Nicki Minaj: Hip Pop Moments 4 Life – Isoul Harris

I didn’t write this up yesterday, even though the book went on sale via Amazon on 4/1 simply to avoid the mistake of it potentially being an April Fools Joke but Nicki Minaj is just that type of hustler. Of course she has a book out but thankfully it’s written by the UPTOWN Magazine Editor -In-Chief Isoul Harris. Harris’ unique way of telling stories just might make this an interesting book that does well on the NY Times List but I still feel over saturated by Nicki Minaj as I have been since before Pink Friday even came out. 

Question is, do you want to read the life story that she’s already told us about in multiple specials, interviews and songs? If so, head over to Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com to purchase her latest effort. 

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Chinua Achebe

My love affair with Chinua Achebe started young, as an avid reader, encouraged by my grandfather, my appetite for books was insatiable. After reading A Tale of Two Cities, my grandfather decided that I should read Things Fall Apart.

I was slightly skeptical about the hype but I delved into it after learning more about him as a person. He was African.

When I finished the book, I realize that it had changed my life. I know that’s a heavy thing for a 13 year old but I was astounded. I couldn’t believe it. It was more amazing than I could have understood at the time but then, I read it again. Slowly the second time around, sounding out the words in my head and letting it sink in.

I was elated that someone African who looked like me, who wasn’t from the UK or the US wrote something so powerful and so enchanting. It was in the afterglow of my thoughts for Things Fall Apart that I begun to play with the idea of trying to make writing something a part of my life.

I was inspired enough to think that my voice mattered, that it may make a difference and more importantly that all stories need to be told.

While Things Fall Apart was my first high, each subsequent book or essay or short story delivered. He was consistent and he was a prophet. He knew that we needed guidance, that we needed to believe in ourselves and our future but it didn’t mean that you had to forget the past.

He died a legendary Writer, Professor, Poet and Critic. He’s inspired me and many others I’m sure to follow their dreams, tell their stories, preserve their integrity and walk with dignity. I’m am happy to strive to be more like he was.

In his words:

“People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories.”

Review – This is How You Lose Her

When I first read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, I fell in love as I turned the pages; not only with Junot Diaz’s writing style but of his accurate telling of a story that could have happened to so many of us.

By “us”, I mean Caribbean People.

It’s hard to find a writer now-a-days that would even venture onto the topics that we endeavor to sweep under the carpet in Caribbean house holds so when I heard about This is How You Lose Her, I was sprung all over again.

Like Drown, this book is about Yunior who we first meet as the room mate to the protagonist in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Yunior is a proud, inadvertent sucio and his story was not unlike others that I’d witnessed in my own life. The book is written as a compilation of short stories within one book with a chapter for every girl.

The first chapter title being; The Sun, the Moon and the Stars; the story of Magda and ending with The Cheater’s Guide to love where he tells the story based (maybe loosely) on the relationship and then subsequent one sided relationship he had with his Fiancee.

While many may see it as a true Cheater’s Guide to love because he describes with great detail all of the missteps Yunior made with women, I also see it as the ultimate description of how different each individual love could be and how sometimes we pass that up in search of something that we can not identify within ourselves.

Yunior’s story is one shared by many men and women who go through a lot of changes as they search for love, acceptance and hope in another person. It also shows how the way you were brought up greatly colors the way you interact with the opposite sex even if you don’t realize it.

A lot of the time, Yunior’s own critical thinking would give it away. He knew he was a man whore but idolized the end game as well and the unfortunate thing that most don’t realize that Yunior eventually did is that you can’t be both. Something will give and at some point, grand gestures of apology and expensive gifts will not be enough to even have someone return your phone call.

Yunior is a more the tragic anti hero in this, you can’t help but love him, understand him and want what’s best for him but you have to admit he’s made a lot of terrible decisions and hurt a lot of feelings along the way.

This is How You Lose Her cements Junot Diaz as a literary great in my mind. He’s my modern day V.S. Naipaul. It’s an amazing addition to my library and a book you know you’ll read again.

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Up Next: Harvest

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Harvest by Jim Crace comes off of the heels of more than 10 published books by the author. This award winning writer has given us gems like Being Dead and Quarantine. Harvest is a a great read on how to handle the unknown. What do you do if your life is irrevocably changed? Jim Crace creates a world that wants to capture you forever. 

Beautiful Covers – Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis is a classic story written by the late, great Kafka. The story follows the changing of a man into an an insect / bug but while hints are given it is never clear what new species he takes on. This story greatly delves into how we perceive the world and how important it is for us, that people perceive us a person. This greatly affects how we think, live and move through the world.

Although this is not the first edition cover, this cover primes you for the story beautifully.

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Up Next – Vampires in the Lemon Grove

Vampires in the Lemon Grove is a novel by Karen Russel, the up and coming writer who is known for St. Lucy’s Home for Girl Raised by Wolves and Swamplandia! Her new book, Vampires in the Lemon Grove is being released to rave reviews and has found it’s way on to every reputable list as the book to read this month.

Not sure what to read next? Give this book a try. This collection of tales just may be what you were looking for, it features Karen’s amazing cross genre writing that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Peep the cover below.

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PreOrder Ready – Neil Gaiman

Finally got the email I was waiting for, you can PreOrder signed copies of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman through B&N. The pre-order for signed copies is of course, until supplies last and non signed books will be available as well.

I can’t wait to see what tale of wonder Mr. Gaiman weaves for us with this book.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman