Realization

I am like Henry VIII when it comes to how I handle love and relationships – minus the beheading.

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Last night, after fucking up what could have potentially been The Best Relationship because of my inability to communicate coupled with my ability to lash out with precise cruelty, I tried to continue to fight of the depressive funk I’ve been falling into for the past few weeks by watching Showtime’s “The Tudors”.  Which, I will admit was probably not the best decision that I’ve ever made since I’m officially convinced that I’m a horrible, horrible, horrible romantic partner and friend. It’s a fact of my life at this point that I am just a mean + horrible person who occasionally does nice things.

-Rae

 

 

NonFiction November + General TBR

Huzzah! It’s Nonfiction November which is motivation for me to get around to reading the massive pile of nonfiction books that I tend to accumulate. Nonfiction November is hosted by Olive and Gemma and the whole point is just to encourage people to read more nonfiction than they usually do. The four themes for this year’s challenge are:

1. Home
2. Substance
3. Love
4. Scholarship

NONFICTION

Alice: Memoirs of a Barbary Coast Prostitute

Synopsis:
In 1913 the San Francisco Bulletin published a serialized, ghostwritten memoir of a prostitute who went by the moniker Alice Smith. “A Voice from the Underworld” detailed Alice’s humble Midwestern upbringing and her struggle to find aboveboard work, and candidly related the harrowing events she endured after entering “the life.” While prostitute narratives had been published before, never had they been as frank in their discussion of the underworld, including topics such as abortion, police corruption, and the unwritten laws of the brothel. Throughout the series, Alice strongly criticized the society that failed her and so many other women, but, just as acutely, she longed to be welcomed back from the margins. The response to Alice’s story was unprecedented: four thousand letters poured into the Bulletin, many of which were written by other prostitutes ready to share their own stories; and it inspired what may have been the first sex worker rights protest in modern history.
For the first time in print since 1913, Alice: Memoirs of a Barbary Coast Prostitute presents the memoirs of Alice Smith and a selection of letters responding to her story. An introduction contextualizes “A Voice from the Underworld” amid Progressive Era sensationalistic journalism and shifting ideas of gender roles, and reveals themes in Alice’s story that extend to issues facing sex workers today.

This is my selection for the “Home” challenge. I live in San Francisco, which was once upon a time known as part of the Barbary Coast. I also have a slight obsession with Gold Rush era SF and how prostitutes have been viewed throughout history. Essentially, this book is the perfect combination of two very interesting topics to me.

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny

Synopsis:
A spontaneous decision at age twenty-one transformed small-town Oregon girl Holly Cullen into Holy Madison, Hugh Hefner’s number one girlfriend. But like Alice’s journey into Wonderland, Holly’s plunge down the rabbit hole took her to a world where she discovered that not all was as it seemed. What appeared to be a fairy-tale life inside the Playboy Mansion – which included A-list celebrity parties and Holly’s own number one television show – quickly devolved into an oppressive routine of strict rules, manipulation, and battles with ambitious, backstabbing Bunnies.
Life inside the notorious mansion wasn’t a dream after all, and it quickly became Holly’s nightmare. After losing her identity, her sense of self-worth, and her hope for the future she found herself sitting alone in a bathtub contemplating suicide – but instead of ending her life, Holly chose to take charge of it. Here for the first time, she courageously shares the real story, from the details of her demeaning and controlling relationship to the hard work of healing, a journey that culminated in her own successful television series, a live Las Vegas show, and the joy of motherhood.

It might seem a bit strange that I chose this one for “substance” but hear me out! “Girls Next Door” was the first reality TV show that I actually watched religiously. I was fascinated by the whole Playboy Bunny lifestyle and absolutely loved how calm/down to earth Holly was. When I first heard that she wrote a book I felt as if her time to prove that she has something substantial to say/contribute to the people who desired the Playboy Bunny lifestyle had finally come. Needless to say, I haven’t gotten around to reading the book until now, but I’m super duper looking forward to it.

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

Public Library Services for the Poor: Doing All We Can

Synopsis: Among public institutions, the library has great potential for helping the poor and disenfranchised. For many, the library is their only source for information, entertainment, language skills, employment help, free computer use, and even safety and shelter. Experts Leslie and Glen Holt, with decades of service to inner-city communities between them, challenge librarians to do more for poor people. While recognizing the financial crunch libraries are under, the authors offer concrete advice about programs and support for this group, showing you how to *Train staff to meet the unique needs of the poor, including youth *Cooperate with other agencies in order to form partnerships and collaborations that enrich library services to the poor and homeless *Find help, financial and other, for your library This groundbreaking work demonstrates how five Key Action Areas adopted by the ALA Council (Diversity, Equity of Access, Education and Continuous Learning, Intellectual Freedom, and 2lst-Century Literacy) apply especially to this disadvantaged population, and motivates librarians to use creative solutions to meet their needs.

I love libraries and I love the public servant aspect of library work. Honestly, I do believe that if I wasn’t hellbent on becoming some form of librarian I would have considered a career in social work. Anywho, I’m partially reading this because it’s one of my sources for a paper that I’m writing, but I’m still looking forward to it!

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

Charlemagne

Synopsis: When Charlemagne died in 814 CE, he left behind a dominion and a legacy unlike anything seen in Western Europe since the fall of Rome. Distinguished historian and author of The Middle Ages Johannes Fried presents a new biographical study of the legendary Frankish king and emperor, illuminating the life and reign of a ruler who shaped Europe’s destiny in ways few figures, before or since, have equaled.
Living in an age of faith, Charlemagne was above all a Christian king, Fried says. He made his court in Aix-la-Chapelle the center of a religious and intellectual renaissance, enlisting the Anglo-Saxon scholar Alcuin of York to be his personal tutor, and insisting that monks be literate and versed in rhetoric and logic. He erected a magnificent cathedral in his capital, decorating it lavishly while also dutifully attending Mass every morning and evening. And to an extent greater than any ruler before him, Charlemagne enhanced the papacy’s influence, becoming the first king to enact the legal principle that the pope was beyond the reach of temporal justice–a decision with fateful consequences for European politics for centuries afterward.
Though devout, Charlemagne was not saintly. He was a warrior-king, intimately familiar with violence and bloodshed. And he enjoyed worldly pleasures, including physical love. Though there are aspects of his personality we can never know with certainty, Fried paints a compelling portrait of a ruler, a time, and a kingdom that deepens our understanding of the man often called “the father of Europe.”

I absolutely loved Fried’s “The Middle Ages” so when I saw that he wrote a book about Charlemagne how could I possibly resist? Obviously, I chose this one for scholarship since Charlemagne is often thought of when people think of early European scholarship. I don’t exactly plan on finishing this one this month – just because it took me nearly a year to read Fried’s last book, but I do intend on knocking out a decent chunk.

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

FICTION

The Name of the Rose

Synopsis: The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon – all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

Whenever ~literary~ people find out that I like to read and that I love medieval history they always ask “Have you read any Umberto Eco?” and when I say no they look at me as if I’ve just lied about my entire life. SO, I’m going to remedy that this month with this novel. I actually started on it last month and so far I’m enjoying the mystery aspect of it.

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

YESSIR.

That brings to a happy close my TBR goals for November. Let me know what you plan on reading this month or if you’ve read any of the books mentioned above!

Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book,
Rae

 

 

 

 

 

Fear

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My dreams are filled with fears.

Fears of being alone. Fears of being broken for the final time. Fears of not being enough no matter how hard I try; no matter what I do.

And in these dreams, I do everything I can to prevent what feels like the inevitable.

And in these dreams, all I do is receive confirmation of my multiple fears. Confirmation that my fears are real. Confirmation that reality is always going to be waiting for me.

Yet these dreams aren’t nightmares. They don’t have the same heart-stopping fear. They don’t cause me to wake up gasping for air like a person saved from drowning. They don’t cause me to wake up covered in a cold sweat. They don’t cause me to wake up in a panic; anxiety gripping my heart.

Instead I wake up calm.

I wake up with the faint taste of self-sabotage.

October TBR

GRAPHIC NOVEL

WYTCHES VOL. 1

Synopsis (from back of novel):
When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry.

_

I haven’t read a “scary” graphic novel in a while. I think the last one that I read was The Field and that one was more ~trippy~ than scary. However, I’ve shelved this one a few times at work, heard the occasional good thing about it from people who’ve checked it out and I’ve decided that October is the perfect month for me to give a read.

 

BORROW || BUY

 

“JUNIOR FICTION”

HOW I GOT MY SHRUNKEN HEAD

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
What has two eyes, a mouth, and wrinkly green skin? Mark’s shrunken head! It’s a present from his Aunt Benna. A gift from the jungle island of Baladora.

And Mark can’t wait to show the kids at school!
But late one night the head starts to glow. Because it’s actually no ordinary head. It gives Mark a strange power. A magical power. A dangerous power…

I haven’t read a Goosebumps book in forever and this one is definitely on my Re-Reading Childhood Favorites list. I think this is the first Goosebumps book that I read and I’m looking forward to seeing if it will still ~creep~ me out.
Also, as a quick sidenote: does anyone know why they changed the original covers of the books? These new covers kinda sorta suck😔

BORROW || BUY

 

THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB

Synopsis (taken from back of novel):
Something dead has been here…

Gabe just got lost – in a pyramid. One minute, his crazy cousin Sari was right ahead of him in the pyramid tunnel. The next minute, she’d disappeared. 
But Gabe isn’t alone. Someone else is in the pyramid, too.
Someone. Or some thing.
Gabe doesn’t believe in the curse of the mummy’s tomb. 
But that doesn’t mean that the curse isn’t real.
Does it?

Ok, see, now these are the covers that I love and remember. I’m pretty sure this was maybe the second or third Goosebumps book that I read and it’s one of the ones that I actually still own so I figured I might as well add it to my October TBR / Childhood Favorites Re-reads.

BORROW || BUY (AbeBooks)

 

ADULT FICTION

NOCTURNAL

Synopsis (taken from inner flap):
Homicide detective Bryan Clauser is losing his mind. How else to explain the dreams he keeps having—dreams that mirror, with impossible accuracy, the gruesome serial murders taking place all over San Francisco? How else to explain the feelings these dreams provoke in him—not disgust, not horror, but excitement?
As Bryan and his longtime partner, Lawrence “Pookie” Chang, investigate the murders, they learn that things are even stranger than they at first seem. For the victims are all enemies of a seemingly ordinary young boy—a boy who is gripped by the same dreams that haunt Bryan.  Meanwhile, a shadowy vigilante, seemingly armed with superhuman powers, is out there killing the killers.  And Bryan and Pookie’s superiors—from the mayor on down—seem strangely eager to keep the detectives from discovering the truth.

Doubting his own sanity and stripped of his badge, Bryan begins to suspect that he’s stumbled into the crosshairs of a shadow war that has gripped his city for more than a century—a war waged by a race of killers living in San Francisco’s unknown, underground ruins, emerging at night to feed on those who will not be missed. 
And as Bryan learns the truth about his own intimate connections to the killings, he discovers that those who matter most to him are in mortal danger…and that he may be the only man gifted—or cursed—with the power to do battle with the nocturnals. 

Weird murders taking place in San Francisco, uh yes please. Seriously, who doesn’t love to read books that take place in their own city?

BORROW || BUY

PET SEMATARY

Synopsis (taken from back of novel):
When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son—and now an idyllic home. As a family, they’ve got it all…right down to the friendly cat.
But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth—more terrifying than death itself…and hideously more powerful.

This was the first Stephen King book that I read back in the 7th grade and I’ve re-read this book every single October since. Honestly, it is one of my all time favorite books.

 

BORROW || BUY

 

September TBR

A new month means a whole new bunch of books to read!

GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Punisher: The Complete Collection Volume One written by Garth Ennis

Synopsis via Goodreads
Experience the gritty and uncompromising Punisher MAX from the very beginning! When a mob hit killed his beloved wife and children, Frank Castle became the Punisher – an unstoppable one-man army waging war on every piece of criminal scum plaguing New York’s streets. But do the Punisher’s origins trace back even further? In 1971 Vietnam, Captain Castle’s platoon faces a Viet Cong attack…and to survive, he must make a grim choice. Then, Punisher’s old partner Microchip, long thought to be a casualty of Castle’s war, resurfaces with a startling offer!

I’ve always had a bit of a thing for misunderstood villains. (Magneto was, and still is, my all time favorite comic book character). Netflix’s Daredevil made me fall in love all over again with Frank Castle. I’ve never read Garth Ennis’ run of The Punisher but thanks to numerous patron’s telling me that it’s one of those “You have to read it” collections I’ve finally picked it up.

BORROW || BUY

Black Panther: The Complete Collection Volume Two

Synopsis (via back of novel)

When T’Challa falls to the one foe he’s never beaten, Killmonger earns the right to become the new Black Panther! Now, only Everett K. Ross can save T’Challa’s life — okay, Ross plus Moon Knight, Brother Voodoo and the Panther God! Still suffering, the deposed Wakandan leader finds himself caught in a cat trap with the Avengers and…Deadpool?! Storm of the X-Men offers comfort as Wakanda finds itself on the verge of war with Lemuria and Atlantis — and Klaw, Malice and Man-Ape threaten to destroy the African Avenger once and for all! Plus: Ross spends a day in Mephisto’s metaphorical shoes, and Captain America recounts his never-before-revealed wartime meeting with the former Black Panther, T’Chaka! Super heroics meet geopolitics as only Priest can mix them

Volume One was dope, so I’m ever so happily moving onto Volume Two. I do need to pick up the pace though when it comes to me reading these since folk have been putting them on hold a lot recently.

BORROW || BUY

NONFICTION

Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Marting, Jr.

Synopsis (via Goodreads)

Black against Empire is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party. The authors analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the Party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the Party at its peak of influence. Bold, engrossing, and richly detailed, this book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement and its disastrous unraveling. Informed by twelve years of meticulous archival research, as well as familiarity with most of the former Party leadership and many rank-and-file members, this book is the definitive history of one of the greatest challenges ever posed to American state power.

I was super excited when I saw this was going to be SFPL’s One City One Book selection for 2017. My knowledge of the Black Panther Party definitely isn’t where I want it to be and it would probably be practically non-existent if I didn’t go to San Francisco State University. I’m super looking forward to attending some of the lectures/programs that are going to be going on around this book!

BORROW || BUY

#TellEveryone: Why We Share & Why It Matters by Alfred Hermida

Synopsis (via Goodreads)
Tell Everyone: Why We Share and Why It Matters is an unapologetic antidote to the endless handwringing about social media. It is a much-needed alternative to the commentators who blather on about the perils of the Internet and social media. Tell Everyone is a manifesto on the power of social media and the ways in which it can be harnessed for good.
Bringing together journalistic flair and academic rigour, online news pioneer and social media maven Alfred Hermida debunks the idea of Twitter as an echo chamber or Instagram as a place for narcissists. Instead Hermida places our fears about social media in context by showing how we have always been suspicious about new ways to communicate. He takes on the notion of slacktivism to show how individuals come together through social media to push for the common good.
Tell Everyone reveals how social media is becoming the planet’s nervous system. It highlights how we are using social media to amplify the power of individuals, challenge elites and make decisions, from choosing politicians to doing business to raising money for charity. Tell Everyone is a must-read tour of journalistic blunder, corporate PR fiascos, social movements and revolutions

Honestly, the main reason I’m reading this is because I have to write a context review/reflective essay for my Information Communities class and this seemed like the most interesting book out the selection of books we could write about. *shrug*

BORROW || BUY

FICTION

Black Wave by Michelle Tea

Black WaveIt’s 1999 in San Francisco, and as shockwaves of gentrification sweep through Michelle’s formerly scruffy neighborhood, money troubles, drug-fueled mishaps, and a string of disastrous affairs send her into a tailspin. Desperate to save herself, Michelle sets out to seek a fresh start in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, climate-related disruptions and a string of extinctions are the background noise of impending doom. One day, Michelle wakes up to an official announcement: the world will be ending in exactly one year. Daily life in Los Angeles quickly becomes intensely surreal.
Humans begin to collectively dream of the lives and loves they would have had, if not for the end of the world, and the lines between fantasy and reality become increasingly blurred. As the planet nears its expiration date, Michelle holes up in an abandoned bookstore and calmly begins to write—convinced she’s finally stumbled upon the elusive “universal story”—a novel about a struggling writer facing the end of the world.
Funny, gritty, improbable, and endearing, Black Wave muses on the hallucinatory confusions of addiction, the hope and despair of a barely published writer, notions of destiny, and the porous boundaries between memoir and fiction.

However could I resist a book that starts off in San Francisco? I mean, seriously! I love books that start off in my ever so lovely foggy, overpriced, diverse, techy city. This was another of those books that quite literally fell into my hands at work one day and I made me go “oooooooo”.

BORROW || BUY

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Who Fears Death

In a far future, post-nuclear-holocaust Africa, genocide plagues one region. The aggressors, the Nuru, have decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke. But when the only surviving member of a slain Okeke village is brutally raped, she manages to escape, wandering farther into the desert. She gives birth to a baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand and instinctively knows that her daughter is different. She names her daughter Onyesonwu, which means “Who Fears Death?” in an ancient African tongue.
Reared under the tutelage of a mysterious and traditional shaman, Onyesonwu discovers her magical destiny – to end the genocide of her people. The journey to fulfill her destiny will force her to grapple with nature, tradition, history, true love, the spiritual mysteries of her culture – and eventually death itself.

My roomie sent me an article about how this book is going to be adapted for TV and produced my George R.R. Martin and I sharply inhaled and ran off into the stacks to see if my library had a copy. Alas, it did not so I had to request this one via Link+. I absolutely loved Binti and I’m really looking forward to reading one of her longer works.

BORROW || BUY

YUP.

& that sums up what I’m planning on reading this month. Let me know what you plan on reading or what you’re currently reading!

September 9th

Maddy Leonard's portrait.
Photo credit: Maddy Leonard (Sept. 1st, 2015: Engagement photoshoot out-take)

Two years ago today I was supposed to get married to my high school sweetheart; the same sweetheart I wrote 9 Minutes about.

Today is one of those days where I reflect on the relationship that I have with myself; along with the relationships I have with my family, friends, and current/potential lovers.

I stress the importance of remaining myself; of not sacrificing a part of my soul to satisfy the ego of another. I stress the importance of people such as my Dad and best cousin/friend, the co-workers who essentially became family, and the people who spent time helping me plan and then helping me heal. I stress the importance of loving without fear. & I stress the importance of listening to my intuition.

However, today is also a day where I feel off. I tend to feel worried, stressed, and anxious. I’m on edge. I’m paranoid. I avoid certain places and people. I jump whenever my phone rings or a text message comes through – because even though his number is blocked there are always ways around that. I feel a deep guilt that makes no sense for me to feel because there was nothing I would have done differently. 

It’s overwhelming. There’s so much relief, fear, resentment, anger, exhaustion, joy, and just overall emotional bullshit going on with me today that I don’t even know how to process it all.

– Rae

 

Weekly Reading Goals | August 20th – 26th

I “go back” (I’m in an online grad program) to school on the 23rd so I’m really not planning on reading a ton of stuff when I know I’m most likely going to be stressed out of my mind. I have three reading goals for this week, one graphic, one work of fiction and one non-fiction book and let me just tell you about ’em!

GRAPHIC NOVELS

March Book Three

March: Book Three (March, #3)I have made it to the final book in John Lewis’ March trilogy! The second one left off with the Birmingham Church bombing and I believe this one is going to cover the Freedom Summer (getting blacks to vote) and the Selma march. As per usual, I’m excited to see how John Lewis chooses to depict the events and what he decides to place emphasis on.

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

 

 

 

FICTION

The Stone Sky

The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth, #3)I absolutely love Jemisin’s approach to fantasy/science fiction. I mean, seriously LOVE it. So when I got the call from the bookstore where I pre-ordered this lovely piece of work I practically dropped everything that I was doing in order to pick it up. This is the last book in her Broken Earth trilogy and you can definitely tell that events are starting to come to an end. I’m loving that even though the series is ending Jemisin’s world building is still on point.  I’m almost finished with this novel and I honestly can’t see myself not finishing it up this week.

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

 

NONFICTION

Why Do Fools Fall in Love

 I’ve been having some major issues with love lately. I’m still dealing with the mental aftermath of having lost probably one of the most amazing partners ever and it’s really starting to wear on me. I’ve been through a complete doozy of mini-relationships and one-night stands. And I do want to say that not all my one-night stands are sexual; the majority are emotional but I’ll get into that at a later date. This book caught my eye in April – when my relationship was still “good” and now that it’s 110% over, this book sounds like something that I need to read. The why’s and how’s of love fascinate me and I just need to figure some ish out. I’m sick of love, but I miss being in love and I want to know why I’m stuck in that mindset. There are 10 chapters in this book and my goal is to read the first 5.

BORROW || PURCHASE

AND THERE WE HAVE IT

Those are my reading goals for this week. Let me know what you plan on reading this week, and what types of blog posts/videos you would like to see from me. My current  to-do list consists of how I scheudle my reading, a few book reviews, a book buying tag and a tattoo show-and-tell. I also eventually want to go into my graduate program but I think I’m going to hold off on that until I’ve completed a whole year. But yes, let me know what you would like to see from me!

Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book,
Rae