Thursday, February 2, 2012


Of course we know of the many great African Americans in history that have impacted our lives through their fortitude and selfless acts of bravery.  It’s very difficult to categorize these individuals because they sometimes transcend lines “we” tend to draw.  There are greats from far distant past, not so distant and of course present.


Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Dubois (pictures), Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Nat Turner, Phillis Wheatley, Crispus Attucks, Pierre Toussaint, Dred Scott

Civil Rights Leaders:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Little Rock Nine with Daisy Bates (pictured), Thurgood Marshall, Julian Bond, Shirley Chisholm, Medgar Evers, James Weldon Johnson, Floyd McKissick, Shirley Chisholm

Civil Rights Activists:

Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Angela Davis (pictured), Bayard Rustin, Fannie Lou (Townsend) Hamer, Dorothy Height, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Fred Shuttlesworth

Government Officials:

President Barack Obama, Harold Washington, Condoleezza Rice, Ralph Bunche, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., David Dinkins, A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Jesse Jackson, Maynard Jackson, Colin Powell

These lists could go on and on and on.  You notice I didn't put any periods at the end of the lists....this is because of the many additional people that could be added.  We could name great musicians, artists, writers, and so on.  As a "baby boomer" I am more than just a little appreciative of Black History Month. 

Black History Month was begun as Negro History Week by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. His goal was to educate the American people about African-American history, focusing on African Americans' cultural backgrounds and reputable achievements.  I remember when I was in elementary school we would select a historical Black person to write a report on. Somehow we were always given basically the same list of abolitionists and civil rights leaders every year.  My mother went through the expense of buying a beautiful set of Black History Encyclopedia and Black history week became a whole new ballgame for us.  We wrote reports on people no one in our classes had ever heard of.    "Thanks Mom". 

*side note on my mother  She also saw to it that we became  the first girls  in our high school class to wear our hair in Afros, like it or not.*

Since February became Black History Month in 1976, there has been a wonderful awakening of African American accomplishments to our country.  A lot of this came through school, library and even church programs. 

Take a few moments and try to imagine some of the wonderful achievements of African American doctors, statesmen, writers, inventors, activists, etc., etc., etc.

I have a list (of course) of some of my favorite African American authors' books for you for Black History Month.  Enjoy!

Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones
Some Things I Never Thought I Would Do by Pearl Cleage
Love by Toni Morrison
The Flip Side of Sin by Rosalynn McMillan
The Future Has a Past by J. California Cooper

This list also would go on and on and on so just hit the link  to African American Resource Center below and find more of my favorites!

Monday, January 23, 2012


First, let me say I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holiday and that the year so far has been kind.  How many of you have started your year off with the awful resolutions we always subject ourselves to at the beginning of the new year:
  1. Healthy diet
  2. Exercise more
  3. Stop smoking
  4. Get out of debt
  5. Get organized
  6. Save money
  7. Volunteer to help others
  8. etc., etc., etc.
    Rio is my inspiration - always ready to walk
I actually had started my new year exercise and diet routine that many of us endure for as long as we can and was doing wonderfully.....walking 3 miles every morning with my dog, then swimming every afternoon (swimming was only 5 days a week).  Anyway, that lasted for 2 weeks until my first of the year head cold kicked in.  I'll get back on track as soon as the congestion eases.

The one good that comes out of my cold is that it has slowed me down so that I can concentrate on the blog. 

There are some wonderful new books out this year and I will try to keep you apprised of many of them.  Unfortunately, we will not try to select best sellers for use in the the book club.  Our experiences with the book The Help, and how hard it was to get copies of the book (without buying a copy) has taught me that no matter how tempting, we have to hold off on new books.  That will not keep me from listing a lot of interesting choices on our Suggested Reading page.

We started off with a bang last year, with The Help, but peetered out during the holidays.  I'm not sure if it was the book choice - Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burrows - or just because everyone was busy, but I am hoping for bigger and better things this year.  I have been keeping abreast of others that are trying to start online bookclubs.  Some are having problems getting people to join, or stay and others are having issues with choice of reading.  Since I already had a loyal following from my established bookclub, I had a few people from that club that were happy to support an online club and surprisingly there were more of my friends and family in other states who were not a part of the original bookclub that leaped at the chance to help get the online version up and running.

That being said, please don't shy away from books that are selected that you wouldn't normally read.  That is really the point of a bookclub, to kind of get you out of your comfort zone in reading.  We'll read fiction, non-fiction, biographies, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, mysteries, science fiction.  Our reading selections will be as diverse as our bookclub members.  I wish you could all meet each other face to face.  Many of you I know personally.  We have some new members out of the Detroit, MI area that I have never met, but I am learning of them through their facebook postings.  Stop in on our Facebook page and welcome them.  It is an amazing adventure that I am having.  Our club members are African-American, white, hispanic, male, female, young and not so young.  It's makeup makes for wonderful discussions, because we come at books from all angles.  lol.   I don't care what people say about social networking - I think it is a wonderful tool.  That is one of the reasons I am asking again that you support the book selections each month.  I am quite sure that everyone is not going to love every selection - that would be impossible.  Each one of us has our likes and dislikes, but that is what makes for a good discussion.  Give each book a chance, I guarantee you there will be someone in the group that absolutely loves something about at least one book that we read during the year.  I have only selected one book that I thought people were going to beat me for:  The Autobiography of My Mother by Jamaica Kincaid.  People were stopping me in the library telling me how much they hated the book, and I have to admit...though it was a short read, it was a difficult read.  I couldn't figure out why it was so hard to get through until one of the ladies that read it told me, it was written in the first person.  There wasn't any dialog at all.  Funny the things that are just expected in novels...  Well I went into the conference room the night of bookclub, very apprehensive of the reaction I expected from the members.  Lo and behold, there were two members - a young woman, and a middle aged professor who loved the book!  And what is even stranger, they loved it for the same reason...they felt the author put the main character in the position of speaking directly to the reader.  They felt she was speaking to them.  That was the same reason most of us didn't like the book.  I read it again, from their point of view and the book flowed much easier.  Still not one of my favorite books, but you might want to pick one up and see how you like it.

So on with the show!  New year, new selections, new members, new meetings.  I am soooo excited right now, you don't even know!


Infinity Bookshelf

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I still remember the snow.....I just don't miss it!
"All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I went for a walk
On a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreamin'
On such a winter's day."
- Mammas and Pappas,
California Dreamin'

It is just about here. The season that just happens to be my favorite: Winter.  Not so much for all the things that people do in the winter such as:  skiing the slopes, hitting snowmobile trails, blazing cross-country ski trails, doing a Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation slide down a massive hill in one of those little snow saucers.  Don't get me wrong, I find nothing wrong with all of the outdoor cold and snow activity, being from the Chicago, Illinois area, I have indulged in most of it.  I even owned a toboggan when my kids were small and took them tobogganing until one of my sons decided to go down the chute with his hands on the outside of the sled - OUCH.  The burn scars are still evident on the back of his hand.  Well, I don't have to have the snow and chestnuts roasting on an open fire, I have plenty of cold nose memories.  (see photo) 

I would love to see some of your favorite snow photos too...don't be shy, I did it....

I am faring very well in my new adopted home of Tucson, Arizona...without the snow and cold, that's just how some parts of the country celebrate the season.  As a matter of fact, my plants in my yard are still in bloom right now.  I am really talking about entire fall and winter season with the holidays starting with October and Halloween, November and Thanksgiving, now December and Christmas.  This time of year is just marvelous!  Everyone is just a little bit different this time of year.  People who are usually Scrooge-like through the rest of the year, have a little more spring in their step, a little more twinkle in their eyes, and possibly a little more tolerance in their attitudes.  You find yourself striking up conversations in lines at stores with perfect strangers (at least I do). 
I'm sure one of the reasons winter is it is my favorite time of year is because I don't have to make excuses for wanting to curl up with a good book and read.  After all, outside activities have slowed down because the of the shortened daylight hours.  

I love reading nonsensical things in the winter.  A favorite of mine is trivia.  I was in a movie theater recently and was upset when they finished the little trivia challenges before the previews - I wanted more.  As a result of my love of trivia, I am very good at games like Trivia Pursuit or Jeopardy and I sometimes feel like Rosie Perez as Gloria in the movie White Men Can’t Jump...I should go on Jeopardy because my head is full of useless trivia information.  Anyway, I thought we could have fun in this blog…not that I haven’t been having fun all along.  I am going to throw trivia at you guys and hopefully you will comment back with some of the answers.  Just enter the number of the question, and your answer.  I’ll be changing the trivia questions weekly, so make sure you come back.  Maybe we could think of some type of prizes…..

1.     Who is the composer of the music used for “The Nutcracker”, a Christmas ballet favorite? 
2.    What is the busiest shopping day of the year?
3.    What is the third-largest occasion for Americans to consume food?
4.    What do the items in The "Twelve Days of Christmas" represent?
5.    What are the four ghosts in Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol"
6.    Where do cows have their sweat glands in their body?
7.    How much does our Earth weigh?
8.    Which man-made place on Earth appears the brightest from space?
9.    What was the famous Walt Disney, afraid of?
10.  Which entertainer passed away on April Fool’s Day in 1984?

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