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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The Rise of the Knock Off Book.

The Rise of the Knock Off is relatively new to me, at least I haven’t noticed it reading older books as much as I notice it now. The Knock Off Books is quite literally when someone else takes most of the details of the plot, character archetype and how the plot develops and rehashes it with minor differences. It’s almost like Fan Fiction in the sense that you love the “characters” and don’t want to make too many changes to them but you want your own story, the ending that you like better or worse for them. 

The book series that’s spawned the most knock offs that came across my notice was 50 Shades of Grey. Fifty Shades of Grey started to take the world by storm a few years ago. By the end of 2011 going into 2012 it was all that was talked about from hushed whispers at work to those who would turn the pages quickly with embarrassment and a red tinge on their cheeks in public. It was everywhere and for those who hadn’t really explored the realm of erotic books, this was a huge discovery. 

50 Shades of Grey was a poor attempt at watering down BDSM for the masses, the damaged Characters, the intense sex scenes and the over all obsessive nature of the book appealed to the demographic it was trying to reach and beyond. E.L. James, a British Author struggled through writing a book in America and America ate it up. 

In the search for good BDSM themed writing I’ve stumbled on a few authors who have pretty much re-written the same exact book, except this is the way they would have done it. 

Sylvia Day’s CrossFire Series, Maya Bank’s Breathless Trilogy and you can view a list of similar books via this Good Reads list: http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/21208.Like_50_Shades_of_Grey which isn’t the only 50 Shades of Grey inspired listing on the site. 

I guess, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about knock off books. As a reader, it feels like I’m getting robbed somehow. I’m reading the same stories over and over again, with sinister plot twists and what people think is kinky sex. It’s terrifying for me. 

This ties in to how easy it is to write, to self publish and to call yourself an author these days. I’m not sure what would make someone write a book so blatantly like someone else’s. I also get upset when an author re-uses the same name over and over again in their work. Why would you do that? There are millions of name options, please, I want to read something different, I want to be able to say ” This is different, it’s unlike anything else”. 

I know that in this time of technology, where everyone has the ability to share their thoughts; it seems that all of the same ideas have been done. I get that. It’s hard to write an original plot, it’s difficult to weave a story that allows anyone that reads it to take something important away from it. I get that but don’t become a clone. 

I also see the remake of movies, t.v. shows and programs from across the world in America. I dislike it. I want to see the original, read the original, view the original. I want to experience something new. I don’t want to reread what you think 50 Shades of Grey should have been. I don’t want to see the American Version of anything. Why not give people the credit they deserve. Is it also so difficult that we know that we, as Americans aren’t the best at everything? Show us the names, faces, dates and times of those who did something great.

Do you read knock off books? Do you like them better? Why? What was the first knock off book you read?

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.”

PreOrder Ready – David Sedaris

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls will be released on April 23rd, 2013. It’s available for Pre-Order through Amazon currently. This highly anticipated book from reader favorite David Sedaris is already making waves. 

It’s an essay compilation book, which seems to be the trend for popular books recently, is supposedly hilariously dark and observant and the cover is beautiful as well. I’m looking forward to this release, I’m sure I’ll be happy I did. 

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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.