's life. It could have been told a little differently. The title character, Simone, seems to fall into porn as easily as I fall into the Gap (you have to be a certain age to get that reference). Then after the drugs, and sex take their toll, she quits and goes from bad relationship to bad relationship. Although at the end she runs back home to her mother's arms (awwww), it doesn't seem like she has really learned any lesson or built her self-esteem or anything. Maybe a sequel is coming where she writes a really bad novel.
Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
started 6/25/07 finished 7/1/07
Another diet book. Except this book talks to you like I talk to you. They are blunt and they curse at you. They say stuff like coffee "makes your breath smell like ass". Chapter 9 is called "Have No Faith: Government Agencies Don't Give A Shit About Your Health". It is wonderful. They promote veganism and after you read the chapter on dairy and the meat industry you may as well. I just saw that they have a new book coming out in the fall: Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Solutions for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap (and Start Looking Hot!)
The Opposite House by Helen Oyeyemi
started 6/25/07 finished 7/4/07
This is another one of those children of immigrant stories. This one also takes place in England, but the family is Afro-Cuban. Every other chapter is the story of the Santeria/Ifa orisha (goddess) Yemaya who has also become separated from her home. I thought I would really like this book but maybe it was a little too literal for me. I didn't sympathize with the characters at all and I didn't understand the Yemaya chapters at all. I feel stupid and sad.
started 5/5/07 finished 5/10/07
The difference between this and other books shelved in the self-help section is the sprinkling of yoga philosophy and the importance of giving back. This book is perfect for graduation gifts - high school or college. Unfortunately, the Imus incident (and the resultant scapegoating of hip-hop music and culture) happened around the same time as the release of this book so whenever Simmons went out to promote it, he was asked instead about the state of hip-hop and his role in it instead. In most cases he was not given time to talk about his book.
Martha's Vineyard Diet Detox: A Revolutionary 21-Pounds-in-21-Days at-Home Program That Gets Your Body Back on the Wellness Track by Roni DeLuz & James Hester
started 5/8/07 finished 5/11/07
I heard about this program a few years ago and was excited to read the book. This is another story of someone taking their own health in their hands. Roni DeLuz was a nurse who was having some health issues of her own. Through years of study and trial & error, not only was she able to get her problems under control, she took it a step further and became a licensed naturopathic practitioner and opened her own health retreat center on Martha's Vineyard. Beware though, this program includes colonics (one of my favorite topics of conversation). And I read recently that Robin Quivers, co-host of the Howard Stern show, is currently doing the program. There is your endorsement.
Hip Tranquil Chick: A Guide to Life On and Off the Yoga Mat by Kimberly Wilson
started 5/12/07 finished 6/14/07
Wilson is a Washington, D.C. yoga teacher who I discovered while searching for yoga podcasts. Her podcasts are really interesting and usually include interviews with women on a variety of subjects - self-care, entrepreneurship, creativity, etc. Her book is about the same. I didn't learn a lot from it, only because I read a lot on these subjects anyway. But if you are interested in not only yoga, but making time for self, setting priorities, and just living a fuller life this is the book for you.
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
started 5/29/07 finished 6/7/07
At work we can never remember the name of this book, so we call it the one with the post-it notes on it. If you are a fan of the movie Office Space or the television show The Office (British or American) or if you have ever experienced the mundaneness of a cubicle, then you will love this book. It is the story of an office in an ad agency just as the layoffs begin. Hilarious right from the start, it is filled with all of the odd characters and their eccentricities that make up office life. The ending was unexpected and touching.
started 4/3/07 finished 4/16/07
Do I do yoga? No. But I read everything I can on it. I know a lot about it. I can tell you which kind is best for you. One day I will do yoga (and exercise and eat better). You may now Bikram yoga as "hot yoga". They turn the heat in the studio way up. Bikram feels that your joints loosen up more. Bikram loves himself and his cars. Bikram has trademark his set of yoga poses and has the yoga community in an uproar. Bikram probably refers to himself as Bikram.
New England White by Stephen Carter
started 4/5/07 finished 5/26/07
This book was long as hell, but no word was wasted. I waited five years for this book to come out after being blown away by Carter's first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park. Although this is a mystery, you don't even care if it is solved, because the characters (and there are lots of them) are so rich and interesting. Carter has a firm grasp on the communities that we are apart of and their specific intricacies: college campus hierarchy, the Boule' type black male power group, the Jack & Jill black bourgeoisie, the New England small town working class. Stephen Carter may well be the Tolstoy of our time.
Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style by Tim Gunn (duh!)
started 4/12/07 finished 4/22/07
I count myself among an elite group known as the home sewer. That means that I make my own clothes. That means that when I watch Project Runway I am not watching for the same reasons as you. Yes, I like the reality show drama, but I also like to watch people sew and empathize. I teared up when I saw Michael's Pam Grier hot pants. I knew that whipping them up was not an easy feat. And I like Tim Gunn. And I like Tim Gunn's book. As I stated in an earlier post, it is not the best fashion book for me. But if you don't need a rudimentary lesson on classic style, knock yourself out. I am a little unnerved about him using his own name as the title, though. I wonder if he does Bikram Yoga.
Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why It Often Sucks in the City, or Who Are All These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me? by Jen Lancaster
started 4/22/07 finished 5/3/07
Another anticipated book. The sequel to Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, or Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office. I think these titles are pretty self-explanatory. They are the tales of a high-maintenance, highly paid executive who loses it all gradually after losing her job. Although her arrogance makes you initially not want to sympathize with her, her insanely sarcastic humor will draw you in.
The Beck Diet Solution by Judith Beck
started 4/22/07 finished 4/29/07
Another day. Another diet book. I checked this book out from work, but I really wanted to buy it. Unfortunately I was low on funds at the time (perhaps I should be reading more money books). Judith Beck's father created Cognitive Therapy and she has followed in his footsteps. She applies those principles to weight loss. There is no diet to follow. You can use whatever eating plan you want - Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, whatever. Beck focuses instead on our thinking patterns based around food. Very plausible program.
started 3/2/07 finished 3/7/07 (I read this fast; good sign)
Lots of good fiction out this year! I like to read books that take place in cities that I've lived in. You feel so sophisticated and urbane. When the character is running down the street and you know just what direction he is going in just from the description and you can actually see the buildings as they go by. Sepha Stephanos is an Ethiopian who came to America to flee the war there and go to school. He opens a small convenience store in the Logan Circle neighborhood and begins to carve out a life. Logan Circle (one of a million "circles" in D.C.) is undergoing gentrification (in the book and in real life). This novel then goes on to tell two stories: an immigrant's dream & nightmare of America and a neighborhood's dream & nightmare of gentrification. Neither handle it well.
The Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
started 3/8/07 finished 3/21/07
The conclusion of Parable of the Sower. The teenager from the first book is now a woman who has successfully created a new community based on the belief system that she created. Will Earthseed survive the challenges from the US government and the bigoted right-wing church that seems to be taken over? Will her child and family survive? I am mad at myself for not reading these books earlier.
The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer
started 3/22/07 finished 3/24/07
Yes, I read chick lit, too. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy better than the mini-series that aired last month. Way funnier! Way darker! Way more realistic! (for chick lit). And now, way more ironic now that the author is divorcing from her husband, producer Brian Grazer. I hope she is looking on the bright side of this divorce: she is no longer at risk of having an eye put out by that spiky hair of his when he rolls over in bed.
The Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy
started 3/26/07 finished 4/3/07
I love books about second generation citizens. The children of parents who emigrated from their home country to England or America to create better lives. The children usually turn out one of two ways.
- They take to their adopted country and its culture so well that they become embarrased of their parents and their old country ways. Usually the parents realize that their plan has backfired and they have raised children they don't recognize.
- They take to their adopted country but feel something is missing in their lives. They start to explore their birth culture, much to the parents dismay, and set off to take a trip back home.
This book is sort of a combination of both. Born to Jamaican parents in England Faith does every thing a proper English girl should. After graduating school and landing what she thinks is her dream job. But the racism on this job starts to smack her in the face and she starts to really see the injustice all around her that she never noticed before. It starts to affect her life so dramatically that her parents, who never shared their past with her, send her to Jamaica to find herself. Very good book.
started 2/4/07 finished 2/10/07
As most of you know I used to manage 2 Black bookstores here in Atlanta. In Black bookstores you find many of the same books that you find in the African-American sections of mainstream stores. But there is a whole genre of titles that are bestseller within the "Afrikan-centered Consciousness" community (of which I am a full-fledged member; I just leave my cape at home when I go to Buckhead). This is one of those titles. Like most holistic health titles, it focuses on vegetable based diet and nutrition, alternative healing practices, and detoxing from self-destructive habits. The difference is that it is told within the context of the history of Afrikan people and the physical, emotional, and spiritual ramifications of White supremacy. There is a lot of useful information, but there was quite a bit that left me scratching my head at his conclusions. It stays on my health bookshelf (yes, I have one just for that) anyway.
The Cure: Heal Your Body, Save Your Life by Timothy Brantley
started 2/5/07 finished 2/11/07
One of the best books on natural healing that I have lately (and my current lifestyle habits notwithstanding, I read a lot). He became a natural health practitioner in response to his mother's battle with cancer and his own health challenges. Through trial and error, common sense and many wrong diagnoses from medical doctors, he healed himself and others. Don't let the kudos from Sylvester Stallone turn you away from this book. I am pretty sure that Brantley isn't responsible for the steroid and growth hormone use.
An Original Man: The Life & Times of Elijah Muhammad by Claude Andrew Clegg III
started 2/4/07 finished 3/22/07
Every February, in honor of Black History Month, I read either a classic work or a biography of a prominent African-American. This book is out of print now, but I bought a copy at the $5 black bookstore in the West End Mall by my apartment. (Due to inflation, I am now told it is the $7 black bookstore in the West End Mall). Unfortunately, I really didn't learn anything new about the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that I hadn't already learned in other readings on the Nation of Islam or Malcolm X.
Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas
started 2/11/07 finished didn't
I hate not finishing a book. Especially one that I read about in the esteemed New York Times book review. Especially one that is well received and got pretty good reviews. It was just a case of not the right time to read this book. The story is about a Black man married to a White woman (from a prominent Boston family) and the father of 3 children. He loses his job and his family losing their place to live. While his wife takes the children to stay with her family for the summer, it is up to him to pick up pieces of his life to support his family and save his marriage.
I just didn't' seem to have patience for him and his plight. Probably shouldn't try to read a book about an unemployed black man and his disappointed white wife during Black History Month.
The New Moon's Arms by Nalo Hopkinson
started 2/15/07 finished 2/25/07
Whatever she writes, I will read. That is how much I love Nalo Hopkinson. I am relatively new to the science fiction genre, coming to it as an adult and not as a pimply-faced adolescent. (Come to think of it, I didn't really get pimples until I was an adult either. I was a beautiful smooth-skinned teenager....but I digress). Rather than using some far off planet and it's creatures as a foundation this book, she uses themes related to Africa and the Middle Passage to tell her story. A woman in mid-life buries her father and begins to notice things reappearing from her childhood. First it is small things like toys, soon a whole orchard from the island she was raised on (that disappeared in a storm) shows up next to house she is currently living in. A parallel story is told about sea lions that start to go missing from the local zoo. After you read this go back and read all of her books.
Friday, July 6, 2007
- We share the same birthday (today)
- We both love Vitamin Water
- We both been shot a whole buncha times (if you count my childhood immunizations)
- We both like to do stuff over and over - He makes the same song again & again (Candy Shop, Magic Stick, that song about the amusement park) - I am turning 40 for the third time.
Others that share this birth date:
Frida Kahlo - we both have facial hair
Sylvester Stallone - I walked up those steps in Philadelphia once
The Dalai Lama - aren't our similarities obvious?
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Healthy Living From the Inside Out by Mariel Hemingway
started 1/6/07 finished 1/14/07
I am a sucker for healthy, holistic living books. Especially when written by people who were not always so healthy. This covers nutrition, fitness, spirituality. I loved this book so much that I begged the publisher for a free copy. (Bookseller perks!)
Hell to Pay by George Pelecanos
started 1/12/07 finished 1/17/07
Hugh Holton was my favorite mystery writer. This Chicago police officer brought the streets of his city alive through the characters in his books. Since his passing in 2001, I have been looking around for someone to fill his shoes. George Pelecanos is one of those currently in rotation. The first book I read by him was King Suckerman which I picked up because I heard that Puff Daddy (as he was called then) had purchased the movie rights. Since then I have slowly been reading all of his works. The streets of D.C. (the streets I grew up on) that he writes about are complicated and dangerous and colorful. If you like the television shows Homicide: Life on the Street & The Wire, then you will love his work.
Total Chaos: The Art & Aesthetics of Hip-Hop by Jeff Chang
started 1/14/07 finished 1/23/07
Jeff Chang's last book, Can't Stop, Won't Stop, is my favorite hip-hop book of all time. I consider it to be the definitive history book on the art form taking into account all of the elements that came into play to make it happen: politics, culture, economics. This book was a little too scholarly. It is an anthology that means well, but I felt they just analyzed hip-hop within an inch of it's life.
This Year I Will... by M.J. Ryan
started 1/14/07 finished 1/25/07
Another one of the countless self-help books that I read on the road to my transformation (see blog title). Alas, it is also another one that I didn't utilize fully. But I think I liked it.
The Long Mile: The Shango Mysteries by Clyde Ford
started 1/26/07 finished 2/3/07
The first in a series. I picked it up because of the Shango reference. I read a lot about the Ifa & Santeria traditions and wanted to see how that was used. Very good first book. About a former policeman who gets out of prison and sets out to find out who framed him, clear his name and keep his teenaged son of the streets. Looking forward to reading the next book, Deuce's Wild, which is sitting on my shelf.
Beyond Temptation by Brenda Jackson
started 1/24/07 finished 1/26/07
Part of the Arabesque African-American romance line. Yes, I read romances. Sometimes you are in the mood for a happy ending. And these aren't swashbuckling pirates ripping bodices...these are middle and upper-middle class Black folk falling in love, having some sort of conflict or solving some mystery and living happily ever after. Can't remember exactly what this one was about, but I love all of Brenda Jackson's books.
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
started 1/26/07 finished 1/31/07
Another book I should have read a long time ago. Loved this. A young girl in a sort of mildly post-apocalyptic America, sets out to create a community based upon a belief system she creates. Loved it! Lots of political and religious themes set in the future but could be totally applicable to today. I got lost in this book.
started: 1/1/07 finished: 1/10/07
I am not the most fashionable person in the world. Especially now that none of my cute clothes fit and there is a dress code at my job now for supervisors. I look like a schlump most days at work. But there is a fashionista in my heart and one day she will burst out and show herself. And when she does, I will be ready (unless I mistake her appearance for a heart attack and head to Grady Hospital instead of Bloomingdale's) because of Mr. Bayou. Bradley Bayou has designed for a lot of women, but the only two that concern me are Oprah Winfrey and Queen Latifah. He knows how to dress all women. This is not a book that you read cover to cover. You identify your shape (triangle, hourglass, etc.) combine that with your height and weight and that determines which of the 48 "fitting rooms" you belong in. Easy, easy, easy. Each fitting room describes your "blessing" and your "curse". Then Bayou lists what you can and cannot wear for your body type with clear descriptions and pictures. Personnally, I am in fitting room 11.4, Tall, Full, Hourglass. When I lose these 40-50 pounds (more on that later) I will move all my things into fitting room 10.4 Tall, Medium, Hourglass. As long as I keep Tall & Hourglass, I'm cool.
I've read all of the recent "how to dress'' books and ...sorry Tim Gunn, Trinny & Susannah....this is the best one by far! I made a copy of my fitting room pages and now have them hanging above my sewing machines.
started: 1/1/07 finished: 1/11/07
This book is a staple for Black Feminists. Having managed 2 African-American bookstores, you would think that I would have read this by now. Oh, well...
Now, one of the downsides of reading so much is that I don't retain information for long after I'm done. That said, I think the subtitle explains it nicely: black women and self-recovery.
How do Black women hold themselves together while navigating through white supremacy, male supremacy, the sometimes complicated dealings with other women (Black & White), and self-sabotage? hooks explores all of these issues and gives thoughtful solutions for self-recovery.
I read a lot. I work in a bookstore. I have lots of books in my apartment. But it seems that I am not reading as much as I used to. So, this year I am keeping a list...and I am sharing it with others.
I do other stuff, too. I sew, crochet, watch incredible amounts of television (maybe that's why I'm not reading as much), worry about my weight and sleep. Maybe I will tell you guys about that stuff as well (the sleeping blogs will be riveting.)