What I’m Reading
I’m not exactly sure how to describe Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, but I can say that I can’t put the book down. I’m a few pages away from finishing it (devoured it in 3 days) and it resonated deeply with my being as a black woman. Her combination of poetry, essays and what I would call think pieces weave together to form an intricate and important collection of timely work in a society undoubtedly fueled by race.
Claudia Rankine’s bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.
I love being able to share my current book list with you and since I’ve discovered The New York Public Library’s mobile app I’ve been able to download and read tons of books right on my phone for FREE. A bookworm’s dream! I’m currently reading a few books including one that I didn’t think I’d enjoy, Luvvie Ajai’s I’m Judging You. Reason being for the initial trepidation has everything to do with this current “It’s cool to be mean/You can’t sit with us/the only way to get a few clicks is to degrade people” atmosphere. I thought this book would be filled with these snippy antidotes disguised as a smart or helpful read. I was wrong…sort of. It is steeped in shade. The title alone gives that away, however it’s a realistic view of many of life’s everyday situations. It’s not mean for the sake of being mean, it’s brutally honest and so far, I’m enjoying it.
Another book that I decided to give a try was Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. This novel follows the tale of two half-sisters born in different villages in 18th Century Ghana. The tale follows their lineage from their very different beginnings, one sister being married off to an Englishman the other imprisoned in the dungeon below and sold into slavery. It’s most definitely a page turner.
A few other books that I’ve downloaded: No Name in the Street by James Baldwin, Buddhism for Dummies and I’ve also been quite curious about The Nation of Islam so I’ve decided to try and read The Qur’an…I know, very light reading material over here J. Happy reading!
This isn’t entirely new news, but it’s new to me and since I made the trip down the block to my local library to renew my library card (I didn’t know they expired) specifically to try this app out, I thought I’d share the info with a few other New Yorkers who might not be aware of it. Simply put, the New York Public library decided to move with the change and now has an app that will allow you to “borrow” ebooks. The best part about it? No late fees! You download the app, enter your library card’s barcode number and pin and off you go! Like the library however, not all books are immediately available for download, some have waiting lists. For these books, you can reserve them through the app and then see a time period of when the book will be available. As a test, I reserved George Orwell’s 1984 which isn’t currently available for immediate download. There is a 4 week waiting period before an e version will be available (no coincidence there, this country is definitely starting to look eerily similar to the pages of the novel). If you enjoy reading and not paying late fees, check out the SimplyE NYPL app.
Well this comes right on time! Having just finished writing/typing my first draft of a screenplay for my next film project, I had a ton of questions before I began. The formatting alone is a cruel joke on first time screenwriters! This ebook spotted over at No Film School answered some great basic questions that seem to plague screenwriters. You can download the free ebook here via screenwriter John August’s website.
In anticipation of the new OWN series Queen Sugar, I decided to pick up a copy of the book that its based on by Natalie Baszile. My goal is to finish “Queen Sugar” before the premiere of the Ava DuVernay directed series in September. I flew through 80+ pages the first day that I purchased it so I don’t think this deadline will be a problem! So far it’s quite entertaining. I think reading it during this sweltering August heat allows me to further transform myself into the story of a city woman relocating to the bayous of Louisiana to revive a sugar cane farm passed down from her deceased father. Check out the trailer for the series below and support the book that spawned the series!
I’ve decided to start a new tradition. Every year, I’m going to purchase at least 8 books. Four that I’ve already read but no longer own and four that I’ve never read. So here we go! For 2016 my new purchases are:
The Power of I Am by Joel Osteen
Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung aka Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book
Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver
Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I’ve already started Chairman Mao’s little red book and so far, it’s interesting. I’m not afraid of the idea of communism in any way and this book was actually one of the required reading pieces on the original Black Panther’s reading list when the organization was first started.
As for my previously read books, I purchased up:
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Angela Davis: An Autobiography
Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglas
Assata: An Autobiography
I’ve read these books years ago but this was back when I frequented the library on an almost weekly basis so I never got around to purchasing them for my library. I have a pretty good collection of books already that have almost completely filled up an entire bookcase. I love reading and learning and I’m a fan of E readers (I own a couple) but there’s just something about owning hard copies of books that I don’t think will ever go away. Do you have any must own books in your library? If so, do share, I love hearing book suggestions!
Remember back in grade school when you were assigned books to read over the summer? I can clearly remember having to turn in 3 book reports during the first week of school and it SUCKED. Now as an adult I appreciate the idea of keeping young minds active over the summer and have decided to give myself a summer reading list. I’m going to be realistic because let’s be honest, who has time for LIFE in 2015? I’m going to make the time and TRY really hard to finish the books on my list. I’m giving myself until the official end of summer which is September 23rd. In no particular order here’s my summer reading list (some are books that I’ve already started, others I have not).
Like almost every black female my age, when Sister Souljah dropped The Coldest Winter Ever back in 1999 I thought it was the best book that I’d ever read. I finished it in two days and yearned for more. Unfortunately, fans waited until 2008 for what was believed to be a sequel to The Coldest Winter Ever but turned out to be a prequel highlighting Winter’s main love interest Midnight, not her. I actually have Midnight: A Gangster Love Story sitting on my bookshelf…I can’t get into it. However, last year Souljah released the sequel, A Deeper Love…, and although it is the story of her little sister Porsche I have to say it’s pretty damn good! Not The Coldest Winter Ever good, but I really got into it on my recent trip to Phoenix and am pleasantly surprised. I’m mid way and so far Winter’s character…I won’t spoil it lol, but I will finish this book by the end of the summer.
It’s no secret that I’m a Spike fan, so there is no excuse why it’s taken me a few years to finish this book lol. It’s not that it’s not good, I guess I just have to be in the mood to read it and when I am, I read a bit and put it away. This summer, I’m finishing it.
After seeing that fabulous documentary I must read her words. The real goal for myself is to read the book before the infamous movie comes out featuring my wife in my head Zoe Saldana but I’d like to have it in my possession and read by the end of the summer.
There’s also an African American Studies text book that I’d like to finish but I might give myself until the end of the year to finish it 😉
What books are you reading this summer?
First on my currently reading list is Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed edited by Megan Daum.
I guess I’m at that age (early 30’s) where I should want a husband, some kids, a dog and a yard…but the way my hustle is set up…lol
Seriously, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these things and guess what? THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH NOT WANTING THESE THINGS! I’m glad this book exists because it paints a very vivid picture of the choice not to have kids while being thrilled about the decision and living complete and full lives. For some reason people think that if you don’t have these things you are severely lacking several components in life and I’m here to tell you, we’re not! I was fortunate enough to have grown up in a household where I did not have the pressure of settling down and having a family by a certain age thrown on me by my parents. My family is rooting for me to do whatever it is that will make me happy, period. I’m not saying that one day I won’t want some kids, people and perspectives change, but right now I’m GOOD. These 16 writers have eloquently examined and explained why not having kids was the best decision for them and so far I’m thoroughly enjoying this read. If you’re one of those people who think life can’t be complete without a small village trailing behind you, you should definitely pick this up.
And The 7 Spiritual Laws to Success by Deepak Chopra. You know, for balance and shit.