peace.paz.selam

Archive for the ‘B is for Books’ Category

B is for Books: The Alchemist

In A Few of My Faaaavorite Things, B is for Books on July 30, 2011 at 9:32 pm

the undeniable.

so before i begin let me say, don’t be fooled by the title of this post, this book is def ‘one of my favorite things’ no less so than the other books i’ve just blogged about. i just decided not to include that tag here cause ive been overusing it a bit. thats not the purpose of the “A few of My Favorite Things” tag- i will only blog about my favorite books…or the ones i really really hate i suppose…tho i cant imagine wasting any more time on them than the time i spent reading them.

anyway, i’ve been on a reading binge lately (as my last couple of posts prove). glad to have some time to read fiction and glad to have the freedom to read what i choose (tho i must admit and give thanks for being blessed with many professors who have assigned fantastic reads both fictional and not).

anyway, a couple of weeks ago, before i’d read Parable of the Sower, and before I’d reread The Bluest Eye, I’d read: The Alchemist.

as i shared in my post about the bluest eye, i’d been meaning to read the alchemist forever. I’d heard that it was one of those undeniable amazing books, the kind that everyone must read because it appeals to something human inside all of us and in so doing becomes necessary.

well i read it and i agreed. I’d been following the author, paulo Cohelo, on twitter for some time and having read many of his blog posts and the quick “2 minute reads” that he regularly posts (his way of not only keeping people, his fans the world over, reading but also thinking and living critically and attentively with all of themselves), so i was already a fan. i knew i loved how he thinks and writes so it was really just about waiting for the right time, for my life to bring me to my own copy of it.

anyway, my posts are getting uncharacteristically long and personal- which im enjoying and appreciating actually- but i dont particularly feel like overwriting right now and i KNOW there’s nothing profound i could say to encourage anyone to read this book except for that you must. even i, having already read it, must read it again. and many more times in my life.

instead i offer the promise of eventual Alchemist quotables and the promise that Coelho’s writing will pull at your heart strings as forcefully and achingly wonderfully as your favorite lyric sung by your favorite singer in gut-wrenchingest part of your favorite song.

enjoy!

peace.paz.selam.

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a Dreamer and a WASP: Charlie Rose interviews Octavia Butler

In B is for Books on July 30, 2011 at 9:30 pm

it’s so funny watching charlie rose fumble over himself,  interrupting her, trying so hard to, and to appear to, connect with and really understand her: ignorantly leaping into so many assumptions and misunderstandings despite his still young, white, male benevolent good intentions. i’ve seen him do this a number of times in his early career interviews.

and octavia butler all the more amazing and just uniquely dope as she is for being SoOoOoO patient, calm, quiet, sweet and never, ever ever making him feel as stupid or awkward as she could have. probably because she could see he already knew how much he was embarrassing himself.

something about her, the little i know about her rough unfairly unglamorous life and unfortunate and untimely death, the fact that she seems to retreat into herself and that as dope and unique as she was i can imagine all the flack she received for being so different- beautiful, historically pained peoples can be very harsh sometimes-makes me a little sad when i watch and think about her. but still she was very resilient and however ridiculous and maybe even audacious of me, i feel pride for her.

back to rose for a second tho. make no mistake, having seen a number of his other interviews, im a fan. he’s become quite great. but as for this charlie rose: some trick of the trade, or stage make-up i suspect, was the only thing keeping his face from turning beet red as it should have. how interesting to see how much he has grown, and learned, in his years of good journalism.

we’ve gotta have patience with the privilege- rather the ignorance born of it- of others, as we hope other will have patience with our own.

many thanks and blessings to Octavia Butler, may her soul rest forever in so much peace.

-peace.paz.selam.

B is for Books x A Few of My Favorite Things: Octavia Butler

In A Few of My Faaaavorite Things, B is for Books on July 30, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Octavia E. ButlerThe Dreamer

 

May your heavenly dreams be as fanciful- and far more peaceful and rested- as your earthly ones. amen. 

just finished reading my fourth Octavia E. Butler novel. the first, and my favorite of her’s that i’ve read is Wild Seed. my cousin Buchu (Daniel the great) not only suggested that me and my cousin Elizabeth read it, he immediately went to Barnes & Noble and purchased it for us. like that. and, as all things Buchu promotes, it.is.incredible. Perhaps one of the most creative stories I have ever encountered. After Wildseed I read Mind of My Mind (the next in that series),  Kindred (a stand-alone novel, and Butler’s most popular) and, as of about an hour ago, Parable of the Sower (the first in a separate two part series). Like all of her books, it was not only an incredibly easy-breezy read, I couldn’t put it down: read it in 3 days. Considering that I work 8 hour days, that’s not a testimony to my reading but a testimony to the pure goodness of her writing.

Wild Seed is still my favorite, i think because it was my first and you never forget the first time. i dont know what else to say except that, even without that having been the first science-fiction novel I’ve read (OH YEAH, DID I FORGET TO MENTION SHE’S A BLACK, FEMALE SCIENCE FICTION WRITER???? YOU.BETTA.WEEEERRRRRRKKKKK), i had not, and still have not, ever read or come across anything that creative, inventive and wonderful.

that said, Parable of the Sower is a different kind of favorite of her’s for me.

because it’s the first one that could be real.

because i think it will be real someday.

because despite that it was written decades ago and set in, what is for us a not so distant future (2024-2027), it is the only thing i have read that has actually thoroughly conceptualized and expanded upon a future that I, and many over-the-edge environmentalist, fear is in store for this planet in the future. i’ve come to accept that anything that drastic and terrible and frigtening will not happen for another 100 years, earliest, but i’m still pretty sure, and frightened that it will happen. like the main character, im pretty sure the destiny of the human race lies in the stars. dead serious.

that said, i intend to keep this book forever. to make my kids read it, and every one i love. and pray all the dirty greedy capitalists read it too so they can see the future they’re ensuring for our progeny by destroying the planet.

too intense???? i ain’t sorry doeeeeeee

fun fact!: the novel’s main character creates, rather “observes”, a religion called “Earthseed” and writes a bible-type book called “Earthseed: the Book of the Living” (amazing dope qouteables soon to come!!) which later, years after the book was published, some turnt-up enviornmentalists turned into an actual religion calledSolSeed. (lmfaoooo! on the real though, why can’t people just come across goodness and accept it, fold it into their lives, put it to practice and keep it pushing??? wwwwhhhhhyyyyy a whole new faith???? wwwhhhyyyy??? lmfao. what.and.ever.)

anyway, read Octavia E. Butler and enjoy her.

blessings,

-peace.paz.selam.

B is for Books x A Few of My Favorite Things: Toni Morrison & “The Bluest Eye”

In A Few of My Faaaavorite Things, B is for Books on July 30, 2011 at 9:26 pm

reposted from aplaceforpeace.tumblr.com 7.27.11

words cannot even describe how i feel right now except to say that it has been a while since i have so thoroughly loved a piece of work that i almost envied the talent which created that thing that i so dearly have fallen for.

i can name those times, as well as the ones that came close to them in extremity of emotion.

times i’ve fallen so hard i’ve wanted to im(OR)ex-plode (in no particular order):

1. when I saw the Salvador Dali exhibit @LACMA w Sebastian (an experience so good i wrote about it in my transfer application’s college essay)

2. when I watched Radiant Child and Jean-Michel Basquiat fought a very difficult duel w Salvador Dali in my heart for many months and eventually emerged my new favorite artist, before which, before Dali that is, there were none.

3. when I read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and realized, simultaneously, that I had never been so thoroughly defeated by an inanimate object and that it was, and still is, my favorite book.

4. lauryn hill.

5. watching, in awe, alone, high up in the nosebleeds of the Zellerbach Theatre (where my graduation would be held two years later- just rerealized how goodGodis), Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz and Lincoln Center Orchestra. a experience that not only sent me deep, spiritual, unspoken but unmistakeable blessings on the rest of my time at Berkeley, but what is more, had me convinced hip-hop could be saved if we all relearned how to hear music- not even to hear it the way i imagine they can (psh, in.my.dreams) but simply to hear it as they played it. went home and typed my heart out till my fingers gave out- thats not including what i pounded into my phone during the intermission- and promised to see them as many times in my lifetime as i can. a promise i’ve already broken to myself once cause my flakiness makes no exception, even for myself, apparently. but also a promise i’ve every intention to keep.

5. just now, when i finished, for the SECOND time, reading Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. and realizing that i had missed SOOO much more than i could have imagined, wondered, as i did when I saw Dali at LACMA, what it must feel like for an artist to have created a piece that, i imagined, turned out exactly the way the artist must have intended it to. that is until i read the afterward and upon taking in her own critique of her writing (and feeling excitedly honored that hers of it matched mine! ….groupie much?), as well as her explanations for why she pursued writing it the way she did, i completely fell apart into awe-full praise.

the margins of my copy are LITERALLY filled with the words “wow” and “OMG”: the most profound comment i could muster (OMG isnt even a word!) in the middle ofexperiencing this book. i had to seriously stop myself from underlining every sentence. and on many pages i happily failed. i told myself numerous times in the process that i had to share “this” quote on my blog or twitter or FB because it was too good for everyone not to know…how could there be so many of them in one book?

how could anything be so good?

the last page of my copy reads the following happily silly self-important note to self that only

a. children write in their diaries or

b. adults write in the margins of wonderful books when the sheer near-divinityof something has reduced them to childlike giddiness

verbatum:

“I ❤ Toni Amazing Morrison.

-added to the list of writers I want to BE when i grow up-more-

in no particular order:

Arundhati Roy

Ralph Ellison (w/ more lucidity and accessibility)

Albert Camus

Octavia Butler’s creativity

Toni Morrison

w/ a closing line like Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Insha Allah!”

i then proceeded to tweet

“”The Bluest Eye” is one of the best compilations of words.period. i NEEDED the reread and all the time between the 1st & 2nd.”

and

” Morrison hasjoined Basquiat on thelist of”mydarlings”alist whch exists onlyNmyheart&is as cnsequential2mylife as itis ncnsequential2theworld ”

not caring as i often do (or don’t?) whether or not anyone could even understand that. unable to fit “#GENIUS” into either tweet i had to come here, despite that i’ve really come to loathe tumblr, to share it.

I’ve even broken from my usual practice of partitioning my posts so they’re not super long because, well, this is MY place for peace and who cares whats user friendly on a page that belongs to me and that ive come to dislike anyway!!!

in conclusion, before i formulate the list of “times that came close to the earth-shattering-AND-building love of a peice of work that both inspires and intimidates your (my) own pursuit–cause im actually quite interested to realize whats on this list cause i think its only partially formed in my head and im getting more excited at the thought of living to add to it (God willing)–damn i forgot my “in conclusion”….but im pretty positive it was GO READ THE BLUEST EYE. (i’d add “NOW” but like has taught me that we are not always ready for good things and that Life, if we allow it, is divinely awesome at presenting things to us when we have baked to the perfection of of needing that thing at that time…nah mean?? like i bought Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth a while ago- and its not like i’ve only heard about how good it is, I’ve read excerpts for a class so i’ve, partially, experienced the goodness. still, its been sitting on my shelf for well over half a year, and up until a week ago- when i gave up trying to force it onto myself, was even in my purse. it’s just not time yet. i finally read the Alchemist (thats one that i’ll put on the list below but is def in a limbo between that and the list above) a few weeks ago after years of meaning to read it after Giddy suggested it to me, offered to lend it to me, then retracted cause her brother- was like 11 or something!- was reading it at the time. babygenius. i couldnt even be mad though cause it wasnt the time. just like i finally reread The Bluest Eye after after nearly 8 years of knowing I’d have to reread it. YESSIR i knew as SOON as i put the book down that i had missed most of it cause it had flown light years above my head and that, eventually, i’d have to retackle. I feel pretty successful about this re-tackle actually. im PRAY that one day, hopefully not too long from now, i will find myself on the other side of Invisible Man with as much clarity about it as i feel i have about The Bluest Eye. to “conquer” that book has been my dream since i read it, and it kicked me in the teeth American History X style. then again when I had to reread the introduction in Daniel Walker’s AMAZING intro to afroam class my sophomore year and in finally understanding that little chunk realized i had not even understood, the first time, what i thought i had- but at least was given hope that i am now capable.or would be. I prob wont muster up the courage to even try again in a while tho.

on a not so separate note, before i get to said list (longest “in conclusion” EVER!), ishould shall mention that i put on hold today (but did not pick up cause im a flake and cause i know i’ll want to purchase something new and fun and beautiful this weekend anyway cause i -as well as my bank account-have just found out that is how my body reacts to sun light coming through my window on saturday AND sunday mornings so i might as well wait and plan around my new accepted shopaholism) a copy of Doestoevsky’s Notes from the Underground, another book i have been meaning to read since it was introduced to me in Anaya Roy’s highly-contested-but-still-adored-and-appreciated-heavily-by-me Global Poverty and Practice 115 “Challenges and Hopes in the New Millennium” course two years ago. everything i’ve heard about it makes my mouth water at…actually im not going to mention why i cant wait to read it, why i know im not yet ready for it but why i feel it may profoundly change my academic life.

two things have just occured to me:

1.perhaps i’ve said to much here where anyone can read me and should have written this as another “lost page” to myself. my blogs not really a place for people to be all up in my head.

2. perhaps, and this is related to the above, it’s too late and as often happens when i write my thoughts this late, ive far surpassed the point of human lucidity.

3. the third second thing: im starving

4. fourthly secondly, it’s time for that list and the end of this post.

without further ado

times that came close to the earth-shattering-AND-building love of a peice of work that both inspires and intimidates my own pursuit (in no particular order):

a. two weeks ago when i was reading Paulo Cohelo’s The Alchemist (and was like “OMG must blog immediately about how amazing this is”- post soon to come. it really was that good, though, i just got busy aaaannnddd then immediately started bluest eye which obvi overshadowed)

1. sophomore year in high school when i read Albert Camus’ The Stranger and wished i could capture human thought that effectively and write, speak, even think, with that kind of genius clarity. a clarity so thorough it seems simple and is every bit as refreshing as simplicity, straight up cold water as it courses through a feverish body refreshing. like that son.

2. when i watched Spike Lee’s Bamboozled – no, more specifically, when i saw the shot of the entire audience in black face and genuinely did.not.know.what.i.was.feeling.

3. this specific version of Thelonious Monk’s ‘Round Midnight

4. this version of Miles Davis’ Blue in Green

5. so much other good stuff i can’t even share it cause im so thoroughly filled with gratitude for the goodness in my life i’ve no choice but to down this jar of water close my comp and curl up into bed with my thoughts and this blessedawarenessofmyblessings… and the copy of Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower that i got last week when i got the bluest eye-just cause im bold and never know, rather never heed, my limit.

goodnight, much love, and so many blessings.

bethel

Basquiat

In B is for Books on July 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm

i.am.beyond excited for this.

firstly there is such little out there about Jean-Michel Basquiat in comparison to other incredible artisits.

secondly a lot of what’s out is the SAMO (jeanmichel-heads get it. -apologies i had to)

anyway suffice to say i was unexpectedly at the right place (Pegasus books on shattuck) at the right time (art coffee table book sale time) and for the FIRST time found a Basquiat coffee table book that was reasonably, BEYOND reasonably, priced.

this man is my FAVORITE artist… it was Salvador Dali for a long time but Basquiat, who i refer to as my darling, came and gave Dali a run for his money…they still compete sometimes, the geniuses.

anyway PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do yourselves a favor and watch The Radiant Childwhich is a doc i do take some issue with but still so much rare Basquiat footage you can’t help but fall in love and sorrow. much more on this soon to come.

enjoy!

peace.paz.selam.

B for Books x Reading is Good in 2010 [Fader]

In B is for Books on December 28, 2010 at 1:58 am

according to thefader (who got the info from these other folks) good books are still being written (eeeeeeeexciting). i haven’t read any of these, but you can! hop to it tho cause this is the 2010 list (get over it i’ve already apologized for being late) and rumor has it these particular books self destruct into balls of fire the moment the clock strikes 12 on New Years Day 2011.

check for the actual post (so you can find out wth it is im actually talking about) after the jump

sidenote: just me or does it look like the Man Booker Prize people got their website aesthetic straight from american apparel???

enjoy!

-peace.pace.selam

Read the rest of this entry »

B is for Books x Books to Read on a 15 Hour Flight to Ethiopia: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

In B is for Books, History on June 11, 2010 at 4:10 pm

if i had to chose just one, i would have to say that this is my favorite book. there are few books im okay with reading more than once but invisible man, i feel, is one i will read many times over during my lifetime. ellison is pure genius. every page from the introduction to the prologue to the complex and unconventional ending is a must read. an excellent character study it’s one of the most important pieces written about the black experience, ever. no light treading with this one.

enjoy.

-peace.pace.selam.

B is for Books x Books to Read on a 15 Hour Flight to Ethiopia: The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, Or, Africa for the Africans

In B is for Books, History on June 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm

forget all the craziness you’ve heard about Marcus Garvey, or even what you may have heard and agree with. another great steal from my friend stef, this book is straight Garvey in his own words with the space and freedom to clarify his opinions. in a word, this book is thought-provoking (well thats a compound word but, still), and definitely a most prescient read during these so called post-racial times. if your anything like me you’ll have to stop yourself from taking enough notes to write a book of your own.

-peace.pace.selam.


B is for Books x Books to Read on a 15 Hour Flight to Ethiopia: The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

In B is for Books, History on June 10, 2010 at 11:59 am

my friend fisseha hit me one day and demanded that i read this book. he’s a pretty in the know guy, so i don’t take his suggestions lightly. within the hour i was at my favorite little- corner-used-books store in berkeley, Shakespere & Co., and had purchased myself a copy. still haven’t gotten through it but boy am i excited.

-peace.pace.selam.


B is for Books x Books to Read on a 15 Hour Flight to Ethiopia: Walden; or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

In B is for Books on June 10, 2010 at 3:39 am

my friend stef let me borrow this book a while ago and I still haven’t come around to finishing it. it’s a classic though so what better time than my FIFTEEN HOUR FLIGHT??

-peace.pace.selam.


B is for Books x Books to Read on a 15 Hour Flight to Ethiopia: The Purpose Driven Life by Pastor Rick Warren

In B is for Books on June 10, 2010 at 3:00 am

got this book a couple of months ago as a gift from my mother. those of you who know me know i’m usually opposed to things adored by the masses, however every once in a while i concede that sometimes if many people agree on a single thing, it’s for a good reason (i flop freely between those two general opinions at my own discretion). anyway, this book is a good read no matter your faith; life is life, were all living it and wise words are universal, generally…

enjoy.

-peace.pace.selam.

and because i can never skip an opportunity to share a TED Talk…

Click here to learn more about Pastor Rick Warren.

B is for Books: Disposable People (New Slavery in the Global Economy) by Kevin Bales

In B is for Books, History, Profile: People Places & Things of Peace, World News on April 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm

I could attempt to explain the phenomenon of modern slavery explored in Disposable People but i could never do so as well as the author himself, Kevin Bales. so be sure to watch his TED talk and find a copy of the book ASAP.

heres a link to the Disposable People google books page so you can grab a sneak peak.

enjoy!

-peace.pace.selam.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In this moving yet pragmatic talk, Kevin Bales explains the business of modern slavery, a multibillion-dollar economy that underpins some of the worst industries on earth. He shares stats and personal stories from his on-the-ground research — and names the price of freeing every slave on earth right now.