Month: March 2018

Book 11: All About Love: New Visions–bell hooks

Another admission: this is the first bell hooks work I’ve read cover to cover (I’m a terrible Oberlin grad, lol!) Anyway…I chose this book out of intrigue with the first sentence of the back cover description: “The word ‘love’ is most often defined as a noun, yet…we would all love better if we used it as a verb.” This work explores the meaning of love; how we typically define it, what that definition lacks, and the importance of creating an operational definition of what love is (and isn’t) in order to have a common place of understanding to be able to work towards healthy and functional relationships. It was heavy in content but had an easy flow about it, mixing research, narrative, and opinion. In the introduction she writes, Awesomely, our nation, like no other in the world, is a culture driven by the quest to love (it’s the theme of our movies, music, literature) even as it offers so little opportunity for us to understand love’s meaning or to know how to realize love …

Book 10: Silver Sparrow–Tayari Jones

This is another book that I came across through one of those lists that circulate of “books all black girls should read” or “the essential books black women should read in their 20s” or “the definitive list of black woman authors every black woman PERSON should know” or something of that sort. I thought it would be nice to add some more contemporary fiction to a list of books that are otherwise focused on heavy subject matter or are the autobiographies of women with tremendous lives. This was a fantastic story! And it was great to read a book that allowed me to get out of my head; I didn’t pick up a pencil to underline or write notes in the margin one time. It was another strangely timed read, with all the sudden surges in reality shows about polygamy on TLC, mostly centered around white families (it used to just be Sister Wives, but now there’s Seeking Sister Wife, and some other show). This was the story of a Black man with two families–a …

Book 9: Black Feeling Black Talk (1968)–Nikki Giovanni

I always shy away from reading poetry and remember, after I force myself to sit down and read it, why: it’s harder than reading prose. But it’s often so much more gratifying so then I wonder why I don’t read more poetry. Nikki Giovanni has an inexplicable way of communicating so much with so few words that it makes you have to read it again. And again. She’s got this rhythm in her writing, and her word play is wild; she may change the spelling of one word in a sentence to give a double meaning that’s just so…(a sound would better explain what it feels like than a word, a grunt with pursed lips and an ugly face of both agreement and disgust). I finished this in January, but after the Black Panther phenomenon of February, I think my timing with this post is right on. Black Power (For All the Beautiful Black Panthers East) But the whole thing is a miracle–See? We were just standing there talking–not touching or smoking Pot When the …

When I’ll be happy.

I’ll be happy when… I’ve lost the weight I can wear a crop top I have the flexibility of my 13-year old ballerina self I can do a straddle split I can do a standing split I can hold a handstand in the middle of the room I can “jump-through” on a yoga mate I find a partner Someone asks me to marry them I get married I buy a house I feel like a REAL academic… …I publish an article …Get accepted to present at a conference …Give a talk at a university I find the perfect eyeshadow pallet I learn how to contour I find an anti-wrinkle night cream that doesn’t cause my face to break out and actually gets rid of fine lines I own the perfect shade of red lipstick that doesn’t dry my lips out AND doesn’t transfer I buy that quippy t-shirt/mug/tote with the trending pop-culture reference I create a curated wardrobe The house is clean I have all of my desired furniture inside my house I have a …

Book 8: The Friends–Rosa Guy

I don’t recall now how this book ended up on my list but I’m glad that it did. Rosa Guy is known for writing books aimed at young adults, this one included, but it didn’t make the novel any less engaging. It was both a coming of age story and the story of culture shock as a young Caribbean girl adjusts to life in NYC. It dealt with the tensions between different diasporic groups (Black Caribbeans v. Black Americans), class differences, the difficulty of having healthy relationships be they familial, friendships, or romantic, and just other relatable life issues. Just about every book I’ve read on my list so far, has raised the issue of police violence, whether fiction or autobiographical. Its being the focus of my dissertation probably makes me it jump out at me more often than before I started this work, but there’s something to be said about how integral police violence has been, and continues to be, to the “Black experience.” No matter what decade you look at, the literature and …