I Blame it all on Dr. Seuss

I love books.

Just yesterday I sent an email to one of my former professors from college asking for a new reading list. I just spent a LOT of money on Half.com buying books for myself and for friends. The fact that I can buy a hardcover copy of Drowning Ruth for $4.00, $3.25 of which is shipping cost..thus meaning the book itself cost 75 cents is CRAZY! So I bought three copies for friends. I’m not sure which friends have it already and which do not so if you do not, tell me and I’ll ship it to you. Same goes for The Myth of You and Me and The Memory Room.

I once received a gift from someone for Christmas that was a little figurine of a girl with a book in her hand. The giver explained that she always saw me with either a book and/or journal at all times and when she saw figurine, she thought of me. That figurine sits on my bookcase till this day! I LOVE BOOKS! I love reading. I love stories. The more I read, the better I write, the fuller my imagination becomes..books transform my mind. God created books and stories for me! Maybe for you too. But mainly for me!

A friend recently put a link on facebook about the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!

I would give up sex for an ENTIRE year to spend five seconds in each of those libraries! (I mean, I adore you Mr. Officer. I can taste you in the air I breathe. But those libraries are heaven. I could die there and you’d know it was okay!)

So back to books. I recently signed up to participate in a book challenge. The African Diaspora Reading Challenge by BrownGirl Speaks. I found out the challenge via Raquel at HomeGirl. I found out about Raquel through Veola (my mom) from Do You, Inc. Talk about networking, branching out, and discovering new and amazing people!

Brown Girl says of the challenge….

PictureThe African diaspora speaks mainly to the dispersion of African descendants in the Americas and Europe due to the Atlantic slave trade. Yes, Africans were enslaved or migrants to other parts of the world but the term is usually in reference to the aforementioned areas. So, for this challenge, books read will be by Black authors and set in Africa, North America, South America, Central America, Caribbean Islands, and Europe. Yes, this is broad but it means the possibilities are endless. Hopefully, those who participate will gain more incite into the myriad of Black cultural experiences.

Now, for guidelines:
*This challenge will run from January 1, 2010-December 31, 2010
*Crossovers are allowed
*Fiction and nonfiction hard copies or e-books from any genre (no audio books)
*Participants should visit different geographical regions in their reading (i.e. not all African American or Afro-Brit or Haitian or any one group representing the diaspora)
*Levels of participation
Novice: commitment to read four (4) books
Versed: commitment to read eight (8) books
Scholar: commitment to read twelve (12) books
*If you need ideas, here’s a list of authors and titles in the African diaspora.
*There will be a prize drawn amongst those who complete the challenge.
*I may host a mini challenge at some point as well and there would be a prize. Only challenge participants will be eligible.

To join to challenge sign up via her website.

So far I have purchased 7 books. My goal is to read 12. I picked people who I was familiar with and people I had never heard of.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Let the Lion Eat Straw by Ellease Southerland
The Untelling by Tayari Jones
So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba
Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin
Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora by Michael Angelo Gomez
The Book of Night Women by Marlon James

Do you have suggestions on other books I can read that fit within the guidelines? I’m excited.

Books can be very expensive to some people. Some books are about $30. I’d drop $30 on a book but I look twice at a dress from Forever 21 that’s the same price but then I’d spend $30 on Thai food but I wonder why a video game cost the same amount. It’s crazy what we think is reasonable and unreasonable.

If you are one who doesn’t like spending too much on books try websites like half.com and amazon.com. Swaptree.com is also amazing. You only pay for shipping and you get to get rid of books, movies, music, or games you no longer want cluttering your house. You can also try local bookstores and the sale racks in regular bookstores.

Purchasing used books is a very sustainable lifestyle approach. While half.com is a “greener” choice, its probably even better to bike to your local used bookstore and purchase them locally.

While purchasing books used is environmentally sustainable, I don’t know how culturally sustainable that is. The authors must make enough of a living to be able to write more stories and support themselves. So perhaps the publishers or manufacturers need to use 100% post consumer recycled paper or some other material all together.

I suppose some will say a Kindle is a sustainable approach. God, what if the Kindle becomes the next iPod. I would cry. I would throw my body on a floor and have a FIT! While I love my ipod and love that at any moment I’ve carrying over 3000 so
ngs with me at all times…I love a physical book! I love underlining and highlight and writing in my books. I love the smell of books. I love the weight of books. I love folding the pages down. I don’t want to read a book on an electronic device. I REFUSE!

You could also go to the library and borrow books. Unfortunately I have a very bad problem with returning the books. I don’t like too. I want to keep them. I’d rather give them something else in the place of the book that I took. But for you, I encourage you to go to the library. For me, I will just buy my books used. (Although if its an author that I love, I usually buy there latest books full price to show my support for them!)

Another idea I like instead of the library is swapping books with friends. Whether that’s permanately or temporarily. I like when friends let me read their books and vice versa. But again..I don’t like returning their books and I want them to return ALL of mine asap. I’m a book whore. AND I DON’T CARE!

If you were going to be stuck on an island and I could ensure you had one book with you to read, what would that book be…..

….SLY’s TOP PICKS for MUST READS are (in no particular order becase you should read them all)

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwartz (I also like ALL of her other books but this one is the best. I believe Wes Craven is now going to make it into a movie and I think its very fitting)
Children of Men by P.D. James (its different from the movie but JUST AS AMAZING!)
Strange Fits of Passion by Anita Shreve. (Really. I love just about all of her books. I think I have over 15 or so.)
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. (SO SO SO Freaking amazing! If you like the Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tales and NOT the Disney ones you are going to have an orgasmic experience!)
The Myth of Me and You by Leah Stewart. (The ad for this book said, “if you’ve ever googled and old friend’s name, you should read this book.” And its true. If you have ever had a falling out with a friend, even for legitimate reasons…this rocks your world.)
The Memory Room by Mary Rakow (This woman can have my soul if only she will write another book. The book is pretty much highlighted in its entirety. Do you want a copy? I will buy you one as a gift because you must read this book!)
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. (She is local to Chicago and this book is perfect. She does so many great things.
I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb. (I hated his book, She’s Come Undone. But I love everything else. This book is like 900 pages but it is worth every bit!)
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. (Another good one by Lamb)
The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve. (If I had to pick one of her billion books that you must must read. This would be the one!)
The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve. (Its written after The Last Time They Met but its the prequel and sequel. You won’t have any idea until you read both!)
Kiss Me Like a Stranger by Gene Wilder. (The best memoir I have ever read. He has worked with everybody. He is so fascinating and so human. I wish he was my uncle!)
Lip Service; The Truth about Women’s Darker Side in Love, Sex and Friendship by Kate Fillion. (Its not what you first think. Trust me. Its not anti-feminist or feminist. Its just the plain and simple and complicated truth. The ENTIRE book is underlined and highlighted! This woman needs to write some more stuff!)
Unspeak: How words become weapons, how weapons become a message and how that message becomes reality by Steve Poole. (Every communication and sociology major should read it. Anyone who opens their mouth should read it really!)
His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. (Every child on the face of this earth should read it! If you are a christian and disagree…ummm stop reading my post! I don’t even want to hear your stupid critique. Seriously. I really think what you have to say is stupid.)

EVERY SINGLE BOOK written by Dr. Seuss. (I credit Dr. Seuss with teaching me how to read!)

For teens…I recommend…(and my 15 year old sister has approved of this message!)

Perfect by Natasha Friend
Lush by Natasha Friend
Bounce by Natasha Friend.

(She also has two other books. One due out in April called For Keeps and one I can’t find anywhere called Night Swimming.)

So there you have it.

Sarasvait is the Indian God of Speech, Wisdom and Learning and  Thoth is the African God of Writing and Knowledge. With my passionate affair with books, knowledge, learning, studying and writing…I believe I must be a direct descendant from them both. I channel them daily.

Read any good books lately?

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Showing 2 comments
  • timcoe

    Sheena, this is maybe the first time I've seen someone's list of favorite books of which I've read not a single page. However, I am now going to read all of these because you said so.

  • SLY

    Okay Tim, I don't think you'd enjoy every book on here but these are ones I think you should start with.

    The Book of Lost Things
    I Know This Much is True
    The Memory Room
    Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
    Kiss Me Like a Stranger
    His Dark Materials. (Really, you haven't read the Golden Compass books?)

    Not sure you'd get into Anita Shreve or not. Maybe you would? Start with Strange Fits of Passion or The Last Time They Met. Maybe the latter.

    I think you'd LOVE Children of Men.

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