The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars

It’s the busy season for professionals who work at universities and colleges. Right before all the students come back after their winter recess, there’s this little tradition called RA Training where Resident Assistants receive training for a small amount of time on how to work with college aged students. This week is a fun and exciting time, but it’s also exhausting. When I came home from training this week, all I’ve wanted to do was read something mindless and zone out. In attempts to get back into the swing of things, I thought I’d write about a book I read a month ago, but has still stuck with me.

I read I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson sometime in December. It had been on my TBR (“To Be Read [List]”) for a couple of months, and interlibrary loan had finally placed it in my hands. Before I add a book to my TBR, I usually read the description and a couple of reviews. It definitely helps if the cover is pretty. This book had good reviews, an interesting story, and a very pretty cover. It also has another of my personal favorites, a story told through multiple points of view.

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On Entitlement

I am a woman. I am a person of color. I am black. These are only 3 aspects of my identity, but they are the most visible. If I am walking down the street, these are descriptors that someone might use to define me. Entertainment is often dictated by what we, as consumers, can see. This is true for visual media, but it’s also relevant to print entertainment. In recent years, there have been numerous movements to help make entertainment more diverse. Whether that be more people of color, more women in leading roles, or exploration outside of the gender binary.

As someone who society can (and has) classified as “other”, it’s great to see these conversation being started by both people in the mainstream and those who feel their voice isn’t being represented. I enjoy reading books and articles that are penned by or about people who I can relate to with some part of my identity. And it’s even more exciting to read about experiences that are completely new to me. If there’s some humor involved in either, it definitely can’t hurt.  I’ve been a huge fan of Mindy Kaling for several years for the way that she tackles some of these topics of identity, both as a writer and as an individual. She’s funny. She calls things as she sees them. AND she’s unapologetic (most of the time). One of my favorite quotes of hers is from her answer to “Where do you get your confidence?” Her response? Continue reading “On Entitlement”

New Year, New You

It’s a new year, 2016. This decade is almost over, and I still can’t tell you the difference between things published pre-2010 and post-2010. It’s all modern to me. That being said, the new year is often a time where people make resolutions, promise to work on themselves, and begin life full of hope. For me, the new year just reminds me of that one Death Cab for Cutie song I really like. (It’s entitled “The New Year” if you were wondering.) But I’m not that cynical. I have a couple of goals that I’d like to accomplish this year as well.

One of them is to average reading 3 books a week, which equals out to 156 books in 2016. If you’d like to follow along with my Goodreads account and what I read during 2016, you can feel free to click here. Another one of my major goals for this year is to consistently blog. When I got the idea for this blog, I knew that it’d require reading a lot of books, a lot of news, and doing a lot of research. At the end of 2015 I did a ton of research, but didn’t write down anything constructive. This year, expect lots of updates – including some video!

But starting anew reminds me of a book I recently read entitled Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg. This novel was long listed for the 2015 National Book Award, and it was well deserved.

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Let’s Get Lost

I’ve been on a bit of a YA (Young Adult) kick lately. Being a little overwhelmed by the grief and worry that seems to be ever present in our society, I enjoy being able to get lost in some books that focus on youth trying to find their way through the world. One of the books I’ve recently read, Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid was especially touching in contrast to the current climate. Sometimes it’s just nice to read a story about someone who truly cares about their fellow human beings.

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Another Day, Another Mass Shooting

Yesterday, the US wept for the citizens of San Bernardino where a mass shooting has left at least 14 dead and incited another heated debate among citizens and politicians alike. Many people completely missed the shooting that occurred in Savannah, Georgia (my home state) leaving one dead and three others injured. Looking across my social media platforms, I see a Washington Post article that talks about how the number of mass shooters has surpassed the number of days. In what is seemingly an age of fear, complete with bulletproof blankets for your elementary school children, there have been two responses to the endemic in the US.

#1: Prayer: The favored approach by many on the right, and almost all of our politicians. We are often told that the families of the victims are in “our thoughts and prayers.” Not to sound insensitive, but it would be ludicrous to think that I have enough time to name all the victims of these attacks, let alone to say individual prayers for them AND their families. Unless it’s something general like, “Dear Deity, please pray for all those who were murdered at some point between January 1, 2015 and right this second.” That being said, prayer is something that is very important to me, and I really appreciate the sentiment behind it. But is that really the best we can do?

#2: Apathy: Unfortunately, I often find myself falling into these category, as I imagine many US citizens do. We read the news, shocked and appalled. Then we watch the response of our political and community leaders (i.e. prayer), shake our heads and go about our lives. Maybe if we’re really feeling inspired or impacted we might donate some money or post an angry article on our social media accounts. This is clearly not the answer.

Okay, so if these two things are good enough, well then what is? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to that. However, I do think understanding how individuals can come to do things like this might be a good place to start. I recently read a book, Hate List by Jennifer Brown, that follows the life of a teenage girl in the aftermath of a shooter at her high school committed by her boyfriend. While this is a book that hits a little close to the events of (what seems like) every day life, I believe that Brown’s work allows the reader to ask different types of questions in the wake of tragedy. Continue reading “Another Day, Another Mass Shooting”