200th Post + Mini Book Haul

Y’all.

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!

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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?

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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.

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

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What are y’all reading this week?

T.

[Book Review] How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others In America

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Last week I spent a good amount of time reading after a forced retreat from social media. After Day 2 of not going online feeding my addiction, I decided I needed something else to read if I couldn’t endlessly scroll the timelines of Black Twitter. What better way to do that than to read a book that had been on my list for a while? So I downloaded Kiese Laymon’s How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others In America.

Now, just a little background: Kiese Laymon also had another book, Long Division, that was released earlier this year. It was a book of fiction that I had the opportunity to read and had lots of thoughts and opinions on. It was hilarious, it was crazy, it was thoughtful, it was…a lot to process. And I don’t think I realized that having so many conflicting thoughts and feelings about Long Division was ok until I read this passage from “You Are Second Person”:

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Well damn, lol. Just for context, this is a quote from Laymon’s book agent, basically shitting on his dreams of putting out the type of book that was in his heart. I recognized myself as the bougie black woman who loved plot-defined prose about professional hijinks. But I also recognized the writer in me that empathized with not wanting to change your story for anyone, not even a black-dude-bro-book agent who acts like he is doing you a favor by shitting on your vision. This line alone made me go back and challenge the way that I read Long Division, and throughout “How To Kill Yourself” I slowly began to see how the concepts Laymon explores in his non-fiction and the fiction fit together.

In my opinion “How To Slowly Kill Yourself” tackles issues like race, class, and sexism particularly well in the essays “The Worst of White Folks”, “How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others In America”, and “Kanye West and HaLester Myers are Better at Their Jobs…”.  Reading “Hip Hop Stole My Southern Black Boy” validated how I felt about hip-hop’s identity owing some level of respect and gratitude to Southern artists. Reading “You Are Second Person” was a peek into what I might be getting myself into if I decide to go the mainstream publishing route. “Echo: Mychal, Darnell, Kiese, Kai, and Marlon” offered up insightful and varied perspectives on life as a black man in America. This book, as Laymon likes to say, “reckons with” a lot of issues that young people of color are dealing with every day and I appreciated it.

Anyway, I really dug the book. It’s funny, it’s smart, and it’s real. I think you’d dig it too. Check it out.

Hip Hop Productivity Tip #002: Cut You Off (To Grow Closer)

So, I’m a big Kendrick Lamar fan. Now that that’s out of the way, lets talk about some the extremely solid advice embedded in the title of his song “Cut You Off (To Grow Closer)”. It reminds me of a particularly powerful sermon by my pastor about the need to prune things in our life for spiritual growth. In the same way, as writers and creators, we have to determine what people, processes and habits are serving us well and which are keeping us from reaching our true potential.

What things do you need to remove?

Drankin’ and Writin’.

Hemingway had mojitos. Kerouac had the margarita. And I, well, I have Nuvo Peach Cobbler sparkling liquer.

NUVO

This looks even more awesome to me after reading NPR’s trend piece about brown folks drinking Moscato, which got snooty black Twitter all tender for some reason. Even Gawker got in on the action. I actually haven’t had a chance to open this yet (it’s a friend’s) but I’m pretty sure it’ll be my “gateway”** drink. So in the future when the internet puts together a list of what authors drink while they write, mine will say sugar with a splash of liquor.  Sipping and scrivening, y’all

Happy Saturday :)

**According to the NPR piece, Moscato is a gateway for younger, more diverse drinkers to get into wine.

Recap: Blogging While Brown 2013 – Part 1

ImageThis year I decided to attend the annual Blogging While Brown conference. The conference was in NYC this year, and it’s exactly what it sounds like:  a meetup of bloggers of color swapping ideas, best practices and trends. It was, in short, AMAZING. It was my first time to BWB, and I look forward to going next year. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s a run down of *most* of the happs from my weekend.

So, when I first hopped off of the bus to NYC my first order of business was to grab lunch. I planned on nomming in Chelsea with a grad school buddy, then meeting with another friend who works at Google to catch up. As it turns out, my grad friend lived right across the street from my other friend’s job, so I called him to grab lunch. I thought we’d hit some fancy schmancy place that served tiny pieces of meat decorated with grass on huge plates. Silly me. Apparently Google has THE BEST LUNCH EVER. So we headed over for a mid-day meal.

ImageEverything you heard about it is true. That place is like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I couldn’t take pictures inside, but it’s heavenly. Every organic food or drink, every delicious thing you could fathom, they had on their lunch menu. I had to hold off on picking up everything because 1. I didn’t want to seem like I had no hometraining and 2. I couldn’t possibly eat everything I wanted. So I had to just drool over it and let it go. Continue reading

[Book Review] Little Green + Walter Mosley in DC!

Little Green is Walter Mosley’s 12th Easy Rawlins book, and reading it is a bit like watching Scandal – it’s breathless, a little far-fetched, full of strange and unexpected sex, and totally enthralling despite all that. Or maybe because of it.”

Peep the rest of my review of Walter Mosley’s new book, Little Green, over at PostBourgie.

And if you’re in the DC area and still need a Walter Mosley fix, check him out at Politics & Prose today (6/10) at 7:00 PM. Good times.