Sunday, May 17, 2020

At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast BrazilAt Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil by Tobias Hecht

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I anticipated a longer book. The subject of street children in Brazil entails so much suffering and paranoia for those who live this reality, it seems even more unjust to have a slim volume. I appreciate that Hecht provided the reader with follow-ups of the children. The only solution to the issue is human empathy. It would enable the government to provide more services for the poor and people would gain more energy to sustain their families and themselves. This is not of criticism of Brazil but this faces the world at large.

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Sunday, May 3, 2020

Never Sit If You Can Dance: Lessons from My MotherNever Sit If You Can Dance: Lessons from My Mother by Jo Giese

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this in the bathtub all night. I feel blessed to be aware of Babe. What a remarkable woman! I wish she could've lived longer to see her Mother's Day bonanza. Nonetheless, her life overflowed with joy and love. Babe was a woman to emulate.

Cheers to feminine greatness!

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Friday, March 13, 2020

Billie Holiday: Wishing On The MoonBillie Holiday: Wishing On The Moon by Donald Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I appreciated the meticulous research that Clarke presents in this biography. I think the negative reviews come from people who aren't deeply fascinated with Lady Day. Clarke proves compassionate towards her and reveals that she experienced far more joy than most of us imagine when we think of her. It disappointed me that so many of her associates didn't rate her as intelligent. To have such innate skill and not come equipped with intelligence, that's disparaging. I knew she hadn't received much formal schooling but I thought she would have been perceived as smart. One of her friends, however, did admit that she had plenty of mother wit.

I would urge anyone with a curiosity or fascination about Billie Holiday to read this biography.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Baby GirlBaby Girl by Lenora Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Extremely realistic. It pains me that so many girls can identify with Sheree. Sheree's smart but petty. She admits that she competes with other girls for her no-good boyfriend, Damon. I can't relate but I have known girls who were that foolish. She learned the crucial lessons once her son was born.

I don't think this book was too graphic for teen girls. I think the author spared us much explicitness.

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Monday, March 2, 2020

More evidence of why spinsterhood is wonderful

I just read an article about a centenarian in the Bronx of New York City named Louise Signore. She reached 107 in 2019 and credited her longevity to never having been married. She was the oldest of her siblings and they had surpassed 100 as well. Miss Signore proved remarkable: she still possessed lucidity and physical agility plus she still looked attractive. 

On a saucier note, I watched and read briefly of an 83-year-old MILF. A sexy dresser with a jazzy haircut, Hattie Retroage looks her age but doesn't behave within the expectations. I am not offended by anyone choosing to explore their sexuality. Yet, at any age, I'd want to explore sexually within a loving, stable romance. Hattie ventures bravely: she finds men on dating apps and then meets them in a bar. If they attract her, the pair have a wild night in her apartment. That would quickly tire me because getting intimate with a stranger for me is a no-no. Too many criminally insane people. But perhaps she has sharp intuition. 

All power to both of these ladies.   

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Sex After . . .: Women Share How Intimacy Changes as Life ChangesSex After . . .: Women Share How Intimacy Changes as Life Changes by Iris Krasnow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't get the bad reviews. What dissatisfied the other readers so miserably? I found it inspiring that so many women achieved soulful sensuality no matter the circumstance. It pays to be assertive if you want anything meaningful in life. In our era, there are so many preventive measures that no one has to endure a miserable sex life. Cheers, Iris Krasnow!!

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

No Shame in My Game: the Working Poor in the Inner CityNo Shame in My Game: the Working Poor in the Inner City by Katherine S. Newman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book on my initiative. Judging from the cover, I thought it would be more recent. Still, this glance into the economics of inner-city NYC during the Clinton administration proved fascinating for me. I was a little girl during that time and I recall it as prosperous. Quite sobering now that I know scores of people were suffering mightily. It disappointed me that the author lost touch with Jamal.

It would be glorious if this book received an update.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Inside OutInside Out by Demi Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've always had a fondness for Demi Moore. Nonetheless, I am surprised at what was left out. She barely mentions Passion of Mind, no discussion of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and a brief interlude about Blame It on Rio. I had hoped to read a robust chapter on her time in Brazil. Blame It on Rio "could never be made today (89)" and indeed, she's honest. In the era following #MeToo, this film definitely would anger feminists and progressives. Maybe I need to sharpen my feminist lens because I get a kick out of this movie every time I watch it. Altogether, this was a pleasant read.

I am grateful Demi Moore is still alive.

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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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