Saturday, November 18, 2017

What I’ve been doing the past few weeks.

The past two months have been a time for me to re-evaluate a few things and prepare myself for the future. I’m reading of course...but I am also Knitting (and working a second job). I’ve had my ups and downs these past few months. I have felt stress come from all sides. Work, home, family, etc. Knitting has been a new form of mediation for me. I can’t wait to come home some nights just to pick my needles - turn on some music or an audiobook and just listen ans knit. Knitting has been a fun craft to learn and I have several projects planned. I can’t wait to start a very bookish inspired crafts. And maybe a few of them will be featured as giveaways.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Book just added to my TBR

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Mason doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up. Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—"not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault." Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek. There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Real meaning of T.H.U.G. Life: The BB reviews The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

During the course of the past few years we have at times been made aware of the deaths of unarmed people of color at the hand of law enforcement. These incidents are nothing new however, but in the 21st century everyone has access to video cameras so these incidents can be lived streamed for all of us to see. These deaths often lead to protests and sometimes even to riots (Think Freddie Grey and Michael Brown). But most of all these incidents leave people of color asking “Does my life matter” and “How would the media portray me if this was Me?”. As an person of color I can definitely say that also every incident seems personal and invokes a level of fear and weariness I have never experienced before. So when I found out that book about a police killing of an unarmed black youth was coming out I was excited but also very skeptical.
It was exciting to see a debut author (and a woman of color) taking on the topic. I felt that Angie Thomas was going to being a realness to the subject matter that may be missed if anyone else had attempted to write the narrative. I was skeptical about the book because I believed whole heartedly that a lot of the story would seem muddy, watered down and most of all ring false. I was afraid that the story would come off to clean and with no bite or sharp edges. I was pleasantly surprised to see that that didn't occur at all. What I discovered in the pages of The Hate U Give was a book that should immediately be thrust into the hands of every person I meet with a post note reading “READ ME IMMEDIATELY”. Thomas wrote something special - and something that fits our times.
The Hate U Give follows the experience of Starr Carter, an African American teen in California, shortly before and after she witnesses the shooting death of her best friend Khalil. What occurs from there is Starr’s need to reconcile the two sides of her life. The side that attends a predominantly white private school and dates a Caucasian boy. And the young woman with natural hair growing up in the hood in LA. A lot of this leads to conflict among Starr and one of her “friends” - she realizes all to quickly that her black identity is only okay at home and not okay with this one friend. Starr watches as her best friend from home is dragged through the mud - both by the media and by her classmates (none of which no him). At one point in the book some of Starr’s classmates stage a school wide walk out in honor of Khalil; but its later found out that they only did it so they could skip class. Starr then begins to notice she has let little things slide to get along with her one friend and so that she doesn't rock the boat. She ignores racially insensitive comments or jokes. She just does not allow it to stick to her. When Starr finally erupts no one is expecting it - to her friends she has become the “angry black girl”.
What I found so amazing about this book is that I have been exactly where Starr is. I know what its like to feel at war with myself over these issues especially in the classroom and with friends. I had a profound moment of clarity with a friend after the death of Michael Brown. Our discussion was going well until she started the victim blaming. Accusing him of being the aggressor etc etc. I literally had to stop the conversation and at one point told her that if she kept talking I would say something I couldn't take back. Since then our “friendship” has been different. Also, I know what its like to be made to feel like an outcast in my own community because of certain cultural things I enjoy that are not necessarily considered “black”. Much of Starr’s journey to self discovery I have been down as well. Thomas made Starr extremely relatable.
One thing I found interesting about the book was the title. At first I didn't understand what The Hate U Give had to do with a police shooting until I read that it was a play on the Term T.H.U.G. Life; which was coined by the late hip hop artist (and prolific writer) Tupac Shakur. Once the term was explained in the book I had and aha moment. It made a hell of a lot of sense - and reminded me that hate and bias are a never ending cycle. If we teach it to the young they may never be rid of it - the cycle just keeps going and everyone is screwed. Shakur wrote a metaphor for life (that is multifaceted) that is true not only within the hip hop culture but outside of it as well. The Hate U Give is indeed a book I will be discussing for years to come. I really can not wait to see what Thomas does next. And I am looking forward to the movie adaptation of the book that is being filmed as a type this. I gave The Hate U Give 5/5 stars on
Quotes that I loved:

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Happy Fall

Here's to good books, cozy sweaters, warm fires and lots of Pumpkin Goodness! Have a blessed Autumn Season!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Are You Happy with your Life? My review of Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

“Are you happy with your life?” What a sinister question that can be…depending on whose asking. But what if you are asking yourself this question. But what If that you is not really you as you know yourself but a person from an alternative universe. This is what happens to Jason. In his normal life he is a community college Physics professor. He is married to the woman of his dreams, has a beautiful son. And a easy going, beautiful life. He is happy. He believes his wife is happy. But as his alternative self asks: Is he really happy with this life? Well his alternative self gives him a chance to find out when he decides that he wants to swap lives. In the alternatives life, Jason is a well known, well accomplished scientist. He never married, never had children and he is cold to everyone in his life. What happens is a wild ride through alternative lives in order to get back to his family. Jason must see his wife, and son again and most of all he needs to find a way to get his alternative self out of their lives.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch was one hell of a read and it was a very thought provoking book. As I read it I begin to think what would like to be in Jason’s shoes? Could I be happy in that life? What would that life be like? Do I really want to know? Well, let me tell you this….If I had to deal with he same obstacles Jason did in his book then let’s just say I am better off not knowing.
What I loved about this book was that it was believable; what if science was advanced enough to allow us to see alternate universes. And what If when we stepped into those universes they were tailored directly to who we are as a person? The prospect is down right frightening; especially when you find out in the book that Jason can change each universe he enters simply by thought. If he thought he was going to witness his worse nightmare when he opened a door into the next universe than he did. Another thing that I loved about this book was the prose. It was easy and free and flowed quickly. Crouch did not bog you down with to much scientific jargon- which could have been easy to do. Dark Matter is a book that I would definitely recommend to those in love of sci fi that is in need of something different. And a book that will keep them guessing. I have Dark Matter 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

First Impressions Are Everything: My thoughts on The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Five Chapters in)

I usually do not believe the hype of most new books but I did on this one. The Hate U Give is definitely not what I thought it would be. I expected it to be a safe, gentle book dealing with police brutality and the realities of African American life in a major city. I did not expect the first five chapters to be as raw and earth shifting as they were.
In this book we are introduced to Starr, a young African American teen living a typical American life in a bad neighborhood. Her parents have done all they can to protect her from the realities of the neighborhood that they live in. This includes sending her to a predominantly white private school that's almost an hour away from her home. Starr is not as sheltered as some may think; she has seen several things that no kid should. Things that would change most of us for the rest of our lives. Starr’s life shifts again when she goes to a party with her half sister and on the way home is witness to a police involved shooting. I am expecting this book to be a bit of a raw if not rude awakening for many that read it. Especially in the times that we live in. Just in 2017, 712 people have died at the hands of police. According to the Washington Post (link below) mental illness played a role in 1 in 5 of these deaths.
The Hate U Give presents us with a very important dilemma: Do POC (people of color) really have different experiences in America? Or is this all just hype? And when do we are a society say enough is enough; and will we be willing to put ourselves on the line to make sure real equality happens? Can some in our society ever truly acknowledge that race is a bigger issue then what we ever imagined it to be?
As a Person of color I definitely believe that Angie Thomas is tackling a subject that will make many uncomfortable but it a story that needs to be told nonetheless. I am looking forward to finishing this book.

For info on what inspired The Hate U Give Check out this video of Angie Thomas discussing the book:

Deadly Force Information:

Shiny New Book.....

Hey Lovelies I just recieved a beautiful new autographed copy of Jodi Meadows latest book Before She Ignites.

Can you see why I am so intrigued by this book ? Its YA (young adult), features dragons and the main character is a woman of color. Finally we are getting a sci fi YA character of color. I am really looking forward to curling up with this in the next few weeks. I will be sure to leave a first impressions post on here and on Litsy.

Here is the synopsis of the book:

Mira has always been a symbol of hope for the Fallen Isles, perfect and beautiful—or at least that’s how she’s forced to appear. But when she uncovers a dangerous secret, Mira is betrayed by those closest to her and sentenced to the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. Except Mira is over being a pawn. Fighting to survive against outer threats and inner demons of mental illness, Mira must find her inner fire and the scorching truth about her own endangered magic—before her very world collapses. And that’s all before she ignites (From Amazon).

Here is a fan made book trailer I found as well: