Weekend Reads #68: Cinderella

Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I plan to read on the weekend.

This weekend’s post is inspired by a Weekly Writer Wisdom post I saw on Sara Letourneau’s blog that asks:

What stories (novels, myths, legends, etc.) have taken up residence in your soul? How or why do you think they moved you to this degree? Has a story ever inspired you to do something new or different, change your worldview, etc.? Is this something you hope to accomplish with your own work?

Instead of focusing on several books/stories that have resonated with me, I’ll instead discuss one that has stuck with me since the first time I read it as a child, Cinderella.

We’re all familiar with this fairy tale about a girl who’s abused by her evil step-mother, attends a ball with the help of her fairy god mother, and is later rescued from her horrible life by a charming prince. I can’t recall having the story read to me, but I do recall reading it over and over again as a kid.

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Reflecting on 2016: Life

Since getting my first job in 2012, I started assigning themes to my new year. For 2012, the theme was Hope because with getting a job, I hoped that my circumstances would improve and I would be able to manage my student loan payments. I forgot what the theme was for 2013, but for 2014 it was Progress. I wanted to build on what I attained in 2013 and continue to move forward.

For 2015, I wanted to Improve. I did well professionally in 2014, but not so great in my personal life. I needed to improve my health, relationships, and finances, and though I tried, I failed miserably in some areas and by the time 2016 rolled around, I was so angry with myself that I constantly berated myself for my failures. By reading Pema Chödrön’s Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better, I learned that such internal dialogue isn’t healthy and that failures can help us to improve. Sometimes they are blessings in disguise, but it’s all a matter of Perspective, which was the theme for 2016.

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Weekend Reads #58: Freedom to Read Tag

Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I plan to read on the weekend. In honor of Banned Books Week in the United States, September 25 – October 1, I’ve decided to do the Freedom to Read Tag, which was created earlier this year by Canadian booktubers for Canada’s Freedom to Read Week, a reading event that I find to be similar to Banned Books Week. Both promote access to books.

Banned Books Week is a much needed campaign to promote freedom to read in the U.S. as well as highlight problems with censorship. I understand that some parents would rather not expose their children to certain topics, however, I do not believe it is their right to impose their beliefs on other children. Of course, maintaining the innocence of children isn’t the only reason why books are banned. Reasons for banning books are myriad. I, however, believe it’s best to share knowledge and experiences so that people can make more informed decisions and gain greater understanding of what is going on in the world, what occurs in other nations and what others have endured. Banning books won’t obscure reality; it only makes it easier for one to turn a blind eye to problems in the community.

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“When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air1I tend to stay away from books about death, dying, sickness, leaving, abandonment. I don’t see it as me having a problem with others leaving or the permanence of a person who is gone, but maybe it is.

I grew up on a small island with my extended family. My parents were always away. They would visit or I would visit them; but no matter how long those visits were, they always seemed short to me. I hated saying goodbye and I still do.

Earlier in the year, Paul Kalanithi’s memoir When Breath Becomes Air was one of the most popular books. The buzz caught my interest and made me want to read it, but when I heard it’s about the author’s battle with cancer and that he later died, I procrastinated on picking up the book. Heavy emotions. I didn’t want to deal with it. I didn’t want to cry. Life was heavy enough without the fall of my tears adding to it. So I avoided the book.

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“salt.” by Nayyirah Waheed

SaltIt’s hard to talk about a powerful piece of work. It’s hard to give a comprehensive overview of it while also trying to impart the effect it had on me while reading. Such is the case with Nayyirah Waheed’s collection of poems, salt.

I call it a powerful piece of work because of how strongly I connected to it. It’s as if she was speaking to me, as if we had lived the same life and had the same experiences. Many facets of my life and personality is expressed in Waheed’s poems: my love of nature and art; my willingness to write; being Black and female; being an immigrant. It’s one of few books I’ve read and seen myself reflected back at me and for that I appreciate and treasure this collection of poems.

I must also thank Darkowaa, whose wonderful review of salt. drove me to pick it up and give it a try. I don’t regularly read poetry. In fact, I don’t like poems. My high-school AP classes scarred me in that regard. But I liked the poem Darkowaa highlighted in her review. It’s one of my favorites in the collection. Here it is:

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Weekend Reads #52: Thoughts, Emotions

Weekend Reads is a weekly discussion on a variety of topics. At the end of the post, I’ll include what I plan to read on the weekend.

This weekend’s question/topic/whatever:

Thoughts – Saturday, July 9, 2016 6:50AM

It’s hard to get me riled up about things but events over the past couple days have pushed my limit. My emotions were already high since reading Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air. I was nearing the end of the book and the epilogue made me emotional. I get my news late so on Wednesday I learned of Alton Sterling’s death in Baton Rouge, La. With Thursday came news of Philando Castile’s death in Minnesota. Both are Black men and both were shot by police officers hours apart. Then on Friday morning I heard 5 officers died in a sniper shooting in Dallas, Tex. The news shocked me. The officers were targeted?

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Weekend Reads #49: More Thoughts on Jane Eyre

Weekend Reads is a weekly discussion on a variety of topics. At the end of the post, I’ll include what I plan to read on the weekend.

Yea, I got more to say on this book.

In my last discussion on Jane Eyre, I spoke about how Rochester was disabled to atone for his sins and to be humbled and tamed for Jane. This time I want to focus on St. John who, despite his piousness, is one of the most horrible characters in the story.

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