Month Count: 5 texts, 2 audiobooks, total 7
Year to Date: 30 texts (2020 updated goal – 50), 10 audiobooks, 40 total
The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins on Audible, narrated by Mel Robbins. April recommended this book to me last month and I found I had downloaded it on Audible like 2 years ago and never listened to it! So while I was waiting for my new credit to hit my account, I started listening to this. I loved Mel’s voice and narration. I bet I would have lost interest and found it rather redundant if I had tried to read her words versus listening. In fact, that’s one critique April said when she recommended. I listened while biking, cleaning, driving and walking the dogs over a period of 3 weeks and generally found myself at least queuing the thought of the 5-second rule to inspire more action. I stopped hitting the snooze button in the morning. I send random text messages or make random FaceTime calls when I think of people (that’s right, you have Mel Robbins to thank for my FaceTime video springing up on your phone scaring the shit out of you at random times throughout the day without a warning text first!). Before I leave the house in the morning, it’s a lot easier to just make my bed, or just throw the dishes in the dishwasher. I also notice that since I’m a Black Lives Matter supporter I’ve used the 5-second rule to say yes to marching for the cause, to stand up for BLM against my friends who say “all lives matter”, or “but there are good cops” or “so you defend the looters then?” It’s really easy to check myself and realign the actual issue instead of allowing them to deflect. None of that matters when our Black friends and family members and people of color are being systemically murdered. On a lighter note, I’ve also committed to being more decisive. When painting my dining room and knowing the color wasn’t right, or when my hubby said “what do you want to do for dinner” and I just really didn’t feel like cooking so instead of being wishy-washy and replying with “oh I don’t know, I can wing it” I suggested pizza and beer. So thank you, Mel Robbins – fellow white girl, for spurring my action in a multi-faceted way.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley was the first book I chose to intentionally learn about racism, Black history, Black Lives Matter, and injustices against people of color – to name a few. I guess, I’m on a mission to intentionally become more “woke.” This was a big eye opener. A huge game-changer. I feel duped about our history growing up as it was presented to me in school. I feel foolish for not proactively digging deeper and purposely seeking out more information. I knew NOTHING about Malcolm X. Zilch. I actually – to be honest and humbled – didn’t know if he really existed or if he was a fictional character from a movie. How embarrassing. Well, let me tell you – Malcolm is a real person. He was proactively working to inspire a liberation of black people during the Civil Rights Movement in the 50’s and 60’s. Well, okay, in the 50’s he was an admitted hustler, but he shaped up while in prison and found the Nation of Islam under the guidance of his siblings who had converted and encouraged him. He became Elijah Muhammad’s most dedicated Muslim minister (how he got the “X” in his name) and ***********SEMI-SPOILER ALERT*************** he found out some not so great things about Elijah Muhammad that he threatened to expose, which lead to his demise in that version of the religion and ultimately lead to his assassination by his own people! After reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X, I firmly believe we were given anti-Civil Rights Movement propaganda to paint him in an unfavorable picture. This gets five fat stars and I do declare, it’s a must-read my friends… Passionately advocate for everyone to read this.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler, narrated by Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Mike Schur, Eileen and Bill Poehler, Patrick Stewart, and Kathleen Turner. Just as I thought Val Kilmer’s book was the best narrated book I had listened to, Amy Poehler comes along and not only knocks it out of the park, she employs an ENORMOUS cast of narrators to help. I laughed, cried, and peed my pants – sometimes all at the same time! I listened to it as an interim to some of the educational material I’ve been digging into, and it hit the spot. She talks about parenting, love, divorce, relationships, work relationships, women relationships, race, comedy, writing, acting, drugs, more drugs, struggle, strife… ugh, it’s just adorable. I loved it. I also think there’s a section where she talks about the TV show “I Survived” and makes fun of people who are in flaming plane crashes, and I’m pretty sure that’s me… Like, seriously.
For reference, it’s on page 129 (on my Kindle Version) in the chapter “The Russians are Coming” and she says “For a while I was obsessed with a cable show called I Survived…I was never very interested in the people who were attacked by mountain lions while hiking or the dummies who crashed their single-engine airplanes. Those stories seemed like foolish risk-taking scenarios I could successfully avoid by never going outside.”
What do you think? Is that me?
The Hate U Give by Angie Thompson was a CRAZY contrast of current social climate after finishing Malcolm X, which was set in the 1950’s and ’60’s. Okay, how embarrassing is it that I stared at the cover for far too long until I realized it spells out THUG?? * Facepalm! * Another book devoured and I had a hard time putting it down. It was a very interesting contract, as I mentioned, moving from Malcolm X to The Hate U Give, but the most depressing part is that the issues the Civil Rights Movement sought to raise awareness of and correct are still fucking happening on a systemic level. OMG, please put this on your list – especially if you’re a parent. It’s written from the perspective of a beautiful, strong teenage black girl and it’s inspiring, heartbreaking, maddening, terrifying, and all too realistic after what I’ve seen on the news and experienced in campaigns and marched for Black Lives Matter. Five stars. Must read.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson was incredible, and I haven’t watched the movie yet, but it BLEW my mind that this spans my life. I know he first published a few years ago, but the copy I have has an afterward as early as 2019. Are you sick of me saying MUST READ? Because this one is exactly that. There’s a reason it’s on everyone’s lips right now. There’s a reason it’s being talked about, passed around, and there’s a reason why the producers of the recent film felt like it was such an important message to get across that they made the film free for people to watch as educational material. Bryan Stevenson is a genius. He writes from such an authentic and passionate place. The world needs more of him and you need to read this book. I will say, right about the time I felt like I couldn’t handle one more disgusting, heart-wrenching chapter, he rescued me with a little hope-nugget. When you feel like you can’t keep reading, you must.
Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ is set in Nigeria and it’s probably good I read My Sister is a Serial Killer last month because some of the Nigerian dialect (?) in writing was similar and less confusing when you expect it. This one also is set to span my lifetime, taking place from 1985-2008. The heartache was palpable. The frustration was present, but not overpowering. The title of the book, when it hit me – that’s like a moment in a book I don’t think I’ll ever forget. But then also the twist at the end really hit home and brought on the waterworks. I loved this. Now, I’ve gotten too many books recently so I can’t remember specifically where I got this one, but I believe it was one I picked up during World Book Day with Amazon. Definitely worth a read, especially if you’re a mom – I think it will resonate more.
Mighty Be Our Powers by Leymah Gbowee with Carol Mithers was gifted to me by my brother in law on my recent vacation. He spent a long period of time in Uganda and is getting his PhD in Anthropology. He described it something along the lines of “tribes of women in Africa coming together to use withholding sex to stop war.” Of course he said it’s much more complicated than that, but if there’s a way to get my attention, that’s surely about to do the trick! Although there were plenty of struggles that Leymah goes through and touches on, her resilience really shines throughout the book. Her strength and frustration, her struggle to find balance between her passions and her family – which are also passions. She depicts awful trends and experiences but doesn’t dwell on them. Again, definitely something that will resonate with mothers on a different level, but such a beautiful memoir. I hope one day her older children see her passion and strength and find a hearty level of respect and a deeper love for her work and sacrifices.
I’m working toward an updated resolution to hit 50 books read this year. I’m on Goodreads if you want to keep track and share book ideas there! I’m loving my Kindle adoption from my son since he doesn’t use it anymore; however as many people have expressed, there’s still something really great about holding a physical book in your hands. I’m always grateful to hear your thoughts and recommendations – what have you read recently that stands out?