Friday, August 27, 2010

Events: GIVEAWAY and Virtual Book Tour

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR  

Thanks to Notorious Spinks and Books And, I am participating in a Virtual Book Tour! The tour stops here on Wednesday, September 1. I have been provided with a copy of RE-RAMBLED Food and Thought by Angelia Vernon Menchan for my review, or reflection as I like to call it. I can hardly wait to post on this book,  I give it a standing ovation!

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GIVEAWAY


The author of RE-RAMBLED Food and Thought has been gracious enough to provide a copy of her book for one of you! The giveaway will take place on Friday, September 3. Rules for contest entry will be posted then. Winners must be subscribers to Reading Has Purpose via e-mail, RSS feed, or Google Friend Connect.

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AUTHORS OF COLOR 

Don't forget about the ongoing event to increase exposure for authors of color. Send your photos of everyday people reading books by authors of color to abowllan@mediasourceinc.com. I DID!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deja Vu: Why are People Walking Out of Your Life?

Many of us have heard someone say ‘people are in our lives for a season’. I’ve never really cared for this statement because for me, an explanation as simple as, “Oh well, it’s just the end of that season” does not suffice. 

Should we be so quick to relinquish our responsibility for the dissolution of a relationship? Whether we just lose touch, “fall out”, or make a conscious decision to distance ourselves from one another -  why?

While reading a book, I grabbed my highlighter when I came to the following sentence, “Anyone who does not stay in your life is not inspired by your vision or motivated by the power of the spirit within you.” Now that’s deep. I like this explanation better. 

I think most of us agree that every relationship should be reciprocal. So if we aren’t sharing visions that are inspiring one another; if the spirit in me isn’t motivating the spirit in you; if you don’t comprehend the quality within me and I don’t comprehend the quality within you; then just maybe, we should go our separate ways. And that’s fine by me.

What's your understanding of the reason people (that you deem significant) enter and exit our lives?

Interview: Joseph Cook (author)


After reading Heartbreak.Rebirth.Evolution by Joseph Cook, I found myself wanting to know more about this young man. So I decided to ask him and he answered, wholeheartedly ……

RHP: How did you decide it was time to share your thoughts instead of keeping them contained in the pages of your journal?
JC: Well, I have a great circle of a very few select friends and we share advice and experiences. Everyone who I have ever come into contact [with] or who has read my poetry, tells me how it helped them progress, learn, or evolve from their situation; whatever it may be. So, I figured that if my poems, thoughts, and/or feelings are this helpful, then why not make them available to all those who seek it?

RHP: How did you choose the title?
JC: That was simple. I believe sometimes two or three words can speak more volumes than a thousand sentences. Heartbreak, rebirth, and evolution is what all of my poems are about. First you're heartbroken, you breakdown, sometimes tragically. Then, you're reborn into a stronger, sometimes different person. Hence, evolution.

RHP: Since your acknowledgment includes poetry, music, and love, who is your favorite poet? What type of music do you listen to?
JC: My favorite poet is a tie between, Walt Whitman, [Ralph Waldo] Emerson, and Brook Yung (a spoken word poet). In music, my favorites are: Corrine Bailey Rae, Janelle Monae, Jill Scott, Jay-Z, and Lupe Fiasco. I like real hip hop with a positive message. I can't relate to much of today's rap. So basically, I'm a hip-hop head, neo-soul lover, and rocker of rock music.

RHP: What has been the most valuable lesson you've learned about love?
JC: Love, I have learned, is God. It's all-powerful, capable of making a person do great good or evil. It can never truly die, just like God, it can always be revived. Also, just like God, it seeks to only help you and not harm you. If a Love brings you more pain than pleasure, then leave it, but that's the tricky part. I say that because your mind, if you let it dominate, seeks to preserve one's self, but Love has the power to override that powerful law of nature. Finally, Love is like God because it cannot be tamed.

RHP: You've deemed yourself the "perfect guy". Tell us what makes you worthy of this title!
JC: I've had some truly beautiful relationships and only one of them ended on bad terms. When I'm "into" someone, I'm "into" them. I'm attentive, observant, and very selfless. I treat my relationships like mini marriages because I'm always focused on the big picture. If I can't see myself marrying the person I'm with, then I choose not to be with them. I tell my friends this all the time, my goals are simple: to be a husband, father, and provider and protector. They all mean the same thing.

RHP: Looking back, is there anything you would do differently with this publication?
JC: I plan on either expanding or annexing this chapbook into a more broader project. I haven't clearly decide yet.

RHP: Are you currently working on other books or projects?
JC: So long as I am alive, I will have thoughts and feelings. So long as I have thoughts and feelings, I will be writing.

RHP: What else would you like for us to know about you?
JC: Nothing else about me has to be said, my self lies within the lines of my poetry for those skilled or gifted enough to perceive.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Heartbreak.Rebirth.Evolution by Joseph Cook

I recently received a copy of a chapbook. The work is a collection of poetry, but not just any collection. As described by the author,” These are once intimate and closely guarded thoughts and emotions unveiled.”

Even though this chapbook was provided by the author, the following are my unbiased thoughts on Heartbreak.Rebirth.Evolution by Joseph Cook.

Many of the poems focus on the dynamics of intimate relationships. As I finished each poem, I sat in a moment of reflection. This collection took me places that I never thought I’d revisit. Only this time, thanks to the poetic charm of Cook, I arrived with a new perspective.

Never have I been able to understand “his side of the story” the way Cook describes it. Never have I thought about "his" perception of me, until Cook made it impossible to ignore. For any woman dealing with the frustrations of a man that will not express himself, whether good or bad, the answers you seek may be among these pages.

Though quixotic at times, it only takes the turn of a page to reveal the words of a man scorned. But out of it have come poems like Without You, which is my personal favorite. This poem spoke loudly to me and if I may be so bold to say, I think anyone that has ever gone though a break-up would share the same sentiment.

I will warn you that some of the works contain graphic language. If you’d like to read a poem, no such language is contained in Your Smile which reveals one of my favorite lines, “I see the music in your smile and I wish my eyes were deaf.”

Are you a fan of poetry? What is your favorite poem? Who is your favorite poet?

You can become a fan of Heartbreak.Rebirth.Evolution on Facebook.

To purchase a hard copy or e-book (available for immediate download), follow the link: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/jcook41787

Friday, August 20, 2010

Event: Are You Reading an Author of Color’s Book?


Amy Bowllan is hoping to capture the images of everyday people, reading books by authors of color .

Amy is the Director of Diversity and Educational Technology at The Hewitt School in NYC. She is striving to get these books into our home and school libraries.

You can send jpeg snapshots via e-mail to abowllan@mediasourceinc.com. Don't forget to include the author and name of the book.

The goal is to get 100 authors of color posted by September!

To visit Amy’s blog, follow the link: http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/bowllansblog

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Deja Vu: Think It's Time to Settle? Think Again

Some time ago, I accepted a position that I knew I was overqualified for primarily because I didn’t like the situation I was in. I was under the impression that I would only have to fill the new role for a short time before other opportunities became available to me.

I made my expectations clear during the interview and I was assured that they were understood. Should I decide to accept an offer, I supposedly wouldn’t regret it. I took the employers word for it and started my new position shortly thereafter.

What I got wasn’t what I signed up for - or was it? Some position descriptions contain verbiage resembling the following: other duties as assigned. Well, for this position, it should’ve been printed in bold on top of the page. The day to day responsibilities did not even come close to providing the type of challenge that I was capable of meeting. And needless to say, those “other opportunities” never presented themselves.

Last week, I came across the following quote: “The moment you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.”

True......so true.

When was the last time you settled for less than you deserved, and got even less than you settled for?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story by Ben Carson

During Black History Month, one of my Facebook friends was posting pictures of  influential African Americans in the place of her profile photo. For some reason, the photograph of Ben Carson caught my eye. Well actually, I know the reason, I thought he was handsome.

After doing some digging (google searching), I discovered that Dr. Carson is a prominent pediatric neurosurgeon currently practicing in Baltimore. Since February, all of his works have been on my must read list. I recently completed Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.

Carson’s path to success is clearly spelled out in this book. Each step acting as a guide to how a poor kid from Detroit, would become a Yale graduate and the 11th African American to become a board certified neurologist in the United States. I found this to be an inspiring story that could easily be mistaken as a work of fiction.

Carson identifies several defining moments in his life. All of which prepared him for the profession that he chose while in grade school. At eight years old, he decided that he wanted to be a doctor. The culmination of events that followed would reveal that Carson was destined to be a doctor.

His ability to overcome numerous obstacles convinced him that with a Bible and a prayer, he could depend on God to change any situation. Several mishaps allow Carson to repeatedly express this sentiment throughout the book. For anyone that doesn’t believe there is a God or that He answers prayers, Carson’s story may lead you to reevaluate that belief.

Carson dedicated this book to his mother, whose decision that he would only be able to watch three programs a week as a child completely changed his view on education. When not watching television, the rest of his time was to be spent in the library. Her rationale? “If you can read, you can learn just about anything you want to know.”

Once Carson put all of his lessons learned in motion, the rest is history - rather history in the making. At 33 years old, he was named the Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. Today at 58 years old, he continues to perform surgeries that other surgeons deem impossible. His separation of conjoined twins, ability to remove half of a brain, and the lasting effect of losing pediatric patients are all chronicled in this book.

It has become a goal of mine to meet Dr. Ben Carson, even if only to say - Thank you for being an inspiration.

Who inspires you? If given a chance to meet this person what would you say to him/her?

Dr. Carson founded The Carson Scholars Fund awarding over $800,000 in scholarships to help students finance their education. To learn more or to donate, follow the link: http://www.carsonscholars.org/

Also on Reading Has Purpose: Take the Risk by Ben Carson

Affiliate Links
Gifted Hands on Amazon
View all by Carson on Amazon


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Deja vu: Secrecy and Deception - Is There a Correlation?


I’m not much of a talker and I display several introverted tendencies. So people often find themselves sharing more with me than I share with them. I’ve been accused of being secretive, elusive, manipulative, closed, deceptive, and evasive.

This bothers me because I am not those things. These accusations always leave me at a loss for words and my response is usually, “No I’m not.” To which the reply is always, “Yes you are.”

While in the bookstore, I decided to thumb through a little book of quotes. The first page I opened to contained exactly what I was meant to see. I smiled, put the book back, and continued to look around.

Thanks to that little book of quotes, from now on, my response to those accusations will be, “All deception requires secrecy, but not all secrecy is meant to be deceptive.”

What is the biggest misconception about you? Could it possibly be true? How do you address the issue?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Working With You is Killing Me by Katherine Crowley


I was working for a company and somehow ended up being placed in a department that was a horrible fit for me. There were tons of little unwritten rules that I had no idea existed. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was not a good situation. So when I saw this book marked at 75% off, I grabbed it and ran to the register.

Working With You Is Killing me has interactive sections allowing you to pinpoint the issues that may be causing you to lose your sanity at work. Each chapter gives multiple scenarios of real workplace occurrences and how these situations can be handled. The authors take time to acknowledge that every individual is not capable of handling situations the same way. They have cleverly provided adaptation techniques that may be applicable for various personality types.

I found that Chapter 3, If the Role Fits, You Don’t Have to Wear It, was very beneficial for me. I was able to discover that I may be viewed as “The Rebel” in the workplace. According to this book, rebels are nonconformists, naturally independent thinkers, and they question all the rules, regulations, and systems. 

The authors’ advice for a so called rebel like me: 1) Think before you speak, 2) When sending a written document, find a person to serve as an editor, 3) Before expressing a contrary point of view, ask others if they want to hear it, 4) When authorities make decisions you dislike, take twenty-four hours to think before you speak, and 5) When you think you’ve offended someone, say you’re sorry.

Words of wisdom indeed!

Have you ever worked a job and felt like it was killing you? What didn’t you like about it? How did/do you cope?

Affiliate Links
Working With You is Killing Me on Amazon
View all by Crowley on Amazon


Friday, August 6, 2010

Event: 7th National Conference of African American Librarians


The 7th National Conference of African American Librarians is currently taking place in Birmingham.

“The Black Caucus of the American Library Association serves as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation's African American community; and provides leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American librarians.”

Attending authors include: Kim Waynans & Kevin Knotts, authors of a series of children's books, Bryant Terry, Vegan Soul Kitchen (VSK): Fresh Healthy,and Creative African American Cuisine, and Ray Charles Robinson, Jr, You Don't Know Me Reflections of My Father, Ray Charles.

The conference will end with a closing session on Sunday (Aug 8) with Roland Martin, media personality and author of The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin.

Follow the link to find out more about the conference and onsite registration: http://www.bcala.org/

Do you know of any events that are happening near you?


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Deja vu: Should Relationships Be Treated as Investments?


Someone posted,“Don't invest ANYTHING into a relationship that is not clearly defined!!!!!” as a status update on Facebook last week.

Initially, I agreed. I actually felt like that status was directed towards me! But as I began to think about it, I remembered reading, “ Give the best of yourself freely; do not withhold until it is earned.”

It seems as if the two ideas are mutually exclusive. How can one possibly give the best of themselves without investing anything?

If I wait until I think you’ve presented the best you, you may walk away never having seen the best me. But if I initially give the best me, maybe what I will get in return is a reflection of myself; in other words, the best you!

Maybe I don’t agree with that status update after all. I choose to live by the following: “Give without expecting. Accept without exceptions.”

Do you wait until you feel one is worthy before revealing the true you? Do you establish rules and boundaries that prevent you from being you? Do you proceed with caution when building friendships? Why or why not?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Voted “Most Creative” by Deanna Kimberly Burrell


I was at a conference and saw a young lady standing beside a table full of books. Of course that was all it took to draw me in! After speaking with her briefly, she told me that she self published and was self promoting. The book was small, 77 pages , and the title didn’t appeal to me. But something in me told me to support her. And so I did – I bought the book.

Voted “Most Creative” provided the most efficient use of 77 pages I’ve seen in a book. It is a collection of poems and essays that are meant to inspire. Although the experiences shared are personal, they are surprisingly relatable. For me, it was a collection of AHA! moments. Poem after poem, essay after essay, Burrell exposes the little lessons learned from her own life. Each of them made me pause and think for a moment; had I been paying attention to the lessons being taught throughout my life?


For me, the most profound essay by far was Embrace Adversity. Burrell gives adverse reactions three categories: 1) The “one way mirror” effect. You see a negative trait in a person that you also see in yourself but haven’t honestly admitted to having, 2) The “convex mirror” effect. In someone else, you see a positive trait that you lack and makes you feel inadequate, and 3) The “flat mirror” effect. Someone has an idea or mindset that challenges one of your beliefs.

Burrell expounds upon each of these reactions brilliantly. The mirror effects helped me gain a better understanding of interactions I’ve had with others. I was surprised when I realized the type of mirror that some people have been in my life. But I guess self realization is always an eye opener.

What was your most recent AHA! or self realization moment? What were you “voted” in high school or college? Have you taken advantage of that skill?

You can learn more about Voted “Most Creative” here: http://www.votedmostcreative.com/.
UPDATED 3/14/2014: The link above now redirects to the page for Burrell's new novel, Single Girl Summer

Update 10/08/2011 - Burrell has made one of the book's essays available: If You Don't Do Cheer: http://bit.ly/nevb2B  

Affiliate Links
Voted "Most Creative" on Amazon
View all by Burrell on Amazon