I am a proud bookworm from Mississippi who loves to devour books.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

1:36 PM
Book Title: Small Great Things
Author: Jodi Picoult
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

When I decided to read Small Great Things, I knew nothing about the book.  I just noticed that many of my book hearts on Instagram and Twitter were posting about this book.  Without reading the book synopsis or the book reviews, I added it to my TBR list and downloaded it on Audible.  

I should have read the book synopsis and book reviews. However, if I had read the synopsis or the book reviews, I would not have read the book so soon.  I have been reading a lot of books about racism, and the recent presidential election was bringing the hatred out in full force. Being sick of the ever-present troll known as racism, after reading the Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (book review coming shortly) and starting on Queen Sugar (I haven't finished it yet.), I probably would not have read this book for a long time. 

Therefore, I would have missed out on devouring a book full of life that included so many spoken and silent lessons.   I may have even forgotten that the book was on my ever-growing TBR list on Goodreads.  

Nevertheless, I listened to Small Great Things and was not disappointed. Jodi Picoult writes a book about race relationships, but from three different viewpoints, which makes the book so interesting.  She writes from an African American woman's perspective, a white supremacist's view, and a white woman's perspective.  

Ruth, the African American woman, is a neo-natal nurse, who encounters Turk, the white supremacist.  Turk requests that Ruth and anyone else of color not to provide care to his son.  When Turk's son dies, Ruth is immediately thrown under the bus by Turk and the hospital for his death.  Kennedy is the public defender, assigned to Ruth's case.  Not only does Ruth and Kennedy learn from each other, but they actually "see" each other.  Jodi Picoult demonstrates the profound lesson in "seeing someone."

Many times, as I listened to the text, I understood Ruth's confliction as an African American woman. I understood being the "only one" in particular settings.  I learned a valuable lesson about trying to "prove" that you were worthy enough to be accepted or educated enough to perform.  I understood not fitting in with the African American children and not fitting in with the White children.   Both her childhood and her adulthood mimics certain incidents in my life, which I could relate. Jodi's ability to paint vividly each perspective is remarkable.  The research that Jodi performed to gain insight into each aspect is translated into an amazing story that leaves you wanting to promote some change and any action.


I do not read the author’s note, but since I was listening to the audiobook, I was made aware of how hard Jodi Picoult worked to tell the “truth” in her fictional novel.  The story is based on a similar incident that occurred in Michigan.  An African American nurse, Tonya Battle, sued the hospital after it granted a man’s request that no African American nurses were to care for his newborn child.  A note was placed on the assignment clipboard that read “No African American nurse to care for baby.” Before reading Small Great Things, I was unaware of this event that took place in 2013. The news article can be viewed on USA TODAY. Her lawsuit was settled according to USA TODAY.

The author’s note is a must read and helps to understand how and why Small Great Things were written.  After reading the book, I decided to read the reviews.  I am glad I did not let the reviews determine if I read this book.  I am glad that I was exposed to this book and its many messages.

I would recommend Small Great Things to everyone.  All ages. All ethnicities.  If I was still teaching college-level English,  I would figure out how to use this book in my lesson plans because of the profound messages within each page. So many themes are present in this book: compassion, racism, mental illness, hatred, and much more. Check out the excerpt of Small Great Things.

Have you read Small Great Things?  What did you think of the book?  Are you going to add this book to your TBR list?

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Guest Post: Read a Book: To Know That You Are Not Alone

10:15 AM
Read a Book: To Know That You Are Not Alone

Read a Book: To Know That You Are Not Alone
By Divya Revindran

"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them" - Joseph Brodsky.

In these busy times, when we don't even have time to eat breakfast, there is no wonder that we gave up reading, rather forgot the importance of reading.

I was also not a reader. I thought it as a boring task to read a 100 or more pages book. But I was wrong. We are really missing lot more than what we think without reading.

When I start being at home after my work without nothing much to do, I choose books as my companion. I found it really amazing to read, which cannot be described in words. We can understand it only with the actual experience. It's the best way to avoid boredom.

Now I am an avid reader and I wish I would get enough of my life time to read all the great books.

There is much more to life than our work or spending time aimlessly with latest technology products. Reading books gives us that much needed break from chaos of life. It instills peace inside us, makes us relaxed and also exercise our brain in the process.

When we read a book, it feels great to put ourselves into a world of characters that the writer has created for us. It is the same like watching a good movie.

When we spend hours and hours reading a book, creating a world with different characters in our mind, our imagination powers are sure to get a boost.

Thanks to the technology that we can find good articles to read on the internet. A great article can motivate and inspires us as the same as a book do. The only reason I recommend reading books over short articles is that when we spend hours with a thought or an idea that it's more likely to stay with us than spending few minutes tinkering with it.

Just reading a book is not good enough. The way how we read it also matters. When we come across a new idea or different opinion, think upon it deeply. Do not accept it or eject it blindly. Try to reason with it and understand the writer's point of view.

As we continue this habit, we will start forming our own thoughts and values. It will challenge our mind and the thoughts, customs and tradition that we have grown up with.

It's very easy to get involved too much into the reading process, that we forget the actual purpose of reading is to make us a better person. Just finishing one book after another without any real action from our side won't help us.

Reading articles which spreads negativity, hatred and wrong content is dangerous. It is better not to read anything at all rather reading such articles.

Always read the content from a safe distance. Neither too close nor far away from the eyes.

Always prefer quality over quantity. Better to read one great book than hundred bad ones.

Don't accept anything blindly. Think upon it and try to understand the reason behind what's been written.

Focus completely on what we are reading. Do not think about other stuffs while reading.

Even our education system acknowledges the fact that reading is important for the development of an individual and hence it is considered a top priority in primary education. We can read almost anything including encyclopedias, novels, and magazines and so on. What we read is not important as long as we like what we are doing.

The foremost thing is that reading improves our vocabulary, Command on the language and the communication skills, as we regularly come across new words, phrases, idioms and writing styles. Reading books of a variety of subjects helps us to add our knowledge, which, in turn, helps us with different attributes of life.

The habit of reading yields rich dividends, and that's a fact which cannot be questioned. So it's high time you find a cure for bibliophobia, i.e., the fear of books (especially thick books) and dive into the world of literature or whatever you like to read. In this world of competitiveness, it's always advantageous to amass vast knowledge, and there is no better way to do so.

"Everything in the world exists in order to end up us a book "- Stephane Mallarme

To Know more about the benefits of reading visit http://divyarevindran.blogspot.in/2013/12/10-reasons-why-you-should-be-reading.html

Divya Revindran: http://divyarevindran.blogspot.in/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Divya_Revindran/1779875

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Top 5 Books Read in 2016

6:00 PM
As the year comes to a close, I have been devouring books.  My goal was to read 15 books in 2016.  So far, I have finished 28.  With two months left in 2016, I am sure I will finish more,  I can attribute my completion of books to listening to audiobooks.  Since I have a 4-hour daily commute, I can read books quite frequently.  I have compiled a list of my top 5 books for 2016.  My list of books includes business books, memoir, fiction, and non-fiction.  I have reviewed some of the books on my list.

1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 2. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.
3. I'm Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi 4. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
5. The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris.

What book(s) did you enjoy reading in 2016?  What books are left on your TBR List?

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Guest Post: Benefits of Reading Literature

7:35 PM
Benefits of Reading Literature

Benefits of Reading Literature
By Almahmud Rony

It is often said that literature contains the best things that have been thought and said in the world. It is the mirror of life and it deals with everything related to our life. There are many benefits of reading literature. The study of literature improves our sensibility and provides us with a certain depth of perception. It consoles and braces us up in our hours of gloom, stimulates and ennobles our morality. It helps us widen our outlook and develop our personality. As a matter of fact, it has diverse benefits. It has academic benefits, cognitive benefits, social benefits and emotional benefits.

It is universally admitted that reading literature is delightful. It gives readers immense pleasure. Young students read different kinds of literary works basically for pleasure. Good literature helps them develop a reading habit and this habit has a positive impact on the academic studies also. By reading it students get exposed to the authentic use of language which ultimately contributes to the development of their writing skill also. Students can enrich their vocabulary by reading it also.

A literary text does not have one meaning only. It often has a surface meaning and an underlying connotative meaning. In order to understand a text fully a reader has to delve deeper into it. A text can be interpreted in different ways. This develops the thinking capacity of the students. Readers of literature enjoy a greater ability to think and reason about the world than other people.

Another benefit of reading literature is the social benefit. A reader lives in a particular society. He can be influenced by some negative aspects of the society. But in literature they come to know about many characters coming from different social classes, races and ethnic groups.

The next benefit of reading literature is the emotional benefit. Literature is the subject of liberal education and its chief object is to develop human personality. It is supposed to bring about a harmonious development of the human mind to create a balanced personality. Reading literature can expand readers' emotional range. Good literature can help readers to get rid of bad emotions like anger, heartache and loss. It can also help readers develop positive emotions like love and sympathy for others. It gives readers an opportunity to grapple with and process strong emotions in a safe setting without feeling overwhelmed by those emotions.

So, it can be said that reading literature is not pleasure only. It has both an entertainment value and a utilitarian value.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Almahmud_Rony/1646716

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Saturday, October 01, 2016

Book Review: I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi

10:26 AM
Book Title: I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual
Author: Luvvie Ajayi
Format: Paperback

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Ajayi is widely known throughout social media as Awesomely Luvvie because of her blog, which is where I first became introduced to her.  Luvvie was blogging before blogging was a "thing" and has contributed to presenting incredible commentary on one of my favorite shows, Scandal.  So, when I heard that she had a new book, I wanted to get it ASAP.  When my ARC copy arrived, it was a very sacred moment.  I did not want to ruin the pages or crinkle the cover. What would Ajayi think of me if I did not handle her book with care? I decided to wait until I could focus on reading the book.

Riding on the passenger side during a trip to visit my in-laws, I decided to devour the book.  Reading the first page of I'm Judging You, I knew that I would not be disappointed.  Ajayi makes you laugh out loud.  My husband kept giving me major "side-eye" as I kept bursting out in laughter.  I know he thinks that I am a bookworm and weird when it comes to my books, but I confirm it all thanks to Ajayi.  

In her book, Luvvie invites you to perform a reality check on yourself and those around you.  Using her "tell it like it is" humor, Luvvie brings to your attention all of the issues and challenges facing society.  For instance, the story of her "friend" and her romantic interest is hilarious, true, and maybe points the finger at me, but I am NOT telling on me. This story can be found in the chapter, "When Baehood Goes Bad." I will not give away any spoilers, but if you have a friend, who is dating someone unworthy, please share this book. Tab the chapter. Highlight the section.  Please do anything that will get her to read that chapter.  I even let my mom read the dating chapter because she did not believe me as I tried to explain the story to her. My mom has been married for 40+ years, and women were different during her dating years.  She was floored when she read the story.  Of course, I left out the part about how I had been in somewhat similar situations with dating after my divorce, but I eventually "snapped" out of it.  Whew! 

In I'm Judging You, Ajayi addresses so many topics, which include dating, racism, social media, culture, friendships, and so much more.  Thanks to her book I re-evaluated the email address that I was using.  I mean I have a Gmail account, but I do not use it as much as my Hotmail account.  Ajayi was judging me.  She gets major side-eye for that, but I get her point. Furthermore, she says want you to want to say, but you choose to hold your tongue.  She shares the truth about herself and suggests that you start examining your truth.  Being from Nigerian, she exposes the truth of American culture and how American behavior usually is enwrapped in a web of tangled foolishness.  There is even a chapter entitled, Racism is for Assholes. 

The Epilogue, Do Something that Matters, illuminates why Ajayi is sharing such profound life lessons with the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I highly recommend this book.  Since Christmas is just around the corner, I will be giving this book as Christmas gift

Have you read I'm Judging You? What was your favorite chapter?
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About Us

Cassandra desires to live in a world where her access to books is endless. As a Book Reviewer, Lifestyle Blogger, English Instructor, Conference Presenter, and Published Writer, Cassandra’s been recognized for her work at local, state, and national levels. When Cassandra’s not being a mother, wife, instructor, presenter, writer, or volunteer, you can find her hypnotized by the pages in a book. Her books can be found via Amazon, Kindle, and iTunes. Currently, she is working on her first creative writing piece, entitled “A Vision of My Imagination.” So, stay tuned for her upcoming book. Discover more about Cassandra, by connecting with her on social media.