Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Booksellers at Laurelwood


Celebrating my wedding anniversary in Memphis, Tennessee, I knew I could not leave without finding a locally-owned bookstore. Using the Maps Nearby feature on my iPhone, I discovered the Booksellers at Laurelwood.

Immediately, I fell in love with the store. The entrance had books, as knobs on the door. I had to stop and snap a picture.
Entrance to The Booksellers at Laurelwood
Entering the store, I was confused. Shelves were semi-empty. Signs were posted, which stated that bookcases and other fixtures were for sale.

After browsing for awhile, I decided to ask the cashier what was going on with the store. She informed me that the store was being closed. They were not relocating but closing the doors.Even though it was my first time visiting the store, I felt sad. I hate to see a bookstore closing. It's like a community is losing a foundation component.

Based on the books and accessories that were left, the bookstore was probably an awesome environment and experience. It offered so much more than just books. I wished that I had visited it when I first saw it in December.


I found some pretty amazing books and gifts. I bought a digital photography because one of my goals is to improve my photo taking skill. I found three cameras at a pawn shop. Two Cybershot and a Nikon FG Vintage camera had my name on it.

I was really excited to purchase this book and save 40% off on the listed price. I bought books, journals, an address book, gifts for my nephews, and a notepad. My husband even found some great books and accessories.

Buy the Book
I even found books that were on sale. The sale books had yellow stickers on them. The 40% discount was applicable to clearance books, too. This fact made me very happy.

Once I made my purchase, and we left the store, I googled the Booksellers at Laurelwood. The cashier was speaking the truth. The news article confirmed the store closing. I was saddened even more.

I still desire to open a bookstore. However, witnessing the untimely demise of another bookstore hurts my heart and makes me wonder if my desire to open a bookstore is feasible. I know if so many bookstores that have closed.

I hope I can return to support them again before the doors are locked for good.

What's your favorite bookstore? Where do you go to get your books?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book Review - The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Author: Nicola Yoon
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I downloaded The Sun is Also A Star for two reasons: 1. The cover was pretty. 2. The book was very popular.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the book.  In the beginning the mixture of a characters and their point of views was a bit confusing. I was able to keep up with the transitioning from one character to the next because of the variety of narrators for the audiobook. Eventually, I start to get Yoon’s point of intertwining the mixture of characters because each character was somehow entangled in the lives of the other characters.  The writing skill that was necessary to create a story that intertwined like this one proves that Yoon knew exactly how to embed the reader in such a complex story.  

In The Sun is Also a Star, two teenagers, Daniel - a Korean boy and Natasha - a Jamaican girl, find themselves functioning in a day of complete chaos.  Their chance meeting feels like true love, yet as the story unfolds, this one day ultimately changes their lives in more ways than one can imagine.  The story of Daniel and Natasha is entertaining, inspiring, and very interesting. Every person, whom they encounter, is uniquely impacted by the interaction with Daniel and Natasha, and these interactions lead to the climax, as well as the conclusion of their story. Ultimately, I started to wonder about the people, whom I come in contact with on a daily basis.  I began to consider how my interaction with other people, either negative or positive, impact a person’s life.  I even considered the angry and hate I felt when I was racially profiled at a store.  Did my heated reaction ultimately seal the fate of the woman, who racially profiled me? As I read this book, I questioned my interaction with others and viewed these interactions in a different light.  My choice to react could possibly stop or motivate someone to continue with their plans of suicide.  My actions or the lack of actions could have an impact on the future of myself and so many others.  The lives of Daniel and Natasha continue after their fateful date of initial encounter.  In my heart, I wanted everything to change. I wanted it bad. Yet, Yoon did not let me have my heart’s desires.  Once Daniel and Natasha became adults, they lived the normal lives of adults. Yet, their lives somehow still managed to be entangled until the very end. 

Purchase Book
Even though this book is characterized as young adult fiction, adults of all ages can enjoy it just as much as I did. The Sun is Also a Star follows the theme that everything happens for a reason, while presenting a story that fits with the current event topics of immigration, racism, poverty,  and mental health. 

Interracial dating has always been a topic in the United States for years. Laws against interracial dating have been in place to prevent it from happening for centuries.  Even my state, Mississippi, had a law against interracial dating, which is still on the law books.   As a parent, who has a child now old enough to date, while reading The Sun is Also a Star, I started me to question my own perception of my belief system on interracial dating.  How would I react to my sons or daughter dating someone, who is not African American? Does it matter? Would I disown children? Would I stop talking to my children? Would I forbid any interracial dating? Yoon presents the answer that some parents have to these questions.  Whether or not you like it or not, Yoon paints a picture of the known and underlying consequences that your answers can have on your children. 

As the plot unfolded, Yoon forced me to examine my past, present, and future.  As a parent of a high schooler, I started to consider how my plans for my child aligned with his plans.  As a parent, I want to protect my child and ensure that all of my children have a “better” life than I do. Yoon makes you question, as a parent, whether your ideology of what is better reflects your child ideology of better. Yoon made me realize that perhaps what I think is best for my child is not necessarily best.

The epilogue of the book is one word: EPIC.   Yoon did not disappoint me at all. Before the epilogue, I just knew I would be in my feelings.  I just knew my day would be filled with gloom of a story not ending exactly the way I had hoped. Don't judge me. You know how it feels when a book doesn't end just like you want it to end, your day is doomed.  You want to throw the book, the audiobook, or your phone (if you downloaded the book from Audible) at the wall. I am so glad that my day did not end in doom.  Yoon pulled the entire story together and sealed the theme of the book in the epilogue. 

Until Next Time,

Cassandra

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Saturday, January 07, 2017

First Book Review of 2017: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck




Author: Mark Manson
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reading in 2017 is all about "getting my life together." Since I am turning 35 this year, I am focused on being the "best me" that I can be. Therefore, when I chose The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, I knew that I was starting my year off just right. 

I started the audiobook on January 3rd, during my morning commute to work. I'm guilty of not reading the synopsis of a book that I have chosen, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Matter of Fact, I think I heard about the book when I was listening to a podcast by Myleik Teele. Her podcasts give me life, and I love that she is an avid reader, who is dedicated to personal development. So, when she recommends a book to read, I take note.  After reading 48 Laws of Power because of Myleik's recommendation and enjoying it, I have started making a list of books that she suggests to her listeners.

Listening during my commute to work, I started to contemplate my own patterns of thinking and logic based on Manson's explanations of choosing what and what not to care about in your life. Every choice makes a different in my life. Even when I choose not to react or act, I am still making a choice, which is rooted in my value system. Manson forces you to start to evaluate your life's values and start to identify what's essential and important to you, as well as to identify why. For example, he talks about an individual, who remains in a marriage, even though happiness has been long gone. This person refuses to leave because the value of staying married, even though misery and insecurity have replaced joy. This person does not value their happiness as much as their desire to stay married. Thinking back on this situation in my life, I felt compelled to reckon with this analysis. A person, who valued their happiness more than staying married just for the sake of marriage, probably would not remain in a bad marriage, which is sucking the life out of their existence. Interestingly enough, Manson emphasizes the significance that your values contribute to your overall actions and what's important. The wisdom within the text provides a taste of reality and encourages the reader to question their values and why these values matter. 


Another point about the book is the distinction from other self-help books.  Manson does not preach positivity. Instead, Manson instructs the reader to recognize that sometimes things are wrong.  Problems do occur. Bad stuff does happen.  Manson suggests that instead of transforming the bad things into a wonderfully tasting lemonade you should learn how to withstand the bad things and learn how to effectively deal with them.  I liked this spin on dealing with life.  Many personal development books focus on the turning lemons into lemonade philosophy, but Manson suggests that the reader learns how to suck the lemon and deal with the horrible sting of its taste.



After reading Manson's book, I've found myself wondering what is important to me and why. I noticed that I have a tendency to pay attention to things that should not be given any thought. I become angry when I feel that someone has intentionally or unintentionally "done me wrong." Giving value to "being done wrong" distracts me from things that I cannot control and should care about in my life. Should I actually project the energy of anger and dwell on the fact that someone bumped me in the grocery store without saying excuse me? Should I actually lose time and energy over someone talking about me behind my bump or making false accusations? Could I focus on more important things in my life instead of such trivial things, which add nothing to my life? What am I avoiding? Why am I afraid? What do I fear? Why am I afraid? I like how Manson's proposes that you focus more on the why than on the what.

As as you can see, Manson really makes you think. Even the profanity and the sarcasm within the text add to his message and theme. I finished this book in two days. I will probably read it again and purchase the eBook or paperback. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because it is truly thought-provoking. People, who enjoy personal development books, will enjoy this text. This book encourages self-evaluation for the improvement of your life. This book is definitely one that I will be giving as a gift to other people.

If you are interested in the book, check out the excerpt from Manson's website. Have you read this book? Would you read this book? Let's talk in the comments.




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Sunday, January 01, 2017

2017: Happy New Year


Can you believe that 2017 is already here? I am super excited about the new year and what is in store for me and my family. I wish you and your family a wonderful 2017. 



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