All posts tagged: 30 Books

Journey to 30

Today begins my 30 days countdown to turning 30 years old! So I thought it would be the perfect time to share my Journey to 30 goals that I set just before my 29th birthday. In true form, I set some lofty (potentially over-ambitious) goals to work on over the last year of my 20s/in the approach to my 30s. I thought it would be cute to set goals in groups of 30 (of course), and gave myself a full 365 days to complete those goals, from the day I turned 29, to the day I turn 30. There were a healthy mixture of “30 to 30” goal types to keep things interesting, and then there were some other longterm/habit forming personal goals. 30 to 30 Goals Read 30 Books by Black Women Eat at 30 new restaurants in New Orleans Go on 30 “Dates” Lose 30 (pounds and inches combined) Contribute one thing to the house every 30 days Only login to Facebook once every 30 days Longterm/Habit Goals No Alcohol for the year …

Book 16: Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth–Warsan Shire

I first learned about Warsan Shire through Beyoncé. Her visual album, Lemonade, had all this great dialogue in between songs, and it turns out it was attributed to Shire, so of course I had to know more. She was born in Kenya to Somali parents and immigrated to the United Kingdom. What’s wild to think about is how crazy accomplished she is and we’re the same age. Almost exactly. Down to the month (August babies!). I had to pause a moment and think about what I was doing with my life when I see folks my age out there grinding hard and being recognized for their work. But let’s not dwell on making comparisons… This book is her first published work. And unlike some of the other poetry I’ve read on this Journey to 30, this felt more accessible. I think being a contemporary of the time period in which poetry is written does that. I still had some difficulties in understanding meaning, because although we’re from the same generation, she still comes from a …

Book 15: Homegirls & Handgrenades–Sonia Sanchez

Another book of poetry, another reminder of how difficult poetry is (can be) to fully grasp. I feel like to truly appreciate Sonia Sanchez I need to read this in a class with someone facilitating a discussion; someone who knows more about her, knows how to interpret her stylizations. I never could figure out what to do with the forward slash “/” separating words, especially “yo” and another word (i.e., “yo/arena of love”). Is it supposed to be read a certain way? Is there a double meaning I’m missing? I just have questions. And then, like Nikki Giovanni, some of the metaphors were so time and place situated, they went over my head. But in the anthology I have of Giovanni’s work, there’s an appendix with notes explaining the references. That being said, I enjoyed this book, preferring the haikus and shorter-stories more than some of the longer poems, probably because they were easier for me to understand, but I’ll have to revisit Sanchez, hopefully with some more context. Haiku i see you blackboy bent toward …

Book 14: The Color Purple–Alice Walker

I’ve seen The Color Purple with Whoopie Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Oprah, no less than ten times. I’ve also seen the (first) broadway version of story and would like to see the more recent (and apparently better) broadway musical. But I’ve never read the book. Surprisingly, I didn’t finish the book and think about how terrible the movie was in comparison like I do with most movie adaptations of books. Maybe it’s because I watched it before I read it (vs. reading and then watching), but I think the movie did the best possible job of covering the vast time span of the novel and staying true to essential scenarios within the novel; there are parts of the movie that were taken from the book almost verbatim. But all that being said, the book was still considerably more interesting. Obviously, a blockbuster film directed by a white man, adapted from a novel that deals very heavily with issues of racism and imperialism, is going to be filtered out to focus on the more palatable storylines …

Book 13: The Taste of Salt-Martha Southgate

In essence, this novel is about flawed people with a flawed family, who try to do right, try and lead normal productive lives, and still find themselves in messy, difficult, overwhelming situations. What was refreshing about The Taste of Salt, was that it had atypical Black characters with both typical Black-life problems and typical life problems in equal measure, presented in that universally relatable way that most movies and stories with all white characters are. By that I mean, there’s this tendency to write and view the stories of predominately white characters as being the “everyman’s” story, where the scenario could have happened to anyone, and a white face is the essential blank canvas with which to ensure those scenarios relate to all audiences. When you get stories with predominately POC characters, even if their issues are just as relatable, they suddenly get framed as a niche market–a Black/Latinx/Indian/fill in the blank coming of age story; the same scenarios are presented but are eclipsed by cultural identifiers. And I’m not saying we should all strive to …