Friday, August 29, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Even though I am surrounded by them all day, I just couldn't muster up enough enthusiasm to read the Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Unlike Doret, I don't read books geared to young readers and usually run in the other direction. (It wasn't until the third book came out that I finally gave in and read Harry Potter!) As the series grew in popularity, I was less and less interested. Then I read this post by one of my favorite authors that put the last nail in the coffin (bad vampire reference).
So, while I was on vacation I looked around and couldn't find anything to read.
Damali Richards is a spoken word artists who is signed to Warriors of Light Records. After her concerts, though, she and her label mates hunt vampires and demons. They make sure that people like us don't have to know these figures exist. But when other artists signed to Warriors of Light and another label, Blood Music, start dying, Damali and her Guardians start to thing that something is amiss. These brutal kills don't fit the m.o. of regular vampires and demons. Something new is out there and the violence is ramping up fast.
Banks' illustration of the vampire world is intricate and imaginative. The story of Damali and how she was "chosen" to be a Vampire Huntress was a history lesson that included Africa and ancient societies in a way that has never been done. The diversity in the book is refreshing. Everyone is represented. This is not your run of the mill Dracula tale (although he is mentioned and portrayed as a kind of rogue, attention- & power-seeking vampire).
I can't wait until next payday so I can pick up the next one! Oh, and although I am not a person easily scared, I made sure to read this only in the daytime - just to be safe.
The Good Lord (herself a seamstress, I believe) sent me the perfect pattern to get my back on my sewing horse.
I didn't have to make any adjustments - at 5'9" I usually have to lengthen the legs and my hips usually are a size larger than I want to admit - just sewed it straight out of the envelope.
I made View C because I am a cargo pants fanatic and currently can't get into any of the ones that I own.
Also, using this tan (almost green) fabric, it kind of fits in with the dress code at work.
The fit isn't perfect. It whiskers in the front and is a little snug around the hips, but it has a touch of stretch in it and will loosen up with wear.
Sorry for the bad pictures, but at this time, I am my only photographer!
Next up is a straight skirt with the remaining twill fabric.
My goal is to add basics to my wardrobe as it is pretty pitiful. My budget doesn't allow for any fabric purchasing so I am currently shopping from my stash. However, the fabric that I own is all over the place, stylistically! We'll see if, by the time I am finished, any of the garments that I make actually go together!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
started 7/28 finished 8/3
I wanted to read this book as soon as it came out in May, but wasn't able to get to it until now. I've mentioned before that I used to manage 2 African-American bookstores here in Atlanta and being in those positions gave me immediate membership in..."The Concious Community". This is a sub-culture of African-Americans that prides itself on "knowing who we really are", i.e. our place in history before and after the Maafa. There are no specific leaders or mouthpieces (definitely not Jesse and/or Al). The Community includes members of several different spiritual practices (Nation of Islam, Rastafarians, Black Hebrew Israelites, Ifa, as well as traditional Western religions), so there is no specific place of worship. The members are primarily vegetarian, although there are meat eaters, too (but definitely no pork). There are no structured meetings, except at Kwanzaa. But there is something of a reading list: The Miseducation of the Negro, anything by J.A. Rogers, Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, and Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan (affectionately known as Dr. Ben) among others. Black Classic Press, started in 1978 by former Black Panther Paul Coates, was fundamental in keeping Black bookstores stocked with the knowledge and history of Africans in America. Coates would find out-of print and forgotten works by Black scholars and re-publish them.
Ta-Nehisi Coates' memoir takes place during a time when the Conscious community was really starting to flourish (due in part to the Anti-Apartheid movement and Spike Lee's Malcolm X movie), but the crack epidemic is exploding as well. Using the hip-hop lyrics of the time as chapter headings, Coates relates his and his brother Big Bill's adolescence in inner-city Baltimore as they traverse the many worlds they come across. Ta-Nehisi was more of the dreamer, while Bill was more at home with what the street had to offer. The best part of this book is the role of Paul in his son's lives and how he steers them toward manhood with input from the family (related and created) that surrounds them.
I think this book will resonate with a lot of people - those in the Conscious community who rarely see ourselves in print; parents of African-American sons; people who came of age during the dawn of hip-hop but not necessarily in New York. Coates' writing is lyrical and fresh and I look forward to more from him.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
by Lauren Weisberger
started 7/22 finished 7/28
Maybe I'm just more of a reader than a fabulous fashionista, but this book was a disappointment. I've been in one of my moods lately, so the fiction I have been craving has been pretty breezy, light and funny (stay tuned for a major romance binge later). This book just wasn't as enjoyable as The Devil Wears Prada.
Chasing Harry Winston follows three friends over the course of a year as they make a pact to step out of their comfort zones and make a change to their behavior. Emmy, a serial monogamist with little experience with men, finds out that her boyfriend has left her for his personal trainer. On the recommendation of her friends, she decides to be more sexually adventurous. Adriana, a spoiled Brazilian beauty (they're everywhere these days) who has no job and lives off her trust fund, vows to do the opposite. She will stop all of her trysts and try to settle down with one man - an get an engagement ring within the year. To the others Leigh has the most perfect life - her dream job, a successful boyfriend who worships the ground she walks on, and a fabulous apartment. While she doesn't join in the vow to change, she has a few secrets that she must work out.
The problem that I had with the writing is that a lot of the scenes felt rushed and incomplete. For example, in one part Leigh is meeting with an author whose book she is editing. He tells her to come back to speak with after she has read the whole manuscript. The scene stops there and the next one starts with her back in NY relaying the episode to her friends. It seemed like there could have been more interaction with her and the author. This happened a few times, like Weisberger was hurrying to get the girls to the end of the year and have everything resolved. I fault her editor.
It's okay, but get it from the library or wait for it to come in paperback. Or maybe the inevitable movie.