Sunday, March 18, 2012

Brothers (& me) by Donna Britt

I received an unsolicited email regarding a giveaway for this book. I decided to enter the contest and a few weeks later the book arrived from the publisher. I never expected it to be a little treasure.

When I started reading I wasn’t immediately drawn in. Actually, I almost concluded that this book would be used to decorate the bookshelf. But then I decided that page 4 wasn’t a good place to draw that conclusion.

Brothers (& me) contains over 15 chapters and Britt is somehow able to weave them together while keeping them separate.  She discusses the most intimate details of her life with a candor that makes you wonder if the privacy of those involved had been violated. 

A few  of the topics discussed include: life for a black family in the 60’s in the Midwest, date rape, abortion, the perfect man, infidelity, body image, and balancing career and family.  Of course I most enjoyed the chapters discussing events that I have experienced in my own life:  the transition from an HBCU (historically black college or university) to a predominantly white university, being seen and heard in the work place, and hair. If you are a black woman or know a black woman well, you know that hair can be considered an event!

Although it didn’t seem as if I had much in common with Donna Britt, I found that I was able to relate to her. Even though her story is uniquely hers, the book carries a theme (love = giving) that is ubiquitous among many of us.

“Nothing in the world is more elusive than memory.”
“Brothers (& me)” by Donna Britt

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Monday, March 5, 2012

The Maria Paradox by Rosa Maria Gil and Carmen Inoa Vasquez

Last month, I was contacted by someone from Lowenstein Associates regarding a review copy of The Maria Paradox. Since I had been reading many stories about black history, I thought this book would be a nice departure from that coming into March. So I decided to read it. 

The Maria Paradox was written for Latinas making the transition to life in the U.S. It discusses in depth the challenges Latinas face while trying to adapt to a new culture. The authors identify why these conflicts exist and introduce strategies that allow women to transition while not abandoning their own culture. 

This book has a very specific target audience and even though I am not a part of it, I was introduced to coping techniques that can be applied in my own life. One concept that was introduced is acculturation.

“Acculturation is a more gentle and gradual process in which, without disregarding their own culture, immigrants shift attitudes and behavior toward those of the dominant culture as a result of repeated exposure.”

This is something that can happen to anyone in any setting which is why paying attention to the company we keep is so important. 

One thing that I would be interested to know is how receptive the Latina community is to this book. It exposes many things that I do not think are commonly know about their culture and upbringing and very personal topics are discussed. However, I think the authors’ willingness to address those vulnerabilities is what could make the book so valuable to women experiencing difficulties with their transition. 

Reading this book allowed me to become sensitized to the plight of Latinas but I also picked up several tips on the different ways to handle situations in which I may find myself feeling like an outsider. This book has also reminded me that yes, I may be dealing with some things, but most people are dealing with something.

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The Maria Paradox on Amazon

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Right to Write: Video Commentary by Henry Louis Gates, Jr

I’m back! I had been preparing for a move which contributed to the inactivity around here. That plus 2 of my 4 Black History Month selections weren’t working for me. Now I realize why they were on my list of Top 10 Books I’ve Had the Longest but Haven’t Read. So needless to say, I did not complete my personal reading challenge for February. 

While I was away, I was contacted by someone from Open Road Integrated Media who sent me some interesting links. Obviously I think about reading but after see this captivating video, I now think about writing. Watch as Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discusses a person’s right to write which was sparked by the backlash William Styron received for writing a book about a slave revolt....

What are your thoughts on this?  

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