Category Archives: Things

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.

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Ziggy Marley and ‘Fly Rasta’ tour swing through D.C.

ziggy on wtop
Click image for more on wtop.com

WASHINGTON — Even though Bob Marley has been gone 33 years, the reggae pioneer remains legendary within the genre. His influence lives on through his children and fans around the world.

One of his sons, Ziggy Marley, continues to make a stylistic imprint in the reggae realm and beyond. He’s won six Grammy Awards – three with The Melody makers, a group that included brother Stephen and sister Cedella, and three for solo projects, including his 2009 children’s album, “Family Time,” and for last year’s live album, “Ziggy Marley in Concert.”

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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…

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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