Wednesday, December 29, 2010

10 Best Fiction Books of 2010

As of this writing, I have read 72 books in 2010. This is about 2-4 more books than I did in 2009. Some of my friends say that this is an accomplishment, considering I am six credits shy of my Master's in Library Science, bought a house and moved out of my parents' house, working a full-time job (and for a part of this year, a part-time job on Saturdays), becoming a member of my local library system's board of trustees and being active in Delta.

This year brought us a variety of books that we enjoyed, and some we didn't. We looked forward to some books by authors who had not come out with anything in years, just to be disappointed in the end. We also heard from some promising new authors that gave us some of the best books of 2010. And we also read from favorites that kept us entertained and reminded us why we read their books.

And now, I would like to announce the best fiction books I read in 2010 (in no particular order):

32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter: As stated before, I loved this book. This was one of the very few books that I could not put down. Then, I recommended it to my book club and they fell in love with it (and we proudly rock our 32 Candles tees we got from Ernessa). Davie's story inspired me to go after my dreams and to believe in yourself. It is a great coming-of-age story with some Molly Ringwald movies sprinkled in it.

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez: This book was getting rave reviews in the blogging world this year, and after reading it, I can see why. The book, which is about four slave women who spent every summer vacationing with their masters, had me hooked and thinking long after I finished.

A Taste of Honey by Jabari Asim: This Essence Book Club Pick (along with 32 Candles) is a book of short stories that were interconnected with each other. It is about neighbors who lived in fictional city in 1968 and the climax of the book leads to Dr. King's assassination. The stories focused on racism, young love, growing up, finding love in an unexpected place, and family.

Substitute Me by Lori L. Tharps: What happens when an African-American nanny enters the home of a young White couple in the early 2000s? You will have to find out with this book. This held my attention way more than that other Black nanny/White people book of the year (and which I admit, I still haven't finished).

Playing The Hand You're Dealt by Trice Hickman: Emily is in love and has been for years. But there's one problem: Emily's in love with her best friend Samantha's father. And did I mention that Sam's parents are still together? This book had a lot of drama to keep me interested.

Torn Between Two Lovers by Carl Weber: I wasn't a reader of Carl's books until earlier this year, when the book club I am in was assigned to read Big Girls Do Cry. The sisters in the story got on my nerves, but I wanted to hear more about their friend Tammy, who was torn between her husband and her lover. I still can't get over that ending! :-)

Jesus Boy by Preston Allen: Elwyn, a teenager and popular piano player at his church, falls for Sister Morrisohn, who is his church sister and 26 years older than him. To me, it fell a little flat at the end, but there are so many twists and turns, you will be calling out Jesus' name several times.

Till You Hear From Me by Pearl Cleage: Remember during the Obama campaign when it seemed like the older and younger generations of African-Americans clashed over leadership? Cleage explores this with her latest book. Ida Dumbar returns home to Atlanta's West End to find her father Horrace (a popular pastor and civil rights leader) in a scandal after he says some bad things about our President (noting about cutting his privates, thank goodness). While that's going on, one of the Dumbar's family friends works to stab them in the back. A very good read that reflects recent times.

Be Careful What You Pray For by Kimberla Lawson Roby: I have been keeping up with Curtis Black and his family for a few years now. This one features Alicia marrying JT Valentine, who wants to be just like Curtis. But I really didn't think anyone could be worst than Curtis, but JT did things in one book that Curtis never did. And that says a lot.

The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin: I know you looked at that link and realized that I put a children's book here. Not only that, it's a Baby Sitters Club book. Well, this book is about what happened the summer before Kristi, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey formed BSC. In my tween days, I was in love with the BSC books and would spend my allowance on them. At the time, my mother was a teacher and had access to the book clubs that the publishers would sell and I would get some more books that way. So, this book brought me back to the early 90s when I would find out what was going on in Stoneybrook. And I am still on Team Stacey.

What was your favorite book of 2010? Please feel free to drop me a line! I hope you and yours has a very great new year and here's looking at more books for 2011!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Best Books of 2010: Biographies and Non-Fiction

While going through all of the books I read this year, I realized that I read a lot of non-fiction in 2010. Some were very popular books this year, like reading about how inconsiderate my soon-to-be former governor was in his marriage. Some were not. But here are my favorites of 2010, in no particular order.

The Politician by Andrew Young: Short (but funny) story on how I able to borrow this book. I was on a long waiting list for this book at the library. At the time, I was working at Curves and I was talking to the ladies on the circuit about Jenny Sanford's book. And one of the ladies piped up that she was reading The Politician. What makes it so funny is that this member is a Republican who loves Glenn Beck (and she saw him when he was in Charleston with Bill O'Reilly). When I told a coworker about this, I think she nearly fell out of her chair laughing, because we truly could not see her reading this book.

Young, who was John Edwards' assistant for years, was willing to do anything for this man. He really believed that he would become President (and at one point in my life, I did too). When Edwards' mistress winded up pregnant while he was trying to be Obama's running mate, Young and his family were put in hiding with the mistress. After that, Young was dropped like a hot potato.

I know there are some people who don't feel bad for Young, but I do. Here was a man who bent over backwards for his boss, treated bad along the way, just to wind up broke in the end. I hope he makes a ton of money off of the book. And makes me glad that I voted for Obama in the 2008 primary.

Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family by Condoleezza Rice: I may not agree with Condi's policies, but I like her as a person. She give a remarkable account of her childhood and how her parents (her father was a pastor and college administrator and her mother was a teacher) make sure that race would not be an excuse to hold her back from her dreams. I know they are looking down on her, amazed about her accomplishments.

The Grace of Silence by Michelle Norris: Norris, who is on NPR, finds out that her father was shot in the leg after being discharged from the Navy. Her research leads her to what race relations was like in the 1940s and how far we have come (but we still have a long way to go).

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore: Two guys, same name. From the same city and are about the same age. One became a Rhodes Scholar, served our county, and is a respected business leader. The other is spending the rest of his life in prison for murder and is already a grandfather in his early 30s. How did this happen? This book explores how two young African-American men took different paths in life.

Foxy by Pam Grier: You may know her as Foxy Brown or as Jackie Brown, but Pam Grier has been busting doors and kicking butt behind the scenes. In this autobiography, she talks about her childhood, dating in Hollywood and being a breast cancer survivor.

Killing Willis by Todd Bridges: Everyone knows what happened after Diff'rent Strokes went off: the drug abuse, the arrests, etc. But no one knew what led up to that: the physical beatings from his father, being sexually abused by his manager and being constantly harassed by racists and cops. I'm glad he's been able to straighten out his life and remained sober for almost 20 years. Another side note: about a week after I finished the book, Gary Coleman passed. Todd seemed like he was one of the very few people who looked out for Gary in the end.

This Book is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson: Because librarians rock! :-)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Best Books of 2010: True Crime

As of today, I have read ten true crime books this year. I think out of all the ones that I've read, only one of them I really didn't like. Most of these books were released this year, but there maybe a few that are older.

A Poisoned Passion by Diane Fanning: Air Force Staff Sgt. Mike Severance survived Iraq and Afghanistan, but did not survive his marriage to Wendi Davidson. Wendi, a vet, poisoned her husband and threw away his body in a stock pond. Fanning does a good job of highlighting both families affected by this crime.

Savage Son by Corey Mitchell: Bart Whitaker hires two of his friends to kill his immediate family so he can inherit their million-dollar fortune. Only problem is that his father lives. It takes a while for the cops to catch up with Bart and his friends and now Bart is on death row. And his father still defends him (as much as you can defend a son who tried to kill you).

Our Little Secret by Kevin Flynn and Rebecca Lavoie: For 20 years, the murder of Daniel Paquette was an unsolved case. With some persistent detective work and motivation from the victim's brother, the case leads back to Paquette's stepdaughter and her male friend, who pulled the trigger.

Fear Came to Town: The Santa Claus, Georgia Murders by Doug Crandell: Crandell does a good job of telling the story of Jerry Scott Heider, who eventually killed his most of his former foster family in cold blood.

Are there any true crimes books that you enjoyed this year? Are there some you are looking forward in 2011? Drop me a line!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Now that I have a e-reader, I need something to read!

I have had my Nook Color for about three weeks now. So far, I have been able to read books (still working on the touchscreen highlight) and surf the Internet. I even took part in a Nook Color class that Barnes and Noble offers every Saturday (at least the one near my house does).

But one thing I have been having trouble with is finding the right thing to read. Some e-books go up to $15, which is still cheaper than the would be at the store. And maybe it's because I still haven't jumped the e-book ship totally. It seems like with most new stuff I get (especially the ones I spend money on), I get a little hesitant about using it.

I went to the library Saturday and ran into a good friend of mines who works there. She recently bought a Sony Reader. She was telling me about the hard time she was having with finding e-books, to the point where she thought about selling the Sony Reader and getting something else. I told her to check out Google Books, which does have a lot of African-American books. And if she still wasn't happy, she can get a Nook, where B&N has more of a selection.

But my friend brought up a point that I didn't think of. She said that she's now into independent African-American authors and would like to know where she could find some authors who also offer e-books. I think some of this may have been answered with a story Felicia Pride wrote for Publishers Weekly regarding e-books and African-American publishing. Some of the information provided gives insight into the exciting things that will be happening in the publishing world in the next year.

Besides the ones mentioned in Felicia's story, are there some other independent publishers who offer e-books to their readers? Any other places I should check out to find something to read? Your help will be appreciated! :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Hunt for the E-Book Reader

As you may know, e-readers have soared in popularity. They are the newest technology trend (even thought they have been around for years) and are one of the "it" items to get for Christmas.

Several months ago, I started to think about getting an e-reader. And as a future librarian, I did a lot of research on what would be the best e-reader for me. I also looked at getting computer tablets at one time, but changed my mind. One reason was because I just bought a netbook right after Christmas 2009. I got it for a very good price (thanks Wal-Mart!) and it came with Windows 7.

Another reason I ruled out tablets was because they were either too high or they were from companies that I had never heard of. I would research some of these "no-name" tablet computers and reviews would call them pieces of crap. An iPad was too high (despite my coworker rooting for me to get one) and I was waiting on Dell to come out with one. They will be coming out with one in a few days, but the price was still high for my taste. Remember, I got a mortgage to pay once a month.

Some of e-readers were also being reviewed as pieces of crap. Since there are a lot of professionals who reviewed this stuff for a living, I took their word for it.

So, a few weeks ago, I narrowed it down to two e-readers: the Kindle and the Cruz Tablet Reader. The Cruz is being sold by Borders and I wanted to see it before I would consider purchasing it. I called Waldenbooks (because there is no Borders in SC) to see when it would arrive. A few weeks later, they called to say that it arrived. I never got there, mostly because Waldenbooks is at the Charleston Place and for those who know what Downtown Charleston is like, traffic and parking is not easy.

On my birthday, which was almost a month ago, I decided to get a Kindle. I like Amazon, so I figure this would be a good purchase. So I went to Target with the hopes of leaving with a Kindle.

No Kindles of the $139 variety at the store.

Then it dawned on me that Best Buy is down the street and they sell Kindles. So I went there.

No Kindles - at all.

I knew I was going out of town, so I held off on my Kindle search.

So while I was out of town, I heard about the Nook Color. I will admit that I am not the biggest Barnes and Noble fan (and I really don't know why). But all of the features (children's books, Internet and COLOR) really did get my attention. And what also got my attention is that the Nook Color will be the official e-reader for Books-A-Million, which I am a fan of.

So for the last few weeks, I have been deciding over which e-reader I was going to get. And Sunday, I finally made my decision (and a phone call from the store and a $25 gift certificate helped).

I decided to get a Nook Color.

This e-reader is so neat. I am getting used to the touch screen and trying to figure out how to use B&N's Website. But I feel that I have made the right decision. Let's hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Capital Bookfest Recap

The first ever Capital Bookfest in Charleston was a HUGE SUCCESS!! Between 4,000 and 5,000 people showed up on a chilly Saturday to the Charleston County Public Library's main branch. This was really good considering yesterday was the last day for the Coastal Carolina Fair. I would like to commend Kwame Alexander and the Capital Bookfest staff and volunteers for coming to Charleston and making the event the great day that it was.

It was great to see many of my friends, neighbors, coworkers and other people from the community at this event. This shows that Charleston loves their authors (if they live in Charleston or not). Many authors and poets including Nikki Giovanni, Haki Nadhubuti, Bret Lott, Mary Alice Monroe, Tina McElroy Ansa and many others shared their talents and works with the Lowcountry.

Here are a few pictures from the event:

Entering CCPL's Main Library

Author A. C. Moore and myself

Haki Madhubuti

Nikki Giovanni signing books

Victoria Rowell and myself (and I was over the moon, being a big Y&R fan)

Tina McElroy Ansa (left) and Tananarive Due during their presentation

The Post and Courier's take on the event can be found here.

I hope that this event will bring attention to the fact that the people in Charleston would like to see authors, even if it is just only at a book store (I saw you, Books-A-Million publicist). With the success of this event, I hope that many literary events, including this one, will come to the Lowcountry.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Do I Really Have To Think Like a Man?

Every weekday morning, I listed to the Steve Harvey Morning Show on my way to work. So when he started to promote his first book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, I was interested in reading it. I reserved it from the library and was one of the first ones to get it when it finally arrived.

The next thing I know, this relationship book on how to think like a man was getting big. Right after it came out, my friend tried to find it in the store with no luck. Then people started talking about it. And once Steve was on Tyra and Oprah, I knew there was no turning back.

As I mentoned before, I personally felt that it was not the best relationship book since sliced bread (like most people made it out to be). Some of the advice did make sense, but I just didn't feel that wonderful feeling about the book that many people came away with.

As turns out, I wasn't alone. I've heard a variety of comments about the book, from "This is for people your age" (my hairdresser) to "What does he know? He's on his third wife" (a fellow book club member). One of my male friends suggested that he could give me the same advice for the cost of the book.

One day, while I was catching up on my Twitter feed at work, I found out that someone wrote a response to Steve's book (and promoted it on Tom Joyner). After listening to the interview that was recorded, I decided to check this book out. The library didn't have it and when I saw that Amazon had the book for $10, I figure I didn't have much to loose.

Why Do I Have To Think Like a Man was written by Shanae Hall and her mother Rhonda Frost. This book gives an interesting response to Steve's book.

Shanae and Rhonda both talk about their experiences with men throughout the book. Shanae married her high school sweetheart, who eventally became an NFL player. Things went down hill and they are no longer together. Rhonda is also single right now and out on the dating scene. Some of their stories about their dating experiences and others may me sometimes want to say WTF (which is used a lot in this book)?

But in between these stories, the book does offer some good advice. Notice the red flags. Ask questions (the cereal one was very interesting). Set standards in a relationship from the start. And the most important one, LOVE YOURSELF FIRST.

So I guess this book is part relationship, part self-help. It is nice to hear from women who are having the same dating issues as many of us are (including myself). If women take care of ourselves and and demand what we want from the beginning, we may find luck in finding the right guy. And that we really don't have to think like a man after all.

P.S. I do also plan to read Steve's new book. And Shenae and Rhonda already have a response to that in their book.

P.P.S. You can read another review of this book here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's almost here: Capital Bookfest!!

It seems like yesterday that I had just heard about a new book festival coming to Charleston. That was back in February. Now the Capital Bookfest, which will be at the main library of the Charleston County Public Library is now 5 DAYS AWAY!!

I am so excited because this is the first time I can go to a book festival and not have to travel for it. And there are so many big-named authors (several that live here in Charleston) that this is an exciting time to be in the Lowcountry!

Some of the authors include:

Nikki Giovanni: I admit that I love Soror Nikki. I saw her speak at the SC Book Festival several years ago and she is AWESOME!! She will be reading from her new book Bicycles. She will also take part in the annual meeting of the CCPL Friends of the Library, which is the next day.

Victoria Rowell: Until a few years ago, I was a huge fan of The Young and the Restless. And of course, one of my favorite characters was Drucilla Winters. Who can come up from stealing jewelry from Fenmore's to helping run Jabot? Even though she is no longer on the show (and it hasn't been the same since), Victoria still is out doing her thing, writing and bringing awareness to foster care. She will be there promoting her books, Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva and The Women Who Raised Me.

Mary Alice Monroe: Not to be confused with the author who writes the God Don't Like Ugly series, Mary Alice Monore's books are about strong women who find their way in the world.. And they have been very successful. She will be promoting her new book, Last Light Over Carolina.

Sonia Sanchez: This amazing poet, playwright, writer and activist has been sharing her works for more than 40 years. She will be at the festival promoting her new book, Morning Haiku.

Bret Lott: I remember it was a big deal when Lady O picked his book Jewel as a part of her book club selection, because he was teaching at College of Charleston at that time (he left and came back to C of C). And she did a good job with that selection.

Jenny Sanford: As many of you know, she's South Carolina's Former First Lady who left the Governor after it was discovered that he didn't go to the Appalachian Trail after all. She will be signing copies of her book about her marriage, Staying True.

Tananarive Due: When I told a soror that Tananarive was going to be at the event, she could not obtain her excitement. Most of Due's work is about the paranormal (including Blood Colony), but don't sleep on the Tennyson Hardwick series, which she writes with husband Steven Barnes and actor Blair Underwood.

The Capital Bookfest will be Saturday (November 6) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The first 1,000 people will receive a free book! For more information, visit their Website at . They are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Hope to see you there! :-)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

WWDD? What Would Davie Do?

Believe it or not, I actually started writing this post several weeks ago. I had a Sophia Petrillo storyline going and everything. But after last night, I changed my mind.

Did you ever had a crush on someone in high school? A crush that was like, you fell head over heels for this person?

What about not being accepted in high school? You were not one of the cool kids, but one of those kids who was teased because of their looks or the way they acted?

I experienced both of those things while I was in high school.

So when I read 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter, I could totally relate to what her main character, Davie Jones, went through.

Davie lived in a small town in Mississippi and was treated cruel by her mother (also known as the town tramp). She copes by watching Molly Ringwald movies (like 16 Candles). When James, the hot football player, moves into town, she falls in love.

But due to relentless teasing and becoming a victim to a horrible high school prank, Davie runs away to Los Angeles and reinvents herself as a popular lounge singer.

So what happens when faith intervenes and James comes back into her life? I won't tell. That's for you to find out by reading the book.

I loved this book and so far, it has been one of my favorite books this year. I even got my book club to read it and they loved it too. We all fell in love with Davie and the characters that surround her.

So let me tell you about my experience. I had a crush on a football player (but he wasn't the star, but that's OK). Fell hard for him.

I also was teased a lot too. But instead of Monkey Night (which Davie was called), I was called a ditz, a dingbat and anything else that related to me not having sense. Why, I don't know.

I haven't become a lounge singer, just a journalist who will be a librarian in May. So what happens when your high school crush, who's now a doctor, calls you? Scream, then at least have a decent conversation with the guy. I thought I was getting an invitation to crazy.

After the initial shock (and a good night's sleep), I realized that I had a Davie moment. So I thought "What would Davie do next?"

So, I ask those who have read the book, WWDD? And if you haven't, if you were in a situation like mines, what would you do after receiving that type of phone call? I would love to hear your comments!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Not going to Columbia again

Due to car trouble and getting the radiator replaced, I will not be attending the African-American Literary Festival in Columbia tomorrow. I am sorry that I will not be able to attend, but I hope that the people who will attend this event will have a good time. If they have this event next year, I plan to attend. I am sorry if I have let you down.

Maybe I can get some more reading done. :-)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Upcoming event: The African-American Literary Festival

A brand-new literary event is happening in Columbia, SC this weekend and the Reading Diva is going!

The African-American Literary Festival will be at the Columbia Conference Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. I glad they picked this day because Carolina's football team is off this weekend, which means no traffic for the two hours I will have to drive. The event is hosted by the SistahFriend Book Club, which has book clubs in various parts of the country.

The event will feature some well-known names in African-American Literature. Authors include Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant, Mary Monroe, Donna Hill and Marissa Monteilh. There will be author signings and forums, vendors and activities for the little ones.

By Sunday afternoon, I will have pictures and highlights from the festival. I promise I won't take as long as the SC Book Festival.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The post you have all been waiting for....The SC Book Festival!!

Note: There are pictures from this event. They are on my old digital camera, since I bought a new one a few months ago. My old camera is at my parents' house, so I will post them once I get the camera.

I know the SC Book Festival was back at the end of February. But since I am attending two more book festivals before the end of the year, I feel that I need to post about the one I went to before I went to the new one.

So a few things that I remember from the book festival:

There was one guy who was selling a lot of self-published books, mostly African-American themed. But what drew me to his booth like a moth to a flame was the big Obama book he was selling. I collect Obama items, so this was up my ally. It was a long coffee table book of the front covers of African-American newspapers when Obama won. I started to think that I would buy this for myself and a friend that is a bigger Obama collector than I am. And then he told me the price: $70. Then this Chris Rock skit came into my mind. I bought some other books from him, but didn't buy the Obama books. And it didn't look worth $70. But if you want to buy a copy, have at it.

When I got there, I didn't know that a lot of the authors were there on Saturday (due to a work obligation, I attended on Sunday). Several of the authors that I wanted to see had already left Columbia and others were still there, but weren't signing books. When I was talking to a lady about the book signings, it turns out I was talking to Tia McCollors, who is the author of several books, including The Last Woman Standing.

I told Tia I was looking for Tiffany Warren, who is the author of In The Mist of It All. I had purchased the book at Wal-Mart a few days before and wanted her to sign it. She said that Tiffany was still in town and would call her to sign my book. Tiffany was gracious enough to find me and sign my book!

I also meet Heidi Durrow, who wrote The Girl Who Fell From The Sky. This book has gotten rave reviews in the literary circles. She will also be a part of Capital Bookfest in November.

I was able to enjoy this event. I got a chance to meet a lot of people, interact with some of my classmates and teachers (USC's School of Library and Information Science had a booth) and most importantly, got to buy a lot of books! Next year's event will be in May, which will allow the organizers to feature more authors (they will be getting ready for their summer tours). If you happen to be in the Columbia area, please take the opportunity to take part in this literary event.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My thoughts on Getting To Happy

After 16 days, a missed book club meeting, two big class assignments, helping with a play with my sorority, and countless events than one does while decorating a house, I have finally finished Terry McMillan new book Getting To Happy. Since it has been 15 years since I have read Waiting to Exhale (I read twice in high school - including once before I saw the movie), I had to picture the main characters as what they played in the movie. For example: when I read Savannah's part, I thought of Whitney. It helped me keep track who was who. Since I know that some people haven't read the book, I'll give some thoughts about the book without giving it away.

To me, it felt like most of the main characters have not learned anything in the last 15 years.

I think one character was not in the book because of what happen to the person who played him/her (in the Waiting to Exhale movie) in real life. And I'm not talking about Whitney.

Why were the teenage girls, particuarly Sparrow and Taylor, had more sense than the adults?

Towards the end of the book, one of the relationships started way too fast.

Hugs to Tyrek and his family.

One of the characters' issues and how she dealt with it reminded me of what Terry went through a few years ago.

I was disappointed at the end of the book. I was thinking "That's it?" Maybe I thought more would happen. Or maybe it was I waited 5 years for it and this was all I got.

In closing, I thought it was an OK book. Not bad, but could have been better. I was hoping this was going to be really good since The Interruption of Everything was kind of a letdown. Fox has already bought the rights to the movie and the screenplay was recently completed. I hope they do some modifications for the movie and add some to the story like they did to How Stella Got Her Groove Back. But they should have left Waiting to Exhale alone. But that's another blog post.

ETA 2/19/12 Added link in last sentence regarding plans for Getting To Happy Movie and Nippy's passing.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

While I was at Kmart...

So, here I'm am, at my local Kmart (and yes, people still shop at Kmart). I happen to glance at the book section and found this.

I know sometimes publishers release books before the date they are suppose to be released, but I just checked Amazon and this book is still due to be released on Tuesday.

I don't know what the deal is, but this may be good for those who can't wait to read the book. If I didn't pre-order it from Amazon and if it wasn't cheaper (they were selling it for $20 and got it for $15 at Amazon), I would have actually bought it. I've waited more than five years for this book, so a few days more won't hurt me. It may benefit some members of my book club. :-)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I have decided...

not to go to the Eric Jerome Dickey book signing in Columbia. This morning, my body nicely reminded me that I am in my 30s now and I would be pushing it if I decided to go. So after class tonight. I will go home, watch Big Brother and some Gamecock football, and maybe finish Tempted By Trouble. And most importantly, sleep.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

On the road again (maybe)

Since September is here, fall book festivals and author appearances are popping up. Since I live in the great state of South Carolina, here are the events that I either want to go, may go or will go.

Tomorrow night(September 2) at 7 p.m., Eric Jerome Dickey will be at the Sandhills Books-A-Million in Columbia. I really want to go to this, because he is one of my favorite authors and one of the very few I haven't met. There are two things that are stopping me. One is that I have an online class from 5-7. But I could be MIA and watch it on video later. But the professor says it's mandatory (emphasis on the an).

This is the second reason:

Even though I am a very proud alumni of the University of South Carolina and love Gamecock football (despite the highs and lows), I know that traffic is going to be hell. And this is the first game. And there will be drunk people on the roads on my way back.

So I'm still thinking about whether I should go. I did drop him a line on Facebook to see if he can come to Charleston at a later time. According to an interview, he's taking a break after Tempted By Trouble (which I am reading now and am mad at myself for leaving the book at work because I really wanted to finish it tonight). So maybe he will come and visit. And get inspired. And mention Meeting Street a lot like he does with Cascade Avenue in Atlanta (and I know where all of those places are because I have cousins who live down the street).

Next weekend (September 10 and 11) is the Charlotte Literary Festival. Confirmed authors include Mary Monroe and former Essence editor Susan Taylor. There will also be a Neo-Soul Festival, featuring Algebra and Dwele.

My problem is that I don't want to go by myself. Unlike Columbia, I don't know Charlotte that well and none of my friends have shown interest in going. So there is a strong possibility that I may pass on this one.

On October 2, it's back to Columbia for SistahFriend Book Club's first African-American Literary Festival. Mary Monroe will also be at this event, as well as Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant, Donna Hill and Marissa Monteilh.

This time around, I have friends who want to go! Even if people in the book club that I'm in backs out and another friend can't go due to work (just got a promotion at the library), I still plan to go. And I have to be back in Charleston to see Patti and Boyz II Men later that night.

Several months ago, I mentioned the Capital Bookfest that is coming to Charleston on November 6. A lot has happened then since the lineup. The main headliner is Nikki Giovanni (yay!) and more than 50 authors (I think this number is higher than that, so don't quote me) will be in attendance. This time, I just have to roll out of bed and drive myself downtown. :-)

So this is what I am thinking about doing as in terms of satisfying my book addiction. I will also be on the road a lot for my job, but that will not conflict (so far) with my schedule. And maybe sometime soon, I will finally put up my experience at the South Carolina Book Festival. I swear.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's been a long time...

Since I wrote a blog post. Between moving, classes, getting ready for a new boss and other things that have happened in this thing we call life, I haven't had time to post. I hope to post more often in the future. I'm going to try to do this once a week (hopefully more).

Even with all of this, it seems like my reading has actually speed up. I have completed almost 50 books so far this year, compared to about 70 all of 2009. I don't think I can get to 100 (and not going to try), but I think 80 may be feasible, depending on my schoolwork.

I just finished reading a book called Queen Pin. It's about a women who was a major drug dealer in LA back in the 80s and found God while spending over a decade in prison. Short read, but nothing to write home to.

Do you like the new look? I do! I didn't like the pink background (must be the Delta in me) and when I saw that I could change it to red, I was very happy. I also like the background print as well. I'm still considering to change the template, but I'll see how it goes.

I hope to be posting some more book reviews soon. Also, some book festivals are coming up in the Carolinas and I am trying to con at least one of my friends in going with me. Hopefully that will be successful. I have not forgot about posting the SC Book Festival (which was about seven months ago), but I think I still have some memories about it.

Feel free to drop me a line and if you have any book recommendations, let me know! :-)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why People Should Read This Book is Overdue!

As some of you may know, I an currently working on a Master's Degree in Library Science. So when I heard about This Book is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, I wanted to see what it was about. Through this post, I am going to tell people who I interact with and you why you should read this book.

Why my coworker Candace should read this book: There is a chapter about tattooed librarians. And you are a tattooed librarian! The tattooed librarians in this books participate hang out with each other and participate in book cart performances. This sounds cool!

Why my professor Dr. Tu should read this book: There's this huge chapter about Second Life! You have been telling me how you can do virtual reference with Second Life, but I didn't know that a lot of the virtual librarians hang out with each other and provide help to hundreds of avatars per day! I think it should be mandatory for you to read this!

Why the archivists at my job should read this book: There is a big section about archivists! Do you know an archivist found a collection of boxing items and got them donated to a library? It gives me more of a idea of what you guys do with all of that stuff!

Why the county library board should read this book: At the end of the book, a new library is featured and they talk about all of the cool items that they have. They also talk about the struggles on how to go to one catalog system to another. Maybe that will give us some ideas about the system's future.

Why everyone else should read this book: Because librarians are breaking the stereotype that they shush everyone and look very conservative. Librarians are helping people find information (and this economy, help find jobs), reach out to their communities and protect the privacy of patrons. Librarians are very diverse and are ever adapting to the new technologies. Even though I am a "librarian in training," it made me appreciate the profession even more. I hope I am able to be as productive as some of the librarians who are featured in this book.

A Diva's Thoughts: Where have the writers' gone?

Yesterday, I got an email that Blair Underwood is coming to one of the Books A Million in Columbia on next Tuesday (May 25). He is promoting his new book From Cape Town With Love from the Tennyson Hardwick series, which I love. But that has me wondering: Why aren't the African American authors coming to Charleston anymore?

At one time, they did. A lot of them came to the Books A Million at Northwoods Mall. Several years ago, I remember standing in line to meet E. Lynn Harris when I Said A Little Prayer came out. I also remember meeting Essie Mae Washington-Williams and Omar Tyree (who was happy to sign my first edition copy of Flyy Girl). But sometime last year, it all stopped. In recent months, I have received emails about book events, but they all have been out of town.

I do admit that I have met a lot of authors, but also a lot of the time I've had to travel to meet them. I have met some during the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia. I have also met authors when I went to my sorority's convention two years ago. But not everyone is willing to to drive. And not everyone is in a sorority.

I hope the Capital Bookfest will change this. The first major book festival in Charleston will be coming in November and is bringing more than 50 authors and 80 vendors to the Lowcountry. I got some details about it two months ago and it sounds like it will be a huge event.

There are also book festivals that are coming to Charlotte and Columbia later this year. But I hope that the people of Charleston come out and support this event. I feel that if we don't, we will be loosing out of more literary events and buying gas to see them somewhere else.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Three Men, Three Dating Books, One Single Black Girl

Every morning when I drive to work, I listen to the Steve Harvey Morning Show. One day early last week, Shirley Strawberry and Steve were talking about an event Steve did the previous weekend and the plans that it will air on ABC's Nightline. It is a part of their "Face-off" series and this new discussion, which was filmed in Atlanta, is called "Why Can't A Successful Black Woman Find a Man?"

There was a panel for this event, which includes Jacque Reed and The View's Sherri Shepard. But the women didn't catch my attention (no disrespect to them). It was the men's portion of the panel that did. Including Steve, there was Hill Harper and jimi izrael.

As one of the 43 percent of the African American women who have yet to be married, I wanted to see what I can do so I won't be a part of that 43 percent anymore. And one of the things I did was read. So I read all three of the gentlemen's book I just mentioned.

I read Steve's book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man not too long after it was released last year. I enjoyed the book and it gave some ideas of how men think. But I didn't feel it was "OH MY GOD THIS WAS THE BEST DATING BOOK EVER" like some people did. I even know a person (my hairdresser) who didn't like it (she said it was for people my age). One of my male friends said that any man could have written Steve's book and he would glad to collect $25 for anyone who wants his advice on how black men think. Also, I know there are some people who are wondering why Steve has become the love guru even though he is on his third marriage. But he has made plenty of money off of it.

Then I read Hill's book. I'll admit: I loved The Conversation. I though it took Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man to a whole 'nother level. A lot of issues he mentioned made sense and he brought some good points on how both men and women should act on the dating scene. He also encouraged men and women to talk to each other about relationships. I also enjoyed the fact that he was willing to open up about his own relationship issues and how he was working through them with this book.

When I lived in Greenwood, I used to go to poetry readings. Whenever a poet would read a poem that had an angry tone, the host would say "ANGER" (emphasis on the er) after they were done. That kept coming to my mind while I was reading The Denzel Principle about a month ago. jimi is twice divorced to two Black women and is PISSED OFF. He refuses to put some of the blame on his failed relationships on himself. He disses everyone from Oprah to Bill Cosby and feels that Black women are looking for either thugs or sugar daddies. There are some things I agree with (like putting the President on a pedestal and how women can sabotage relationships), but they are few and far between.

So if you happen to be up around 11:30 EST, try to watch Nightline tonight. I'll probably be asleep, but hope to catch it in the morning. I look forward to what everyone has to say and if the men will try to emphasize what was in their books (or at least promote them).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On TV: True Crime with Aphrodite Jones

Aphrodite Jones is one of the reasons why I love true crime. One of the first true crime books I read was All She Wanted, which was the story of Teena Brandon, who was killed because she was transgender. The case became the basis for the Oscar-winning movie Boys Don't Cry.

Now Jones, who has done trial commentary for a number of TV shows and was a frequent guest on The Montel Williams Show, has a show of her own. On her show True Crime with Aphrodite Jones, Jones get to examine famous crimes that has captured the nation's attention the last 20-plus years. Her first episode will be about Scott Peterson (who killed his wife Laci and their unborn son). Future episodes will feature cases involving OJ Simpson (the second time around), the Menendez brothers and Michael Jackson's child abuse scandal (one of her most recent books examined the case and how much of a joke it was).

True Crime will premiere Thursday (March 11) at 10 p.m EST on Investigation Discovery. For more information about the show, go to . Check out her Web site at .

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Maya's Buzz: The SC Book Festival

This weekend (February 27-28) marks the return of the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia. Many well-known and up-and-coming authors will be there. Several African-American authors will be there including Francis Ray, Clarence Nero and Tiffany Warren. Trista Thomas, author of the "Napply" series was suppose to be there, but I just saw on the festival's Web site that she has canceled. :-( Because of this, I may not go. But I don't rule out the possibility.
Most of the events will be at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. For information, visit their Web site at .

ETA 3/4/10: I did attend the SC Book Festival on 2/28 (Sunday). I hope to have the story and pictures up here by the end of the week. I've been busy with school and work lately.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hello World!!

Hello!! My name is Maya and I am your Reading Diva. I will be writing book reviews, giving you information about books (and events involving books) and other information that I would like to share. I will mostly be focusing on African-American literature (no Urban Lit, yuck), but I will also write about true crime, biographies and any other book that I find interesting. I do have some plans for this blog, such as a book club, but those will be in the future.

I live in the beautiful state of South Carolina, where there are smiling faces, beautiful places and Republican leaders who like to find ways to embarrass us. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always love the written word. I love it so much that I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in journalism. When that didn't work out, I decided to go back to Carolina and now I am working on a Master's degree in Library Science. Besides reading, I like to write, do volunteer work, surf on the Internet (probably looking for something to read), hang out with friends and watch sports (especially Gamecock football). I am a member of two of the best sororities in the world: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated (a big OO-OOP to all of my sorors) and Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority (yellow roses to all of my sisters).

I have wanted to do this for a long time and now I am ready to take this journey of sharing what I know with you. Please join me and I will guarantee we will all have a good time!!