Written by Thornton Wilder in 1927, The Bridge of San Luis Rey tells a story about five interrelated people who collapse with a famous bridge in Peru. This is one of the books that I have read in my College English course this year. It has become my favorite of all time simply because it answers a reality question that I've always wanted to know, just didn't know how to address it. Thornton Wilder posed the question, "Is there a direction and meaning in lives beyond the individual's own will?" In other words, does everyone die for a reason?



I found this book offhandedly interesting, instantly. I was already comfortable reading it because it's a short book, and I'm sure many people would prefer a short book regardless if you love to read, so I gave in relentlessly. As I started to read though, I became intrigued. It was a real life question answered by a fake life situation, but it was all so real. The story is started with Brother Juniper, a monk from France, witnessing the collapse of the bridge. He wonders why these five people, at this specific time, on this day, on this bridge, dies? He decides to take a scientific approach to it. 

In the course of five to six years, Brother Juniper interviews any and everyone he can find that knew the victims. He makes a book out if it, which is later burned along with his own body by the public, because it is often said (from my experience) that you never question the works of God. Never. Surprisingly, there is one more copy that was found at a library that lives to tell the story of the five victims. 

So I'm not going to sit here and give you a synopsis because this isn't Sparknotes but I actually do give everyone a recommendation to read it. Towards the end of the book, you find out that some of the victims had some of the same people in their lives. You see, because of the five deaths, it brought certain people from each victim's life together, in order to benefit hundreds of other peoples lives. One quick example, the Abbess and Dona Clara meet at the funerals, where both eventually realizes how valuable the deceased is and how important love is, since each victim who died had some type of drama going on in their life. It also benefits the Abbess, because the wealthy Dona Clara is able to help out the many children that the Abbess fosters. One of the victims that died was one of her children that she gave to Dona Clara's mother, Dona Maria, that was also one of the victims. The Abbess and the child had a very close relationship and she loved her dearly. The Bridge of San Luis Rey simply bonds people, relatives, and families, more together. It stills a lesson on each life, as well as proving things for the better.

I actually wrote about this on my supplement for a college and I felt it was a really good one, unique. 

I have learned from this book that everyone does die for a reason, well that's my belief, and I agree with Wilder. A fantastic book to read and I think everyone should read it, fairly short but compelling.

Beloved by Toni Morrison. I read this book everywhere: in the gym, steam room, train. This book taught me life lessons as I read. I've always heard about this book for years and wasn't displeased after finally reading it. It takes you back into times when slavery was slowly disappearing in the aftermaths of the abolishment (I believe). Though the events in the book are rather ghostly, or not what we would find common today, the things that the characters say are morals and lessons we could all apply to life, regardless of what generation we are in. 

 

I go to the library for most of my books, especially for authors like my favorite, Rochelle Alers (where buying a few of her books is fine but ALL of her books would cost me a fortune). Some books are meant to be bought. This is one of them. It's very powerful.

This book gets all credit for being the breaking barrier into me officially making reading a hobby of mine. I'm blogging this short post for my readers that haven't found reading as a joyous hobby for themselves, or can't for some reason. This book is the reason why I had the inclination to read, and actually enjoy it. This is why I'm suggesting you to read it if you want to be an official reader. I'm not going to ruin the book so I refuse to give ANY details. I read this as a preteen and so did millions of other teenagers, it was THE book to read in high school. If you weren't one of those people, here's your chance to catch up and get with the program. I don't want to say if the ending is sad, happy, or in between, because I'll ruin it and you won't read it. But this book is SURELY an adventure and there are peak points where you WILL cry (I'm not even a crier, and it happened). It's so good that Jada Pinkett-Smith wants to make a movie out of it. Go and get the book!

Almost always when you hear the name "Karrine Steffans" you think Superhead. What the video bombshell is known for was formed into an autobiography of her first two books, Confessions of a Video Vixen and The Vixen Diaries. 

 

 

 

 

 


 Karrine had quite a life. From her abusive childhood, to turning into a video vixen, to sleeping with the most famous celebrities, all of it is talked about in these first two books. Both her books mentioned many of the men she had relationships with, causing controversy in the media because of her "snitching." Some of the men had wives and families, some of them had small wee-wees, and some of them were secretly gay.  
 

However, it isn't her first two books that really caught my eye, it was her third and most recent one instead, The Vixen Manual. At first, I was a bit disappointed because I was looking for some juicy news about another celebrity she was ready to dish on. As I got further on into the book, I began to love it. Anytime I recommend this book to someone, they always say "Why? She's Superhead!" Oddly enough, this book has nothing to do with the first two. She does no type of "snitching" nor does she elaborate on her past, instead she takes a different turn. In this book, Karrine basically gives advice. Now I know what you're saying, "advice from a woman who's known as Superhead? Hell nahhh." But you'd be surprised. We all know that Karrine's life isn't a life that many females today would want to live. However, because of the experience she had, treatment she received, and the mistakes she has made, she has acquired wisdom a lot faster than many other females her age. 

 

She not only became the most famous vixen overnight, but she instantly became a best-selling author by the New York Times.

 

 

She lived a very fast life. In this book, she's able to give advice on everything she once failed at and learned how to overcome. In the list of my personal inspirational leaders, she is by far the most bizarre and unique, however we learn from the worst and we learn from the best. The Vixen Diaries became a savior for girls in different aspects of life. Whether it was regarding sex, how to be happy in life after making mistakes, going through certain tribulations in life, or the importance of being an independent woman, she detailed all. She revealed and admitted her mistakes and explained how she became a better woman today. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few of quotes I jotted down while reading:

Life isn't about who's coming to the party but who will be there to help you pick up the pieces when all the guests are gone. - Karrine Sreffans

Instead of looking for a man to make me whole, I was working hard at becoming self-contained and content so that when the right man came along he would find a complete woman, not a woman looking to be completed. -Karrine Steffans

Don't allow anyone to make you feel ashamed for only wanting to date a man who is successful in his chosen line of business and financially independent, or a man who commands respect among his peers or even unconsciously provokes fear and envy in them. -Karrine Steffans

Don't let the judgment and pressure of others deter you or make you bend to their will. -Karrine Steffans

Many of us know from experience, however, that there are plenty of insecure, immature, stupid little boys running around posing as men, who would happily prefer you to believe you're much less than you're worth. -Karrine Steffans

When it comes to women, men are just as attracted to strength and position as we are to those traits in them. -Karrine Steffans

I have always said, "The one thing none of my exes could ever say about me is that I did worse after they left." -Karrine Steffans

There will always be no-good men and drama-prone friends ready to swoop in and add more no-good drama to your life. Avoid this at all cost. -Karrine Steffans

There is nothing more attractive to a secure, successful man than a woman who shares the same traits. -Karrine Steffans

Every woman has a masculine side and every man, a feminine. -Karrine Steffans

Not only are our men paying attention to us, they are taking plenty of mental notes along the way. -Karrine Steffans

A man will observe all the little things about you, focusing particularly on those that annoy or frustrate him. Many times, he won't say a word, even as you are doing that very annoying thing. Then one day, he'll up and leave. You'll have no idea why because you weren't paying attention to all the things you do and all the things you don't. -Karrine Steffans

Never share your personal affairs with someone who is known to gossip or has shown they cannot be trusted. -Karrine Steffans

Whatever you do in the beginning to get a man is what it will take to keep him. -Karrine Steffans

Dear Men: Just because you've slept with a bunch of women doesn't mean you know anything ABOUT women.  -Karrine Steffans

By nature, women have a very high threshold for pain. We have to. We are the bearers of children, and that event alone can be excruciating beyond description. This is why we can take on so much, from having a career, to running a household, carrying children in our bodies for nearly a year, bearing and raising those children, and caring for our men in all the ways that they require. It's a lot. -Karrine Steffans

Someone who flirts all the time with every living thing is suffering from a major psychological issue and is not capable of being in a healthy relationship. -Karrine Steffans

If you find yourself with a serial flirter, the best thing you can do is get out...and fast! -Karrine Steffans

Every man has his season and every season has its reason. -Karrine Steffans

When a woman has herself together, she is better equipped to handle life's rough patches and unexpected losses, including the exits of boyfriends and husbands. -Karrine Steffans

Even though you're heartsick, if you can imagine to keep your mind and body well, your heart will have no choice but to follow. -Karrine Steffans

You can't blame someone for being themselves, but you can blame yourself for dating them. -Karrine Steffans

Use criticism as an opportunity to evolve. -Karrine Steffans

No man is really better or worse than the next, just different. -Karrine Steffans

 


 

I recommend it.

I don't believe a lot of people realize how significant it means to read. It is something that I grew to realize. If younger people realized it, there would be less violence in the streets, and more profitable knowledge obtained in the youths' heads. I find it easier to read books on genres that you like. I can never enjoy a book if it is not an interesting genre. Urban Fiction is popular amongst younger people because it usually involves sexual activity. Older people also enjoy books involving sexual activity but with more romance involved rather than just plain old sex. All of us are different. There are a wide range of books available for all types of people.When I was younger, I only wanted to read Zane books. The first book that I read that caused me to fall in love with reading was "The Coldest Winter Ever" by Sister Souljah. There is not one young African-American girl who has not read this book, it's like part of life. If you haven't, you need to get/rent it. It is the reason why I continue to read today. Yes, it changed my life. After getting into Boston Latin for high school, I was required to read more books that have to do with English literature, all of which included authors like: Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Maya Angelou, Zora Neale Hurston, Mark Twain, Lorraine Hainesberry, Langston Hughes, plus many more. I then began to fall in love with books from these authors, in addition to Urban Fiction, something new in my life. My love for reading only increased.Reading keeps the mind stimulated. You learn things from reading. It exercises your brain. It keeps you occupied with something productive to do. It enhances your knowledge. These are all just a few reasons of its importance.

 

Alers and Zane are two wonderful African American female authors that I've come to adore over the past few years. As a preteen, I became enthralled in Zane books when the word was going around about her books being about sex. It was a big thing for preteens, as well as Sapphire, Sister Souljah, and Omar Tyree. However, developing into a young, mature woman, I began to stop reading one type of book, and expand my horizon to other types of books. Rochelle Alers has been a wonderful addition.

 

Alers and Zane, respectfully

 

 


 

 

Zane is a wonderful author, I am still in the process of reading her whole collection. She takes your imagination to places you have never even dreamed of going. It is impossible to put the book down once you pick it up. It gives you a few laughs and even a few steamy moments if you get too caught up into your imagination. I don't know how she does it, but Zane perfects her writing over and over again, through each book I read. One book is never a duplicate, but all books have the same concept of being in love, having fun, and living life. Nervous is one of my favorite books. 
 

 

However, I've fell in love with Rochelle Alers' books. Her writing always gives me a piece of serenity. I am always able to block out my surroundings, whether it's on the train, poolside, or while I'm walking (yes, if it's that good) while I'm reading her books. It's a whole different world. I will never forget my first book that triggered me into reading her complete collection, Island Bliss.







I've finished the collections of a few authors including Karinne Steffans and Sister Souljah, but I'm working on a couple of more authors. Right now, I'm focused on the 30+ books I have left to read for Alers. She has over 50. I'm reading a great one so far right now, Bittersweet Love. My favorite, thus far, is Best Kept Secrets. I would not mind reading that book over again. It gives you hope when it comes to finding and being in love (whether it's for the 1st time or the 100th).


I'm not attempting to downplay an author, or put one on top of the other. Zane and Alers are two completely wonderful authors. If you are looking for imminent, extreme entertainment that sometimes can be beyond your imagination, pick up a Zane book, you won't regret it. If you're looking for a more realistic read that you could relate to your life and future, still entertaining, and happiness always being the result, go and get a Alers book. I personally find Zane books to be for the younger generation, and Alers to be for the older generation. However, some older cats need a little extreme entertainment and some younger peeps need a little reality sometimes. Whichever you choose, you will not regret. 
 

 

Some Alers books

 

 

 

 

Some Zane books

 

 

 




I read a lot and books are expensive, so I check books out from the library. I completely recommend everybody to go to your local library and purchase a library card. I believe the ones in Boston cost a dollar and the ones in New York cost no more than 5. I tend to find the central libraries the most useful, you're able to utilize a variety of choices rather than in a small town library. New York and Boston's library systems are amazing because you can check in and check out the same book at more than one library. If either of these aren't your current city of residence, just Google it or inquire about it through peers. Feel free to visit the more prominent bookstores such as Barnes & Nobles and Borders also. All I know is, get your butt a book by one of these authors. 

 

FYI: Alers is, in fact, my favorite author.

"I'm reading "Strength In What Remains" by Tracy Kidder right now. It is because of this book why I decided to put it down for a minute and write this blog entry.  It's been 15 minutes and I'm on my 5th paragraph, that's how much adrenaline is causing me to type this fast. This book is a must read. I'm not even done yet and I'm telling you all that you MUST read this book. Escaping multiple genocides in Africa, making Central Park's grass your bed at night time, getting paid $15 a day by a store owner that pokes you with a stick like you're a slave, to become a Columbia University undergraduate, Dartmouth graduate, and a doctor -- and then GOING back to help the same place where you ran from. This book is too much, I can't wait to finish this entry so I can attend back to this reading."

This was an excerpt from a previous blog entry I wrote called Inside Life: The Significance Of Lending A Helping Hand. I finished the book months ago and now I want to recommend it. This book tells a story of a man named Deo who fled from his country while there was war, became a homeless man in New York, slowly built his way up into being a Columbia graduate, and returned to build a clinic in his town. It is a remarkable and touching story, almost unbelievable. To hear the story from Deo's point of view makes it all the more interesting. His life is like a movie. I won't be surprised to see it on a big screen soon. 

"Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved. The lover along possesses his gift of love. The loved one is shorn, neutralized, frozen in the glare of the lover's inward eye."

I have just finished my 3rd novel by Toni Morrison, and yet again, I am speechless. Phenomenal, The Bluest Eye was phenomenal, all of that and more. Morrison's adroit writing seems complex to all who do not understand the message she gives throughout this work of a masterpiece. And still, even those without a wide base of strong vocabulary has the ability to understand Morrison's writing because the picture she paints is very clear. 

Morrison has a great way of putting emphasis on the right things. She hardly ever starts off with a dialogue. Instead, she relays to us all the background information of  the person to be discussed, so the actions that will be told in the dialogue can be understood way before we even get there. Her writing skills are amazing. It baffles me how all of her books that I've read is actually poetry, prose. A novel with thousands of words still morphs into prose. For a person that loves dialogue, he/she cannot and will not put his book down even though dialogue is at a minimum. When the dialogue comes, your excitement reechoes a high. The book is that good. 

Below is an excerpt from Morrison's own opinion on The Bluest Eye, found at the end of the book. This explains what I previously mentioned about giving us background information before actually telling us what happened. It is a critical tactic she uses repetitively in order for us to understand why the action took place, while also forewarning us of something that society would consider rather unmoral, deviant. 

"This forgrounding of 'trivial' information and backgrounding of shocking knowledge secures the point of view but gives the reader pause about whether the voice of children can be trusted at all or is more trustworthy than an adult's. The reader is thereby protected form a confrontation too soon with the painful details, while simultaneously provoked into a desire to know them."

In fact, her books are too powerful. Even though they are all fiction, they are based on real problems blacks have had since being oppressed unlawfully, immorally. I have concluded that I cannot read her books back-to-back. Way too powerful. It also takes a while, upon completion, for the book and its message to fully settle in you. You will even find yourself Googling certain meanings of quotes you came across. You shouldn't read her books back-to-back. You should take a few days to research and fully understand her work in length. 

Work of art. 

 

Great book. I read all of her books and there isn't one that failed. This one however, stuck out a lot. Not only did it portray the protagonist, Midnight, as a dream man in the most realistic circumstances, but Souljah managed to give light to the religion of Islam and the good things coming from it. She shows you Islam in an unusual angle that you typically wouldn't see on TV. She does the same for the Japanese and Korean culture, despite the fact that this is what we would consider a "hood" book. I do recommend reading this book, but before you do I strongly suggest that you read The Coldest Winter Ever, then Midnight first. If you could buy this book, buy it!

I recently finished Pa radise by Toni Morrison! I know I keep saying this, but this is by far the best book I have ever read to date; complexity in words but the underlying meaning is so simple, which is why Toni is so amazing to me. You have to be acquainted with God to truly understand her work; she is a woman of God and it's too obvious in her work. I read all of her other novels last year and I loved them, but let's not front, I had to Google what this and that meant several times and ended up understanding a lot of things that way. After fully being done with her collection, I realize/believe that Toni produces work that's not supposed to be summarized or broken down in parts for clarity, you're just supposed to read it and take it all in and remain speechless. Literally walked to my house from Ashmont with my eyes GLUED to the final pages. I couldn't wait. Masterpiece! Masterwoman!

Side note: Paradise was published in 1993 and Sparknotes has yet to decipher it...10+ years. Is there a reason? Just an Observation!

 

"Each story has a monster in it who made them tough instead of brave, so they open their legs rather than their hearts where that folded child is tucked." -Toni Morrison

"He laughed along with friends at his vanity, because he knew their delight at his weakness went hand in hand with their awe." -Toni Morrison

"Love is diving only and in difficult always." -Toni Morrison

"The sky was behaving like a showgirl: exchanging its pale, melancholy morning for sporty ribbons of color in the evening." -Toni Morrison

"They had promised to take care of her always but did not tell her that always was nor all ways nor forever." -Toni Morrison

"His signs were clear, abundantly so, if you stopped steeping in vanity's sour juice and paid attention to His world." -Toni Morrison

"One does not destroy what one loves. One does not destroy because one loves." -Toni Morrison, Desdemona

"I wonder if collapse of virtue is not survival at all but cowardice." -Toni Morrison, Desdemona

"When two beings meet, each brings to the other a bit of themselves. So we learn, we construct our selves, we evolve. I bring what makes me different from you. Give me a bit of what you are. But do it with gentleness and tolerance, since all that you impose upon me with force will only leave the imprint of your violence and your arrogance. One can't force the other to accept what is offered. In accepting what you have to give, I open you to what I have to offer." -Toni Morrison, Desdemona

"The world is alive and even if we kill it, it returns fresh, full-throated and hungry for time and space in which to thrive. And if we haven't secured the passionate peace we yearn for, it is because we haven't imagined it. It is still available, this human peace? In our privileged position in timelessness, our answer is a roar." -Toni Morrison, Desdemona

"Here the infidel can embrace the saint just as sunlight creates the air we breathe."-Toni Morrison, Desdemona

Favorite

books split up into different categories!

  • Romance

  • Self-Help

  • Hood

  • History

Not a long post. Oscar Wilde is my favorite European writer. His whit is what charms me, even over 100 years after the fact. 

 

 

Recommended books: The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, A Woman of No Importance, Lady Windermere's Fan

 

 

His real life is also very interesting. Having sporadic involvements with men. Prison life. Seclusion. His work reflects his life.

 

Wilde's writing is the spunkier version of his peer-writers from his era. It's hilarious and he is the perfectionist of sarcasm. Everything he says is just as sarcastic as you would hear sarcasm today, except with very strong vocabulary (haha imagine). I found myself laughing a lot throughout his books and I also ended up writing down a lot of quotes. Interesting guy. Check him out.