Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lift Off: From the Classroom to the Stars by Donovan Livingston

Lift Off: From the Classroom to the Stars by Donovan Livingston is a small book with quite an impact. The words of Livingston take us on a journey through the history and the importance of education. Lift Off reminds us that the way we change the world is through education that teaches us where we came from, so we know where we're going. As I read I couldn't help but think about how important it is that we get education right, that we stop playing politics with education, and that we give all children an equal chance at an education that prepares them for the future. Lift Off inspires in its honesty and its hope.

Note: Lift Off was a spoken word poem given by Donovan Livingston as the convocation at Harvard Graduate School of Education in May 2016. Below is the video if you'd like to watch it.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes edited by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel

The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes edited by Arnold Rampersad, Editor, and David Roessel, Associate Editor covers the poetry Langston Hughes wrote during his life. Hughes tackled myriad issues throughout his lifetime without apology. His language, though lyrical, is also often blunt and leaves little to interpretation though it invokes intense imagery at times. I felt a wide range of emotions as I read The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. The poems depicted a life I'll never life while offering insight into the reality of others in a way that forced me to think about my own existence in the world and how I interact with those around me. Authenticity rings through Hughes's work even when he paints moments that feel a bit fantastical. I took my time reading these poems because many are intense and require thought while others are lighthearted observations on life. I was, at times, surprised at how much punch some of Hughes's shorter works contained. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes reminded me how important poetry is to the narrative of our lives and history being made around us even in the moments that seem the most ordinary to us.

Friday, May 5, 2017

High Point of Persistence: The Miriam Richards Story by Damara Paris, Miriam Richards, and Hilary White

High Point of Persistence: The Miriam Richards Story by Damara Paris, Miriam Richards, and Hilary White illustrates how determination, perseverance, and persistence work together to push people to overcome challenges and obstacles. Miriam Richards didn't let anything, including her deafness or Multiple Sclerosis, get in the way of her goals. When she faced a challenge that appeared to have no solution, she found a way around it. She pursued her goal of visiting the high points in each state pushing herself beyond limits that seem impossible. Her story is at times heart-wrenching, at times ordinary, at times joyous, but it is always inspiring and encouraging to those who wish to accomplish more in their lives. Richards determination to push herself even when she was in pain made me feel determined to stop letting minor inconveniences get in the way of my progress. High Point of Persistence: The Miriam Richards Story inspired me to step outside my comfort zone and think about the things I would like to accomplish even if it makes me uncomfortable to get there...

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho was one of those books I put on my reading list a long time ago and finally got around to reading recently. I really wasn't sure what to expect, but I'd heard from many people The Alchemist was worth reading. I'm glad I finally did even though at times I found it a bit too symbolic. The weaving of the supernatural, religion, and culture seemed to be a bit on the cliche side in spite of the message of the story. The Alchemist works as an allegory for having faith in the "signs" life presents as one travels through it. Coelho's writing immersed me in the story and made the characters seem all too real and surreal at the same time. The Alchemist is filled with a sense of wonder and mystery in the simplicity of the story that seems to transcend itself but really always comes back to the message that one must seek in order to find.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson

The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson is the kind of book you want to finish but don't want to end. I read it slowly forcing myself to stop reading after a few pages each day, so I could stay immersed in the story just a little longer and yet the story pulled me back. In fact, it stayed with me as I went about my day waiting to read some more. The characters grabbed me and held on tight. Everything Wilkinson writes has a way of transporting me back to my childhood growing up in a holler where family was everything and everyone knew everyone's business. The town of Opulence feels like a place I've been, longed to leave, and yearned for despite my best efforts to leave it behind. Secrets, lies, and truths combat each other through characters that seem trapped in tradition and freed by imagination in the pages of The Birds of Opulence.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spirit Horses by Alan S. Evans

4861018Spirit Horses by Alan S. Evans is a story of hope and resilience. Evans drops us into the world of horses and indigenous peoples in this story of love, loss, and living. He examines the connection we all share as inhabitants of this planet and the role greed plays to divide and destroy in the name of amassing wealth. Interwoven with characters who are easy to relate to, Spirit Horses reminds us of the importance of embracing those we love and the world we cherish. Evans spotlights the important of communication in understanding one another while never forgetting that every action and reaction communicates something even if it's not what we intend. I was drawn into Spirit Horses, and I loved the scenes where the characters watched the wild horses in their natural habitat. In a story that on the surface appears to pit tradition against modernity, Spirit Horses digs deeper to encourage us all to see one another more clearly, respect those we don't quite understand, and seek to better understand that which we don't in order to find a way for tradition and modernity to survive side-by-side.


Friday, March 17, 2017

The ROMANCE of CUNNILINGUS: Tips from Both Sides of the Tongue by J. R. Luxor

22755562The ROMANCE of CUNNILINGUS by J.R. Luxor, John Reimann (Editor), and Mislav Marahnic' (Photographer) takes a look at demystifying cunnilingus. Luxor approaches the subject with a dash of romance, a pinch of humor, and a sprinkle of seriousness. Encouragement for better communication between partners and a better understanding of anatomy fill this small book. The ROMANCE of CUNNILINGUS is a quick and easy to understand read that offers those interested an opening to have the conversation with a trusted sexual partner.