All posts tagged: Journey to 30

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 …

30 Restaurants: Palace Café & Country Club

Palace Café This is a place I’ve passed by countless times–for a long time without ever giving it a thought as to whether I should eat there. A few years ago I started thinking that I really should make a plan to go and check it out, and stick around downtown for awhile, which isn’t something I do very often. It finally became a convenient thing to do once I’d made movie plans at Canal Place. I’d finish class around 5 PM, already be downtown, go to Palace Cafe for dinner, and then pop over to see Wakanda Forever! (i.e. Black Panther). I wasn’t terribly hungry when I came, so I just got a couple different appetizers and dessert. I started with the crabmeat cheesecake (which had a pecan crust, mushroom sauté, and creole meunière sauce)–I don’t know that I loved this, but it was interesting. I also got a cup of gumbo that was very good. For dessert we got Bananas Foster with the whole table side performance. It was cool and our waitress gave …

30 Restaurants: Munch Factory & Coco Hut

January was eating at black-owned restaurants. Munch Factory The Munch Factory recently moved from Gentilly to the Lower Garden District, which made my visit that much more likely. I decided to take myself on a date and dine alone while reading the Audre Lorde I reported on in a past post. This place is (sadly) one of fewer and fewer restaurants run and owned by New Orleans natives; particularly by young Black locals. It’s been called ‘contemporary Creole’ food, but I just call it damn delicious! I didn’t get to try much during this visit, because I was alone and couldn’t take bites from my husband’s plate if he had come, but everything I ate was lick-the-plate good. The gumbo is hands down my favorite in the city. I’ve gone back again, had the gumbo again, and my feelings are the same. Then I had blackened redfish served on grit cakes, topped with jumbo lump crab meat. Perfection. My mouth is watering thinking about it. On that second visit with a group of people, in …

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 …