Wacky Wednesday: What Is Your Favorite Way to Spend the Day?

Da Hype 1

Solomon Northrup's 12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northrup’s 12 Years a Slave

Rarely do I have the opportunity to spend the day reading anymore. My weekdays are spent at work and doing homework and making yet another outfit for my 6 year old who must participate in 50s Dress Up Day, Scarecrow Day or some other made up holiday to give kids an opportunity to wear fun clothes. On weekends, I spend a lot of time doing community service. I am exhausted come Monday morning! It takes me forever to finish reading a book nowadays.

What makes me happy and has always made me happy, is when I am able to read a book. I cannot remember the last time I crawled in my big chair, pulled up the covers and got lost in a book for an entire day.

You know that moment when you are shopping around for the best outfit for an upcoming trip? Or, after you lined up those chosen outfits on the bed and you are folding them and carefully placing them in your suitcase. While most are packing, I am lining up my books to read on the Beach. I get so excited about reading on vacation because it is uninterrupted time for me to read by myself. I get to lay on the beach and allow the ocean to be my background.

As I am writing this, I am dreaming of my next opportunity for uninterrupted reading.

Right now, I’m reading Solomon Northrup’s 12 Years A Slave. I’ll tell you about it and the movie when I’m done.

Da Realist 1

Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, KY

Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, KY

One of my favorite ways to spend the day is to hang out with my friends. My good friends are like family to me. These folks know me well, and I know them. They accept that I’m a little. . . ahem. . . eccentric. Most of them have seen me when sick as well as healthy; sad as well as happy; fat as well as slightly less chunky.

My best friends are scattered across the country, so we don’t get to see each other very often. When we do, it’s time to cut up! When we get together, it feels like we were never apart. It doesn’t really matter what we do because we always have a good time.

One mile above sea level, Denver, CO

One mile above sea level, Denver, CO

Some of our best times have been: blasting DeBarge’s “I Like It” and singing at the top of our lungs at the mall; going to see “For Colored Girls” and later staying up half the night talking about it; hanging out at the Kentuckiana Pride Festival (where we were “outed” for being straight); snorkeling in the Atlantic Ocean; seeing the sights in Denver; attending conferences in Toronto, Rutgers, St. Louis, or elsewhere. Here’s to good friends!

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“Read Everything”: It’s Banned Books Week

“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window”.–William Faulkner

banned books bar 2013

Bibliophiles unite! September 22 through 28 is Banned Books Week. It was launched in 1982 to celebrate our freedom to read while highlighting efforts to censor reading material. Every year there are hundreds of attempts to remove books from schools and libraries or to restrict access to those books. Now you know 2 Dope Sistahs love to read, so we’re sharing our thoughts on two books that are frequently banned.

Da Realist 1

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1885

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1885

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn tells the story of two runaways–Huckleberry Finn, a teenage boy, and Jim, a slave. I did not read this book while I was in school, possibly because it was banned from the curriculum. Indeed, it is one of the most challenged books of all time. In 2011, I found out that there was going to be a new, sanitized version of the classic novel, and this inspired me to read the original. This edition, ironically published by New South Books, removed offensive words like “Injun” and “nigger” and substituted contemporary terms that are more appropriate. But Huckleberry Finn is a nineteenth-century novel, not a contemporary novel. While I found the more than 200 uses of “nigger” to be excessive, changing the words removes the author’s intent.

Da Hype 1

The Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger

I was assigned to read J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye in high school. Although I cannot remember too much about the novel, I do remember being excited about reading a book with a protagonist about my age. The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, contemplates his sexuality, smokes cigarettes, and curses–all of the activities that challenge teenagers past and present, making this novel timeless.

For more information on Banned Books Week, click here.

To find out if your favorite book has been banned, click here.

Wacky Wednesday: What book made you fall in love with reading?

Da Realist 1

“I just thought you’d like to know I can read. You got anything that needs readin’, I can do it.”–Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

three-little-pigs

I wish that I had an interesting story about a book that made me fall in love with reading. I remember liking “Harry the Dog” and “Encyclopedia Brown” books, but, according to my mother, my love of reading preceded even those childhood favorites.

Mom says I have been “reading” since I was two years old. Well, maybe not reading exactly, more like memorizing. My great aunt bought me a set of five Little Golden Books, and I loved them. I carried them wherever I went, pestering anyone and everyone to read them over and over. (Even then, I always had a book in my hand!) Apparently, my favorite read was the Three Little Pigs. After a while, I had memorized every page, and I began to amaze everyone with my ability to “read.” Then, instead of people reading to me, I began to read to them. I don’t know what it was about those pigs and their houses of straw, sticks, and bricks that thrilled me so, but I’ve been a bookworm ever since.

So, what about you, fellow bibliophiles? What book got you into reading?

Wacky Wednesday: “What Are You Reading?”

Welcome to our Wacky Wednesday posts! On Wednesdays, we will discuss random questions or ideas in our posts and will explore them from the perspectives of both Da Realist 1 and Da Hype 1. The topics will change each week, so we invite you to engage in our discussions.

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The writers at 2 Dope Sistahs are avid readers. At any given moment, we could be reading a romance novel or a book of non-fiction. In fact, we are usually reading several books. From time to time, we would like to share with you the books that are on our night stands. Please feel free to tell us what you are reading or comment on the ones we are discussing.

Da Realist 1

HowToBeBlack_3D_w_LowRes-260x152I am currently reading Baratunde Thurston’s How to Be Black, just to make sure I’ve been doing it right all these years. He is a self-proclaimed expert who has “more than 30 years experience being black.” This comedian and best-selling author, formerly of The Onion, is also the co-founder of Jack & Jill Politics, a black political blog. I found out about Thurston’s book from his followers on Twitter, who often tweet pictures of themselves reading the book and chime in with their own stories.

Thurston combines sharp satire, autobiographical notes, and interviews with “The Black Panel” into a book that is thoughtful and humorous. I could relate to many of his experiences trying to navigate the divide between the black family/community and the larger culture. Using his wit, Thurston reminds both blacks and whites that black people (like all people) are complex and that individuals do not necessarily conform to preconceived, stereotypical notions about race. Blackness is not monolithic.

So, it seems I had nothing to worry about. Whew! I am in fact living “blackly.”

Da Hype1

Destinys Embrace by JenkinsI was on vacation for a couple of weeks, and while on vacation, I try to relax and avoid reading anything that could potentially feel like work. This year, I picked up a copy of Beverly Jenkins‘ newest romance novel, Destiny’s Embrace.

In Destiny’s Embrace, we are introduced to new characters. The female protagonist, Mariah Cooper, escapes her hateful mother’s home by working as a maid in the home of the very handsome Logan Yates. Her headstrong ways, combined with her beauty, were a perfect match for the handsome and single Logan. Although the two battled for many pages, no one could deny that they were destined to be together.

I have to admit, however, this may have been my least favorite book by Jenkins, mostly because I didn’t find the protagonist to be as dynamic a character as the women she wrote about in the past. What I did enjoy about Destiny’s Embrace, however, is that like all of her novels, I always I learn something new from reading them.

As a note, Jenkins’ works are set either in the pre- or post-bellum South or during Western Expansion. I especially like her works on Western Expansion because I am unfamiliar with the narratives of black folks who left the post-bellum South for places like Oklahoma.

If you are looking for a great romance novelist, I would definitely recommend a Beverly Jenkins book, just not this one as your first novel of hers to read.

So, what are you, our Dope Audience, reading? Let us know below.