All posts filed under: Thrive

on living life, from the mundane to the exceptional

Book 12: The Bluest Eye-Toni Morrison

I’ve been hearing people talk about the importance of this work for years, and yet it was one of the few texts by Toni Morrison I wasn’t particularly interested in reading. I added it to my list because it seemed like it was time that I learned for myself what all the discussion was about. Overall, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this book. It’s written in a way that makes it a bit hard to follow: it jumps from character to character, voice to voice, time period to time period. It wasn’t until midway through the book that I could follow the abrupt changes without having to re-read previous portions; checking character names so that I was clear about who was speaking and what time period we were in. I think this is one of those books that truly merits reading in the context of a classroom, where you can pause and discuss and reflect and have some guidance through digesting the material. In her foreword, Morrison writes: When I began writing …

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 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 …

All on a Mardi Gras Day…while sober

I was sober this Mardi gras as part of my year-long commitment to sobriety. Everyone was very concerned for me about how it would be without alcohol; how difficult it would be to just drink water (I don’t drink soda) while everyone else was in their own giggling, tipsy world. But it really wasn’t a big deal. I was armed with some cans of Lacroix for Nyx and Muses, had some fancy french soda during Orpheuscapade, and drank coffee and kombucha while I watched Zulu and wandered the quarter in the afternoon (I know, the kombucha sounds pretty crunchy-granola, but I think it’s a good beer substitute). While some of the magic, experienced through rose colored glasses (i.e., drunk goggles), was lost, most of it was still there. And it was the most alert and energetic Mardi Gras (MG) day I’ve had to date. If you’ve never been in New Orleans during Mardi gras (MG) season (yes, it’s a season, starting on Epiphany/January 6th until whenever Mardi gras lands on the day before Ash Wednesday), …

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 …