Thoughts!

College Semester Spring 2018

Wow!

That’s going to be my word for today. Wow! Making the decision to finish my degree was one of the hardest I had to make this year. I knew that it would be very time consuming, that trying to find another job that works with my school schedule would be next to impossible and it’d cut into my reading time! But who cares! I’m so glad that I did it! I have learned so much in the last few months and it really makes my inner nerd jump with joy.

This semester I took three courses, all flex. I knew that I had a shorter amount of time during this semester (10 weeks vs the normal 16 weeks) and everything would be a bit tight. Due to that, I wanted to take a smaller amount of classes as this is my first semester back in 6 years.

I took a math course, new student course and intro to philosophy. I had one of the best math professors ever! He spent 30 years (if I remember correctly) teaching young students and used the techniques he learned to help us grasp mathematical concepts. He was so funny, honest and understanding. I wish I could take my next math course with him but he only teaches that one level. Darn!

New Student Experience is one course I can gladly say is over. It wasn’t hard and I didn’t hate it, it was just pointless. The New Student course is the one where you ‘discover yourself’ or learn about the campus amenities. This is something I could’ve learned in orientation. The fact that I had to take an entire semester of this is ridiculous. It didn’t teach me anything and was just another one of those courses that eats your money.

My Philosophy course was fantastic! My professor was great and it taught me a ton of new things. I learned to ask all sorts of questions, about God, society and impressions of others. I loved it! A few of my posts I’ve written here were directly because of my excitement! I’m actually taking more philosophy courses and believe it’ll help me hone my writing! Yes!!

So this is finals week and I only have a math exam left. Last week! But then the next semester literally starts in two weeks. I will be taking my last math course, general psychology and fundamentals of speech. I went on rate my professor and researched all of my professors first. Who knows? Hopefully they are as good as I read! Will update when school starts back up!

Happy Readance,

Jade

P.S. I’m getting a degree in English and Philosophy

 

Final Reviews

Book Review: A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

 

Heya!

Here is another book written by a black author! I absolutely loved it! I have always been a big fan of the Disney princess stories being modernized and re-written. Although the Cinderella story is age old, I really love to see the way new writers can add plot twists and small but impactful changes to create a beautiful narrative. Yes, Cole, Yes! This story is based on an African History and the author really shined a beautiful light on the culture. The way family came together and the people gathered around in support really made you wish this was a place you could go with people from the story you could meet. The story has funny moments and sad parts and all make you proud.  There are big twists and turns that flow with the story line and don’t cause friction with the riches to rags and back to riches ideal.

 

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The main character is so relatable, honest and everything we want to portray. She’s a black woman who is smart, beautiful and she has a great sense of responsibility and self awareness. Thabiso, the prince, is handsome and hilarious in his own royal right. He really cracked me up with his inability to do normal every day activities on his own and his lack of knowledge about American diction. Cole really did a great job bringing these characters to life without making them over the top or extra. I can’t wait to read more books by her!

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,
Jade

 

#BlackAuthorsUnite!

Literature Readings, Thoughts!

Modernizing Required Readings for Students

Heya!

So I have been thinking long and hard about what I want to achieve in the world of literature. My want to go back to college and finish my degree was more about accomplishing my own goals and learning new things. I hadn’t yet figured out what I wanted to do with my degree, specifically, besides writing bestsellers. I’ve been reading, writing books and creating new stories since I was a young child, since before I could remember. Despite my detours in life, I always knew this is where I would land.

To translate that into academics, I want to delve deeper into the literary requirements of our youth. I remember being a young girl, inspired by big works like Shakespeare and George Orwell and also the smaller works like Summer of my German Soldier (Bette Greene) and Melusine. I always found it fascinating to read works by authors who lived long ago but realized that my fellow classmates did not. They were disinterested, flighty and annoyed. This made me really think about the works that we were required and what I could do to make reading more appealing.

So I’ve realized the best way to go about this is to modernize our required readings. I am a firm believer that the best writers weren’t only born 200 plus years ago. Yes, we can learn great things from our past but we can also learn a multitude of things from the present. We have hundreds of amazing writers here in this century and we need to recognize them. Do not take this as I am wanting to replace the genius works of the past. I want to give an alternative modernized literary option for teaching those students who squirm and fuss at the thought of reading outside of a text message. These are students who normally hate reading. I want them to be able to pick up a book they can relate to, learn the same skills of tension, mystery and cultural appreciation.

Over the next few years, I am going to compile a list of required readings and find comparisons in the modern world of literature. I want to develop a list of books that will still teach life lessons, broaden horizons and open the minds of our youth. I will be blogging my path with this and will eventually make a static post of the comparisons that I’ve done so that you guys are updated!

I would really like some suggestions that could help me on this journey. I found a really great one on GoodReads but it’s 500 books long! That’s a great start but I am going to break them apart, following a specific criteria, and choose The ones I think can really transform literature. If you’ve read a modern or contemporary book that you think could rival the literature of old please feel free to let me know! Also, tell me the book that you think it parallels. This is going to be a great journey!

P.S. To make a clear distinction, I am talking about new and original stories, plays and novels written now, not revisions or rewrites of old ones.

Good Readance,

Jade

Thoughts!

Reviewing Ready Player One- The Movie!

 

I know, I know! I already did a review on the book and I said I would not be doing movie reviews with the blog reboot but I couldn’t help it. DID YOU GUYS SEE THE MOVIE!?!?! Alright, alright. I actually really loved it. I read the book in about two days in January and then I found out that the movie was coming out and I got so excited.

After watching a few of the trailers I realized that the movie would be completely different than the book. I mean, the tone is different, the characters are different and even the methods of gaining the keys are different. In the book, and I won’t spoil it, the deaths of certain characters hit you harder than what actually happens in the movie. It’s very light hearted with more a comedic release than the distress of the main character in the book.

BUT WHO CARES?

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The movie was great. I absolutely loved it. One person on twitter said they hated that it became more of a love story and I disagree. I think the fact that you see the two physically together you see the romance more but they were just as ‘together’ in the book, just online. Sounds weird but it’s true. I loved the imagery, the CGI, the move back and forth between real and animated was so smooth. The music was spot on, character development was amazing. You didn’t NEED to read the book in order to follow the movie or to really fall in love with the characters and that is huge coming from an avid reader like me.

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I am usually a hard critic when it comes to book to movie adaptions because I am just another reader, like you. I find it hard to see what I’d only imagined in my head, done incorrectly. This is definitely a change I will accept. I think that Steven Spielberg did amazing and I can’t wait to see more films by him.

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Yaaas! The excitement is real! Let me know what you thought of the movie! Did you like the changes they made? Were you on board with the fact that he spends more time in the ‘real world’ as opposed to how he spent most of the book in his trailer? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Good Readance,
Jade

 

 

Final Reviews

Book Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.
Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.
Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

I really loved this book! It took me a little longer to read it because I am going through midterms right now but I’m excited to say that I am a big fan of Andy Weir. Jazz is relatable, intelligent, unassuming and daring. I love the characters ability to think quick on her feet and to be ready for anything that comes her way. I definitely love this ‘living on the moon’ theme that Andy Weir has started. It gives you a sense of hope for humanity and inspiration for the future of science.

I would not mind at all seeing a movie adaption of this book. I’d like to see what city they would create, how they would form the hubs and what they would use as a basis for the Moon’s surface. I definitely recommend this book to anyone, even those who are not interested in science and discovery.

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I need to find other books written by Andy Weir, I have a feeling he might soon become one of my favorite authors. I was actually talking to a fellow reader the other day and they mentioned the comparisons with Artemis and The Martian. I hadn’t even noticed they were written by the same author, Artemis was recommended to me.

They actually said they didn’t like this book as much as they liked the other. I can say that the way the books are written is completely different. Jazz Bashara is very different than Mark Watney. First of all, she’s a criminal and he’s a genius who recognized his intelligence and used it. Jazz did not. She is very flippant and squirrely in comparison to Mark’s character. The pace of the book is different as in the Martian you spend most of the book following one character who is unable to talk to anyone else but himself. It’s a great comparison and I love to see writers switch up their voice and still draw the reader in.

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

 

Good Readance,
Jade

Final Reviews

Book Review: You Will Pay by Lisa Jackson

It starts as a prank—a way to blow off steam after a long summer at Camp Horseshoe. Among the teen counselors, tensions and hormones are running high. No wonder the others agree when Jo-Beth Chancellor suggests they scare Monica O’Neal a little . . . or a lot. Monica has it coming, and no one will really get hurt. What could go wrong?
Everything. That summer, two young girls went missing.
Each one knows something about that terrible night. Each promised not to tell. And as they reunite, a new horror unfolds. First come texts containing a personal memento and a simple, terrifying message: YOU WILL PAY. Then, the murders begin.
It started years ago. But it will end here—as a web of lust, greed, and betrayal is untangled to reveal a killer waiting to enact the perfect revenge.

 

This was another one of those books that I read fairly quickly. I had forgotten how much I liked to read books by Lisa Jackson.  She writes mystery with just a hint of romance. In this book, you follow a sort of contorted ‘who done it’. You get the comparison of the characters when they were young and impressionable and them as adults when they have had a chance to put the past behind them. There are a few twists and turns in the story that were pretty exciting and unexpected.

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I will say this book is longer than I expected it to be. I think it could have been shorter and we still would’ve gotten the same level of character development. Some parts did drag on just a bit. This may just be me though, with my attention span and the fact that I have so many books to read so I really have to be very invested in every chapter.

I would recommend this book if you are looking for a quick mystery read. If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

 

 

Good Readance,

Jade

Literature Readings

The Ring of Gyges (Glaucon.Plato): Justice as a Constitution

Would you rather do injustice but appear just or be just and appear unjust?

Think of the last time you went to a club. Imagine earlier in the day you met someone exciting and you hit it off with them, possibly exchanged contact information. That night, while out with your friends, you’re waiting in a long line. Two out, Two in (we all know how this goes). Suddenly, your new friend shows up and says ‘Oye! How are ya?‘ and, as a VIP guest of the club, they invite you to skip the line and join them inside. Do you? Everyone else stares back at you, standing still with wide eyes, sucking their teeth in jealousy. Your friends glance down at their feet, unsure if they are included in the invite. Do you leave them behind? Ask if their invited? Decline and stay with your friends?

Now think if you came to the club alone (Hey! maybe you’re the type) and you are standing at the end of the line. What if he’d caught up to you before you joined the line of onlookers? Do you sneak off and join him in the club? When no one would see you accept the offer, when there is no one to judge your decision, would you really decline?

For those who are more pious, that don’t frequent clubs like the rest of us, say you are trying to get accepted for a prestigious internship that will shape how quickly you move up in your career. You just so happen to be the niece (nephew) of someone on the board. They say they will put in a good word for you, write you a reference letter, donate money and set up a meeting with the Chair. You have the talent, skills and maybe a leg up, due to your own determination, working for you. You don’t really need his help. Do you do this on your own? Do you decline his offer (save for the required reference) and see how the board votes without the incentive?

Think of the opposite, when you could really use his help. Maybe your final essay wasn’t as strong as you would’ve liked. Maybe you weren’t as memorable during the last introductions.  Maybe you wouldn’t normally deserve the spot, just based on your performance. None of the other candidates would know. Do you accept his offer to get put at the top of the list? Would you risk your dreams for the sake of justice?

Glaucon talks about two important factors when discussing our willingness to do justice: Law and Appearance.  When law is not a factor, most people would do injustice. Why do you think The Purge was so popular? Looting during riots? Cheating on tests when the teacher steps out of the room? When there is no one there to hold you accountable for your actions, you act. Some say, you act out of character but if your actions are your own wouldn’t this show who you truly are? Aren’t you unjust on the inside just like the rest of us? Would injustice be apart of your constitution, a part that you hide?

Appearance wouldn’t be important if not for our judgy parents, coworkers who raise their eyebrow at favoritism or fellow customers you might cut in line. If we, as humans, weren’t so worried about how others perceive us or how we appear to others, we would all do injustice. Glaucon says that one only needs to appear just than to actually be just.

The story of The Ring of Gyges talks about a seemingly just person. A Shepherd discovers a ring of invisibility, which he initially tests on his friends. He then uses it to seduce the Queen, kill the King and take over the throne.
I remember a story told to me as a kid that has really stuck with me, I’ll tell it to you though you might’ve heard it before. An old man wanted to renovate two bathrooms in his home. Due to old age, and a previous knee injury, he is unable to finish cleaning residue and grime from the marble tile in the second. He calls for his grandson to help. “Please, have this done before the party tonight, even though this one often goes unused, I’d like to finish the project.” The grandson agrees and the old man goes about his day preparing.

A few hours before the party, the old man goes to check on the boy and opens the door, glancing at the tile before him. From this vantage point it’s beautifully polished and shines in the light. As he steps in to inspect it, he realizes the boy didn’t finish any of the tile hidden behind the door. “What is this?” he says. “Why have you not finished?
“No one ever uses this bathroom, grandpa. We can finish it later! I can help you with something more important.” The old man puts a hand on his shoulder, looks him straight in the eye.
“We must do things correctly, finish the tasks at hand, even if no one else will see it. That is no matter how big or how small, how important or insignificant the task is.” Reluctantly, the boy finished the tile just moments before the first arrival. Later that night, a toilet malfunction in the first bathroom rendered it useless and all the guest had to be redirected to the second bathroom. As guest complemented the beautiful marble the old man silently caught the eye of the young boy, who grinned back with pride.

Yes, this is very, very, very cheesy but it perfectly explains my point and the direction I took from The Ring of Gyges. The question stands. Would you do injustice if not for law and appearance? If not, are you including small injustices that we do daily? As stated in the reading, one can not be fully just without any injustice. Can they?

I plan to continue uploading my thoughts and inferences of the readings I get while in college. Let me know if you’d like to see more of these or if you are a fiction and novel reader only. I’d love to hear from you!

Good Readdance!

Jade

Literature Readings

Allegory of the Cave (Plato) and How It Compares to the African American Community

Sometimes we are poisonous to our own people. 

There once was a young boy named Eric who dreamed of one day making it big. He dreamed of mansions and cars and freshly cooked Sunday night dinners. His parents worked hard to keep their family together and he was often left to raise himself in the downtrodden streets of the inner city. Eric spent the first year of high school skipping class and getting high in the bathrooms. He was good with numbers, they flew through his head like music notes and he used them to buy an entourage. His friends were soon like brothers in arms, fighting against the man and whoever else dared to keep them down. While they loved him, his parents cracked but never wavered due to a shred of hope that their hard work would soon pay off in that he would live past eighteen.

After a night of danger and sticky red hands left one friend dead and another in jail, Eric makes the decision to get his life together. His skipping school days are behind him. Books and highlighters become his new best friends and good times shooting ball on the courts fade away. His parents, still fighting their own beasts of debt, forget the pat on the back. He struggles and fails but is determined to achieve his goals.

Years later he graduates from high school with a higher than stellar gpa and scholarships  for college. He excels through college, graduating in the top of his class. His parents are older now with withered hands and sad eyes but finally proud. His heart breaks as cancer eats at his fathers pride but he keeps his head up and makes promises. His parents nod and smile, they know where they come from and no one they grew up with had ever made it out. The rays of the sun have beaten their souls and the shackles of life have torn them apart.

Eric started as an intern, with pressed collars and loafers. He learned the walk and took pride in his ability to stride. He rose through the ranks and soon a placard with his name etched in gold lines the door and desk of a corner office. He buys his parents a new house and he pays for their bills. Their eyes light up as the final grasps of freedom can be felt with their finger tips.

Back home, despite his attempts to give back to the community that raised him, Eric’s old buddies curse his name. They spit on his shoes and call him a traitor. How dare he make a better man out of himself? They ask him who he thinks he is and refused to take his so-called charity. Estranged family members, who’d dapped in between video game wins, now show up with hands out stretched and angry faces. You owe us, we had circumstances. Blood means give. After dishing out all he can bare to give, Eric is worn down and even though they see his bleeding eyes they keep asking for more. Eventually he retreats back to his office and donates from afar. He’s got places to go and promises to keep. Now with a family of his own, he’s the man in charge and makes sure his kids know what it means to give to others but not give until there is nothing left.

While reading The Allegory of the Cave, something really struck home for me. You might think that I would glean something about religion or believing the government’s lies but my thoughts went down another path. I thought about the prisoners in the cave as us, African Americans and the shadows on the walls as the so called truths we’ve been fed from others about ourselves. Outside opinions that we take on faith because it’s been ingrained in our upbringing.

We, as black people, have been oppressed, yes. We’ve been beaten down, run over and held back. We’ve been taught about the violence of our own people, warned against the false intelligence of our own people and suspicious of our own people. Generations trickled self hatred and ignorance. We poured the inability to rise above our limitations down the throats of our youth and branded anyone who squeezed through the cracks a deceiver, a Judas, an Uncle Tom.

For generations we have been stuck in this phase of anger. It is all the evidence we need to believe that we are stunted. We have a fixed mindset of what the truth is. To some, the truth is that we can not make it. We dream to, we aspire to but do we honestly believe we can? The shadows on the walls of our ancestors who couldn’t fight back make no noise due to their stolen voices. We watch them with our heads locked forward unable to turn away from the lull. When one of us dares to break free of his chains we smile and nod but block out the noise of their excitement. He will be back, we say and we continue to stare at the shapes stretching before us.

He begins his journey, continuously pulled down and degraded by his own people. As he struggles forward, he starts to believe. I can make it! No one believed me but I did it! He returns to the cave, staring up at the shapes of his ancestors, hoping to enlighten his peers. Look, look what I’ve done! I told you this could happen. Come, join me. They deny him.

Do we expect to fail? How many times do we trash our wealthy brothers and sisters just for making better decisions in life than we did? Especially the ones who come from our same streets. The ones that we can’t use the excuse ‘they had it better than me’. How many times do we say ‘I knew he’d be back’ when one of our own returns to the nest after failing their great try?

Another thing that hit me was that this goes both ways. Will he remember how hard it was for him to see others succeed? After he’s achieved his goals and reached the top tier, does he say to himself “I understand how they feel, I remember being that kid that would say ‘this old black man with his tailored suits just don’t get me!’ ” One thing that I wrote down while taking notes was “Eyes can be confused in two ways”.

Anyway, I know this was something different than what I usually do but I really wanted to share my thoughts on this. I’m not really one that will spend my time spouting about “The Man”, etc but this is something I definitely think about. This is one of the major reasons why I wanted to go back to college and finish my degree. I love to learn, to experience new things, new ways of thought. I’ve already opened my mind more than I thought possible and I still have far to go.

Please let me know what your thoughts are. Did you get this from The Allegory of the Cave? If not, what did you take from it?

Good Readance,
Jade

Final Reviews

Book Review: The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.

Braced for the worst, Ellen is pleasantly surprised. It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her.

Ellen doesn’t know it, but she already has.

Alright, I admit it took me a really long time to read this book. Almost a month. Just as I was cracking the book open my college courses started. Always the one with her head in the clouds, I thought No, I won’t have any issue reading for entertainment while also trying to read class assignments. I was wrong. The Philosopher’s Way and Plato soon took over all of my free time. The only time I could find for personal reading was before work, during my lunch break and just before my eyes shut at night. That basically means I only read ten to fifteen pages at a time. My usual average is around fifty to ninety so this just makes me look sad. I didn’t want to stop though and took the book everywhere with me; to the doctors office, to work and to stand in line at Walmart.

Anyway, I really liked the book. Often times I caught myself wanting to tweet the author and say “Oh my god! They could totally be best friends!”. I loved the fact that you go back and forth between point of views. I didn’t like this sort of writing when I was younger but as I get older and hone my own writing style I appreciate the craftsmanship. The personality differences between Ellen and Saskia are so vast and you really get to see that. This way, you get the stalkers thoughts first hand and maybe, you don’t totally hate her.

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I would definitely recommend this book! If you are looking for an easy read that doesn’t have too many twists and turns this is for you! One part of the book I thought, there’s totally going to be some crazy plot twist that will have me on the edge of my seat and things turned out differently. No worries though, I did like the way the book ended. It was a pleasant story.

If you’ve read this book, if you liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions for me to read or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Happy Readance,
Jade

Thoughts!

Hearing From You! My favorite people!

Questions!
I’d love to hear from you! Comment below! Please answer any of the questions below or feel free to ask any of your own.

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What do you like to read?
What’s your favorite genre?
Do you like to write? If so, what?
Have you read any of the books I’ve reviewed? New or older posts?
What books would you like to see reviewed?
Do you like the posts not related to reading and writing? If not, what would you like to see?

Jade