Category Archives: Books

Quick-Fast Book Review: Learn to recognize and drop a jerk in less time

Person: John Van Epp, PhD.
Thing: Book—How to Avoid Falling in Love With A Jerk
Place:  The Human Heart
Idea:   Van Epp says a love-interest’s jerk-like tendencies will manifest themselves within a set amount of time. And by following his suggested Relationship Attachment Model, budding relationships can maintain thoughtful balance, which decreases the likelihood of falling for a jerk.

Ahhhhh, February! Black History Month, heart health month, and the LOVE month!

Well this week’s Review is especially for all of you lonely souls—who look forward to growing to love the man or woman of your dreams! Maybe you just want a February Valentine.

This book is meant to prevent you from falling in love with a pendejo, an “a$$hole.” The title is more genteel…. “How to Avoid Falling in Love With A Jerk”.

I read the e-book version. Having fallen for a jerk or two in my past lives—when I read this, my aim was to avoid doing that again!

A few years ago, a man I went out with a few times alerted me to this book—along with one of the book’s major premises: That there is no substitute for TIME when trying to avoid falling for a jerk. How much time? Ninety days. And the author contends that 90 days is plenty good time for jerk-like patterns to reveal themselves.

Side note: In hindsight…the guy who recommended the book——was he warning me about himself? Hummm…

Van Epp says the principles in this book are part of his PICK program—that’s right—for folks trying to literally PICK a partner. If followed, the author pretty much guarantees you won’t marry a jerk! This book is chock full of acronyms—mnemonically friendly devices for you to keep handily in mind as you date.

For example:

FACES are critical in getting to know your partner:

  • Family Background
  • Attitudes and actions of the conscience
  • Compatibility potential
  • Examples of other relationships
  • Skills in relationships

Use these areas to get to know your partner, while using the RAM model—which is supposed to strip jerks clean. You’ll see a jerk for who he—or she—is. By taking time to examine FACES, you will be well informed about potential partners.

RAM stands for Relationship Attachment Model, and essentially states that there are five dynamics intrinsic to all humans. They concern how deeply one knows a person, how well you trust, rely, are committed to them, and have sexual involvement with them.

As you get to know a potential partner, you’ll find out about their background, attitudes, compatibility, etc.—and as you do, and the relationship grows. ALL relationships are based on knowledge first.   And if any of the other steps get ahead of knowledge—that puts relationship parties in a precarious situation—not necessarily physical but emotional.

You’ll have to get the book for the other nifty examples, and visual models that help make some principles easier to remember.

How to Avoid Falling In Love with a Jerk is a highly recommended read.

Next review—another love book!

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

From bubble butt to Giant to TV powerhouse: Michael Strahan’s tips for happy living

Once upon time, his brothers and their friends called him Bob.

Yes, his name is Michael.
No, Bob isn’t an obscure, ages-old shortcut.

But a younger Strahan was a little fluffy around the edges, but didn’t realize it until one of their friends asked Michael if he knew why they called him “Bob”.

He didn’t.  So this friend, Anthony, told him.

Bob stood for “Booty on Back.” Anthony informed Michael it was because he was fat.

Wow. Kids can be cruel.

In his book Wake Up Happy, Strahan shares his road to transformation from that boy with the bubble butt to NFL star…

It was followed by another reinvention after he retired from football and slid into a television career. Don’t get it twisted… This dippy slide was peppered with bumps with lessons.

But no matter what, Strahan contends it’s possible to wake up happy. He shares 18 ways to do so that are supported by lessons from his life.

Here are three that stand out most:

“Rule #1: Help can—and will—come from the most unexpected places. Be open to everything around you.”

“Rule #3: Grit, desire, and discipline are free and the only equipment you need to start just about any endeavor you’ll set out to do.”

“Rule # 12: Listen to other people, but don’t take their opinions for fact. Have your own experiences. Draw your own conclusions.”

I recommend this book because Strahan isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel with this read. He’s just sharing his man’s journey to happiness… Through bumps and bruises, pain, mistakes; and openness about the areas  he still wants to improve.

Seems it might be a tad cumbersome to remember 18 different rules for navigating life, but these rules could serve as handy reminders to stay persistent if you want to do more, achieve more.  It’s natural to  sometimes have doubts or feel stuck in doldrums, but it’s also possible to still live smack-dab in happy’s face even while yearning and working for certain aspects of the life you desire to fall into place.

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Quick-Fast Book Review | Something New

This week’s book is part of a charming series by Beverly Jenkins called the Blessings Novels.

          In Something Old, Something New, former teen sweethearts Trent July and Lily Fontaine, who are now reunited adult sweethearts. They’re also engaged.

This third installment in Jenkins’ Blessings series is rife with activity from page one.
• A reverend in Florida learns her tiny church is closing—the latest victim of gentrification.
• Trent and Lily are planning their wedding. They want something  simple, but haven’t really checked in with the other townspeople in Henry Adams who also have visions of how the wedding should transpire.
• And two of Henry Adams’ adopted children Devon and Zoey are enduring a changing relationship. Zoey is mute, however she has discovered she loves working with her hands. Specifically, she has a knack for working on cars. Devon’s knack is pretty much knocked–he doesn’t have this gift, and feels left out. So there’s that drama… a girl can outdo him fixing any car.  Devon’s also a tad confused because no one wants to hear his rousing Sunday sermons anymore. His delivery is quite electric, but the content is flat… and it seems folks have discovered hearing two or more of his sermons is like a church version of the movie Groundhog Day.
• And then there’s the town owner, Ms. Bernadine. She bought the financially beleaguered Henry Adams on the Internet, and is working to restore the town and establish it as a model community and a safe haven for foster and adopted children.

Something Old, Something New was my first introduction to Beverly Jenkins, and I’ve been hooked on Henry Adams ever since.

I like this book because even though a reader may not pick up the first Blessings novel, Jenkins’ fills in enough details about her characters to that it doesn’t take away from the present story. However it made me want to read more. So when I read the previous installments in the series, I got to understand the character history a little more, and why some of them acted as they did in Something Old, Something New.

If you want to take a journey that’s not quite out of this world, but far enough away from your daily grind, consider Henry Adams, Kansas. You’ll find history, hard workers, jokers, recovering drunks, hogs and swindlers, and adorable children—all sprinkled with a bit of drama and humor.

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Quick-Fast Book Review: Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

Issa Rae and I seem like two peas in a pod… Except she’s famous and I’m not.

And her dad’s a doctor, and she went to school in Brentwood and to Stanford… And my dad isn’t, and I didn’t attend a snazzy Brentwood school or Stanford.

At my high school, we held assembly programs called “Chapel.” We  sang songs about Jesus.

We also had folks who could rap like nobody’s business.

I was NOT one of them.

But I was plenty awkward. And though some folks thought me cute and told me so, it wasn’t enough to get anyone to ask me out in high school. So even thought I didn’t THINK I was ugly, I assumed folks didn’t find me attractive.  Honey, there were no boys  beating a path to my door, or keeping my parent’s phone line busy trying to hear my voice.

By reading The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, I felt somewhat at home within the awkward experiences of Issa Diop, also known as Issa Rae.

Socially awkward? I so got that as a kid.

Heck, I get that as an adult.  I still occasionally say things that elicit uncomfortable silences.

Bad dancing? Jury’s out on that. I just move to the rhythm and don’t try too hard. Nothing inspiring.  Let’s move on.

Trying hard to impress? When I was younger, occasionally. I can’t recall the moment I realized how stupid that was and stopped. I can only be me.

I enjoyed the escapades and familiar landscapes of the Awkward Black Girl web series. Also enjoyable, reading about some of Issa Rae’s defining moments.

Here’s the joy of this book: It seems so incomplete. And that’s awesome! Her story’s still in progress. I’m looking forward to more from Issa Rae, whether via web series, book, TV, radio or if packaged in podcast or comic book forms.

She’s a talent with a unique voice that can speak to everyday nerdy awkward black girls—and anyone who dares to just BE.

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Quick-Fast Book Review | 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter

Person: Ernesta T. Carter

Thing: Book—32 Candles]

Place: Mississippi; California
Idea: Ugly ducklings can become swans — and just might get the handsome guy. Well–maybe.

This week’s book is by Ernesta T. Carter—her first book titled “32 Candles.”

It’s about an awkward ugly duckling named Davida—who also has an abusive whore-mother. Davida was a fatherless child—at least she didn’t know the man. Her mother definitely didn’t spare the rod—and at school, Davida’s fellow students whipped her verbally. You know how mean kids can be. They called Davida Monkey Night—because they said she looked like a monkey and was dark as the night. Yeah, her life was like THAT. Her clothes were ugly, and her hair matted. That was in elementary school. Eventually Monkey Night died—and Davida remained—at least that’s what I thought…

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Quick-Fast book review-Austin Boyd-Nobody’s Child

20140311-153900.jpgPerson: Austin Boyd
Thing: Book—Nobody’s Child
Place: West Virginia
Idea: Austin Boyd explores the complicated possibilities that could stem from human seed donations, when a single, pregnant attorney in this story, seeks out her egg donor when she learns she has a life-threatening medical condition. Plenty of drama in this easy-to-read bioethics suspense novel.

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Book Review # 6 | It Worked for Me by Colin Powell

Person: Colin Powell
Thing: Book—It Worked for Me in Life and Leadership
Place: Various and sundry
Idea: This week’s Review is of General Colin Powell’s latest release, and it’s a handy book of experiences and advice called “It Worked for Me—In Life and Leadership.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell shares a number of life lessons that have shaped him and have lent themselves to a successful military career and as a public servant.

The principles behind each of the 44 chapters are summed up in the first chapter called “My Thirteen Rules,” my favorite of which is Rule number two: “Get Mad, then get over it.” It may be rule number two, but it’s not a crappy thing to keep in mind!

Now, the rest of the book is arranged into chapters that are solid enough to stand alone. This book is an easy read for big bookworms, and kind of reminds me of one of those pocket Bible verse books that have biblical passages picked out to address a variety of daily feelings and concerns. If you feel lonely, turn to this verse. (PIP). If you’re discouraged, turn here (PIP).

Well, in Powell’s book “It worked for Me in Life and Leadership,” his relatable reference points range from self knowledge, acceptance of and caring for others, keep up with technology, and what it takes to get up to that point where you’re actually giving more than what you thought was possible in the first place. That section is titled “Getting to 150 Percent.”

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Book Review #5 | Quiet Strength

This week’s Review is a memoir by Tony Dungy—called Quiet Strength.

This book chronicles Tony Dungy’s journey—from his formative years in Jackson, Michigan, to the coach of the 2007 Superbowl champion Indianapolis Colts. The backbone of Dungy’s belief is that all should strive for excellence—and resolute strength in whatever sphere we may occupy—through disappointment, tragedy and happy times. This book was published in 2007, and though not exactly a new release, it contains timeless advice.

I like this book because it is a nice read for one, and it is a reminder that no one is alone in his or her journey. Dungy also shares about the suicide of his son. If there is anything I can imagine would send a parent into a depressive spiral, that is one of the things I can imagine. However, Dungy decided to follow the counsel he had given others through the years—including football players… And trust God through the pain—and keep their minds on God—no matter what. So no cursing or cussing God and shaking fists to the sky. Instead of asking “why” Dungy asked what he could learn from the situation—what could he do for God—and to help others.

Another recommended read—mainly because of its inspirational and uplifting value.

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Book Review #4 | Faith and Other Flat Tires

This week’s Book is by Andrea Palpant Dilley—and it’s called Faith and Other Flat Tires.

The daughter of Quaker medical missionaries, a daughter raised in the respect, fear and admonition of the Lord. She finds herself in a real-life Pilgrim’s Progress—but this memoir details Andrea’s journey from faith to faith, by way of skepticism.

Stuff got real when she actually **GASP** pried the Ichtcus (the fish symbol) from her car.

Now—the thing about Andrea’s memoir—it isn’t remarkably tragic. Just the opposite. It’s extra-ordinarily Christian, but I’d say her walk addresses some bumps that I even wonder if some people in the Christian community even address. Or do they just go along—secure in familiarity and comfy social structure. Can’t help but wonder that sometimes. Andrea’s doubts lead her away from that comfort, on a search for something more meaningful.

So she went—a-questioning in her teen years, a-scraping the fishy decal from her car during her college years, a-drinking, and a-dating—as she traveled the road to meaning and—ultimately—faith.

What I like most about this book is that the end is not so definitive. Yes, she found a re-discovered faith in God, but it is not cliché’ and clear-cut and totally question or doubt-free.

I recommend this read—especially for anyone of a church-y background—who is traversing the terrain of spiritual and/or religious angst. There just might be comfort in Andrea’s story.

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Book Review #3 | Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus

Person: Joyce Magnin
Thing: Book—Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus
Place: On the roads of the USA, from Pennsylvania, to California
Idea: Harriet Beamer’s husband is dead, and her son and daughter-in-law now live in California—so it’s just Harriet and her dog, Humphrey. But unfortunately, Harriet falls, hurts her ankle, prompting her son and daughter-in-law to urge Harriet to move from Pennsylvania to California.

Harriet resists—but gives in—with a catch: She insists on seeing the country—using ground transportation the entire journey.
Armed with a fancy new smartphone, she begins her trek. A number of adventures later, including meeting up with and befriending a dance troupe, being kidnapped, and having a medical emergency that prompts her son and daughter-in-law to come after her—Harriet—resolute, strong as ever—insists on boarding the final bus that will carry her into Grass Valley California—which will be her new home.

This is a lovely book, full of whimsy and fun. And I admire Harriet—even though she is a fictional character. She has guts, man!

If you want a quick, fun read about an ordinary character that steps out of her comfort zone—this books for you!

Please follow and like Planet Noun: