Friday, January 24, 2020

Women in Art: 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired the WorldWomen in Art: 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am standing in a wider threshold of knowledge due to this lovely book. Miss Ignotofsky has accomplished greatness in her own right just by celebrating the legends. Each rendering proved true to each woman's beauty but still conveyed Rachel's interpretation. A question arose for me: I wonder if Erykah Badu has been influenced by Chakaia Booker? I am disheartened that Sokari Douglas Camp has been ignored by her tribesmen but receives acknowledgment by Britain. My heart feels receptive to reading more books by Rachel Ignotofsky.

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Billie Holiday: The Musician and the MythBillie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth by John Szwed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book renewed my intrigue in Lady Day. I loved learning about the descriptions of her personality: "sometimes rough, profane, caustic, and vengeful...witty, kind,and perceptive (107)." Szwed doesn't deny that she had a drug addiction but he doesn't penalize her for her shortcomings. It relieved me. He focused on her legend and her musicianship, for which lovers of Lady Day ought to be grateful.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Hard TomorrowThe Hard Tomorrow by Eleanor Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book but it's too short. 167 pages for any book I enjoy is too short. It seems this one wasn't fleshed out enough. What happened with Gabby? What happened with the organization? Did their house ever get built? What did they name their child?

Too many questions that could have been answered.

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Conversate Is Not a Word: Getting Away from GhettoConversate Is Not a Word: Getting Away from Ghetto by Jam Donaldson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Written in a conversational style, Jam Donaldson targets the privileged and disadvantaged members of the black community. She doesn't claim that the black community disregard the inner city. Quite the opposite. We must remember that brilliance has emerged from the plebeian segment of society. Yet, we must discipline ourselves in every facet of our lives to heal our curses. The white man will not save us, we can only save ourselves if we plant love for ourselves and our brethren.

This book had been on my wishlist for at least five years. In the winter of 2019, I bought a copy from I expected it to be longer. She finished the book at a respectable length. The desired audience wouldn't complete it if it exceeded 200 pages.

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Heeding Warren Buffett

In 2019, I read repeatedly about Warren Buffett urging people to read 200 books a year. I am enamored of the written word. Here's  recent history of my bibliophilia:

2017: 98 books
2018: 103 books
2019: 81 books

These feats were accomplished via hardcovers and softcovers. Ebooks and audiobooks hold no charm.

I have set the bar for 2020 at 200 books. So far, I have read 7 books.

Wish me success on this endeavor!
Sincerely, HarrietSincerely, Harriet by Sarah Winifred Searle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I related to Harriet because of her loneliness and invisible disability. Harriet's an only child who yearns for friends and eagerly writes letters to Hannah, who doesn't respond. Hannah's friend Ashley sends Harriet a letter imploring her to stop writing letters. Blessings for Harriet come with the presence of her loving and attentive parents plus a sweet-tempered neighbor

I don't intend to give the entire story away. But I will say, I wanted it to be longer and hope endures for Harriet.

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Midlife Mavericks: Women Reinventing Their Lives in MexicoMidlife Mavericks: Women Reinventing Their Lives in Mexico by Karen Blue
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This slender book had been languishing on my shelves for more than five years. I am glad I got around to it. Nothing too probing. It's enchanting and could influence many women to move to Mexico or anywhere else in the world.

If you are a woman who feels insipid and distressed about American life, read this book and learn about women who initiated their joy by moving to Mexico.

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Saturday, January 11, 2020

3 quotes to heed from Midlife Mavericks by Karen Blue

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. 
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don't do that by sitting around wondering about yourself. ~Katharine Hepburn

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.~Henry Brooks Adams  

I gleaned these quotes from Midlife Mavericks by Karen Blue. I bought this book more than five years ago and now I am reading it! Book 5 of the 200 books I intend to read this year. The 200 books in a year challenge inspired by Warren Buffett.  

Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Big Feminist BUT: Comics about Women, Men, and the IFs, ANDs & BUTs of FeminismThe Big Feminist BUT: Comics about Women, Men, and the IFs, ANDs & BUTs of Feminism by Shannon O'Leary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My main complaint lies in the fact that these comics were drawn only in black and white. I don't enjoy comics half as much when color has been abandoned. I remember three women: MariNaomi, Kristina Collantes, and Angie Wang, who seem to be the only Asians represented.

I did laugh at Beth Lisick's strip, a pleasant introduction to her work. I would have been doubly disappointed if Vanessa Davis and Gabrielle Bell had not been included. I am surprised at the fact so many older voices were not included. Could you imagine Mimi Pond and Lynda Barry sharing their perspectives on feminism? The fact that those two women lived during the second wave of feminism and have lived to see the third and fourth incarnations would have provided a richness. It would've been glorious.

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Ordinary GirlsOrdinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am so grateful that Jaquira Diaz survived to tell her life story. So lethal and so engaging. The catharsis she undoubtedly experienced while writing this memoir could heal so many women who mute their voices or forcibly muted. Our sexuality... our expression may not be visible but the anger that erupts when we don't allow ourselves to release it. Jaquira loved women from childhood and instigated violence due to the homophobia. Her behavior resembled a caged animal, unsatisfied with its surroundings. Her mother's insanity added to her fear that she would succumb to mental deterioration. Jaquira suffers from insomnia and depression.

I related to her anger and love for the written word. Also, her lack of scholastic ambition. I want loyal, lifelong friends. That's a keen difference. Jaquira had sidekicks with whom to commit wild deeds. Trouble shared develops a bond.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A. by Lili Anolik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't aware of Eve Babitz until I learned of this book. Another reviewer coined this book a work of "fan nonfiction." I agree. Anolik's devotion magnifies Eve. There will certainly be masses of women who relish Eve because of her defiant life and unbridled approach to love and sex. I love the ending of this book. It features photos of Eve from her wizened years, her prime, and her nubile phase. (Annie Leibovitz's photo proves alluring,fresh, and sensual.) I intend to read Eve's works because of this book.

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Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to ThemThe Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them by Roxanne J. Coady
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Veteran luminaries voiced the literature that proved pivotal for them. It felt poignant when Senator John McCain provided his offering for the book that influenced him: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. A tale of war and great love, Senator McCain undoubtedly saw Robert Jordan as a man to emulate, even in adulthood. I thought it was sweet that Frank McCourt appeared both as a contributor and as an inspiration for Lisa Scottoline.

Maybe I am revealing too much. Carry on!

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Friday, October 4, 2019

More quotes on reading

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new after all. ~Abraham Lincoln

The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television. ~Andrew Ross

I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. ~Charles de Secondat, Baron de la Brède et de Montesquieu, Pensées Diverses

To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations — such is a pleasure beyond compare. ~Kenko Yoshida

Sometimes, looking at the many books I have at home, I feel I shall die before I come to the end of them, yet I cannot resist the temptation of buying new books. Whenever I walk into a bookstore and find a book on one of my hobbies... I say to myself, "What a pity I can't buy that book, for I already have a copy at home." ~Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986)
Childfree and Loving It!Childfree and Loving It! by Nicki Defago
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If the book chooses the person, then bless this book! I willfully don't have children because 1) I cannot afford them at this stage of my life and 2) I am working on school. I am an only child because my mother didn't want to endure the physical agony of childbirth again. Therefore, my only options were to complain about my status or enjoy it. I selected the latter. In my adulthood, many of my cousins have become mothers and I don't know how they can say they enjoy life with so many children. None of them have become wealthy. (I say this because if they had money, we would all know it. No humility.) Why struggle with growing children?

I am keeping this for my Sociology courses.

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Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Goodness of Ordinary People: True Stories from Real AmericansThe Goodness of Ordinary People: True Stories from Real Americans by Faith Middleton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fascinating display of patriotism. I wasn't aware of Faith Middleton or her radio program until reading this book which had lingered in my bookcase for more than three years. Middleton hosts a public radio show in Connecticut, which pulls the beauty from humanity. A serene empath, she manifests compassion for the caller and the audience. It's an assurance that her listeners adore. My aunt would love to hear this lady. But we live on the West Coast. Maybe in the next life.

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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. PatRabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat by Patricia Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So grateful that this woman climbed from dismalness to prosperity. I couldn't believe what a trifling mother she had. Ms. Pat knows she's had guardian angels and I believe her. I refuse to spoil the story but for those who feel their life is in a state of impossible circumstances, you need to read this book.

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Monday, August 5, 2019

Day #2 of 20-Day Water Challenge

So far, I have drunk 66 ounces of water today. Hopefully, I can exceed 100 ounces. On Instagram, there's a description of the water challenge: 20 days of drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water to the exclusion of other drinks. Try to eat as healthily as possible. 

I am capable of 20 days with only water.
DaytripperDaytripper by Fábio Moon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The drawing style seems surreal. Yet, the stories feel truthful. I mourned and celebrated the tales. Is that how life is? This book arrived in my life at a sound time. The fact that Fabio and Gabriel come from Sao Paulo entices me evermore.

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Life Notes: Personal Writings by Contemporary Black WomenLife Notes: Personal Writings by Contemporary Black Women by Patricia Bell-Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's not apt to describe this book as draining but the emotional depth can render it laborious. I usually finish books in less than a week. But this one, I purposefully didn't rush through it. I often learn myself through the offerings of others. That's what took so long. It is not wise to rush knowledge of self.

I encourage black women who seek to learn of themselves to read this book.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Romance of LibrariesThe Romance of Libraries by Madeleine Lefebvre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An optimistic and reassuring book that love and romance avail themselves to all with open minds and hearts. I feel blessed to have read this collection. The entries proved short and sweet without preachiness. I intend to buy this in the near future. It astounds me how the best literature often lives unpraised.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Scorpion's Sweet VenomThe Scorpion's Sweet Venom by Bruna Surfistinha
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I learned of Bruna Surfistinha from an Essence article to which she contributed comments. Some people would consider this book smut but a juicy read doesn't disappoint me. I plan to get another copy if I allow my friend to have it. I love abundant sex lives! This book won't depress you if you're the same way.

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