National Black Book Festival

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Black Kindle Rocks with Faith!!!!


NUMBER 149
Michael Gates Gill – How Starbucks Saved My Life: The Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else - Paperback - $11.05.    I was not feeling this book for a few pages.  I would read a page or two, go back, and read a few more pages and then forgot about it.  I brought it because of the title and thought it was funny and would be a funny read.  Didn’t know it would resonate with my life.  No ideal it would!
I’m not white, male and upper-class.  Not even close to upper or middle class.  I’m just a beautiful, intelligent, gracious, fun loving, sociable, outgoing, gregarious (“I think I’m missing some other adjectives?”),  “as a matter of fact, a few years ago, I taught these two white guys who I hired as a joke, to call me all of those adjectives when I would come into their presence.”  Even to do this day, years later, they still do, but now they have added, “Crazy lady” at the end.  Love those funny white guys, they were and are still cool.
As I was stating, I’m an African American working woman who has tried and still trying to stay Christian, hopeful and happy.  It's not easy and I have fallen many times, but when I returned to reading this book, it started to reminded me how low I went.  
No matter the color, religion, or whatever.  When you are nose diving to the ground, you feel dejected, unhappy, and very discouraged.  You don’t want a cure-all-drug, because you know, if you are smart, that it’s temporary.  You want your “mojo” back.  There’s even a book called, “MOJO: HOW TO GET IT, HOW TO KEEP IT, HOW TO GET IT BACK IF YOU LOSE IT” by Marshall Goldsmith - $12.99.  What a laugh!  I don’t think that will work either, it may help a bit.  Gates book drew me back to a time just two years ago, that I felt, “what the hell am I living for.”  “Why bother going on.”  No one gives a damn and no one cares.  Maybe I’ll be better offering leaving this earth and leaving something better for my kid.  No, I’m not kidding, that’s how much this book affected me and that’s how I felt long time ago.  Like a piece of crap.   I got my “mojo” back by writing this blog and keeping my faith up.  When I finished reading, It was a prayer, if you would, of a reminder to me over and over again and every day, that life is great and worth fighting for.
 After losing his job, his wife and his baby mama mistress, 60 year old White guy Mike found himself sitting in Starbucks in his brooks brothers suit and asking, wondering and saying over and over again, why me? His life in corporate America, luxurious home with the perfect wife and kids and a six figure salary, was gone.  He was told he is too old and not “in.”  So the company laid him off.  Sounds familiar?  
While in Starbucks, reeling with gloom, Crystal, a young and vibrant African American woman, asked, “Would you be willing to work for me?”  It was a job fair at Starbucks that day and Crystal just came up and asked him if he needed a job.  She was there looking for people to hire for her own store. I don’t know what you or I would do, Mike said, “could she see that I was really one of life’s losers want a job at Starbucks”, “yes”, he said.   
Mike has worked on some of the most famous advertisements in the world.  Met some famous authors, such as Ernest Hemingway and is the son of Brendan Gill, a famous New Yorker writer, but he has never worked in a “retail” outfit.  Become frightened to use a cash register.  Over the next months, he meets with other young African Americans who work there and learned not only how his prejudgment of people, especially minorities was askew and completely wrong, but how real people live day to day.  He learned to cleaned bathrooms (I hate that even at home); learn how to make variety of coffees, received quality medical insurance, which was almost a good as the company he use to work for.  He feels old and tired each day trying to catch the subway(s) on time, getting to work on time, putting out trash, cleaning bathrooms, becoming a Batista, running a cash register and becoming a customer service representative.  It’s a hard struggle, but each and every month, it becomes easier with a bit of prayers and faith.  I know how he felt, I lived it.
He learned to asked for and accept forgiveness from his family.  Became a better father to his youngest son.  Build up his confidence, which was hard being surrounded by young, African American kids, who, I am happy to say, was not what is always displayed on TV and movies.  Crystal, Tawana, Joann, and my favorite, Kester are written with intelligence, and great entrepreneur spirits.  The kind of African American kids you want to read about.  Mike says, “Crystal and Starbucks had saved me.  Saved me from my pursuit of empty symbols, but also my anxiety about a fear-filled superficial life that hadn’t been, in the end, helpful or even enjoyable for me.” 
I felt that way a few years ago.  I was broke, depressed, lonely and tired.  Felt old and saw more and younger "valley girls" women enter the place where I worked.  How else am I to feel?  My kid was graduating and I was pushing and moving money around to just pay the last four months of her tuition without getting another student loan.  I was broke beyond broke and could not even get a part time job at McDonald’s.  Come on, McDonald’s would not hire me?  I thought, shit, they want young people too!!!  Then my friend from out of town took me to dinner and I just let it all out.  Didn't cry, I didn't have any more tears, just let every damn shitty thing out.  She listened and said nothing.  Then she offered to give me some money to tie me over.  I told her no.  I already owed bills, never wanted to owe a friend.  It screws up the friendship and I didn't care if she said it's OK, you don't have to pay it back, but I did care. 
 We finished dinner and, I’m was still feeling pretty low, we stop at a store for coffee.  I don't know, I went in there and smiled and asked for a small cup of coffee.  I only had about 2 dollars on me and thinking what the hell am I going to do about gas for the car and lunch.  Eat what's in the house dummy!!  The guy took my order and I thought, I got nothing to lose, so I asked if there were any part time job openings.  He asked me to wait and the manager came out and gave me an application.  I sat there and filled it out and told her that I have a job and only wanted to work weekends.  I figure that plug would help, even though I used that line many times, it didn't work before.  She took my application and said she would call soon. “No she won't.”  I figure, hey, I tried and will try again.  I'm just at my end and no corner to turn around.  The next day, she called.  I got the job.  It was so hard the first three weeks working 7 days days a week and getting home 9  or 10 at night, but as time gradually move forward, I leaned I too am not young, but not really old either.  The bones may creak a little.  I can’t stay up pay 11pm all of the time, but I got me.  I got me back. 
That’s why this book resonates with me so much.  I was there in that black and very dark pit. I climbed out as Mike did working with people half my age and struggling with heavy equipment, long hours, sometimes rude customers and coming home tired and crying.  Wondering how I was going to make it.  It got better and so did this book. 
Now two years later, I’m still working at the coffee shop, but now my regular job is going thru some very tough times and I’m back in that pit.  This time though, ““Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
My MOJO is my GOD
Got to get one in for Black History Year
AISHA WASHINGTON - SOUL FOOD SISTERHOOD - $FREE - - The Soul Food Cafe is more than just a family business for the Jefferson's, it's a place where hearts are mended, love is found, and lives are changed forever. So follow the Jefferson girls as they try to navigate the choppy waters of the Atlanta dating scene. 
KIMBERLA LAWSON ROBY - A HOUSE DIVIDED - FREE PREVIEW (THE FIRST 7 CHAPTERS) A REVEREND CURTIS BLACK NOVEL - $FREE - - - For our Reverend Curtis fan, get a big taste - - - Life is close to perfect for the Reverend Curtis Black and his wife, Charlotte--except their son Matthew and his girlfriend, Racquel, are about to become parents at the tender age of eighteen. Even though Curtis and Charlotte wish Matthew could focus on Harvard instead of fatherhood, they are determined to welcome their new grandson with open arms. But for Charlotte, welcoming her future in-laws is another story. Try as she might, Charlotte can't stand Racquel's mother, Vanessa--and the feeling appears to be mutual.
When the tension between Charlotte and Vanessa finally erupts, the stress sends an already-fragile Racquel into early labor. Everyone is quick to blame Charlotte, including Matthew and Curtis. That her own husband would side with someone else infuriates Charlotte and strains the relationship they've only recently been able to repair. Her one ally is Racquel's father, but that brings problems of its own.

While Charlotte schemes against Vanessa, Curtis is consumed with his own concerns about Deliverance Outreach. A mysterious figure from his past has been sending Curtis cryptic messages threatening to take away Curtis's coveted position as senior pastor and destroy everything he has worked so hard for. But who could hate Curtis that much? And how can he fight an enemy he can't even name?

Times of trouble are descending upon the Black family in more ways than one. Will they be able to overcome their challenges and stand together against someone who could take it all away? Or is the Black family finally out of miracles?


Friday, April 26, 2013

Black Kindle - Needs Feedback!!!

NUMBER 148

I need a huge favor from all of my paid/unpaid/face book/twitter/tumble subscribers of my blog.  Please, please, please go to Amazon, Google or email me and submit a review of my blog. 

I don’t care if the review is bad or good.  I want to know if I should continue rambling on about books and other crap that you may or may not be interested in.

I want to know what you really think of my blog and writing.  Is the writing getting better or worse?  Do I make too many mistakes?  Am I fooling myself and should just toss this blog thing and find something else to do. 

What am I missing?  Kids or Youth books?  More romance?  More Urban/Street Lit?  Less books by white authors?  Now let me defend myself on that score.  I find many books written by white authors which include African American characters.  Also books by white authors that a just as good as African American authors.  I also like books written by Hispanic and other minorities.  I’m just an “all around book loving woman” who will read anything and everything, but maybe you are not interested.  You are only interested in cheaply priced African American e-books, which I hope I have fulfilled.   

Maybe I talk/write too much (I’ve have been told that I do talk too much, especially about books.) 

The buttom line - - - I do care what you think.  You are reading my blog.  Buying or borrowing books from the library based upon my crazy ass opinion. 

Hey, is it time to chuck it in or continue and try my best to make you laugh and buy a book for yourself or friends. 

Help a sister out and let me know if this ride should close down?   

You can go to google and type in “Black Kindle Blog” and write a comment or go to Amazon, and type Black Kindle – African American Books On The Kindle Blog.  Or you can e-mail me directly at kenval89@comcast.net


Maybe even my title is too long and maybe I do talk too much!!

I’ll get to books tomorrow, I promised.  Right now, I want to know what the hell I'm doing right or wrong so I can get it right. 

Thank You A Gazillion Times!!!  (I hope I did not screw this one up!!)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Black Kindle - Omar Tyree & F. Ted Atchley


NUMBER 146
I was just about to post this blog, when while I was uploading some pictures of books to add from Facebook and saw another horrible incident: The Boston Marathon explosion.  My GOD, please pray and pray hard.  It just doesn't make any damn sense, but we have got to keep our faith and forgiveness (In my case, I will kick their asses first then ask for forgiveness!!)

“Rest in my radiant presence.  The world around you seems to spin faster and faster, till everything is a blur.”  Note above, just how crazy we have become.
That one line will be my new mantra.  So much, so much devastating news over the past few weeks and I’m wondering how in the hell are we living thru it.  There are days I am so glad I don’t have cable.  I’m also glad the regular stations don’t come thru much either.  To get up early in the morning and hear nothing but bad news, has driven me barmy, crazy and I can’t stand it.  How do you stand it? 
That’s why my new mantra is “Rest in my radiant presence.  The world around you seems to spin faster and faster, till everything is a blur.”  It’s a blur out there and my saving grace is GOD, my kid, my ex, my library, real friends and my books.  I don’t know what it is, but each and every time I walk into a bookstore, see stacks of books at the Goodwill, Wal Mart, Target or where ever I find books, my heart jumps, my nose tingle and I get that old feel as when I was child.  I wish I could explain that feeling.  To me it’s like GOD standing behind me with my grandmother and my great aunt precious standing on each side.  I just wish I could explain that feeling.  I just know it when I feel it.  It’s almost like home, not the place, the heart.

It has been a while since I wrote about “The Sanctuary.”  So here’s an update.  A Church book club friend of mine started her Dave Ramsey plan and was looking for part time work.  I got her a job there and she is working out perfectly and it’s giving me some of my Saturdays back.  The money was helping me, but I was getting tired of working 7 days a week and my body was beginning to fall out. 
There will be some Saturday’s I will work if my friend needs to be off, but we got a pretty good schedule set up and I think things will work out fine.  Kat, the manager, is even thinking of giving us the responsibility to close the store on Saturdays and Sundays since the other girl wants to move to days.  Man, I wish we could hire that young girl at my real job.  She is fast, professional, smart and sweet with the customers.  Each and every time I work with her, we get big tips because of her outgoing personality and the customers just love her.  The sad and stupid part, she could not pass the drug test because she does not want to stop smoking pot.  To top it off, she is pregnant again.  She has two sons, 1 and 2, (both bad ass kids), from two different men.  One father is in Jail and the other in New York somewhere.  This new boyfriend, who has no kids and lives on his own, (at least she met someone with a job), is asking her to please have the baby.  He told his mother, who is happy, since this will be the first child from him.  Damn Freaking Shame!  

We have also lost three employees.  One actually told us that he would make more money on the street than minimum wage.  Can I blame him?  Yes and No.  We live in a society that accepts that type of life and don’t care either way.  I just know that he will eventually be found dead and my heart will go out to his family as so many families my heart goes out to. The status of the other two employees: One got pregnant with third child and wanted welfare than this job and the other didn’t care if she worked or not.  She’s living with grandma.  Same Drama, Same Story, Same bullshit!!!
Let’s get to some books.

WENDY WELCH - THE LITTLE BOOKSTORE OF BIG STONE GAP: a memoir of friendship, community and the uncommon pleasure of a good book - $10.67 - I heard about this book from one of my many podcast, "All About Books Podcast," a weekly NPR book review hosted by Charles Stephen.  The review was given by his wife and since I have always wanted to open a bookstore, you know I had to find it.  I'll see if it is still worth my dream.


An inspiring true story about losing your place, finding your purpose, and building a community one book at a time.   Wendy Welch and her husband had always dreamed of owning a bookstore, so when they left their high-octane jobs for a simpler life in an Appalachian coal town, they seized an unexpected opportunity to pursue their dream. The only problems? A declining U.S. economy, a small town with no industry, and the advent of the e-book. They also had no idea how to run a bookstore. Against all odds, but with optimism, the help of their Virginian mountain community, and an abiding love for books, they succeeded in establishing more than a thriving business - they built a community.

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good ...

VARIED AUTHORS - THE DRAGONS: SAUCY CHRONICLES II (Volume 2) - $2.49 - - - Everyone at my regular job, and I guess I should say throughout the world, knows how I love reading and books.  My co-worker at my real job, brought this book down to my desk for me to read and after looking it over while he was at my desk, I noticed that one of the stories was written by him, F. Ted Atchley.  Ted, as we all call him, is a true computer geek and one of the nicest guys around.  I am so proud of him and got him to autographed my book.  I also told my Internet radio friend to promote his book.  I cannot wait for it to shoot up.  Oh, there is a volume 1 and I just brought it. Yeah, TED!!!!! We are proud of you.

Saucy Chronicles I: The Unicorns

The Dragons: Saucy Chronicles II (Volume 2)


ROBIN SLOAN - MR. PRENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE: A NOVEL - $9.59 - - - The book started out pretty good for me and I understood it from the beginning.  Clay, a computer programmer, loses his job in the recession and finds a book store clerk position at the Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore.  The store is narrow with very high shelves that when you climb up the ladder, it’s like going up a mountain of darkness, filled with shelves of strange and unusual books.  This store is patronized by some unusual customers, and I would not actually call them "customers." They come and "borrow" books, not buy, but borrow.  Clay works the night shift and if one or two customers come in after 10pm, it's a good night.  After a few weeks of trying to be friendly with these weird customers, Clay calls upon his friends to solve the mystery.  Of the customers and the bookstore.  That’s really as far as I got and some of the tech speak got me more confused.  On top of that, I had to return it back to the library.  Its own my wish list with Amazon to buy when I get enough money or maybe I will just borrow it again.  I just could not keep reading it because either I was losing interest or just did not understand the mystery.  Don’t want to give up on the book, so I will try it again.  Maybe the next time, I will get it, I hope so.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

Got to get one in for Black History Year
OMAR TYREE - THE LAST STREET NOVEL - $10.20 - - - I met Omar Tyree many years ago.  I have a picture of him and me.  The one with me trying to look like one of the "black sisters" from the seventies with a really short bush, attempting to "Angela Davis like" cool standing next to Mr. Tyree.  It was when I was buying his second book, FLY GIRL - $6.83.  At the time, I thought he was the biggest and best writer, next to Terry McMilian, I have ever read.  I found "The Last Street Novel" while looking thru my library and could not remember what it was about, but put it in my "to read" pile and will catch up with it soon.