Sunday, January 30, 2011

Carl Weber Comes To Charleston

This past Friday (January 28), the Books-A-Million at Northwoods Mall got a visit from Carl Weber, who was in town promoting his new book, The Choir Director.

He did not read from his book. Instead, he told the audience of about 50 how he became an author and owning the biggest independent African-American publishing company in America. He also discussed how he was able to take experiences from his life and turned his ideas into
books that have hit the New York Times Bestsellers List.
There are several authors (that I and some of my fellow bloggers have met) that come across as full of themselves and think it is all about them. Carl did not come off that way. He admitted that we, the readers, are the ones who made him a success. And as each person came up and got their books signed, he asked us which one of his books was your favorite. I honestly told him (after saying Torn Between Two Lovers) that I just started reading his books, but did plan to read more in the future.

I was really happy to see Carl give us so much love here in Charleston and I hope that he (and other authors) get to come to the area more often.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Regarding that "O" book....

Last week I was debating whether I should by "O, A Presidential Novel". I was wondering whether I should buy it, let the library order it or just plain not read it at all. Since the author was anonymous, I had a bigger concern that I would be reading a book that was written by an anti-Obama person.

On Tuesday, I decided to let the library order it. That way I would save money and wouldn't be at a total loss if the book was bad.

Yesterday, Time revealed that Mark Salter, one of of John McCain's former speechwriters, is the author of the novel (even though he nor the publisher has confirmed it). But since they have a lot of evidence that looks like that may be true, I'm going to take their word. The New York Post also pointed towards Salter.

Part of me is relieved that I did not buy the book. I really don't want to support anyone who is against the mission of the President and of the man himself. There is even a book that is coming out in the next few weeks in which the author doubts Obama wrote his best selling books. I did have a bad feeling about the book, especially after I visited the Website for the book. Something just didn't sit right with me.

But there is another part of me that feels duped. I was actually excited about this book and to find out that a former McCain staffer was behind it makes me upset. But I can hear my cousin say that I should read it to see how the other side thinks. But I've been hearing what the other side thinks for the last two years and I don't like. At all.

When the book does show up on my library account, I will click the button to cancel the hold. At least no money was lost and maybe someone else will enjoy the book. But knowing who's behind it, I won't.

And the publisher could have gotten a better looking Obama lookalike:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Touching basis

I'm sorry that is has been over a week since I last posted. I was without a car for a few days and had to stay with the parents so I could get a ride to work. Right now I am in Columbia (about 2 hours away) for work. Then with my last semester in graduate school cranking up, I have been pretty busy the last few days.

I found out from one of my friends a few days ago that Carl Weber will be at the Northwoods Mall Books-A-Million a week from today (January 28) at 7 p.m. I will be there, as well as many of my friends. I will take plenty of pictures so I can share it with you. At least someone at Books-A-Million realize that there are plenty of fans in Charleston.

Also, one of my friends told me about a kiosk at Northwoods Mall that sold African-American books. It's called the Urban Knowledge Book Store and I got to talk to one of the guys who helps run the booth. They have a lot of books and they have been doing well since word has been spreading. After looking at the Website, it turns out that Carl owns the booth. I may do a story about it in the near future.

Reading has slowed down a little due to school and the unusual weeks I've had lately (the car, MLK holiday, experiencing a real winter in South Carolina). I hope to pick back up soon.

One more thing: I am thinking about buying O, A Presidential Novel. I've heard good and bad reviews, but since the author is not known, I don't want to give my money to a person who is anti-Obama. Any suggestions on what I should do?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Delta Authors (in honor of our 98th Founders Day)

On January 13, 1913 at Howard University, 22 women decided that they wanted to make a change. So they came together and created a sorority based on community service and named it Delta Sigma Theta.

Ninety-eight years and 250,000 members later, the women of Delta continue to uphold the founders' purpose of having a sisterhood that also gave back to their communities. Whether it is through politics, the arts, education, or just giving someone a helping hand, the women of Delta have touched millions of lives.

In honor of Founders Day, I have compiled a list of authors who are Deltas. Some of them are well known. Some of them are not. I hope this will show the literary talent that women authors have to offer (even if they are a part of the greatest sorority in the world).

Do you like Christian Fiction? What about Victoria Christopher Murray or Stephanie Perry Moore?

Do you know that both of them also writes Young Adult books? Also check out Carla Sarratt and Sonia Hayes for some new YA reads.

Two sorors have recently wrote biographies. Helena Andrews wrote about being young, Black and single, while Natalie Cole wrote a beautiful story about her journey while she was waiting on a kidney transplant.

Need some inspiration? You can't go wrong with National Chaplin Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie.

Need some inspiration while working on the job? Black Expression's Carol Mackey recently released a book that will help.

Several years ago, Amy DuBois Barnett wrote a book about going after your dreams. She is now running one of the most storied magazines in the country.

Are you a single mom and need a inspirational guide? Soror Alisha Gordon recently released a book to help you on your journey.

Do you like poetry? You can't go wrong with Nikki Giovanni!

We suffered a heartbreaking blow last year with the loss of our 10th National President, Dorothy Height. Even though she may be gone, her story has inspired many of us to continue our work in civil rights.

And do you want to learn more about Delta in general? Soror Paula Giddings wrote a book about our wonderful history.

I know there are other sorors who are writers that I probably missed. But this short list show how diverse we are as sorors.

To all of the sorors who are reading this: Happy Founders Day!! Remember to uphold the virtues of our sorority and do all that you can for Delta!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Diva's Thought's: Reviewers of Color

Earlier this week, a tweet from Duski Literati caught my attention. The tweet contained a story from BeyondChron, which was in response to a New York Times Book Review feature story. The NY Times story discussed the need for book critics.

BeyondChron's agreed with the need of book critics, but wondered why the stories didn't mention or talked to any book critic/reviewers of color.

Reading this brought up a recent conversation with my mother. She's been trying to encourage me to put some of my reviews in the local newspaper. It is extremely rare that they feature books from or about people of color. And half of the people that they use are staff members.

"Maybe you should change your name. Maybe Barbara," Mom said. "Sound more white."

"I am not changing my name," I said. "And aren't you the one who named me?"

I agree with BeyondChron's take on the need of diversity in the world of book reviews. But should you change even a little bit of yourself just to get a byline? Should you give up what you believe in to cater to the mainstream?

I say no. I am just getting to a point in my life where I'm starting to feel comfortable in myself and in my writing. After a (brief) career in the journalism field, I want to write what I feel that is important to me and the people around me, not the status quo. And there are too many options to have my work published only in the local paper (who is probably not going to publish it anyway because they have to think about their "audience").

I feel that if any publication does not want to feature books and reviews/reviewers of color, it's not only their loss, but the loss of their readers.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dear Uncle Steve

Re: Straight Talk, No Chaser

Dear Uncle Steve,

First off, I would like to say that I have enjoyed your work. From the radio show, to the comedy and to the TV show I catch on reruns on Centric and TBS, you have been a great source of entertainment.

I have read both of your books and as a single, college-educated African-American female, I was interested in what you had to say regarding your opinions on how we should approach men. But what I really wanted to discuss is Chapter 7 of your latest book, Straight Talk, No Chaser. The one about looking presentable, dressing up even, when you go out.

I understand that you may never know when you meet "the one," but I will never try to dress up everywhere I go. That is just too much for me, and women in general, to do.

These are a few places that I will never dress up to go, unless I go there straight from work:
  • Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target or any similar stores
  • Food Lion, Bi-Lo, Publix, Piggly Wiggly or any grocery store
  • The gym (and I hope no man shows up there because I work out at Curves)
  • Any other place I feel that I should not dress up at
A guy should approach me regardless of what I'm wearing. So if a guy sees me wearing jeans, a sweatshirt and my hair in a ponytail and still wants to approach me, that should be a guy I would want to talk to, because he sees me as attractive to begin with. And I am also not applying that 90 day rule you suggested, because if a guy wants to be involved and have a serious relationship with me, he's going to see me at my worst anyway.

I know that your books have helped plenty of women to find and/or keep the man of their dreams and I understand that. But for one to find what they are looking for, they must be confident in themselves. If a man comes along and doesn't see the great things she sees in herself, she have every right to move on and find someone who does. Being confident in yourself is the first thing a woman should do to get a man. And they don't have to think like a man to do so.

The Reading Diva

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Reading Resolutions

Happy New Year! 2011 brings a lot of promise and (hopefully) a lot of good books to read. Since some of my schedule will be loosened up come May 6 (3 p.m., Colonial Life Arena), I hope to read more books than I did in 2010 (72). Here are some of my reading (and writing resolutions in 2011:
  • Read more books that I own. I check out many of the books from the library, which makes me put the books that I own on the back burner. So a lot of them sit on my shelf, waiting to be read. I hope to make a least a small dent in the new year.

  • Finish reading Dreams from My Father. Obama was running for president when I started this book. He is already half way through his first term (I'm claiming he will be reelected next year). It's nothing against the President, but it's one of those books I pick up, read a few chapters and put it down and not pick it up again until months later. It's not the book, just me.

  • Finish reading The Help by the time the movie comes out in August. I haven't picked it up since the book club discussed it over the summer.

  • Attend more book festivals, especially if they are outside of the state of South Carolina. There are a few that I am thinking about attending in 2011. Because Southwest is coming to Charleston in March, it will be easier and cheaper to fly. I am interested in going to the National Black Book Festival in Houston and the National Black Book Conference in Atlanta.

  • Write more in this blog. I also hope to do freelance in other blogs and publications.

  • Read outside of my box. Maybe read some more chick lit (and I know there are people who dislike this term). Or maybe some mystery and suspense. It's worth a shot.
  • Start an online book club. While I was working on a project for school, I found a free Internet program where you can join through Facebook. I feel this will be a good way to have a book club with people from across the county. And you won't have to leave your house.

What are your reading resolutions for 2011? Will you work on reading a book that you gave up on? What about trying out a new genre? Do you want to meet your favorite author? Let me know!

One more thing: Have you had a chance to read Black Voices' 15 Books That Mattered in 2010? I love that many of these are books I've read, recommendations by authors that I have read (many in 2010), and some books that are on my shelf. I have to giggle at the fact that Soror Nikki chose Decoded as one of her favorite books of 2010 (but I'm not surprised, considering her love of hip hop).