brown girl dreaming

#blacklivesmatter is everywhere these days, and seemingly everyone has an opinion about it. And the fight is ugly. If you had asked me even 2 years ago if I thought we would be living in the 60s again, I would have laughed and thought you meant fashion or the MidCentury Mod furniture design craze.

But nothing about this is funny. People aren’t just getting emotionally wounded, people are dying. And they aren’t just being killed by Joe Blow off the street, but by those sworn to protect us. No matter what side of the fence you’re on…that’s a very scary thing to think about.

As a white woman in America, I mostly keep my mouth shut. While I support #blacklivesmatter, this isn’t my time to speak. My voice is not the one that needs to be heard.

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Adult Booklr chose Jacqueline Woodson’s brown girl dreaming for our August Book Club and it could not be more poignant. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, since it is a story written in poems instead of prose, but it ended up being incredibly beautiful. It is also a perfect book to release right now. It not only speaks to Black Culture, but it did a lot of good to me as well.

The rest of my review is written, obviously, from a white woman’s perspective. I have not been in the fight. I cannot understand what you are going through. I would love to hear your feelings on this beautiful book, and I hope you will share them with me.

brown girl dreaming is essentially Woodson’s memoir, written from the viewpoint of her as a child in the 1960s. Through her vivid poetry, she talks about growing up in Ohio, South Carolina, and New York, and the differences between prejudices and struggles in each location. She also lays out the foundation of learning to write, her family life, and just growing up as a whole.

Even though the words were spoken with a child’s voice, the wisdom in them was so pronounced. This was a child who saw the world through her pencil–every moment was a word waiting to be written. Her composition notebook was her tool to sort, file, organize the world around her and try to make sense of everything that was happening. For the reader, that notebook, in turn, helps us understand what is happening in our similar world today.

I couldn’t relate to everything she wrote. I grew up in a privileged home, with both parents, in the same house until the end of high school. I very much understand what people mean when they talk about White Privilege now. I can’t say I have never struggled…they are just different struggles.

There were, however, some poems that made my heart expand until I thought it was going to explode. Some made me want to weep. The ones about reading and writing, especially–not knowing how to use those gifts as a kid but just knowing they were there and she had to use them somehow.

Then there were the poems that really spoke to me on a human level. Those shook me. They are the reason I’m writing the review this way–because I really wasn’t sure how I was going to approach it. One of the last poems in the book was this one, called “how to listen #10”:

 

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I think that is the most important thing as a white person in America right now, because we are privileged, whether we can see it or not. It’s a hard thing to admit sometimes–pride is a hard thing to let go of. But we just have to shut up and listen.

 

Buy Here:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Ever since high school,  I have avoided Shakespeare like the plague. I think everyone reads Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet in school–it’s pretty much a requirement worldwide. Some unwritten teacher rule. We also did a huge poetry segment in my AP English class, so of course the sonnets were in there. *shudder* I HATE the sonnets. All that Iambic Pentameter and rhyming and perfect structure. I am much more of a free verse poet.

But, EVERYONE knows William Shakespeare. He’s just the Greatest, capital G. And I’m using a lot of heavy sarcasm here, because frankly…I just never really understood why he was so Great, capital G. Ok, he wrote a lot of stuff, and it was all really fancy. But mostly it’s just really hard to read, and that means it’s all terribly interpreted. (Hello, guys, Romeo & Juliet is NOT the world’s gift to love stories.)

Now, though, it’s time to start opening myself up to the things I have been putting off. And that means, yes, even Shakespeare. grumblegrumblegrumble.

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I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually didn’t hate A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It also wasn’t as difficult to understand and follow as I expected. If you don’t know the premise, essentially there are four young people in Athens. Hermia is supposed to marry Demetrius but is in love with Lysander. They decide to run away together, and tell Helena. They think she’ll keep their secret, because she’s been scorned by Demetrius, who she loves. But, she tells him, trying to win his affection. Demetrius follows, with Helena at his tail. The forest fairies intervene, and chaos ensues.

I liked all of that plot. The fae were funny and obnoxious, as they should be. The lovers predictably ridiculous. What I didn’t understand was the whole second plot–the playmakers. What the heck was that all about? Bottom is an ass (ok I get the joke there, William), but I just did not get it. Was it just to make dirty/satirical jokes at the end?

I haven’t looked up Sparknotes to try and figure this stuff out yet. It’s late as I’m writing this up, so maybe I’ll look into it more tomorrow. However, I definitely have more of an open mind about Shakespeare’s plays now, and may have to go back and reread Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet now. Perhaps I’ll be able to follow them more easily. I still hate the sonnets though. Those are not Great, capital G.

Trees of Reverie July Read-A-Thon Day One

Create a TBR list and set some goals for the Read-A-Thon!

I completely forgot to put this month’s challenge on my calendar, and so forgot that it started today. OOOOOPS! Thankfully I saw people posting this challenge just in time for it to start.

Let’s get rolling, shall we?

This will work similar to the other challenges I’ve done in the past. I’ll go off my regularly scheduled TBR, and log the pages I’ve read. I’ll also be doing most, if not all, of the Daily Bookish Challenges Sarah posts. Should be a good week. I don’t have too many major things planned, so this could be a big challenge for me!

TBR, starting with what I am currently reading:

Trust No One by Paul Cleaves

Awake by Natasha Preston

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz

The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield

The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan

 

I’m also reading daily The Queen of the Tearling, The Ramayana and The Treasury of Poems, so there will be pages included from that in my count as well.

Good luck next week everyone!

Daily Bookish Challenges | Day Four: Monday, April 6

Daily Bookish Challenges
Trees of Reverie April Read-A-Thon
Day Four: Monday, April 6:

Create some book spine poetry!

These are getting harder to come up with each time! Even though I’m adding more books, it seems that I keep using the same ones every time. Not many of my books have verbs for a title, and so many start with A or The. It’s frustrating!

Somehow I came up with a very mysterious sinner’s lament type poem.

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Fear nothing.

Quiet.

Angels & Demons,

A perfect union:

Deliver us from evil.

The confession

Without remorse.

Run

Chasers of the light!

Red Dragon,

A time to kill.

WWW Wednesday 3/18/2015

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What are you currently reading?

The Turn of the Screw, The Aspern Papers and Two Stories by Henry James

Dear Millie by Marco Previero

 

What did you just finish reading?

The Horse Healer by Gonzalo Giner

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Selected Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Lying by Lauren Slater

Critical Incident by Troy Blackford

Four by Veronica Roth

Selected Canterbury Tales

There’s nothing quite like sitting in a pub with a big glass of beer and swapping stories with interesting company. It is one of my favorite ways to while away an evening, and we have a couple of really great places to do that here in Texas.

I am always drawn to those sort of scenes in books–it doesn’t matter where or when the characters are drinking. If there’s a story to be told, it is often told around booze.

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The Canterbury Tales, while difficult to readwere definitely amusing. Who doesn’t love a good drunken story? These would have been so much better to listen to though, and it makes me wonder if there’s any Old English bard groups who act them out. That would be neat to have as entertainment in a dark pub some night, or maybe in a place like Universal where fellow nerds flock.

I will say that I’m glad I only had 3 (plus the prologues) to get through. Maybe some day I’ll finish them all, but for now…it was good to keep it short and simple. I can mark it off the list and move on. Out of the three The Wife of Bath was my favorite.

Have you ready any of the Tales? Which was your fave?

Fulfills PopSugar #8:  A Funny Book

Fulfills Boxall #77

WWW Wednesday 3/11/2015

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What are you currently reading?

Selected Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

 

 

What did you just finish reading?

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cecilia by Fanny Burney

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

Mrs. Astor Regrets by Meryl Gordon

March Photo Challenge: Book Haul

I’ve been pretty fortunate lately, in that my book buying has been able to go up exponentially from what it used to be. I can buy a book or two when I feel like it, and add to my collection.

However, recently, we had Christmas and Tax Returns–which for me, usually means BOOK HAULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

I have been buying piece meal over the last few weeks, so I have some new orders coming, but here was a big one I did shortly after the holidays.

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I am so excited for all of these books. Those Mark Twains are gorgeous–from the 1920s! They are not in the best condition, yellowed, and a little beat up, but the binding is so lovely, and the pages smell so good! The other three classics are more modern printings of leatherbound classics, but they are pretty! The rest are just very necessary additions to my collection. Some I’ve read, some I haven’t.

I’ll post another haul, probably on my Instagram once I get all of my packages, so keep an eye out! Lots of fun things to come.

WWW Wednesday 3/4/2015

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What are you currently reading?

Selected Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Divergent by Veronica Roth

 

 

What did you just finish reading?

The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Dubliners & A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

 

 

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Cecilia by Fanny Burney

Cress by Marissa Meyer

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

March Photo Challenge: Quote

There’s a blog post I’ve been trying to write for months now, but every time I sit down to write it, I end up trashing it for one reason or another. I wrote another version of it the other day, and it sits in my journal…unfinished.

And then today, when I was browsing Tumblr, one of my favorite current poets, Tyler Knott Gregson, posted his Daily Haiku on Love. And it is right along the same lines of thought that I’ve been trying to write, so it’s perfect for today’s Photo Challenge post.

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I have a lot of thoughts on this poem–I both agree, and disagree with it. I disagree, because as human beings, we are not the same. Absolutely not. And that’s why I couldn’t write it out all in one color. I couldn’t erase all of our differences–differences in sexuality, gender, race. Those foundations form the decisions we make, how we think and live and move in our world. Life would be incredibly boring if we were not different from each other. There would be no conversation and maybe no love. There might be peace, sure, but what kind of empty life would it be?

The part of the quote I do agree with wholeheartedly is the middle section. I almost wrote it in capitals. LOVE IS LOVE AND LOVE IS LOVE.

It seems like the simplest concept to me, yet this is the one thing we seem to struggle the most with in our society today. There are so many conditions on love. We can only love people in our own culture, or our own sexuality, or our own color. We can only love people who read the same books as us, or have never been divorced, or want the same life as we do. And what if the people we love have a crisis or change their beliefs or need help? How can we love them then?

I have been reading and reading and reading about so many things in the last year. The more I hear about, the more it goes into the “I need to understand this” file in my brain. That file is pretty much overflowing. There is so much pain in this world and always more hate than love, it seems. I’m not naive enough to really think that the answer is as simple as “Let’s all just love each other!” But wouldn’t it be nice if the answer WERE as simple as that? Read a little, learn a little, listen a little. Open your heart a little.

I can’t fix it for anyone else but myself. And sometimes I’m not always sure that I’m asking the right questions, and I often hesitate for fear of offending someone with my ignorance. But I do want to learn more about the things I do not know. Because the more I know, the more I can open my mind and my heart.

And maybe that is naive. But, LOVE IS LOVE AND LOVE IS LOVE. We may not all be the same, but THAT is why I love you.