"Book On It"

I have a bookmark in "Faith" by Jimmy Carter. One of my dreams is to sit in his children's bible class for I think it is a beautiful way to be active in his church particularly for a young generation. He speaks directly to the reader as though you are sitting on a front porch with a glass of lemonade sinking in wisdom. 

I caught up with a friend who has book shelves in her home, so she is definitely an adult. On one of the shelves was "Annihilation" by Jeff VanderMeer. I loved the film adaptation released earlier this year. I am excited to sink my mind into the novel especially since the audiobook is wildly popular as I had waited on a long list. 

"Book On It"

I have a bookmark in the novel "Peach" by Emma Glass. It's on my reading list for this year and one of the thinnest books I have read in a long time. The story is about the titular character recovering from a traumatic sexual assault. Should it be a good read, I'll be done by the end of the week. 

I enjoyed every page of "The Shape of Water". You do not need to decide to read the book before watching the film. The book is much more fleshed out. Hilarious, descriptive and Zelda is a much better character in the book. 

"Book On It"

One of my bookmarks is in "The Shape of Water" by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus. I did not even know this book existed! So I held delight when I saw the book on my local library bookshelf. My thoughts on the film are here

I am also listening to "I Can't Breathe" by Matt Taibbi, another book on my 2018 reading list. Having a balance between fiction and non-fiction keeps my mind sharp and actively what I achieve to do as an avid reader. Matt's book "The Divide" was incredibly enlightening and I do not expect anything less from the book I'm getting into. 

I also have a few audiobooks on hold as I love listening to them running, cooking, writing and washing dishes (Not doing all of these activities at the same time of course!). I do a dance each and every time I see a book I'm interested in reading is an audiobook. Even when I see the book has a ten week waitlist.  

"Book On It"

I finished listening to "Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenson on audiobook. If I had a dollar for every time I gasped and wowed at the stories of Bryan's clients on death row, I would give a great sum to the Equal Justice Initiative, which Bryan established. The stories give further perspective on the societal factors that link to why death row inmates, in the case of this book, were falsely accused. Also, the incredible work Bryan has diligently achieved. 

A bookmark has been placed in "Trauma & Recovery" by Dr. Judith Herman as my next read. This book has been on my reading list for a while to understand the aftermath people endure from traumatic and violent experiences. I'm eager to see what I can learn from this book. 

"Electric Dreams" is still being worked through. I'm wrapping my mind around the characters and the worlds they are entering. I along with them. As one of my goals is to read more sci-fi this year, it's a newer genre for my reading tastes. 

"Book On It"

I always browse the bookshelf at my local library. I find a book gem that either I've been eager to read or did not know I'd be interested in reading. Lo and behold this week, I saw "Future Home of the Living God" by Louise Erdrich, a book on my reading list for this year. I'm getting in the rhythm of the narrator. I'm eager to read how the book continues to move.

After seeing "Ready Player One" last week, the novel is on my list. I'm curious to read how the visionary film brought the elements of the story. The film is a fun, nostalgic ride talking about the relationship to reality and escape. I've yet to read a book that grabs me in a film as well. The only thing close is the Sookie Stackhouse series, which the "True Blood" television show is based on. 

"Book On It"

I read "What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day" by Pearl Cleage in the 10th grade. A worn copy boasted on my English teacher's bookshelf. Years later, I am finally reading more of Cleage's work as I still salivate on that novel. "I Wish I Had A Red Dress" is a beautiful revelation of friendship, pop culture realness and love. Plenty of gems on each page as Joyce, the main character, navigates grief and discovery in a familiar setting of Idlewild, MI. 

I am listening to "Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenson. I love audiobooks for another way to engage with a story as I began this one on the way to the grocery store. While I am only in the introduction, I am enjoying learning Bryan's career journey, the hesitation of relaying information to a death row inmate as an intern with the Southern Center for Human Rights and hearing his perspective on the path that led him to establish the Equal Justice Initiative. I also wanted to get into the story before the release of the film adaptation. 


"Today worried you yesterday and all is well"

I am gasping through the book, "Evicted", by Matthew Desmond. This is one of the books on my reading list for 2018 and there is a reason I waited so long to do read it. The book focuses on impoverished residents in Milwaukee in 2008. Poverty keeps the residents in a cycle of eviction and survival. Desmond reports beautifully how the residents are not held down by the circumstances they are placed in due to a number of factors. 

The stories are astonishing. Arleen is a mother profiled along eight families. The decisions from psychological and physical abuse fills her with regret. She carries fierce energy to raise her two boys, Jafaris and Jori in their dire neighborhood and living situation. 

I'm not even 100 pages into the book and there is a lifetime of stories. Gratitude pours from my heart as does empathy. This book is written remarkably with details that make you, as a reader, feel like you are in the spaces of the families. 


"Short Story: A Banner Love"

I like to see him in the morning, when the world feels still. He is fresh. He keeps me nourished. I can go all around the world without leaving my kitchen.

At night, I wash my face with a cleanser and then apply moisturizer I discovered through him. My fingertips soothe my skin from the day. I am full of love and chicken teriyaki. In the morning, he has a meal waiting for me after a long rest.

The anticipation of walking through his door is exciting. I pick up a newsletter to see what is new so we could have something to talk about and have something new to try.

However, there are times I have been with him and felt disappointed. He will introduce a snack to me, knowing that I have faint spells or HANGRY can make its presence. It is more than the snack. It is that he did not take more time to get to know me before suggesting Dried Sweet Pineapple. I guess that is also bound to happen with any new relationship.

Moving to a new city is always hard. My aunt shouted, “Make sure you start dating!” I was more concerned about finding a great place to eat and a great grocery store. She would be happy to see I have more meat on my bones.

Being alone on a Wednesday night should not be an anomaly until I recognize I have been too busy to see him. I have plenty of delicious frozen food that I realized kept me from going to the store.

Friends from work invited me to brunch. It was at a cute yet quaint coffee shop but served for a multitude of tastes, something I had become acquainted with.

They talked about each other’s glow. It seemed to be reserved for women who were married, as they all had a glistening diamond on their special finger. My glow came from the coconut butter body lotion I was using.

I looked at the menu and laughed to myself. I had to order it.

“I am going to have the sriracha fried chicken with waffles, cookie butter on the side.”

I returned the menu.

After brunch, I decided to see him. On the red banner read his name: Trader Joe’s. A new season was approaching so he was only concerned with one flavor, pumpkin spice. I put a product into the hand basket to try, satisfied with his return policy.



"Short Story: Mile High Drive"

Dinner at Gibson’s for the past six nights always left me with a gravy stained napkin, a half empty mug of coffee and a photo of a smiling high school senior clutching a football. David’s ex-girlfriend Betty Rae had poured my coffee every night. Headlights shone into the diner, temporarily blinding Betty Rae with distraction. Still, it took her too long to collect her thoughts and continue with her story. She rambled on and on about the bowling club at the high school she attended with David. I smoothed the crease in my pants as the gum in her mouth lost flavor. She seemed to have never grown up. A pink bubble withdrew from her mouth fast. She took orders from gentlemen at the end of the counter. No eye contact. Swift penmanship. Perfect handwriting. I almost didn’t recall why I was there. Then the light bulb clicked again. For someone so dull, David sure had a way with girls. It had to be the stitching in his letterman jacket. I learned from his ex-girlfriend that David had a way with his hands. His fingers could pulsate an unfamiliar place, which soon became conquered territory. I could feel the crease of my pants growing again. I didn’t know much about this man except his letterman jacket should have been hung in the Smithsonian.

The next night I came in another waitress by the name of Myrna told me Betty Rae had the night off. I asked her about David. I began to understand that most of the people who stay in this part of the city all knew each other. Myrna’s face was perplexed. She said that there would never be anyone with that name in this city. The beat of my blood met the steel of the fork.

Thirty-three and a third miles outside of New Orleans and the heat grew under pressure. I had changed into khakis in the back of my car then finally got around to cleaning up Frito chip bags and Ho Ho’s. Cravings hit me solid as a rock.

Gas cheapened exactly every thirty-three and a third mile going southeast. I lost count of how many stops I made. I laughed to myself as I let the fuel drip from the nozzle. Unbeknownst to me, I had been in a bowling enthusiast city. There was a bowling alley on every other corner. David Addley was a bowling technique. The guy in the picture? A young man posing for a stock photo. The heat persuaded the delusion, which encouraged the laughter.

Pins hitting hardwood floor welcomed an unfamiliar sound to me. Families glued to each bowler participating in the tournament. College boys rejected from fraternities made a section in a corner booth. New Orleans bred excitement and devastation all in an unmeasured radius. I found a chair and watched a bowler get into position. A brass band played outside, their costumes untouched by pulsating ground. I spotted the section of bowlers participating in the tournament. Seven men in different hair stages sat on the bench. That was about as much the diversity the bowlers had from each other.

The bowler finally got into some kind of position. The audience stared with bated breath. One-step, two-step, the ball rolled seamlessly and crashed into the pins. Strike. The audience clapped softly and it tickled me. Like they attended a golf tournament. The rejected frat boys looked thoroughly confused.

My eyes moved onto the next player. His jacket was green and gold. The curl of the hair was full of gray and strikingly familiar. Somehow as my body tried to become together again, I remembered how David was described. Curl of the hair, letterman jacket that had been engrained in my temples, loafers and khakis. I turned my head and saw a poster in psychedelic print. Tonight was retro night, a homage to the Addley technique. No wonder why no one spoke. Everyone was in awe. My mind felt at peace.

I decided to drive to New York City, where things were strange on purpose. I expect a downpour that would wash my car of the sins from the South. After a last load up in Jersey, I would almost see the twinkle and smell the debauchery of what could live.

I never want to see the fall of a bowling pin again. I did keep the picture in my back pocket for good luck.

"Book On It"

More Books. Less Papercuts.

The Lords of the Savannah: Spotted are fast action photo of fierce felines in their natural habitat: the savannah. Cheetahs do not roar but are territorial and is one of the detailed quick facts featured. Text and photographs by Christine and Michel Denis-Hout.

This is How You Lose Her: Written by Junot Diaz. The lack of engagement in the dialogue makes this book difficult to find a rhythm in. There is a pulse in the flow but the stories run into each other with no change in character development. This book would give me a papercut.

I am reading “The Good Lord Bird” by James McBride.

"Book On It"

More Books. Less Papercuts.

Ndebele: Abstract murals with use of intricate beads and feathers that cover their mud homes mark this book through photographs the history of the Ndebele of South Africa. Photographs by Margaret Courtney-Clarke.

Requiem for a Dream: Surreal as it is stunning, Hubert Selby Jr. creates a world that exists in New York with drugs, sex, addiction and friendship for four connected people that is one of the best adapted films.

I am reading, “This is How You Lose Her” by Junot Diaz.

"Book On It"

More Books. Less Papercuts.

Drugstore Cowboy: Strong narration rides this visceral and deep story of four interconnected addicts that is also one of the best adapted films. Written by James Fogle who was thirty five years into his fifty year prison sentence when the book was published.

Time America: An Illustrated History: A visual timeline of the good, bad and the ugly of America with concisely in depth facts marking times of war, art and constant patriotism.

I am reading “The Call of Devi” by Manil Suri.

"Book On It"

More Books. Less Papercuts.

In the Body of the World: Adrenaline runs through the curious and unique words of a precious memoir for one of the most celebrated women who celebrates women, the uplifting Eve Ensler.

Outside the Box: Interior Designer David Scott captures his craft with an exquisite and chic eye for creating comfort in the home. A beautiful coffee table book full of art and culture from around the world.

I am reading, “Fire to Fire,” by Mark Doty.

"Book On It"

More Books. Less Papercuts.

My Alexandria: Movement in intellect and language is this collection of Mark Doty’s beloved and dense poetry about the AIDS epidemic and was also selected for the National Poetry Series by Philip Levine in 1993.

California 24/7: Think Californians are just surfers with great hair? Then you need new material. The incredible photos with descriptions are archived from all places of the best state and were sent in for an amazing project by Rick Smolan and David Elliot Cohen.

I am reading “In the Body of the World” by Eve Ensler

"Book On It"

More Books. Less Papercuts.

The Pretty One: In a similar vein of “The Family Stone” with a touch of “The Virgin Suicides,” Olympia, Perri and Gus are sisters connected by humor, damage and superlatives. Hilariously sarcastic and breathtakingly crazy with travel and connection. By Lucinda Rosenfeld.

Great and Mighty Things: A extensive look at forms of outsider art from the collection of Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz are showcased in this catalogue. Published by Philadephia Museum of Art with Yale University Press. Edited by Ann Percy with Cara Zimmerman.

The Third Life of Grange Copeland: The title character in Alice Walker’s first novel endures emotional distress to search for a better life he believes will come from leaving home but it is only when he returns that the lessons of life were in his roots.

I am reading “My Alexandria” by Mark Doty.

"Book On It"

More Books. Less Papercuts.

Purpose: The most multi-cultural, bizarre and spiritual memoir you will read is the score for one of the most innovative musical wunderkinds, Wyclef Jean. Written with Anthony Bozza.

Muscle Car: Classic. Cool. Cultured. Cars that have changed generations are revved up by brand and type and showcased in stunning action photographs with details that bring knowledge that these beauties are more than meets the eye. By Peter Henshaw.

A Separate Peace: Set during World War II at a New England boarding school, two friends Gus and Phineas learn in one summer what will change them for the rest of their lives, which sets the name of the title. A known classic and another unmentioned high school read. By John Knowles.

I am reading “The Pretty One” by Lucinda Rosenfeld.

"Book On It"

More Books. Less Paper cuts.

Hiroshima: One of the unmentioned high school required readings is a novel told with exquisite detail the accounts from six survivors of the 1945 bombing. Written by John Hersey.

Salvage and Demolition: Suspense and history in the Bay Area for a book collector leads him to greeting the woman holding poetic integrity and knowing of his future. Written by Tim Power.

House of the Presidents: Preservation is the declaration from coast to coast as homes of presidents from Washington to Bush are archived beautifully in this coffee table book. Edited by Hugh Howard. Photographed by Roger Strauss II.

I am reading “Purpose” by Wyclef Jean with Anthony Bozza.

"Book On It"

More Books. Less Papercuts.

The End of San Francisco: Is San Francisco no longer the place for queers to cope? The roots of the glorious city and travels across the country are told with the beautiful mess of drugs, sex and unwanted hipsters, a memoir by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore that will seep into your bloodstream with sarcasm and fluidity.

Into the Wild: What seems like a spur of the moment trip for Christopher McCandless is a road map of discovery through connection, frigidity and strength. The book was adapted for the film of the same title starring Emile Hirsch.

David Bowie Is: Edgy, remarkable, ass chaps. The incredible Big Stick color cover holds pages of artwork, lyrics and costumes that could make the Smithsonian weep. Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini wrote one of the many great forwards. Edited by Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh.

I am reading “Salvage and Demolition” by Tim Powers.

"Book On It"

More Books. Less Papercuts.

The Feminine Mystique: Fulfillment is restricted in a tight green checker patterned apron. Betty Friedan loosens the strings to discover women in their definitive role that isn’t always easy to pinpoint. Complimented to this book is “The Feminine Mistake” by Leslie Bennett and the film “Mona Lisa Smile.”

At the Fights: Inside a book that can serve as its own coffee table begins with a rousing forward by Jim Lampley. Through catching photography and short accounts from boxers, trainers, judges and promoters, detailed are the emotions and invigoration that run deep and revealed is the rumble and float of a sport called boxing. Edited by Howard Schatz.

Moneyball: From the sports writing great Michael Lewis is the story of Billy Beane and his out of the park approach to recruiting for the Oakland A’s with a small budget. Accounts from baseball players who experienced the process give the book a strong balance of reporting and biography.

I am reading “Shopgirl” by Steve Martin.

"Book On It"

More Books. Less Papercuts.

Trouble & Triumph: T.I. creates a multi-culture backdrop as two lifelong friends grow in different directions but hold onto each other like Krazy Glue. Sensual as it is gritty, you may want to have your passport handy.

Elephant: A Cultural and Native History: Edited by Karl Groning and Martin Saller is a spanning collection of striking photos putting a close-up on elephants over generations. Graphic in many photos, presence and nature are in the hat Babar style.

Election: Let’s give this book a vote for one of the best adaptations EVER! Sarcasm is the beholder from the mind of Tom Perrotta about decisions, decisions and sex in competitive high school student government.

I am reading “The End of San Francisco” by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore.