January Wrap-Up

This post will be updated with hyperlinks as I finish reviews/hike posts!

Books Finished

Total Books Read: 20
Fiction 8 | Nonfiction 2 | Graphic Novels 10

Books DNF’d

  • Closing of the Western Mind
  • Eater of Souls
  • The Travel Diares of Albert Einstein
  • Spy in Time

Hikes/Miles

  • Mount Tamalpais I: Steep Ravine Trail
  • Mount Tamalpais II: Cataract Falls
  • San Francisco: Land’s End
  • Mount Tamalpais III: East Peak – Fire Lookout & Verna Dunshee Loop
  • Mount Tamalpais IV: East Peak – Arturo Trail to Rifle Camp
  • Montara Mountain Trail

Total Miles: 20/365
Total Hikes: 6/52

2019 Reading Goals

Daaaaamn, it’s already that time of year where I start thinking about what my goals are going to be for 2019 (I started writing this post on Dec. 23rd). The only goals that I set by the New Year are my reading, and adventure goals (which is going to potentially get their own blog post). All of my other goals I set by my birthday (Feb. 27th) because that’s my “new year”.

My 2019 reading goals are far less extreme than the ones that I’ve set for myself in the past. I’m focusing more on the goals that I actually want to accomplish instead of the goals that seem easy/popular (read “x” number of books, finish series, read “x” number of classics, reread series etc). I’m not knocking anybody who does have those reading goals though! It’s just taken me a while to realize that those aren’t my goals or even goals that I’ve ever wanted to accomplish. Occasionally I feel like the bookish community causes one to get caught up in setting particular goals because it feels like damn near everyone is setting those goals.

This year my goals are definitely my own and they are as follows;

I. Read, and review, at least one urban fiction book a month.

Y’all, when I was a teenager I absolutely loved Urban Fiction. It was my jaaaaaaam. I learned more about sex, inner strength, drug addiction, and how to not deal with bullshit from those books than I ever did from anything else. I don’t know at which point in life I started to feel ashamed for reading Urban Fiction, but I do remember leaving it behind and pretending that I had never even set foot in the genre. I want to attack the stigma surrounding Urban Fiction so my goal is to read at least one Urban Fiction book a month and review it on this blog, my channel, and BiblioCommons (a library catalog service). I’m actually really excited about jumping back into this genre and I’m looking forward to seeing if it’s changed since my abrupt departure. 

II. Read my way through my AncestryDNA results.

I did the AncestryDNA test around this time last year and now I actually feel like doing something with that information. Since I first took the test my results have changed; apparently, AncestryDNA has been adding more regions and improving the precision of their results.  I want to read one fiction and one non-fiction book about each of the areas where I’m potentially from. I’m probably going to skip the England, Wales & Northwestern Europe portion along with the France portion; just because I’ve read so much about those areas already. No disrespect, I just spent my entire undergraduate history career focusing on those regions.

III. Read Black history and Black stories as told by Black authors.

Not even gonna lie, I’m insanely tired of reading stories about Black men and woman told through the eyes of white people. It’s been leaving a sour taste in my mouth and I’m just not going to do it anymore. I’ve always felt as if there’s something missing from those stories; almost like the soul of the story isn’t even there. The closest I can come to describing the feeling is if you were to imagine a robot playing a beautiful piece of music, it sounds great, but in its perfection its utterly lacking the humanistic value. There’s just something off about reading a white author attempt to understand and rely the inner struggles of being Black; especially during slavery and in America.

As for the history, it always starts and ends with how white people saved the day and I’m just not interested in that. There tends to be a level of blame as to how African cultures lost their history and how thankful Afrcian cultures should be that white people are coming along and regifting their traditions and stories to them, but never a mention of how those cultures truly got “lost” in the first place *cough colonialism/slave trade/genocide*. There’s something deeply upsetting about that to me. I want to support the reclaiming of Black history and stories by supporting more of the Black authors who’ve dedicated themselves to reclaiming those parts of our collective past and heritage. 

Do you have any reading goals, and if so what are they? Also, if you’re an Urban Fiction reader – leave me some recommendations! 

Nonfiction November TBR

Guess who’s late to the Nonfiction November party? MEEEEE, as per usual.

If you have not the slightest clue what Nonfiction November is; it’s essentially a nonfiction reading “challenge” hosted by Olive (abookolive) and Jemma (Non Fic Books). Make sure you check out their YouTube channels and follow the Goodreads Group and Twitter page!

All you have to do to participate is read a nonfiction book! It’s seriously that easy. However, if you want to make it a bit of a challenge Olive and Jemma came up with some pretty interesting themes for this year. They are as follows *drumroll*

  • Past time/Pastime
  • Self/Shelf
  • Wander/Wonder
  • Micro/Macro

These are all sorts of open to interpretation and both Olive and Jemma have TBR/Recommendation videos for each of the themes if you’re feeling stuck. (Olive’s TBR | Jemma’s TBR)

This year my Nonfiction November TBR is *futher drumroll*

I. Past time/Pastime

Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave Ona Judge | by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

30753748A startling and eye-opening look into America’s First Family, Never Caught is the powerful narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave who risked it all to escape the nation’s capital and reach freedom.

When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left behind his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital, after a brief stay in New York. In setting up his household he took Tobias Lear, his celebrated secretary, and nine slaves, including Ona Judge, about which little has been written. As he grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn’t get his arms around: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire.

Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, the few pleasantries she was afforded were nothing compared to freedom, a glimpse of which she encountered first-hand in Philadelphia. So, when the opportunity presented itself one clear and pleasant spring day in Philadelphia, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs.

At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property.

Impeccably researched, historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar weaves a powerful tale and offers fascinating new scholarship on how one young woman risked it all to gain freedom from the famous founding father.

I’m choosing to focus on the past time half of this section. I’ve always had a slight interest in and curiosity about the founding fathers and slavery (I mean, I still think they were the original “not ALL men” sayers when they come up with the Constitution). I remember reading about the Washingtons’ cook Hercules earlier on this year and Ona was briefly mentioned so this seemed like the perfect book to grab for this challenge because a) it’s a past event & b) it reminded me of something that I read in the past.

II. Self/Shelf

Forgiveness is Really Strange by Masi Noor & Marina Cantacuzino – art by Sophie Standing

Synopsis via Goodreads

31702463What is forgiveness? What enables people to forgive? Why do we even choose to forgive those who have harmed us? What can the latest psychological research tell us about the nature of forgiveness, its benefits and risks?

This imaginative comic explores the key aspects of forgiveness, asking what it means to forgive and to be forgiven. Witty and intelligent, it answers questions about the health benefits and restorative potential of forgiveness and explains, in easy-to-understand terms, what happens in our brains, bodies and communities when we choose to forgive.

Humans are weird. We are weird, weird creatures with weird emotions and weird chemistry that makes or doesn’t make those weird emotions. Forgiveness is something that I struggle with and I want to know why.  This book seemed like a really easy way to figure that out without hurting my brain – it’s essentially a graphic novel.

III. Wander/Wonder

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney

Synopsis via Goodreads

18640643Why are African Americans so underrepresented when it comes to interest in nature, outdoor recreation, and environmentalism? In this thought-provoking study, Carolyn Finney looks beyond the discourse of the environmental justice movement to examine how the natural environment has been understood, commodified, and represented by both white and black Americans. Bridging the fields of environmental history, cultural studies, critical race studies, and geography, Finney argues that the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and racial violence have shaped cultural understandings of the “great outdoors” and determined who should and can have access to natural spaces. 

Drawing on a variety of sources from film, literature, and popular culture, and analyzing different historical moments, including the establishment of the Wilderness Act in 1964 and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Finney reveals the perceived and real ways in which nature and the environment are racialized in America. Looking toward the future, she also highlights the work of African Americans who are opening doors to greater participation in environmental and conservation concerns.

If you follow my Instagram, it’s no big secret that I wander around a lot. I’m a nature junkie in the simplest of ways. One of the things that I’m always noticing is that there certainly aren’t a lot of African-American’s out there wandering with me and I’ve wondered about why that is. I have my own speculations, but I want to see what somebody who’s actually taken the time to research and write a book says about the why that is.

IV. Micro/Macro

Hadrian’s Wall by Adrian Goldsworthy

Synopsis via Goodreads

35960093Stretching eighty miles from coast to coast across northern England, Hadrian’s Wall is the largest Roman artifact known today. It is commonly viewed as a defiant barrier, the end of the empire, a place where civilization stopped and barbarism began. In fact, the massive structure remains shrouded in mystery. Was the wall intended to keep out the Picts, who inhabited the North? Or was it merely a symbol of Roman power and wealth? What was life like for soldiers stationed along its expanse? How was the extraordinary structure built–with what technology, skills, and materials?

In Hadrian’s Wall, Adrian Goldsworthy embarks on a historical and archaeological investigation, sifting fact from legend while simultaneously situating the wall in the wider scene of Roman Britain. The result is a concise and enthralling history of a great architectural marvel of the ancient world.

I’ve been slacking on my history reading. In fact, I know almost nothing about the new findings in medieval or ancient history because I’ve been so focused on my damn MLIS degree.  Hadrian’s Wall is a huge thing we honestly don’t know too much about, therefore, I felt like it would fit into this category perfectly.

________

And there we have it! Those are my Nonfiction November goals! I’ll also be attempting to vlog all month long so make sure that you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel if you’re interested in seeing how I manage to make time for reading and adventuring along with being a part-time employee and a part-time grad student. My boyfriend might also occasionally make a few appearances.

Let me know what you plan on reading this month and/or if you’re taking part in Nonfiction November!

Smell.

You changed your scent.

Now you smell like cloves.

Spices.

Sharpness.

Unfamiliar scents for someone who’s become unfamiliar to me.

 

You used to smell like beeswax.

Tea tree oil.

Shea butter.

You used to smell like safety, like comfort, like what I imagined the scent of a piece of my heart to be.

 

I wonder if my sense of smell changed

when I fell in love with somebody new.

 

Because now safety and comfort smell like

earth and smoke.

Now I imagine a piece of my heart would smell like sea salt.

 

And I wonder if my scent has changed to you.

 

 

All About My Tattoos

LIFE+FORGETMENOTS.JPEG

I got my first tattoo when I was 18-years old on a trip to Seattle with my Mom to visit family. It says “Life” on my right wrist and lowkey covers up a scar from where I stabbed myself in the wrist when I was 14  in a super awkward suicide attempt. It’s a reminder that “life” goes on.

LIFE+VIOLETS.JPEGMy second tattoo was the word “Live” on my left wrist and is the only tattoo that I’veever had any type of regret about.  I got it at a hole-in-the-wall tattoo shop by CCSF while waiting for my ex-boyfriend to get out a club meeting. I wanted the word to face me because I wanted the word “live” to be a reminder to..well…live and the word “life” to face outward since life is what I’ve already done. The artist insisted that it would look stupid since it wouldn’t be symmetrical and would mess with the flow (idk) so he just tatt’d it the way he wanted to. The linework was super patchy when I first got it but I got it touched up by the artist who’s done essentially the rest of my work. I would have gotten it touched up by the original artist but he just had bad energy. It also now serves as a reminder to always be adamant about what I want and to be patient when it comes to finding tattoo artists.

My third tattoo was the forget-me-nots on my right wrist. This was the first tattoo I got from Jen @ Picture Machine Tattoo. She was super sweet and the majority of my tattoos are by her. Reason for the tattoo: Forget-me-nots are my favorite flower and I never want to forget the life I’ve lived.

EVERYBOOK.JPEGFourth, I believe, was the quote “Every book it’s reader” on my right shoulder. It’s done in Gutenburg Gothic script and is one of the Five Laws of Library Science. Obviously, I love books and libraries. The reason why I chose Gutenburg Gothic as the font is because Gutenberg is credited with the creation of the printing press which helped increase literacy in the medieval world. The library quote is because I strongly believe that there is no such thing as a book that nobody should read.

Fifth was the violetsand they serve as a reminder to always live my life with humility, wisdom, and grace. Violets are also the birth flower for February (my birth month).

FORTUNEANDLOVE.JPEGSixth was ribcage. I got the Ovid’s quote “Fortune and love favor the brave” in red ink after I had broken up with my ex. I aim to be brave in chasing my dreams and in putting myself on the line in terms of love and relationships. The reason why I got it in red is because to me red symbolizes strength, rebirth, and purity and I needed that at that junction in my life.

Seventh was a blue rose for my doggie Star. I didn’t want a giant color piece so I asked Jen if she could just create a halo effect for the rose and we tried to match the blue to Star’s eyes based on an old photo. Also, when you’re brown – you get worried about color ROSES.JPEGpayoff when it comes to tattoos. This was like my trial color run on a part of my body that gets a lot more sun and is a lot darker than the inside of my wrists.

Shortly after I got two more roses added. The red one for my Dad (who’s still alive but we should still give flowers to those living) and the purple for my grandma who passed away when I was 8 but was such a hugely influential part of my life.

Gretal was the next piece and she was a two-session process; one for the outline and one DRAGON.JPEGfor shading. My grandma had this beautiful dragon drawing and I’ve always loved it and I always wanted to get a dragon to commemorate her and one day it just clicked that I should get that dragon tattooed. So that’s exactly what I did.

think I ended up getting the banner around the words after Gretal got shaded, but I’m honestly not sure at all. I can’t pinpoint when I got it for the life of me.

GRIM.JPEG

For my 24th birthday and Valentines Day/ Friday the 13th I got my little Grim Reaper. Jen was having a flash sale and I saw Franklin (what I’ve named him) on her Instagram and I snagged that little sucker. He’s adorable and I absolutely love his little scythe with the forget-me-nots.

Next up, my pinky hearts. I got them done at Cold Steel Tattoo on Haight St (usually I’vePINKY.JPEG only gone there for piercings) after deciding that I was officially done LAMPPOT.JPEGwith my relationship with my ex-fiance. Finger tattoos are pretty hit-n-miss so the wonky healing is just a result of hand oils and etc (NOT MY PINKY RING). The reason for the two hearts is to pinky promise to always love myself first and foremost.

After the pinky hearts came my tea-pot genie lamp. Once again, it’s another tattoo done by Jen and she essentially was having a flash tattoo sale and I saw it on her Instagram and instantly just thought – “omgoodness, that is perfect!” The reasoning is that I’d much rather make wishes on daisy petals than have three wishes from a jinn.

Now, time for all my recent tattoos – these have all been done within the last year.

BISON.JPEGI got my bison when I went to L.A. last year. Random tattoo shop, random spur of the moment desire, and it worked out perfectly. I love bison, I grew up by the bison pen in Golden Gate Park, and I think they are the sweetest creatures alive.

DAGGER.JPEGFollowing the bison, I got a dagger on the inside of my left forearm, which is also the first tattoo that I got this year. I got it from Oliver at Temperance Tattoos in the Tenderloin. I’ve had a long-standing promise with myself that when I know that I’m truly ready to commit to being self-harm free I would get a dagger or knife to commemorate that promise to myself and to constantly remind me of that promise. I got it on my left arm because I’m left-handed.

POPPIES.JPEGAfter that I got my poppies done by Jen at Picture Machine. Poppies because I’m a California girl and they are the state flower.

My most recent tattoo is one that I got in Flagstaff, Arizona. I really, really, really wanted to get a tattoo in Arizona because I crossed something huge of my bucket list which was to go to the Grand Canyon. AZDAGGER.JPEGMichael, at Birch Avenue Tattoo hooked me with this awesome dagger coming through a cactus flower and I absolutely love it. It’s still a wee bit in the healing phase just because my skin doesn’t react too well with color but I absolutely love it and think it’s beautiful.

AND, that’s it for my tattoos!

If you have any further questions, just let me know!