31 7 / 2012

As we do every year, my book club met in June for a coed meeting to discuss a books based on a gender related topic. This year, we chose We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity, bell hooks ode to Black men in America.

hooks took us on a journey through American history while explaining the whos, whats, whens, and whys surrounding the lack of direction and responsibility within the Black community. She explains how the introduction of white male patriarchy was extremely damaging to African men brought to America in shackles because they were bombarded by the image of men taking financial care of their families, while being members of a society that would not allow them to due so because of their status as slaves. With the abolition of slavery, came the black codes, KKK, segregation, and other discriminatory practices that prevented Black men from fitting into the American definition of “man”. Left to do little or nothing for their families, many have turned to either lives of crime or laziness, relying on the women in their lives to be responsible for Black households.

Very interesting stuff. Due to my background in Black/African American studies I was aware of much of the information shared, but it was still eye opening to read hooks’ point of view and review her research.

The book was extremely textbook-ish though, so many within the book club complained about it being boring and a lot of people gave up on it. I admit that after the first few chapters, I felt like something was missing. I kind of expected to read of the “cool” of Black men, how and why they are envied, where it originated from and what aesthetically and culturally makes them so cool, but the book seemed to solely rely on explaining why Black men have not been able to be the best they can be; their coolness resulting in them being treated like second class citizens. Nothing is wrong with that kind of subject matter, but the title seems to be a bit misleading.

Regardless, the book discussion resulted in a raucous, sometimes serious, sometimes hilarious discussion between the men and women within our group. Throw in BBQ, other good eats, and Tropical Orgasms (our signature drink) and a great time was had by all.

GRADE: B-

11 5 / 2012

May Book Club Selection: BookTini’s theme for May is Chick Lit, so the club voted to select is Ernessa T. Carter’s 32 Candles as our Literary Selection of the month.

Davie—an ugly duckling growing up in small-town Mississippi—is positive her life couldn’t be any worse. She has the meanest mother in the South, possibly the world, and on top of that, she’s pretty sure she’s ugly. Just when she’s resigned herself to her fate, she sees a movie that will change her life—Sixteen Candles. But in her case, life doesn’t imitate art. Tormented endlessly in school with the nickname “Monkey Night,” and hopelessly in unrequited love with a handsome football player, James Farrell, Davie finds that it is bittersweet to dream of Molly Ringwald endings. When a cruel school prank goes too far, Davie leaves the life she knows and reinvents herself in the glittery world of Hollywood—as a beautiful and successful lounge singer in a swanky nightclub.
Davie is finally a million miles from where she started—until she bumps into her former obsession, James Farrell. To Davie’s astonishment, James doesn’t recognize her, and she can’t bring herself to end the fantasy. She lets him fall as deeply in love with her as she once was with him. But is life ever that simple? Just as they’re about to ride off into the sunset, the past comes back with a vengeance, threatening to crush Davie’s dreams—and break her heart again.

This month, our Oakland-East Bay chapter agreed to support a local book store by purchasing our Literary Selection from Marcus Book Store, the oldest Black owned and operated book store in the nation, with locations in Oakland & San Francisco.
I gave the copies out to our members at our April 15th meeting and within a week, people had finished it and were exclaiming how much they loved it. Many said it was similar to reading a rom-com, which I’m happy to hear since I’m a romantic at heart and love reading about love! 
I’ve been trying to wait to read it just so I’ll be able to retain the info for our May 20th discussion, so I’ll be cracking it open today.

May Book Club Selection: BookTini’s theme for May is Chick Lit, so the club voted to select is Ernessa T. Carter’s 32 Candles as our Literary Selection of the month.

Davie—an ugly duckling growing up in small-town Mississippi—is positive her life couldn’t be any worse. She has the meanest mother in the South, possibly the world, and on top of that, she’s pretty sure she’s ugly. Just when she’s resigned herself to her fate, she sees a movie that will change her life—Sixteen Candles. But in her case, life doesn’t imitate art. Tormented endlessly in school with the nickname “Monkey Night,” and hopelessly in unrequited love with a handsome football player, James Farrell, Davie finds that it is bittersweet to dream of Molly Ringwald endings. When a cruel school prank goes too far, Davie leaves the life she knows and reinvents herself in the glittery world of Hollywood—as a beautiful and successful lounge singer in a swanky nightclub.

Davie is finally a million miles from where she started—until she bumps into her former obsession, James Farrell. To Davie’s astonishment, James doesn’t recognize her, and she can’t bring herself to end the fantasy. She lets him fall as deeply in love with her as she once was with him. But is life ever that simple? Just as they’re about to ride off into the sunset, the past comes back with a vengeance, threatening to crush Davie’s dreams—and break her heart again.

This month, our Oakland-East Bay chapter agreed to support a local book store by purchasing our Literary Selection from Marcus Book Store, the oldest Black owned and operated book store in the nation, with locations in Oakland & San Francisco.

I gave the copies out to our members at our April 15th meeting and within a week, people had finished it and were exclaiming how much they loved it. Many said it was similar to reading a rom-com, which I’m happy to hear since I’m a romantic at heart and love reading about love! 

I’ve been trying to wait to read it just so I’ll be able to retain the info for our May 20th discussion, so I’ll be cracking it open today.

01 2 / 2012

February Book Club Selection: One Day It’ll All Make Sense by Common
In 2012, I decided to institute monthly themes* for BookTini, to ensure a diverse list of Literary Selections. To coincide with Black History month, our February theme is “a memoir, biography, or cultural criticism with focus on the African American community or African diaspora”. Sounds heavy, but it really isn’t. With prior selections like Elaine Brown’s autobiography, A Taste of Power, and Scott Paulson Bryant’s examintion of Black male sexuality in Hung, we already have a loose pattern of reading books in this territory.
The club voted to read Common’s somewhat recent memoir, Some Day It’ll All Make Sense. I’m not big on reading up on the lives of celebrities (unless it’s ybf.com), but I’m 100 pages in and it’s not too bad. Common shares his humble beginnings growing up in Chicago (with a mama who DOES NOT PLAY lol), and also gives insight on fatherhood, where his consciousness comes from, his rise to stardom as a rapper, and a few of his high profile relationships.
So far so good.
*January’s theme was ANY NOVEL.

February Book Club Selection: One Day It’ll All Make Sense by Common

In 2012, I decided to institute monthly themes* for BookTini, to ensure a diverse list of Literary Selections. To coincide with Black History month, our February theme is “a memoir, biography, or cultural criticism with focus on the African American community or African diaspora”. Sounds heavy, but it really isn’t. With prior selections like Elaine Brown’s autobiography, A Taste of Power, and Scott Paulson Bryant’s examintion of Black male sexuality in Hung, we already have a loose pattern of reading books in this territory.

The club voted to read Common’s somewhat recent memoir, Some Day It’ll All Make Sense. I’m not big on reading up on the lives of celebrities (unless it’s ybf.com), but I’m 100 pages in and it’s not too bad. Common shares his humble beginnings growing up in Chicago (with a mama who DOES NOT PLAY lol), and also gives insight on fatherhood, where his consciousness comes from, his rise to stardom as a rapper, and a few of his high profile relationships.

So far so good.

*January’s theme was ANY NOVEL.

18 11 / 2011

Three things happened yesterday

That last bullet point may not be that big of a deal, but it is to me! lol

09 11 / 2011

November Book Club Selection: Something Borrowed

This month is BookTini’s movie month, where we’ll be reading a book that has been adapted for the movie or tv screen. We’ll also be watching the movie together, and discussing both, immediately following.

We were supposed to read and watch The Help by Kathryn Stockett. After all of the media attention (and light weight dissension surrounding the movie), I couldn’t wait to read and discuss this…until I realized that the movie wouldn’t be out on DVD until some unknown time in December.

So we’ve moved on to the selection that recieved the second most number of votes: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. The Help will be read and watched in April instead.

I’m excited about this book pick, as well. I’m all for light, humorous, chick lit with a romantic twist. I watched the movie a few month’s back and loved it. And a friend of mine finished the book in October and couldn’t wait to tell me about it.

We’ll be meeting on a Friday night instead of our usual Sunday afternoon. Booktini’s secretary has reserved the a fabulous theater room in her apartment building, and another friend has offered to let us borrow her vintage movie popcorn cart, while our hostess for November will be providing margaritas and other snacks. 

I’ll be starting the book today.

27 10 / 2011

(click pics to enlarge)

Pics from Booktini’s Getting to Happy Retreat, October 14-16th in Santa Cruz. Our October Literary Selection was A Belle in Brooklyn by Demetria Lucas.

After our Drinks & Discussion, we celebrated Booktini’s 2nd anniversary with a (chocolate) cake showcasing all of the books we’ve read since our first retreat in San Diego in 2010.

30 9 / 2011

October Book Club Selection: A Belle In Brooklyn
October is the month that Booktini has set aside to have our yearly retreat of friendship, readings, and drinks. Sounds corny, but after last year’s adventure in San Diego, we decided we had to make this a yearly event. We read “Getting To Happy”, and since the title of the book describes EXACTLY what happened when we met up for the weekend, we decided that the name will have to stay.
This year for our “Getting to Happy” retreat, we’ll be heading to Santa Cruz to spend the weekend in a rented beach house. The house is FABULOUS (with enough room for 20, even though only 13 of us will be in attendance). We’ll be having a girls night slumber party that Friday, complete with drinking games, jello shots, cupcakes and the like.
That Saturday, we’ll wake up to a morning of breakfast and exercise. Afterwards we’re settle in to our seminars:
Being Booktini - discussing expansion and changes since we’re developing other chapters; 
Drinks & Discussion - discussing our October Literary Selection over lunch and drinks, and also celebrating Booktini’s 2 year anniversary; 
Getting to Happy - led by our resident therapist, this is a seminar where we open up about the changes we want to make in our lives, and then setting realistic goals to make those changes a reality and giving an ipdate on last year’s seminar; 
Mixology 101 - we’re taught how to mix three new Signature drinks.
Then we’ll end the night by getting dressed up and hitting the town. The next day, we’ll end the retreat with a Sunday brunch. Sounds like a lot, right?
During the retreat, we’ll be discussing Demtria L. Lucas’ new memoir, A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to-girl For Advice on Living your Best Single Life. I’d initially wanted us to read Iyanla Vanzant’s Peace from Broken Pieces, since along with liquor and shenanigans during the weekend, we try to reflect on our current lives, and work on growth for the future. The majority, however, voted on reading Lucas’ take on enjoying the single life.
Back in 2008, I stumbled upon Lucas’ blog, A Belle in Brooklyn, and instantly added it to my list of favs, mainly because she reminded me so much of the writings in my own blog: men, relationships, disastrous dates, and the joys and pitfalls of my mid-20s.
Even though the book’s selling point is helping women lead their best single life, and I’m not neccessarily single, if it contains any of the stories from her earlier blogging days, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the stories within. I’m also leading the discussion for this one, which I think will be great reading material for a girly gab fest.

October Book Club Selection: A Belle In Brooklyn

October is the month that Booktini has set aside to have our yearly retreat of friendship, readings, and drinks. Sounds corny, but after last year’s adventure in San Diego, we decided we had to make this a yearly event. We read “Getting To Happy”, and since the title of the book describes EXACTLY what happened when we met up for the weekend, we decided that the name will have to stay.

This year for our “Getting to Happy” retreat, we’ll be heading to Santa Cruz to spend the weekend in a rented beach house. The house is FABULOUS (with enough room for 20, even though only 13 of us will be in attendance). We’ll be having a girls night slumber party that Friday, complete with drinking games, jello shots, cupcakes and the like.

That Saturday, we’ll wake up to a morning of breakfast and exercise. Afterwards we’re settle in to our seminars:

  • Being Booktini - discussing expansion and changes since we’re developing other chapters;
  • Drinks & Discussion - discussing our October Literary Selection over lunch and drinks, and also celebrating Booktini’s 2 year anniversary;
  • Getting to Happy - led by our resident therapist, this is a seminar where we open up about the changes we want to make in our lives, and then setting realistic goals to make those changes a reality and giving an ipdate on last year’s seminar;
  • Mixology 101 - we’re taught how to mix three new Signature drinks.

Then we’ll end the night by getting dressed up and hitting the town. The next day, we’ll end the retreat with a Sunday brunch. Sounds like a lot, right?

During the retreat, we’ll be discussing Demtria L. Lucas’ new memoir, A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to-girl For Advice on Living your Best Single Life. I’d initially wanted us to read Iyanla Vanzant’s Peace from Broken Pieces, since along with liquor and shenanigans during the weekend, we try to reflect on our current lives, and work on growth for the future. The majority, however, voted on reading Lucas’ take on enjoying the single life.

Back in 2008, I stumbled upon Lucas’ blog, A Belle in Brooklyn, and instantly added it to my list of favs, mainly because she reminded me so much of the writings in my own blog: men, relationships, disastrous dates, and the joys and pitfalls of my mid-20s.

Even though the book’s selling point is helping women lead their best single life, and I’m not neccessarily single, if it contains any of the stories from her earlier blogging days, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the stories within. I’m also leading the discussion for this one, which I think will be great reading material for a girly gab fest.

01 9 / 2011

September Book Club Selection -The Broke Diaries by Angela Nissel
I’ve heard of this book numerous times, only because Luvvie, noted humor blogger and fellow book lover, has ranted and raved about it being one of her faves. Nissel’s writing is known to tickle your funny bone, so much so that she has branched out from being a blogger herself, to an author, and writer and co-producer for the television sitcom, Scrubs.
I am a little far removed from the struggle that is associated with being a student (which is the entire premise of the book), but in this cold economy, no one can be too sure about their future financial situation. I’ll be open for the laughs throughout the story, but I’ll also have my eyes open for a few cost effective ways to stay afloat should my luck take an unexpected nose dive.

September Book Club Selection -The Broke Diaries by Angela Nissel

I’ve heard of this book numerous times, only because Luvvie, noted humor blogger and fellow book lover, has ranted and raved about it being one of her faves. Nissel’s writing is known to tickle your funny bone, so much so that she has branched out from being a blogger herself, to an author, and writer and co-producer for the television sitcom, Scrubs.

I am a little far removed from the struggle that is associated with being a student (which is the entire premise of the book), but in this cold economy, no one can be too sure about their future financial situation. I’ll be open for the laughs throughout the story, but I’ll also have my eyes open for a few cost effective ways to stay afloat should my luck take an unexpected nose dive.

02 8 / 2011

 This month, my bookclub is having a coed BBQ where we are encouraged to invite the men in our lives (significant others and friends) to join us in our Drinks & Discussion.

I thought reading Jay-Z’s memoir, Decoded, would reel the men in, but Why Men Love Bitches won the majority of the vote in the book club, and the men seem to be very interested in discussing such a topic. I guess you can never lose with discussing relationships.

I just got my copy from the library (and I’m pretty sure the librarians were judging me lol). Planning on starting it as soon as I finish Interview With a Vampire …hopefully tomorrow.

13 7 / 2011

Over at Booktini, we’re reading More Like Wrestling, by renowned music journalist, Danyel Smith. I’m excited, not only because I suggested the book, but because it’s set in my hometown. Very rarely have I come across books based in Oakland. In my short time reading this novel, Oakland doesn’t seem to just be the setting, but also a living and breathing character, along with Pinch & Paige, the two sisters who fill it’s pages.

I’m falling in love with it already. Brings back so many memories of growing up on 64th & E. 14th.