Saturday, July 22, 2017

Old Blog Post Saturday - For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange


Once Upon A Time...


Cassie used to do another blog, as "Optimistic Reader". 
These are those reviews:
(These are formatted as best to their original view as possible to show my own progression with reviewing)




For Color Girls who have considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf
by Ntozake Shange


I am a huge fan of the movie "For Colored Girls" that is based off of this book and I thought that I should finally look to see if my University Library had a copy of it. Indeed they did have a copy of it. This book is done in poetry form, which makes it a unique reading experience. Also it gives a unique voice to the characters contained within as a result of this chosen form by Shange.

I devoured the pages within an hour because Shange's prose is interesting, engaging, and insightful. This book is riveting and really showcases well the voice of an African-American woman. We can learn from this book about their struggles and experiences. I would recommend this to anyone that is in a field that works with a variety of individuals, such as a social worker. The book tells you how women, not just African-american, struggle with the choices they have to make. If you understand Shange's words you will come away changed for the better for having read it. 

My favorite part of the book is "He nearly walked away with all my stuff". This is about giving someone else the power over your life. Not recognizing your own individual self-worth.Truly letting someone else walk away with everything you have and could ever desire. It is hurtful, but there is power in recognizing that you got out of that bad relationship and didn't go back to it. Shange embodies the emotions that someone feels when they come from this dark place. Only someone that has either been there or truly understands the human emotional spectrum can write as Shange does.

This will give you some great insights and will also move you to tears by the end. It is a highly recommended read for another wanting to step outside of their world. Be willing to explore worlds that you might not be a part of, but will learn a great deal from if you simply examine it. Reading a book is a good way to start that journey.


Until next time... Stay Optimistic!!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

TOPIC CONVERSATION: Five Films To Watch To Help Understand the African-American Experience Part 1 (MY EDITION)

 I mentioned on my posting of "You Can't Touch My Hair" by Phoebe Robinson (review here) that I would post some important African-American media (movies and television shows) that can help showcase the experiences of African-Americans. These are films that I either want to watch or have seen before. Even though I am not African-American I know that these films speak to that experience based on not only my own perceptions of the films that have helped to start to educate me on these matters, but also due to hearing their importance in that community. This are not in any order or any importance order either. These are also just a limited number of the possible films you can watch. These are just the ones that immediately come to my own mind that you can view to better understand these experiences. Without further ado:

FIVE FILMS TO WATCH TO HELP UNDERSTAND THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: (MY EDITION)

1. Dear White People (2014)

Reason for Inclusion Here: This film tells the story about how college students that just so happen to be African-American experience different aspects of the college experience. This film is within the last ten years, so it is pretty focused on racial issues that are currently occurring within our society. I have personally yet to see the movie, but have watched the Netflix series that has been developed from this film. If this film is anything like the Netflix series it is vital viewing to help educate yourself on these experiences. 


2. Set it Off (1996)

Reason for Inclusion Here: While this film is just a great film, the realities that each of the four main characters encompass about the African-American experience is also important. They each showcase different experiences of how these four women have had to live as African-American women to survive within our society, which ultimately leads them to decide to become bank robbers. This is a very serious movie, so don't think that premise of bank robbers is a comedic element. It isn't. This is about the realities of the world making you do something that you never thought you would do because of racial issues that are contained within our society. This is a film that may not seem like it would educate you, but if you understand those underlying messages it will make you understand these experiences very concretely. 

3. The Long-Walk Home (1990)

Reason for Inclusion Here: To understand the African-American experience in American society you have to look at the history of the Civil Rights Movement as well. You have to begin to grasp that slavery did not end racial prejudices within our society. This film focuses on racial issues that were alive and well in the south. This is done in a more approachable manner than some other films in this particular film wheelhouse. This film would be a good starting point for someone from my own race (white) to start off with, since one of the main characters is this. This, however, should not be the only film that you view related to these experiences because it will present a limited view. It coupled with another couple of movies will greatly aid you towards understanding the issues we have with racism in our country and that they were prevalent in our past as well. 


4. Fruitvale Station (2013)

Reason for Inclusion Here: While I have never seen this film myself. I am aware of the contents because I know what caused this film to be made. This film is based on a real life occurrence where an African-American male was killed by a transit officer. I used to live in San Francisco, so many friends made me aware of this particular incident. Cell phone footage was taken of this incident and showcased horrifically how African-American people can be treated by those in authority. This is a much watch film and as I type this I realize I will need to watch this soon as well. 

5. The Ghosts of Mississippi (1996) 

Reason for Inclusion Here: This film focuses on important historical elements of racism as well. This one focuses mostly on the trial of the killer of Medgar Evers, a prominent civil rights leader. For years, the gentleman was tried for his death, but had two hung juries. This film showcases what happens when someone steps up to help the widow of Evers and it ultimately showcases the experiences of African-Americans within the judicial system. It is another important film to begin to grasp some of the racial issues we have still within many American society.

What I would like to do with this particular blog posting is pose a question to the readers: What are some films that you may be aware of that shine some light on the experiences of African-American individuals in American society? Television shows are acceptable as well. In a month or two (depending on how many comments are given) I will try to watch these films and discuss why they are important to the overall conversation about African-American experiences. 




Thursday, July 20, 2017

FIRST READ-A-THON: Make Me Read It Read-a-thon (VOTE IN THE POLL PLEASE)



So a popular thing to take part of in the book blogging or video community is a "read-a-thon" and to date I have never participated in one. All that changes now! Ely of "Tea & Time" and Val of "The Innocent Smiley" are hosting the "Make Me Read It read-a-thon" and I have decided that this will be my first one that I join in.

What is #MakeMeRead?

"Look at the books you own, either physical, e-book or ones you’ve borrowed from the library and pick out a few you really want to read, or feel like you should read. It’s up to you how many you pick, personally I’d pick a few more than you expect to be able to read in a week. Example: if you think you’ll only read two, pick out five books or if you think you can read seven, pick out ten.

Make a list of these books on your blog, or make a video, or a Goodreads shelf or post a picture on Instagram—whatever is easiest for you. Then get friends, other bloggers/booktubers/bookstagrammers etc. to vote on which books you HAVE to read.

When the readathon comes along, you read the books in the order of most votes. For example, if one book gets 10 votes—you read that first, then the one that got 7 and so on. If there’s a tie, then it’s your preference. The goal is to read as many as possible."

When is it?

This year the read-a-thon will be running from August 6th through to August 13th. You can start reading as soon as it hits 12am in your timezone, or whenever you’d like.

My Poll:

I have chosen 8 books, since I tend to be a slow reader and know that I won't get through this many of these books. I wanted to also give you some options to chose from for me to read. These are all books that I have had on my shelf and that I really want to read, so don't worry about if I don't want to read them or not. Just vote and let me know what you think I should read first and then I will continue going down the list during the read-a-thon until I read however many I get around to reading!

Here is the poll:



Gurl! Finish it! For The Week of 7/20/2107


Every Thursday I share what I am reading and watching. This is just a nice little feature for myself partially to have a record of stuff I have started, finished, read, watched, and all that business. I will also include a little bit of why I am reading it or watching that particular thing. Also it will help keep ME on track because I stop reading or watching stuff way too much, so this will help me hold tight to sticking with one darn thing. Anyone reading this also can hold me accountable on what I have been reading and if never moves to "Last Finished" or "Recently Finished" you can be like GURL!!! FINISH IT.

LAST FINISHED READING: 

Vidia and the Fairy Crown (Manga)
You Can Read My Review Here

I basically didn't get any further in my reading goals this last week because I have focused so heavily on making sure I get blog posts made, had a lot for school (Masters of Social Work program), and I am also volunteering this week. This has made my reading schedule almost non-existent. I am hoping later this week though I can get into reading some more of the current reads.

CURRENTLY READING: 

I am currently reading still "Between The World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates and have not really progressed with it. I think this is because I am finding myself so inundated with academic types of books that I am having to rethink my focus. I may have to change to not doing the topic reads until I am removed from the academic community slightly or just figure out how I can balance between the two. It may be that I have to go to one "diverse conversation" read a month, but this is why I wanted to practice this before officially starting it on my blog. Much of my time is becoming occupied with the schoolwork that I have to do, which does not always give me the time to focus on things I want to do. That is why I have been forcing myself to do my blog this week so I have a bit of happiness in my life. This being said, I want to continue reading Coates book because it is only about 152 pages. I am only on page 11 of it though at this time. 

I am also reading from NetGalley "Pathfinder: Worldscape Volume 2." I selected this because my partner for awhile was interested in Pathfinder and used to play it with a group of friends. The issue appears to be though that this incorporates characters from many of the properties that Dynamite has licensed. As a result, I have been feeling a little lost on who is who and what they are doing within this particular realm. I am still, however, going through it and plan on finishing it for my next weeks "Comic Book Wednesday" review. 


Still not finished from other Gurl! Finish Its: The Witching Hour by Anne Rice and Bearing An Hourglass by Piers Anthony. 


LAST FINISHED WATCHING and CURRENTLY WATCHING:

This week has been a weird week for me. I have not really been watching anything, for the most part. This is because of the above issues with school that I discussed and the volunteering that I have been doing. When I am watching something I am watching episodes of "The World According to Gumball" and "We Bare Bears" that I have previously watched. I am caught up on what they have on Hulu for these shows, so it has been mainly mindless viewing of these programs during a rather hectic week. After this week things are a little less hectic with school and I should be able to return to some pleasure viewing. I am hoping to actually get further, like every week so far, in "The Handmaid's Tale." This is going to have to be my priority when I am able to return to watching next week. Next week if I mention I have not progressed further in the series someone needs to yell at me and remind me that I love the book and the two episodes that I watched were actually good. No more excuses! No more life getting in the way. Just watch the darn things already. I have to say to myself if I don't progress further in this show then I need to shout at myself my own phrase "Girl! Finish It!"

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Comic Book Wednesday - Disney Faeries: Vidia and the Fairy Crown

On every Wednesday of the month the Library focuses on comic books, graphic novels or manga books. These books can be enjoyed and are just as important as much longer reads. While often considered to be childish or something "bad" if you want to be a true reader, We are the Library feel that any reading is good! Cassie grew up with comic books in her house. She remembers reading "West Coast Avengers" and various issues of "Wonder Woman" growing up. This feature is grown out of that respect and admiration for this field in the reading community. On to today's review...

Disney Faeries: Vidia and the Fairy Crown (Manga)

I received this book for free from NetGalley to review. All the opinions shared are my own and are my honest feelings regarding this book. If you know me I am not one to mix my words simply because something was free. This is my feelings on the book, both the good and the bad. So lets begin!!!







A Tokyopop book 

By Haruhi Kato 

Diamond Book Distributors 

To Be Published on July 25, 2017 

ISBN 9781427856982 

SRP: $10.99 (USD)



Central Theme:

The most central theme of this manga is understand that an individual is accountable for the words that they say, so watch your words that are chosen. They may come back later to bite you in the rear. It also seems to be about fighting for yourself when you know that you are in the right. These themes are very important, in my opinion, for children to learn. 

My Feelings:

I received this book for free again from NetGalley. I love that I can get some graphic novels this way to review, but soon I will have to revert to my own collection that I have on my shelves. I have numerous and think it might be time to give some of them some love as well. 

This being said, this is my second Disney manga book that I have read. The first being "Disney Magical Dance" that I reviewed a few weeks ago. I enjoyed that Disney manga book immensely, so I thought when this was put up for "request now" on the NetGalley site I would give it a go. When I usually get a book from the same series or the same company based on nothing else but that I am often left feeling sad at the end because I am disappointed. This was not the case here. This did have bad points (i.e. artwork that I will discuss), but overall the story was one that I enjoyed. I felt transported to Pixie Hollow yet again (yeah I read a few of the main Disney Faeries books back in the day when I was younger and more beautiful hehe). 

The story revolves around Vidia (the black haired fairy on the cover) and having told Tinker Bell and Raini that she would snatch the queen's crown at a party if she had the opportunity. Well, when the crown goes missing all fingers are pointed towards Vidia having done the deed. She knows that she did not take it and the only other fairy on her side is Prilla. The two of them join forces and investigate what really really happened to the queen's crown. This is such a simplistic story and all the hilarity that ensues after they start their investigation is worth the price of reading this manga. Mistakes were made by so many people in this story that normally would have felt like "oh they were just looking for anything to write a story" but here it actually feels like it is just coincidental happenstance that occurs in these faeries lives from time to time. I think this was largely because I have read and watch some of the other Disney Faeries merchandise though. Having that lens could have potentially made me more willing to swallow the different things that had to occur to get the crown where it ends up being. 

One elements that I personally enjoyed about this is that you are not following the most instantly likeable of the faeries. You discover that she had done at least one heinous act for her own profit, so you instantly recognize you are not reading a book that the main character is someone you are necessarily rooting for. There is a moment where you are like "hmm maybe she is getting what she deserve", but I banished that thought immediately when Prilla entered the picture. She breathed humanity into Vidia very quickly by discussing how a person/faerie can feel alone in the world. Vidia may not be likable, but she is still a faerie in this world of other faeries. She still shouldn't be judged harshly and unfairly. To have this type of emotional reaction and connection made me recognize that I was very much enjoying this particular fast read. If I feel any connection to a character I know that I need to say I enjoyed the darn book or I am lying through my teeth. 

While I enjoyed the story of this book, I have to say that the artwork in spots made me roll my eyes. It clings a little too tightly to some of the stereotypical looks of the manga genre. You can tell a little of this by the picture that is posted above. The faces seem a little too "plastic" for my particular taste. The artwork seems a bit "rushed" or "forced" to get a Disney product out. Some thought into the artwork would be appreciated in subsequent volumes, in particular to the faces of the characters. I know that many mangas rely on very concise streamlined lines, but here it seems rather bland and detracts in some moments from the overall story. It isn't enough not to enjoy the overall manga though. 

When you reach the end of this story you will feel for Vidia. There is a defining character moment near the end that we do not fully see, but when you see how it is handled you will not feel like you lost out by not seeing it. There are moments that are so deep and profound in a media source that you know you didn't need to see the actual moment to fully understand the gravity that it entailed. There is a moment, in my opinion, at the end that is this for Vidia. I felt like I was getting a true character instead of a one dimensional cardboard cutout.  

Who I Would Recommend To & Who I Would Not Recommend To:

If you are looking for Tinker Bell to be a main player because the title is "Disney Faeries" you will be a bit disappointed in this. She appears a handful of times, but truly (like the title suggests) this is a story about Vidia. Thus I wouldn't recommend this to you if you are only picking it up because you love Tink. You may be a bit disappointed with the results. If you are a purist on artwork you may feel a bit taken aback with this book, so move forward and pick something else up from the shelf. 

I would recommend this to someone that appreciates the world of Tinker Bell and grasps that there was a world created by Disney that involved some of her friends in Pixie Hollow. If you bought some of the other licensed merchandise you will not be disappointed with this particular manga. You may have even read the book that this is built upon, if you have looked at other merchandise. If you enjoy a mindless and simplistic read this will be right up your alley. Understand that there is nothing wrong with these elements either. We all need some time to relax in life and this is enjoyable, so if you are a reader looking to not have to think much, this will not disappoint. You can just follow along with the story and smile at the end of it. 

Other Things To Consider:




This appears to be only the first book in a new proposed "Disney Faeries Manga Series", so before getting this book you should be aware that if you are a "have to buy the series" type and want to avoid buying another series you best be backing up slowly from this one. The back of the ebook showed at least three proposed books in the series. I personally want to read them all!










To Be Published on July 25, 2017
You may Pre-Order it here:

Book Depository- Currently Unavailable For Purchase Here