Author Archives: shunshinybooks

About shunshinybooks

I love books! I love everything about literacy! I am ever fascinated by words and the various ways in which they are used to communicate meaning.

Eyebrow Raising Book Feelings

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What happens when a book an acquaintance lauds as the best book ever contains a plethora of racism? Awkward right?

Suggested, favored books can reveal things about the reader, perhaps things they didn’t want you to know they held interest. In the past, knowing this, sometimes made me a little self-conscience about the things I list as “read” on Goodreads. I often thought about leaving a note in the comments section,”Guys I’m reading all these children’s books for work, not because I lack or am too lazy to engage higher level thinking.” Over time, thank you life matriculation, I have thought less about the ratings and the content of my lists of books (read and want to read) and whether they would offend browsers until someone whom I have known casually, but considered to be quite ethically evolved, placed a book in my hands and said,”You have got to read this, it’s was so amazing. I loved every single thing about it.”

I read it. I thought about it, really took time to examine my thoughts. I even measured my analysis against the Internet’s popular opinion and concluded that I did not hate this book but I sure as heck did not love it. It has so many problems regarding race, feminism and other polemical ideals. I was later asked what I thought about the book and I told her briefly that it was not my “cup of tea” but thought it had an interesting plot.

I was honest but I still walked away empty. I could tell by the energy between us that there was no space to unravel and discuss the issues that had led to my discontent. I felt that the openness just wasn’t there and that made me sad and defenseless.  I do not want to reveal the title of the book because I do not wish to defend my position or argue about my feelings.

Maybe I went into reading the story with too many preconceptions, maybe she didn’t even notice the issues because she was so taken by the plot. Perhaps I saw problems that were uniquely part of my journey not hers. I decided not to judge my book buddy for her suggestion… at least until we have a conversation.

What about you, have you had a similar thing happen to you?

Top 5 of my top 10 books read in 2014

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  1. She slapped me on the face and told me to suck it up. This author made me feel like I was sitting in her living room having a warm beverage, time travelling into other people’s lives all over the world battling with all manner of situations. She taught me compassion, empathy and how to love others and most importantly, myself. Thank you Cheryl Strayed.

Book: “Tiny Beautiful Things” by Cheryl Strayed

Dear sugar

  1. This one provoked teary contemplation. I thought about my parents and the aging process. How will I cope with their inevitable deterioration? How will I deal with the loss that comes before the actual physical loss of a loved one? This book also made me think of my close relationship with my own husband and wonder what life would be like without him. Overall, I was able to see the subtle beauty of it all, to have loved and lost.

Book: “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant” by Roz Chast

cant-we-talk-about-something

  1. I felt like I had been on an epic journey. I was taken from my village, the only home I had ever known, dragged for miles when my legs simply refused to do what they been taught, chained to a filthy vessel for months, becoming barnacles headed toward more doom. After my journey was complete I also felt complete, reconciled and connected to an infinite ancestral strength.

Book: “Someone Knows My Name” by Lawrence Hill

somone knows my name

  1. This book made me feel dirty and grimy but I could not put it down. I became intimately familiar with the multifaceted characters. I sometimes still think about them and wonder how they are doing.

Book: “The Devil All the Time” by Donald Lawrence

devil all the time

  1. Lyrical, trippy, introspection come to mind when I reflect on this book. It was unlike anything I’ve read so far. It made me reflect on relationships and events from the past with squinted eyes to expose what was really there.

Book: “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” by Haruki Murakami

colorless

Nanowrimo 2014

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How cool is this! Not only is November a month devoted to giving thanks, eating until you feel like you might throw up (and then you do), putting on boxing gloves and throwing down over the last Barbie or Wal-mart towels, or yelling unabashedly in support of people being knocked unconscious on a field – it’s National Novel Writing Month!

Basically, National Novel Writing Month, or Nanowrimo, is getting hopped up on caffeine and writing with a group, friend or alone in your favorite spot at home until you reach the goal of 50,000 words. This year I participated because it was one of my 2014 new year’s resolutions, which I made on the fly in the spirit of making goals I did not intend on reaching, high on the newness of the year and the idea of endless possibilities – but I digress. When my husband reminded me of my promise, I became angry at myself for making such an insurmountable goal and at him for reminding me that I had done so and being so supportive. The anger was not actually anger at all but fear, fear that I would fail. So, after a few tears and screams in my pillow, I decided to give it a try – no I was in it to win it.

high point cafeIMG_0379

I wrote like a mad woman for days, setting my timer for an hour and resting for thirty minutes and sometimes doing sprints for as long as I could write. I attended two write-ins in my state. One of them was great with nice lighting and the perfect ambience for inspiration. The other was awful. People kept talking loudly, addressing the entire group instead of using a normal café voice. The owner allowed us to use the facility during after-hours so we could write in a quiet place but I guess everyone did not get the imaginary memo. My husband and I drove an hour to get there. Before long I got up to leave, disappointed that I had not gotten much done at all. But there was a silver lining. I had written for a couple of hours earlier, my husband and I had rousing conversation to and from the venue and I had learned to never attend another write-in with that group again unless I was way ahead of the game, which they probably were.

Overall, my experience was great because guess what?! I won! I reached 50,000 words on November 28. I could not believe I had actually done it with all the other responsibilities I had that month, but the numbers don’t lie. Big thanks to my husband for dictating every word I wrote to make sure I stayed on track, his supportive words and help around the house, and encouraging text messages from my dear, dear friends and family. You guys will never know how much you mean to me.

So I am writing this blog to let you know whatever it is you want to do but think it is just too crazy for you to achieve, do it. Cry it out, make excuses and when you are done – do it. Depend on your friends and family to give you the support you need. Give them the chance to let you know how much they care about you and your goals. Do it! Do it! Do it!Winner-2014-Facebook-Profile

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley

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Here are a few of my favorite quotes fromThe Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” by Walter Mosley

 

“The great man say that life is pain,” Coydog had said over eighty-five years before.  That mean if you love life, then you love the hurt that come along wit’ it. Now, if that ain’t the blues, I don’t know what is.” p.76

 

“Ptolemy and Peter Brock worked on a truck, driving up and down city streets delivering ice to the customers of Brock’s father, Minister Brock. “What church your daddy preach at?” “He ain’t no preacher,” Peter said. “My grandfather named him that so if you used his first name you had to respect him anyway.” p.79

 

“The older you get the more you live in the past.” p.166

 

Check out more thoughts about this book on my Goodreads link.

Bookish Christmas Gifts 2013

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Last year I was blessed with many thoughtful and niche gifts. Below are a few of my bookish presents. I was so grateful to receive each one.

1. Barnes and Noble Gift Cards

  • a book lovers shopping spree

barnes and noble gift card

 

2. Book worm razor back tank top

  • This is so cute. I can’t wait til the weather warms up so I can wear this proudly. The material feels like a dream and the yellow bow makes it extra special.

book work shirt

 

3. Newsprint infinity scarf

  • A beautiful, satin-silky infinity scarf adorned with words. It’s perfect!!!

infinity scarf

 

What did you get for Christmas? Any book related gifts?

Reading Goals – 2014

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Last year I set a reading goal of 30 books for 2013. I am pleased to say that I achieved my goal of 30 before the end of the year and decided to raise it to 40! I was a bit nervous about attaining my new goal, felt I was being over zealous, but guess what, I did it!!!

I tracked my progress on Goodreads.com. Feel free to click the link on my home page to have a look at my list of read books. I am also proud of myself because I actually followed through with my New Year’s resolution and stayed true to my love for books for a whole year!

This year I have decided not to raise but to lower the number of books I’d like to read so that I can read without pressure. I want to continue to enjoy books without the guilt of not reaching my monthly quota. I also want to indulge in books without considering their length. Maybe I’ll read more “mammoths” this year.

My goal is to read more leisurely and diversely. With this in mind, I’ve decided to set my goal at an achievable 25 books this year. Since I’m a member of a book club, that should knock out 12 and I buddy read with friends, which takes care of more obligatory reading leaving me with the opportunity to read more of what I want without constraints. The way I see it, this will be a more exciting reading year.

***What are your plans for reading next year? Do you set reading goals? If so, how do you go about setting your goals?

 

What I’m Reading

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Here’s a couple of books I’m hoping to finish before the end of the month. I will include a Goodreads link so you can check out the synopses of the titles and covers that appeal to you.

The House Girl
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15781725-the-house-girl?from_search=true

the house girl

 

 

Burial Rites
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17333319-burial-rites?from_search=true

burial rites

 

What are you reading?