Year: 2017

Book 5: Half of a Yellow Sun–Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

It should come as no shock that I know nothing about Nigerian history. We barely learn anything about American history beyond the anglo/christian/hetero/male perspective, so why would I expect to learn anything about the continent of Africa in general, let alone the history of one country in particular. Although Half of a Yellow Sun is fictional, Adichie did considerable historical research, using her family and friends, in addition to other documents, as sources. So for an introduction to the history of a newly independent Nigeria, this book was really interesting. But for the characters that she developed and the tale that she wove into this history, this book was fantastic! Admittedly, it started kind of slow. Not uninteresting, but not gripping either. She had to construct the setting, develop the characters, provide context, let you learn who/what/where/when/why.  All of a sudden though, this book becomes a page-turner. Of the 500 some odd pages I read about 350 of them over the course of a day and a half.  I haven’t sat and binge-read a book …

Book 4: Selected Poems–Gwendolyn Brooks

I don’t read much poetry. I don’t really read any poetry the way I did in my AP Lit class senior year of high school. It’s unfortunate, because there’s so much great poetry out there. But it’s also not surprising, because poetry can be difficult to read. Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize, and on the back of this book of collected poetry is this quote: “She is a very good poet, the only superlative I dare use in our time of misusage; compared not to other Negro poets or other women poets but to the best of modern poets, she ranks high.” In reading this collection, I learned two things:  Gwendolyn Brooks has a vocabulary that far exceeds mine. I spent many of these pages looking up words in the dictionary hoping it would help me better understand what she was saying. Sometimes it made all the difference; other times, I finished a poem and still had no clue. Maybe context would’ve helped, a teacher who knows the time period …

Book 3: The Coldest Winter Ever–Sister Souljah

I know that I’m super late, but if anybody happens to be later than me, this is a must read! I read this book like I (used to) binge TV series on Netflix, and it’s about 400 pages long. But it reads like you’re watching episodes of TV. It’s Power before Power existed, from a woman-centric perspective. The book summary: Ghetto-born, Winter is the young, wealthy daughter of a prominent Brooklyn drug-dealing family. Quick-witted, sexy, and business-minded, this teenage female hustler knows and loves the streets like the curves of her own body. But when a cold wind blows her life in a direction she never expected, her street smarts and seductive skills are put to the test of a lifetime.  That’s not a whole lot to go from. And reading this summary didn’t really prepare me for what I was about to read. So I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it and may think about it, because it was a good surprise. But honestly, this book should be required reading in …

The Lost Art of Writing

Remember when we used to write to each other with a pen on a piece of paper? We wrote notes and letters in our everyday communication, we sent cards for every occasion with personalized messages in addition to whatever was pre-printed, and we actually wrote out thank you cards? Everything is electronic now, the art of writing has faded from the practice of just about every age group, save for those older generations that never got swept up in the tech world. For kids, it’s especially tragic, because they don’t even have ability to say, ‘Hey! remember when we used to pass notes on sheets of loose leaf paper that had doodles and some of our notes from whatever class we were supposed to be paying attention in?’ Today it’s all rapid fire text messages from phones not so discreetly hidden underneath their desks, in between their knees, held with one hand, while they pretend not to be looking down in their laps. And the content of those texts are strings of three letter abbreviations, …

30 Restaurants: Dooky Chase & Drip Affogato

Part of my journey to 30 is to eat my way through 30 restaurants/eateries that I’ve never been to that either just seem like an interesting place or have been raved about by other people. The first two places I scratched off my list of 30 restaurants were visited for my birthday back in August. Dooky Chase: Despite living here for six years, I never managed to make it here. It was so nice!! Great ambiance, beautiful artwork, table settings with nice dishes and linens. What was really fascinating about dining here was thinking about all of the remarkable people who sat in these same rooms, from as recently as President Obama going backwards in time to the many civil rights activists, famous musicians, artists, and actors. It’s like eating in a time capsule. Not to mention all the beautiful artwork. The food was delicious, of course. I had a cup of gumbo and the shrimp clemençeau, both of which I’d order again in a second. I didn’t meet Leah Chase; it was move-in weekend …