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Showing posts from 2016

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

My oldest son is finished his first, freshman semester of his advanced English course with an exam on Their Eyes Were Watching God, which was written by Zora Neale Hurston, who is one of my favorite authors. When he informed me that he needed the book, I became excited and disappointed.  I was excited because he would be experiencing real literary talent from the Harlem Renaissance. I was disappointed because even though I own numerous copies of this book, all of them are packed away deep in my storage unit.  ( I really miss seeing my books.)

Hearing my son say that he enjoyed reading Their Eyes Were Watching God, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. I appreciated how my son was able to recognize the work of a writer, who had inspired authors like Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison.

Due to traveling for my job and dealing with family emergencies, I have been unable to engage in "book talk" with my son about Their Eyes Were Watching God.I am hoping that during the holiday break, I …

Guest Post: How to Be a Successful Adult Student - Taking Notes While Reading

How to Be a Successful Adult Student - Taking Notes While ReadingHow to Be a Successful Adult Student - Taking Notes While Reading
By John Steely
An adult student needs to be able to read a paper or a chapter and understand the material on their own, outside of the classroom. One of the best ways to make sure that this happens effectively is to take notes while reading, writing down the ideas and thoughts inspired by what is being read.Most students are taught to highlight while reading. This can be somewhat useful, but simply highlighting does little to improve the understanding of what is being read. Highlighting is an effective method of finding a passage later, as is underlining and even making comments in the margin. However, none of these are as effective as taking notes.The Purpose of Taking Notes While ReadingThe reason the student is reading something is, usually, to gain an understanding of something that was previously not understood, or at least to improve the existing unde…

Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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 incl…

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

Read a Book: To Know That You Are Not AloneRead 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…

Top 5 Books Read in 2016

As the year comes to an end, I realized that I have been devouring a significant number of books.  This year, my goal was to read 15 books in 2016. Since I have a 4-hour daily commute, I have been reading audiobooks.  Before my lengthy commute, I only read physical books and ebooks. Now, I am addicted to audiobooks.

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- I read the paperback version, which I purchased at Barnes and Noble.  This book was really great. I enjoyed the novel.  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a very talented writer.  I plan to read more of her books in 2017. 
2.Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes - Year of Yes was actually read by Shonda Rhimes, which contributed to me enjoying the book.  Hearing her read this book and express various life lessons, I am glad that I chose this book from Audible.  
3. I'm Jud…

Guest Post: Benefits of Reading Literature

Benefits of Reading LiteratureBenefits of Reading Literature
By Almahmud RonyIt 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 stud…

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

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…

Book Review: Look by James Gilmore

Book Title: Look: A Practical Guide for Improving Your Observational Skills
Author: James Gilmore
Format: eBook
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Look: A Practical Guide for Improving Your Observational Skills by James H. Gilmore focused on being more aware using a fresh outlook on observation. Gilmore was inspired by Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats Method to create a metaphor known as the Six Looking Glasses.  Binoculars, bifocals, magnifying glass, microscope, rose-colored glasses, and blindfold looking are the six skills that Gilmore provides intense instruction.
I enjoyed Gilmore’s ability to explain each skill thoroughly.  Additionally, he provided examples and exercises to ensure mastery of each skill.  The text lacks variety and becomes somewhat repetitive.  Once, I reached the microscope skill the book became dull.  Honestly, this book reads more like a textbook than a book for leisure.  
The practicality of the book is immense.  If you can trample through the dullness, it is jammed pack …

Book Review: Basic Black by Cathie Black

Book Title: Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)
Author: Cathie Black
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Recently, I listened to the audiobook version of Basic Black during my work commute. Basic Black shares the story of Cathie Black, who is known as the media's world guru.  Cathie Black is the president of Hearst Magazines, and she uses her memoir to emphasize how to be successful in career and life by sharing her lessons.  Her humble beginnings, her determination to be successful, and her perseverance inspire me.

I like Basic Black because of Cathie's honesty.  She does not paint a picture of her life being a bed of roses.  She not only shares her successes, but she includes her mistakes.  She desires for the reader to learn from her mistakes or her exposure to the mistakes of others.  Laced with humor and wisdom, Basic Black functions as a manual to maneuver through life and work.

The beginning of the book sets the tone for it.  C…

Guest Post: 5 Great Books on Public Speaking You Cannot Miss

5 Great Books on Public Speaking You Cannot Miss5 Great Books on Public Speaking You Cannot Miss
By Tan Kwan HongParticipants in my public speaking workshops have often asked me to recommend some great books that they can read to take their mastery of public speaking to the next level. Indeed, reading is a great way in which you can gain new ideas and novel perspectives on speech delivery.Here are 5 books I highly recommend that you can read to improve your public speaking skills.Book #1: Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott BerkunA book that divulges the secrets behind what great speakers and communicators do, and how you can emulate the success of these speakers through highly practical tips.Book #2: Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds by Carmine GalloThe ideas presented in this book are current and cutting-edge. If you want to learn how to sell yourself and your ideas on stage, this book is for you.Book #3: Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like …

Book Review: for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

Book Title: for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf 
Author: Ntozake Shange
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I checked this audiobook from my local public library.  I have been procrastinating on reading it because of the scene with the children being dangled out of the window.  I watched the movie first, and that image still resonates with me.  
However, since I have a two-hour commute one way, I felt that now would be a good time to be entranced by Shange, and I must say that I was.  I cannot believe how talented she is.  She entraps you inside almost every emotion and feeling that women encountered, as they journey through life.  Shange chooses the language within the text to articulate power, beauty, anger, happiness, and so much more.
I hate to admit that the stories of the seven women are very familiar.  Why? I have either experienced the incident or know of a woman or women, who have experienced it.  
Within this text, Shange captures what it m…


Initially, I started with a subscription to Scribd. However, I did not like how I could not access the books after I read them.  If you haven't guessed it, I am a book hoarder, whether in paperback, hardback, or electronic form.  I checked out available audiobooks at my local library.  Also, I downloaded free audiobooks from LibriVox. Additionally, I decided to sign up for Audible.  Audible costs more than Scribd, but I own the books, and I can replay them, which is very important to me.  I love that I can download them to my iPod or in iTunes, or I play the audiobooks in the Audible app on my phone.  Since I have been commuting to work, I have devoured several audiobooks:

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enufYear of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own PersonMeditationsThe Art of War The Science of Getting RichThe First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All LevelsThe Power of Now Currently, I am listenin…

Book Review: Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Yesterday, I finished "Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within," by Natalie Goldberg. I started reading this book years ago.  I began this book, when I was attending the University of Mississippi Writing Project Summer Institute.  This Summer Institute was designed to teach teachers how to write and teach writing. At that time, I was only a special education teacher with a Master's degree in English, yearning and longing to teach English. Who would have thought that years later I would finish this book and use it in my English class on the collegiate level?

This book is really great. What I like about this book is that you are taken away from the constraints of "normal" writing. You are encouraged to write. Goldberg's writing tips are beyond the realms of what is considered to be the normal method of teaching writing. Of course, I love her for this fact.  Perhaps, I love her because I am different...hmmmm. Ok, I need to focus on the book.

Today, I u…

Guest Post: The Importance of Reading for Writers According to a Writing Consultant and Editor

The Importance of Reading for Writers According to a Writing Consultant and Editor The Importance of Reading for Writers According to a Writing Consultant and Editor
By Megan Easley-Walsh
Reading and writing naturally go together. Not only is reading the effect of a writer's work, though, but it is also what should proceed writing. Writers are some of the most voracious readers! Here are a few good reasons to read if you're interested in writing.
1) Reading actively engages the imagination and creates better thinking. Studies have shown that this can be true for up to five days after reading a novel. Writers of fiction are therefore not only entertainers, but "brain boosters"!
2) Reading alerts you to what is popular in the market. This does not mean that it should be mimicked. It does, however, show types of things that are of interest to readers. Perhaps, more importantly, it can show what is missing from the market. An original is better than a 1000th c…