200th Post + Mini Book Haul


This weekend took a lot out of me. It was my college’s homecoming and so of course I had to go and get my party on. One of my Twitter followers (who also went to my alma mater) spied me getting my twerk on and was surprised.

News flash: book nerds get it cracking too.

Anyway, after a long drive, terrible weather, and dancing until my back hurt, it was good to get home to my own bed. And look what was waiting for me when I got back!


I was soooooo hype. Here at DopeReads we’ve been clocking this project since last November – it’s cool that it’s finally complete! I’d forgotten that I had even ordered it. Anyway, my first coloring masterpiece was of my boo Big KRIT. Thoughts?


I’m kinda sad Kendrick wasn’t in the book but oh well. My Portuguese language books came in too, I’m super excited about that. When I go back to Brazil for my 30th birthday I want to be able to get around on my own. Duolingo is an awesome *free* app for learning the a second language.


Lastly, this shirt. WANT. I don’t know if the vendor is legit, but I’m tryna take that gamble.


What are y’all reading this week?


Free Stuff + New Novella + #LiteraryManicures Pics

Hey Friends,

Meant to post yesterday but got lost in the sauce. Wanted to share a few updates:

Felicia Pride is giving away free Kindle versions of her book “To Create: Black Writers, Filmmakers, Storytellers, Artists, and Media-Makers Riff on Art, Careers, Life, and the Beautiful Mess in Between” through TODAY so get it while you can. It features articles on writers and creators like DopeReads fave Edwidge Danticat, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, and actor Blaire Underwood. Cop it here.

The homie Britni Danielle recently released her novella “Turn It Loose.” Check it out here, it’s only $2.99.

Speaking of free lit, writer/creator/scholar Carrie Kholi has an essay entitled: if God can Cook/you Know I can: Pedagogy of Those Opting-Out of Oppression. Cop it here.

Here are more literary manicures from my Instagram page. I’ll have a new mani up on Tuesday. And yes, I do them all myself :)




Have a good weekend!

#LiteraryManicures: Coldest Winter Ever

This week I went on a literary manicure spree and I’ve been having so much fun. You can see my Ghana Must Go mani and my This Is How You Lose Her over on the DopeReads Instagram page.

The book I chose for this mani was “Coldest Winter Ever” by Sister Souljah. It came out while I was in middle school and was “the” book for all the cool girls and the cover is iconic. Also, my Twitter homie @ladyeic said she would try a CWE mani too, so I wanted to see what spin I could put on it.

Step 1. Prepare your materials.

I’ll be doing an ombre nail (h/t to Glamour article for this ombre how-to). For that you will need:
Fuschia nail polish (I use Sinful Colors – cheap and deeply colored)
Royal Purple Nail Polish
Yellow Nail Polish
A sponge
A plastic sheet (to mix the ombre)
A toothpick or other mixing tool
Clear lacquer
French tip stencils

Step 2. Paint your nails the base color (in this case, fuschia pink). Let dry thoroughly
This color I have from Sinful Colors is matte and dries really quickly.

Step 3. After nails have dried, drop two globules of pink polish on the plastic sheet. Then, drop two globules of the purple polish on the plastic sheet. Mix the middle with your toothpick (or other tool) to create the gradation

Step 4. Dab your sponge into the polish, and dab onto your nail. Repeat for the saturation of color you desire for the nail. Let dry. The tips might require more than one round of dabs from the sponge.


Step 5. Place French tip stencils on your nails. Use the bright yellow to paint the tips. Let dry and remove.

Step 6. Add a coat of lacquer and clean up around the edges of your nail with a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover.



Ok, thoughts? How close to the cover did I get? I decided to just do the thumb with a yellow French tip because a) it was easier and b) it looked better. Leave me suggestions for other books down in the comments!



The Problem with HuffPo’s 30 Before 30 Book List


On Sunday a follower on Twitter hit me up for my opinion about the Huffington Post’s list of 30 Books You Should Read Before 30. After taking a look at the article, my response was a resounding “meh.”

At first I didn’t really want to get into why the list didn’t move me, in part because it’s hard to articlulate my thoughts on Twitter without getting rant-y. However, I’m known for not being able to keep my mouth shut when it comes to offering my opinion, which was this: these types of lists are pointless, because A. there are literally too many books out there and B. whichever books they choose are not going to meet the needs of wide swaths of readers out there.

I think it would have been helpful if there was a disclaimer that ‘these are the books that would fit for this particular audience’. As a black woman and as a reader, I think the list got some of the books right, but it could have used a little bit more seasoning and representation from authors of color. I think they were on point with Toni Morrison’s Song of Soloman and James Baldwin’s “Giovanni’s Room”, but if I was putting together that list, I would throw some Zora Neale Hurston in there, some of Baldwin’s essays, some Edwidge Danticat, some Langston Hughes, some Maya Angelou, some Assata Shakur, some Octavia Butler, some Edward P. Jones, some Tayari Jones, some Chinua Achebe. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I wasn’t the only person who thought the list was dry – author Junot Diaz pointed out that he felt some folks were missing from the listing in this Facebook post – and I’m not nearly as well read as he. It might seem like no big deal, but as Vida stats and this count by critic Roxane Gay point out, there is a need for literary institutions and criticism to do a better job of being inclusive to books and writers outside of the mainstream experience. As America becomes browner and more diverse it only makes sense for literature to reflect those changes.

The point is, these lists need to be clear about who they are talking to. I get that it is targeted to 20-30 somethings, but we are a vast and multicultural group with vast and multicultural tastes and lives and we deserve discussions around literature that are far more robust.

DopeReads Byke.


It’s been a minute but dopereads is BYKE with the all the book- and literature- new new. Peep the goings on below and check back every Tuesday and Thursday for more.

  • The National Book Foundation announced its “Top 5 Under 35″ writers. Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo made the list for her book “We Need New Names.” The long lists for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry are to be released this week.
  • The National Book Festival is taking place on the National Mall in DC this weekend, and DopeReads will be live tweeting it for those who can’t make it.
  • Also for those in DC, Edwidge Danticat is speaking at Politics and Prose this evening. If you haven’t copped her new book “Claire of the Sea Light,” I highly suggest it. In typical fashion Danticat wields her words masterfully – she’ll have you all in your feels!
  • Check out DopeReads on Instagram! Twitter! Facebook!
  • You can check out some of my other work at PostBourgie (books and TV) and SoulBounce (music reviews). Can’t stop, won’t stop.
  • On another note, please send your prayers and well wishes to those affected by the Navy Yard shooting yesterday. It was a tough day in the Capitol area.



Thug Notes y’all:

I I have thoughts about this, lol. Notably that the guy reviewing isn’t really giving me thug passion realness. Something about his swagger just isn’t curling quite right. I can’t hate though, what do y’all think? Does it make you care more about these books? Would you give them a shot now that a “thug” haves given them the ‘hood treatment?


(h/t to GiantLife, where I found the first To Kill a Mockingbird Thug Notes)