Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

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Summary (from Goodreads):

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Written in beautiful prose, Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is a memoir. Woodson describes her life from the moment she was born and beyond in free verse.

We get a closer look at her life, the ups and downs, the special moments and the not so special moments. We follow her as she moves from one place to another, the relationship between her and her family is uncanny.

Woodson was very observant as a young girl and learned a lot from her family and the world around her. She makes a big point to mention that she’s black, as is basically stated in the title, and how she lived in the era where black people were fighting for their own rights.

There is so much love and hate in this story and so much history behind it all. We’re not just learning about Woodson’s childhood, but we’re also learning a little bit about the world in 1963.

I would highly recommend reading this novel to anyone. It’s quick, beautifully written, and teaches us a lot. I even had a hard time picking a favorite quote for this one and ended up going with one of the Haikus in the story.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Even the silence
has a story to tell you.
Just listen. Listen.”
–Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming

Be sure to check out my Goodreads page to see what I’ll be reading next!

Good Books

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Reading List

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You can never have too many books. We all know that, we all understand that. However, it’s hard to say that’s a good thing when you don’t have the time to read all the books in the world.

I have 183 books on my to-be-read shelf on Goodreads. That’s not even a dent of all the books I want to read. The books I add to that shelf are books I don’t own so I remember to buy them at some point. Even then, there’s still a lot more.

I go to Barnes & Noble once a week and the books are always rearrange neatly, new books are always added. There are times when I splurge, but most of the time I have to tell myself, “I have too many books at home I haven’t read yet.” So I take a picture of the book with my phone, go home, and put that book on my TBR list.

A few weeks ago I went through my books at home and wrote them all down. Between my two book shelves, Kris’ two book shelves, and my Kindle, my household owns over 330 books. I haven’t even gone through my mother’s book shelf yet because she has books I would like to read, as well.

So, let’s see… we’ll round up from 183 and say 200 (because I know there are more books that should be on my TBR), plus 370 (adding an estimate of my mother’s books) makes almost 600 books I want to read. I even rounded up the answer because I know there will be more books to come. Plus, I only have the first book of a lot of series’ on my TBR list. I’m sure I’ll be reading the sequels.

This is one reason as to why I can’t wait for school to end. I can wake up in the morning and read for two hours before I go to work. When work ends, I can sit outside all day long on the deck or by my pool and read.

Maybe then I can start making a dent on all the books I want to read.

Camp NaNo: Week Three

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Today marks week three of Camp NaNoWriMo. It also marks exactly halfway through the month. April has been zipping by and part of that might be because of Camp. Either way, we only have two weeks left.

I hope everyone is on par with their word counts. Maybe you’re even a bit ahead.

If you’re a little behind, don’t worry; there is still plenty of time to catch up.

Except… April 30th is going to be here before we know it. So you should get cracking on that.

In the meantime….

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Camp NaNo: Week Two Recap

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April 14 2015

Week two has come and gone. Where did the time go? I hope it was spent writing.

Daily Word Count:
Day 8: 0
Day 9: 3,010
Day 10: 2,013
Day 11: 7,044
Day 12: 0
Day 13: 0
Day 14: 2,024

Week two total: 14,091
Overall total: 30,115

My word count is still fluctuating a bit….

I still haven’t really gotten into that writing routine like I wanted to, but at least I’m keeping up. I guess that’s what matters, right?

Kris and I decided to get as much writing done as we possibly could on the 11th, so that’s why my word count was so big (success!). While I was writing that day, I did come to the realization that I was just putting words down for the sake of my word count. I’m pretty sure when I go back to edit, half (if not most) of those scenes will be deleted.

At least I’m getting ideas down on the paper though, right?

In other news, my cabin is now full. I started a private cabin and we began the month with just three of us. I set it to public and a few people joined here and there. Then I logged on the other day and about six more people joined and now we’re full.

Everyone seems friendly and really into their novels, so I’m excited about that.

I hope everyone is ready for week three.

How is your novel going so far?

Writerly Weekend

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Friday: Work was a normal day with the kids, but once they left we celebrated with a surprise baby shower for two of my co-workers; one is a teacher in another classroom and the other is the school’s nurse. After work, it was just me and Dad home so we went out to eat together. We ran into a couple of old friends who we haven’t seen in ages. We didn’t talk long, but it was still nice to see them and know they’re doing well.

Saturday: Kris and I decided that we were going to have a huge writing day! We went to Barnes & Noble per usual and decided to try to stay as long as possible so we could get a lot of writing done. We ended up staying for an extra… it doesn’t seem like much, but we both ended up getting a lot more done than we usually do. I wrote about 7,000 words for my CampNaNoWriMo novel.

To top off the day, we went out with our other sister and friend to see the movie “Home.” I have to say that it was a wonderful movie. Absolutely adorable. And I want my own little pet alien.

Sunday: I went to church. I only had one kid in my Sunday school class. I wasn’t expecting anyone to show up because it was the week after Easter. Instead of doing a lesson, I decided to tidy the room up a bit. I told her she could play and she got really excited and asked to organize the blocks. The blocks take up a few shelves in a corner of the room and it always looks like that corner threw up. So, I told her to go for it. She did a really nice job with it, too. It took her the entire hour and she still didn’t finish.

I didn’t get any writing done on Sunday. After writing 7k on Saturday, I needed a bit of a break from my novel. I did however get some more Sunday school things done because I’m hoping to build a new curriculum for next year as well as start a new blog for it. So, at least I can say I did something productive.

This Week: This week is going to be like any other week. I’m going to try to get my homework done as soon as I can so I can write more of my Camp NaNo novel. I also have to edit the second part of Detective Florence by Wednesday so I can send that into my writing group.

Other than doing homework and keeping up with writing/editing and blogging, not too much is going on this week.

How was your weekend?

Short Story Sunday #52

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Anonymous Tip Excerpt

I entered the kitchen, hoping to keep quiet enough so I wouldn’t wake Lilah in the other room. To be honest, I was surprised she was even still asleep at this time. Most of the time she would wake me as early as six in the morning just because she was bored and wanted someone to hang out with.

I turned on the kitchen light and took out a pan from a drawer under the oven. I thought of waiting to make breakfast for when Lilah woke up, but I was hungry and she was able to fend for herself when it came to cooking. I took out the eggs and butter from the refrigerator and placed them on the counter next to the sink. Then I rolled up my sleeves and turned on the water to wash my hands.

“ACK!” I shouted in surprise.

I immediately turned off the faucet and looked down at the giant wet spot covering most of the front of the shirt. Breathing heavily from shock, I looked at the faucet to make sure nothing was wrong with it.

That’s when I saw it: a rubber band tied around the squirt nozzle.

I grinded my teeth together and shook my head. I willed myself not to get frustrated; that’s exactly what she was going to expect from me.

“Good morning!” Lilah greeted in a sing-song voice. She entered the kitchen without bothering to look at me, but she had a wide grin on her face. She opened the refrigerator and put her head in.

“Let me guess,” I leaned against the sink glaring at her. “You’ve been awake this entire time and have been waiting for me to come into the kitchen to soak myself.”

Lilah stood up straighter and grinned looking me up and down. “Are you wet? I didn’t even notice.”

“Lilah,” I growled.

“Oh, you already took out the eggs and butter. Perfect.” Lilah muttered closing the refrigerator. She walked past me, still smiling, but not looking at me.

“I hate you.” I muttered as she walked by.

“Hate is such a strong word, George.” Lilah looked me in the eye right after putting a glob of butter on the pan. “Besides, it’s April Fool’s Day. You didn’t expect me to carry on like it’s a normal day, did you?”

She turned on the stove and watched the butter melt before she proceeded to crack a few eggs into a bowl.

I sighed watching her. No, I guess I couldn’t expect Lilah to treat a day dedicated to pranking people go by wasted.

Lilah Williams was my colleague for my private investigation business. She came walking unexpectedly into my house a few months ago giving me my first freelance case. When that case turned into a homicide and we figured out the real cause of death of her father, Lilah ended up staying a lot longer than intended. She even decided to move in with me.

It wasn’t bad having Lilah live with me. It was nice to have the company and she was a big help with my agency. She advertised a lot for my business through her blog, which was extremely popular on the Internet. If only her blog would start getting me regular cases, then we’d be all set.

“You want scrambled, right?” Lilah broke the silence. She had just finished mixing the eggs in the bowl and was pouring it onto the melted butter in the pan.

“I guess so.” I shrugged. She had already turned the eggs scrambled anyway.

“Good, because I forgot to ask before I started making these.” Lilah snickered.

“You were too busy laughing at my pain.” I said melodramatically.

“Oh, please. You got a little wet. You didn’t melt, did you?” Lilah looked over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow.

“I guess not,” I muttered and stood up straight once more. “I am going to get changed before breakfast, though.”

“Well, hurry up. It’s almost ready and eggs cool fast.” Lilah sprinkled some salt and pepper over the yellow puddle in the pan.

Once I finished getting dressed for the second time that morning, I went back to the kitchen and wrinkled my nose. Lilah sat at the kitchen table sipping on a cup of coffee, the scent taking up the entire kitchen.

I sat down at the table across from her and ate my eggs as quickly as I could.

“Slow down,” Lilah scolded. I noticed she had already finished eating her eggs.

“You know you’re not allowed to make coffee while I’m in the house.” I muffled with a mouth full of food.

“That’s never stopped me before. That’s a stupid rule, George. It’s a smell, get over it.” Lilah tipped her head back and gulped down the rest of her beverage. She placed the mug on the table and sighed with satisfaction.

“We should go for a walk this morning.” Lilah announced.

I finished eating my eggs and leaned back in my chair eyeing her.

“It’s supposed to get up to about 65 to 70 degrees today. Spring is officially here!” she cheered knowing she needed to convince me more.

“You are more than welcome to go for a walk, Lilah. In fact, I think it’s a great idea. Then I can have the house to myself for a little bit.” I bared my teeth in a smile.

“Don’t be such an old man.” Lilah smirked. “It’ll be fun. It’ll be good for us.”

“We walk enough.” I complained. “And I didn’t use to be an old man… you made me this way the moment you first knocked on my door.”

Lilah stared at me with a serious expression.

I sighed, “Fine, we can go for a walk. This isn’t going to turn into a daily thing though, is it?”

“It can,” Lilah perked up, “I think that would be a great idea! Walking is excellent exercise.”

I rested my head on the table pushing my empty plate to the middle.

Lilah grabbed my plate and put it in the sink for me. I sat up slowly watching her with a close eye. I expected her to rinse the dishes and then place them in dishwasher; she couldn’t stand any mess and dirty dishes in the sink was a huge pet peeve of hers.

I had to wonder, did she remember…?

“AHH!” Lilah shrieked the moment she turned on the faucet.

I grinned so wide my face began to hurt.

Lilah turned around with her arms held out as though she herself was contaminated. A huge wet spot stained her blouse. She narrowed her eyes at me. “Don’t you say a word.”

I began to laugh. “Karma!”

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