Live Read

Welcome to the 8th Literary Marie's Live Read
❣️ Bookmark and revisit this page to see my live updates and final book review of Brené Brown's Dare to Lead.

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor studying courage, vulnerability, shame and leadership. Her TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the most viewed in the world. Atlas of the Heart is her docuseries on Max. She is also the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix, The Call to Courage

I watched her Netflix special before I cracked the spine open on the hardcover. Brené is very engaging and quite funny. Her anecdotes are relatable. Her speech is like a conversation with a friend while we sip cold hard ciders at a backyard BBQ. What was discussed sticks in my head; I wake up the next day choosing courage over comfort.

I have a leadership role in Corp America on the earned path to C-Suite and figured Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work would be a great resource. So not only is this a live read but a real-life journey.

Ooh, there's a free downloadable workbook and Dare to Lead Hub!

03.09.2024 "The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it's about the courage to show up when you can't predict or control the outcome." This is scary but necessary. No one likes to be vulnerable. Putting your feelings out there. It can be used against you. It can be exploited. Or it can help you be brave and bring a sense of true belonging.

"I define a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential. Who we are is how we lead." I am self-aware enough to lead from my heart. I truly want to see others win. I just need to work on tough conversations, including giving productive feedback that is worded in a positive honest way and not discouraging or reprimanding. More accountability and learning. Creating a culture where people feel safe, seen, heard, respected, empowered and supported.

I want to get to the point where "what was once a difficult learning fades into 'This is just who I am as a person.'" 

I just pulled out a sticky note for an exercise. Do it with me, Bookhearts! Write down the names of the people in your life whose opinions of you matter. Seek feedback from only those people. The friends and family that care enough to be honest and real. Not yes folks saying what I wanna hear.

Now let me think about the people who have earned marbles over time. "Whenever someone supports you, or is kind to you, or sticks up for you, or honors what you share with them as private, you put marbles in the jar. When people are mean, or disrespectful, or share your secrets, marbles come out." Turning the mirror on myself now. Am I adding or removing marbles to the jars of people that matter to me? I'mma sit with this for a couple weeks.

03.26.2024 "The fear that I would never get back to my old self..." is a real concern. I think about it every single day. But is it really just me mourning my old self and not leaning into the new healthier me?

03.27.2024 "Empathy is feeling with people. Sympathy is feeling for them. Empathy fuels connection. Sympathy drives disconnection." There is indeed a difference that I pride myself on exhibiting. I truly mean it when I say, "I feel you" or "me too" or "I know what's that like."

04.06.2024 Time to get into grounded confidence, self-awareness and self-love. I've always preferred easy learning. But it doesn't really build skills, does it? Brené related the brain to the same way you feel a muscle burn when it's being strengthened. There will be discomfort and it might hurt for a while but that's how I know it's working.

04.30.2024 The first half of the book was very valuable. But now I am struggling when it's time to put things learned into practice. Like I lost momentum when the tone of the book changed.

05.03.2024 According to the Daring Leadership AssessmentI am living into my values, learning to rise and braving trust while trying to rumble with vulnerability. I rarely take risks when the outcome is uncertain. I need to work on leaning into difficult conversations or decisions. I will continue to bring energy that is aligned with my values into every room. Lastly, I will keep information that is not mine to share. I am left with a final thought: never overestimate self-trust and trusting others.

Title: Dare to Lead
Author: Brené Brown
Published: October 2018
Pages: 279
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 

♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ 

Welcome to the 7th Literary Marie's Live Read
❣️ Bookmark and revisit this page to see my live updates and final book review of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Difference. 

Journalist, Podcast Producer and New York Times bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell has been included in the TIME 100 Most Influential People list and one of Foreign Policy's Top Global Thinkers. 

Let's start with defining the "Tipping Point." It is "that magic point when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire." For example, if one sick person started a flu epidemic, or the sudden popularity of a product, or a satisfied customer fills the empty tables of a restaurant. Viral trends affect the way we look at the world, business, and human behavior. Gladwell hooked me in from the first line!

05.30.2023 "It was total word of mouth." Who remembers Hush Puppies? I used to stand in line for a new pair of the suede shoes every weekend. I was the only middle schooler with multiple colors to pair with my uniform and play clothes. Couldn't tell me nothing! The brand was all but dead then all of a sudden, the classic Hush Puppies had become hip in the clubs/bars of Manhattan. These out of fashion shoes were making a comeback! By the fall of 1995, designers all over were wanting shoes and Detroiters were standing in line for new pairs. Okay...back to the Intro.

"Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do." Simply put, there are three characteristics: (1) contagiousness, (2) little causes can have big effects, and (3) change happens not gradually but at one dramatic moment—hence the Tipping Point. Kind of like yawning. I am confident by the end of this book, I will understand why some ideas start epidemics and others don't. I will also learn how to deliberately start and control positive epidemics of my own. Follow my journey, Bookhearts!

06.04.2023 Think about the 80/20 Principle, which means 80% of the work will be done by 20% of the participants. This is often the case in school group projects or work teams. There are always slackers taking the credit. And when it comes to epidemics, a tiny percentage of people do majority of the work. Those people are sociable, influential and effective at spreading: The Law of the Few. Then there's the Stickiness Factor: making a contagious message memorable such as a slogan or tagline. That's why certain commercials stick in my head. 

The last rule of the Tipping Point is the Power of Context. People are a lot more sensitive to their environment than they may seem. I believe empathy plays a part too. In the world of social media, if something happens, people are quicker to pull out their phone and press record than call for help or intervene. It becomes a WorldStar post, TikTok clip or IG Live instead of assistance. Imagine if more people did the same thing when a good deed or charitable act was done. Let's post and share that!

The rest of the book goes into more detail about the three rules so I'll pause here.

06.10.2023 The Law of the Few begins with the story of Paul Revere's ride and the American Revolution, the most famous example of word-of-mouth. "Word of mouth is—even in this age of mass communications and multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns—still the most important form of human communication." When I think of the last book I read or new restaurant I tried, it was because someone recommended it. Similarly, I passed on books that were rated low or restaurants with bad food reviews. Commercials don't sway me but word-of-mouth does.

Connectors are people with a knack of making friends; they know everyone! A connector I am not. I keep acquaintances at arm's length and rarely introduce myself to strangers let alone engage in conversation. However, I know someone who knows someone to give me access to opportunities or a seat at any table.

I am more of a Market Maven. I look at prices and notice sales stunts. For example, Bed Bath & Beyond is going out of business. Signs read 20%-50% off. Yet they marked up the prices so there really isn't a liquidation sale. You're paying the same price as before. Mavens will complain to management. Mavens will spread the word and find a better deal elsewhere then share the information. It's not what I know but how I pass it along. Mavens are helpers, not persuaders.

"Mavens are data banks. They provide the message. Connectors are social glue: they spread it. But there is a select group of people—Salesmen—with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing..." They connect with our emotions from the outside-in (an external smile/frown/gesture affecting an internal decision). Think about it: when someone smiles, you smile too. When someone frowns, you feel sad. When someone smashes their finger, you grimace. Your emotions will mirror those of good Salesmen.

06.13.2023 The Stickiness Factor begins with the origin of Sesame Street. The producer's target was to spread literacy through television to 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds. Back in the late 1960s, this was unheard of. But the creators made it a memorable teaching tool. Sesame Street made numbers and the alphabet stick. Moving on to Blue's Clues, one of the stickiest TV shows ever made. It was literal without wordplay, comedy or the adult inside jokes and one story per episode. Come to think of it, this is why I prefer drama shows over reality TV.

06.15.2023 The Power of Context is a bit confusing. I don't get how it relates to the crime epidemic in New York. There's some kind of environmentalism and sensitivity. How does the success of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood represent the Power of Context? Cleaning up graffiti stops criminals? Huh? This is where the author loses me. *closes book*

06.18.2023 I'm back. The rest of the book covers case studies that I skimmed through to the Conclusion. Overall the author did a good job introducing the concept of The Tipping Point along with examples most readers can relate to. It definitely lost me toward the end though. I leave you with a final quote: "It is possible to do a lot with a little."

Title: The Tipping Point
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Published: March 2000 
Pages: 279
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: 🖤 🖤 

♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ 

Welcome to the 6th Literary Marie's Live Read❣️ This is the space where I "live read" my reactions while reading. Bookmark and revisit this page to see my live updates and final book review of James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My Life.

Let me start by addressing how JP was dragged through the Twitter streets by fans, fellow authors, ghost writers, librarians, indie booksellers and readers of all races. His recent comment earned a strong side-eye from most, including myself. Even had me inquiring whether I could return my signed copy of this long-awaited newly released memoir. Patterson has since apologized for saying "white male writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism." 

One of two things will happen during my live read: 1) I find that it further supports his poorly made statement and I stop reading Patterson altogether. 2) I realize that his statement was merely a slip of tongue to be forgiven but not forgotten. And so I begin... 

06.20.2022 I hope this answers all of the questions I've gathered over the years while reading Patterson's fitty-lem published mysteries immediately upon release. My expectations are high. I need this memoir to share what the MasterClass did not. I need to meet the real Nana Mama. Untold stories in his colloquial writing style. The inner workings of his creative mind to have come up with the most famous jingle ever. The tables he sat at, the meals he shared, the places he traveled and a clue to his political beliefs. I want the stories of his life in the form of his signature short chapters. I want this signed deckle edge hardcover to be a page-turner. 

But tickles me that Patterson put a picture that is older than ME on the cover.

Aha! So Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge inspired his writing style. Short chapters. Concise. Irony and wit.

Yo! What was that mysterious white powder on bubble gum?!

"My sadness about Hollywood is that most of the films based on my books haven't been very good." Well, I am glad he acknowledges this! Morgan Freeman did not make a good Alex Cross. Way too old. And the TV version of WMC was just awful. It's interesting that Patterson talked to writer Michael Connelly about how Hollywood treated his books like Bosch and The Lincoln Lawyer (I'm totally obsessed with this series right now). Hopefully one day moviegoer Patterson can give a standing ovation to a film with his name on it somewhere. 

What does JP know about Skee-Lo? 🎵I wish I was a little bit taller—I wish I was a baller🎵

I am on page 45-46 and this deckle ass edge is bothering my soul. Excuse me while I find a pair of sharp scissors to cut the page.

06.24.2022 "Graduate school at Vanderbilt was all English classes, all stories, all novels, all the time. It was paradise for any reader and even better for a writer wannabe like me who liked to spend most of the day making up stories in his head." That sounds like heaven on campus. Patterson goes on to describe his best course as picking fifteen (15) novels that you really want to read then talk about them with another book lover. Listen, I would quit my J-O-B to-damn-day for this grad program.

06.30.2022 "Note to copyeditor: Please don't look this up. Honestly, who cares?" Thanks for that note because the copyeditor in me was itching to fact-check. Then I remembered this is a leisure read.

"You lead the reader briskly in one direction, then you spin him around, or you sing him a lullaby and then hit him on the head." Per poet John Berryman. This reminds me; I need to resume Patterson's MasterClass.

What a successful ad career! Highest-scoring auto ad of the year and co-writer of the ad jingle "I'm a Toys 'R' Us Kid." He earned that negotiated severance package! 

"If Jim Patterson says a grasshopper can pull a plow, hitch up that little motherfucker." 😜😴

07.01.2022 I, too, am a great negotiator. Or so I am told. It truly is an art but I've found the keys are to know your worth and never be afraid to walk away if the deal is not beneficial. That confidence translates to the person across the table.

WTDF is the frenemy relationship between Stephen King and James Patterson?! I need to know who started it. I can guess who based on comments made over the years but this shit runs deep.

This James Baldwin story is craaaaazy! Never would I ever expect to see my FAVE mentioned in this memoir: Jay-Z. 🙌🏾 I do not mind the Oprah-esque name-dropping here. Oh, wait...there is more. Actually there is a whole ass section titled name-dropping. 🙄

07.02.2022 I have taken my time reading this memoir but will go ahead and finish today. It's a quiet Saturday (holiday weekend). I have severe congestion and a cough that keeps me restless. I'm settled on my comfy couch with my faux fur throw blanket wrapped around my shoulders. Fuzzy socks on, legs crossed on ottoman. Vicks lavender vaporub smeared across my nose and neck. Sipping hot echinacea tea with elderberry and a shot of Fireball cinnamon whiskey and raw honey while snacking on our shared favorite snack: peanut M&Ms. Signed hardcover in my hands with a blue highlighter. MacBook within reach for this live read. 

"Over half of our country's kids aren't reading at grade level. Amazon could help solve that problem. Why the heck wont' they?" Call 'em out, JP! "No child left illiterate." I need to revisit my business plan for a financial literacy non-profit organization. "Let your children see you read." I can confidently say that every person who knows me, whether in real life or via social media, knows that I am a reader and has seen me read. I like to think it makes an impact and motivates others.

Finally the birth of his writing style: outline, outline, outline. THIS IS WHY I AM HERE, JIMMY!

"When people bring up my practice of writing with coauthors, they usually aren't thinking nice thoughts.(i.e., he knows what the streets are saying but will continue to do what he do!) BOOP!

JPxJP is very easy to read and much like his writing style. Short chapters. Straight-to-the-point stories. Easy to skip around since not told in chronological order. And speaking of books, I am like publisher Little, Brown with my little spreadsheet too. Hence my reading challenge: Keeping Up with Patterson. I know without fail there will be one new novel per year in each series: Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club and Michael Bennett. Now he is mastering nonfiction. Hate all you want but the man knows how to market, feeds and breeds readers, gives debut writers a chance to see their name in print and changed the publishing game on you heauxs.

*adds Things I Wish I Told My Mother to 2023 TBR*

"One morning you just don't wake up. Live with it.All the more reason to read as much as I can, spend much quality time with loved ones and occupy every waking minute with positivity because it could be my last. Love "the five balls" parable; strive for more balance in life. And continue my relationship with God...Amen 🙏🏾

In the intro of this live read, I said one of two things will happen. 🥁 Well, glad I did not chuck the deuces or return for refund. I see what you did here, JP, and I respect it. The power of stories!

Title: James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My Life
Author: James Patterson
Published: June 2022 
Pages: 360
Edition: Signed Hardcover
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 

♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ 

Welcome to the 5th Literary Marie's Live Read❣️ Most are familiar with my live tweeting of television and music. This is the space where I "live read" my reactions while reading. Bookmark and revisit this page to see my live updates and final book review of Will by Will Smith.

Let me start off by disclosing I wouldn't consider myself a Will Smith stan. Yes, I watch all of his movies, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and reboot Bel-Air. Jam to Summertime with the windows down. But I was not a big enough fan to read his memoir. TBQFH, I had no interest.

Until Chickadee rated Will 10⭐️. No typo—she rated this book double the goodness. I value her opinion so downloaded the eBook immediately. When I added Will to my Goodreads, I noticed 46 of my Bookhearts rated it 5⭐️. More confirmation this is a must-read! 

So I'm only at 3% and Will is GOODT! I can already tell a single review will not do this book justice. Hence this live read!

05.01.2022 "I started to see that the difference between a task that feels impossible and a task that feels doable is merely a matter of perspective." This opening anecdote of the wall teaches a valuable lesson. Don't think of building a whole wall; think about laying each brick perfectly. As a person with anxiety, I sometimes get overwhelmed. I'm going to start thinking of tasks from this new perspective.

I'm a math person. I crunch numbers every day with satisfaction. I am far from a creative person and find it hard to think outside the box. This makes it harder for me to visualize ideas. I need to see it. I need it to add up. 2 + 2 will always equal 4. There is no room for interpretation. Math is what it is. Will puts in plainly, "I think I like math because it's exact; I like when things add up. Numbers don't play games or have moods or opinions." 

So I am in awe when he tells of a huge imagination too. How can a person be on both spectrums? The extent of my imagination were two (2) imaginary friends when I was little. I truly think when they disappeared, so did my creative side. I lost the ability to accept what is not concrete reality. I cannot look at a space beyond exactly as it is. 

As I am thinking of this, Will talks of his imaginary friend, Magicker, and how he often lives in fantasy. Exaggerating stories. Believing the impossible. Until reality hits. Like when Will really thought he could dunk a basketball while wearing cowboy boots like gravitational pulls don't exist. "The bigger the fantasy you live, the more painful the inevitable collision with reality."

Not "Negro Withdrawal Syndrome." I suffer from NWS during business hours. 🤣

05.05.2022 "The Holy Ghost fills the room." Let me tell y'all a story. I will never forget the Sunday when I was at Wayside Baptist Church. The choir was singing to the heavens. The lead singer showing out with vocal runs. Ushers dressed in white from head to toe with matching gloves. Ready and standing at every pew. I was standing there tapping my little patent-leathered toes to the beat. One hand waving a church fan with prayer hands pictured; the other hand holding my Cabbage Patch doll with a dress and extra large hair bow matching mine thanks to Chickadee—the Seamstress. She was standing beside me. My Dad was somewhere doing whatever Baptist church trustees do. Pastor Ford was preaching with his mouth so close to the mic all I could decipher was the "ah" at the end of every word. Then that three-tiered organ got to playing. Now if you grew up in a Black church, you know what I'm referring to and what typically comes next. Those organ chords are like a magic start button. Women start passing out in aisles, weeping. Others are double-clapping. One minute I am minding my little business, the next minute Chickadee starts speaking in tongues, kicking her feet and arms get to praising the Lord. An usher tries to escort her to the aisle but is a split second too late. Next thing you know, my doll is knocked out of my arms and sent flying across the wooden pews. What a scene! To this day, when I have my own Bedside Baptist church service and that organ activates, I remember the day Chickadee caught the Holy Ghost.

05.06.2022 "It was gigantic, an absolute monster of a structure. Built in 1924, back when they used real materials to build buildings, it spanned two square city blocks and loomed over the neighborhood like a stone fortress. You had to ascend a mountain of thirty stairs just to make it from the sidewalk to the front door, and if you survived the climb, what you found inside was nearly twelve hundred students, 99 percent of them Black." Overbrook High School sounds like Cass Tech! Except my high school was grander. 831,000 square feet built in 1907. Average of 2,400 students (over 600 in my graduating class). Classes on 7 floors but 8 floors and a basement total. We weren't allowed to take the elevator. All stairs! It cost about $3.93 million to build (that's $51 million in today's dollars). Entrance exam and 97% graduation rate. How could you not be elite graduating from a place like this?! Second to None!

05.07.2022 "Life is like school, with one key difference—in school you get the lesson, and then you take the test. But in life, you get the test, and it's your job to take the lesson." So well said.

"Look at the five people you spend the most time with because that's who you are." I am a really awesome person then!

"You are the first time you've ever happened. YOU and NOW are a unique occurence." Let that marinate.

"Pressure busts pipes, homie." I just like this quote.

05.11.2022 I love language. 70s = fly. 80s = fresh. 90s = dope. Today if something is hot, we say "fire." So this is how he became the Fresh Prince. Then enter DJ Jazzy Jeff. The stories of his infamous Transformer Scratch are so interesting that I had to YouTube old videos. They were the first rappers to ever receive a Grammy. They were the first-ever 900 number. Wow!

I cannot go this live read without mentioning what Will did recently. I thought it was fake at first because of his laughing literally up until the slap. But he mentions that giggling is a knee-jerk reaction when he finds himself in extreme emotional circumstances. This makes total sense!

05.14.2022 Will's resume is impressive as fuck! Storyteller, performer, comedian, musician, teacher. Add in the roles he's played: world champion boxer, fighter pilot, tennis coach, galaxy defender, cop, lawyer, businessman, doctor, lover, preacher, genie and even a fish. This man is living a full life.

05.15.2022 I am only halfway through and Will has dropped many gems within his life story. Self-knowledge at its finest example.

05.21.2022 I took a bit of a break for fiction but back! S/O to Will's mention of Carl Weathers on the beach with Sylvester in Rocky III. Thee best running scene in a movie ever!

"Luck is when preparation meets opportunity." One of the truest clichés. Forget what Daddio says; the next ten years of Will's professional life was a good ass lucky run. At this point in the book (59%), Will is running down his box office and records sold numbers. Talk yo' shit, Will!

05.22.2022 "It's impossible to build something that is of a higher quality than the quality of the people around you." In other words, you are who you hang with. Birds of a feather flock together. You're only as successful as your least successful friend. Yada Yada Yada but it's truth no matter how you phrase it.

Okay Will is dropping some knowledge about solitary internal wars, memory, desire vs. purpose. And he finally answered one of the biggest questions in the world: how do some people seem to have way more time in a day given the same 24 hours to work with?! He broke it down to 780 more productive hours in a way that's totally doable! This alone is worth the price of this thick ass book.

05.24.2022 "If I don't want to be with me, why the fuck would anybody else wanna be with me?" If more people asked themselves this question, there would be healthier happier relationships.

🎵you claim you see things when you're on DMT but I've seen the same things before I go to sleep🎵 And on that note, I'm going to bed. I've already stayed up late reading. But first let me note that Will is very descriptive about ayahuasca but nope. Not convincing enough for me to try it. According to Summer Walker's lyrics on my jam Insane, I can see those same things without the influence of DMT.

My last takeaways: what a full life Will is living; 50th Born Day goals; let go and let God work.

Ooh photos! Officially one of thee best memoirs I've ever read! 👏🏾 👏🏾 👏🏾 👏🏾 👏🏾

Title: Will
Author: Will Smith & Mark Manson
Published: November 2021
Pages: 432
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ 

Welcome to the 4th Literary Marie's Live Read❣️ Most are familiar with my live tweeting of television and music. This is the space where I "live read" my reactions while reading. Bookmark and revisit this page to see my live updates and final book review of A Promised Land by President Barack Obama. 

I pre-ordered this $45, 750+ page hardcover soon as it was announced. I set a countdown on my iPhone and noted the publication date in my coiled life planner. I even ordered a new bookmark (see pic below). I tracked the shipping and made sure I was home to accept the package. Highly anticipated is an understatement!

I expect a lot from this deeply personal account of history in the making: personal details, political education, landmark moments, democracy from inside the Oval Office, family life, everything and everyone that contributed to his being elected 44th president of this here United States. 

Let me begin with a full disclosure: I have not read The Audacity of Hope or Dreams from My Father. I knew this post-presidency memoir would come and wanted anything read in A Promised Land to be new to me. I know my journey in ensuring the right to say, "My President is Black." It's time to read his! So let me take a couple pics for #bookstagram then start reading the first volume of Barack Obama's presidential memoirs! 

Title: A Promised Land
Author: Barack Obama
Published: November 2020
Pages: 751
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: TBD

♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️

Welcome to the 3rd Literary Marie's Live Read❣️ By now you are familiar with my live tweeting of television and music. This is the space where I "live read" my reactions while reading. Bookmark and revisit this page to see my live updates and final book review of White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. 

In the state of today's systemic racism, I put fiction aside to read a self-help book about the phenomenon of white fragility. Antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo uses her insider status to challenge racism.

Whether you shy away from the discussion or choose to remain silent, this behavior protects racial inequality. It is beyond time to address publicly and engage constructively. This vital must-read should lead us to recommend to non-colored peers, recognize our own racial responses, identify white fragility in action and prompt us all to ask, "Where do we go from here?" 

07.10.2020 Foreword by Michael Eric Dyson titled, "Keyser Söze, Beyoncé, and the Witness Protection Program." He begins with a powerful statement: "Race is a condition. A disease. A card. A plague. Original sin." Why is it a burden for only black people to carry? Why should whiteness hide in visible invisibility? The same whiteness that is given a leg up in life. In White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo is calling out white people to see their whiteness for what it really is and to use their privilege to make things better now. I am here for it!

07.11.2020 "Race will influence whether we will survive our birth, where we are most likely to live, which schools we will attend, who our friends and partners will be, what careers we will have, how much money we will earn, how healthy we will be, and even how long we can expect to live."

One thing I consider when reading self-help, is what gives the author credibility. Who is Robin DiAngelo and what is her expertise? Well, her job is to lead primarily white audiences in discussions of race, similar to a diversity trainer. Her participants range from nice understanding people to those who believe racism ended in 1865 with the end of slavery. DiAngelo is certainly qualified to write this book.

Author's Note focuses on identity politics: the focus on barriers specific groups face in their struggle for equality. Now here is something that burns my biscuit around this time of the year (4th of July or National BBQ Day). This country was built by slaves on land stolen from Native Americans. So where is the black representation in the country we built? Why are we the lowest social class? Where is our generational wealth? You won't ever catch me celebrating July 4th by waving the American flag. The real day to acknowledge freedom is Juneteenth.

Black women couldn't even vote until 1964, which is 44 years after women's suffrage movement. As Malcolm X once pointed out, why are black women the most disrespected people in America? And still today, politics and seats at the table are occupied by older white men. The author gives a perfect example: If women are denied the right to vote, you certainly cannot vote for your right to vote. Women must call on men (the controlling group) for justice. I'm going to sit with these thoughts and how it relates to racial equality before I continue reading.

07.15.2020 Every sentence is loaded! I suggest inviting someone to read White Fragility with you or join an online book discussion. Partner with someone whose opinion you respect. I am buddy reading with Chickadee for meaningful conversation while we both take our time reading along.

07.31.2020 "The differences we see with our eyes—differences such as hair texture and eye color—are superficial and emerged as adaptations to geography. Under the skin, there is no true biological race." If more people realized this breakdown, there would be less prejudice. The system of racism and discrimination based on race may not even exist. We all bleed the same color.

I like how the author defines the differences between prejudice and discrimination. We all have prejudice. Now before you balk, read this: "Prejudice is pre-judgment about another person based on the social groups to which that person belongs. Prejudice consists of thoughts and feelings, including stereotypes, attitudes, and generalizations that are based on little or no experience and then are projected onto everyone from that group." You cannot deny that we all have prejudice.

Discrimination, on the other hand is, "action based on prejudice. These actions include ignoring, exclusion, threats, ridicule, slander, and violence." This is where acts of racial violence come into play. It can also be hard to detect, though over recent years it is more recognizable. It is also important to note that people of color can also hold prejudices and discrimination against white people, but we don't have the institutional power to turn it into racism. 

As a minority, we don't make the laws and social order. We do not hold the sense of entitlement. We are not in a position to make policies that will elevate our race above whites. Where is our privilege? Hence, I mentally slap every person that argues the concept of reverse racism and questions why there is no White History Month. 

08.03.2020 White supremacy. Oh, Robin DiAngelo is taking it there! And she has the receipts to prove it. I will fact-check these telling numbers.

In Chapter 3, the author reminds me of a statement that grinds my nerves: "I don't see color." Let me take a deep sigh. For those that do not see color, get your eyes checked because you clearly have vision problems. You are color-blind and need to be corrected, either by means of surgery or an attitude reality check. That statement does not make you anti-racist. It makes you look dumb. I am also sick of the claim that black people make everything about race. "Everything isn't always black or white." Yes, the fuck it is!

DiAngelo brings up racially conscious behavior, such as not going to a particular place, acting overly nice, mimicking black mannerisms or using code words to talk negatively about people of color. How many of my white friends, neighbors or colleagues are guilty of this?

"The most profound message of racial segregation may be that the absence of people of color from our lives is no real loss." Do whites acknowledge the value that people of color add to their lives? I am not convinced this is taught. For if it was, our white peers would protect us. Stand up for us. Support us more. Believe us. Deem us equal. Call out problematic behavior. Automatically know our lives matter without it having to become a movement. And realize that the call to MAGA is pure racial manipulation.

08.16.2020 "White solidarity is the unspoken agreement among whites to protect white advantage and not cause another white person to feel racial discomfort by confronting them when they say or do something racially problematic." Some may cringe but majority will stay silent and not challenge the racist offensive act. Prime example is when I was told to make a professional appearance simply to show diversity. I'mma need white solidarity to cease, especially in the workplace.

Perhaps white fragility exists because white people do not carry the weight of race. I consider being black every damn day that I wake up, make a decision on how I dress, time my commute whether to be early, on time or late, my driving speed, even my greeting upon reaching destination because God forbid I not smile. It is exhausting AF to consider all of these variables daily. Yet, I have to. 
  • Am I holding up to stereotypes? 
  • Am I positively representing the black race? 
  • Do I appear intimidating or a threat? 
  • Am I addressed with respect regardless of my physical appearance? 
  • Am I a product of affirmative action or here to meet a quota? 
  • Do I have to work twice as hard today to be respected? 
  • What anti-black sentiments will I experience today? 
  • Will I be in the company of a white person I can trust?
  • Am I seen as a unique individual or just another black girl? 
  • Will police pull me over for DWB (driving while black)?
  • Can I be in a position of leadership without being seen as a challenge to white authority? 
  • Will my disagreement or raising a question appear as an attack by an angry black woman?
  • Would a George Zimmerman stand his ground against me? Would white men hunt me like Ahmaud Arbery? Is it safe to wear a hoodie like Trayvon Martin wore? 

#SayTheirNames and know it could be me or mines. About 11 years ago, I drove through a yellow traffic light. The police station was directly across the street and a patrol car was parked facing me. Within seconds, I was pulled over by the police. I did not panic but was more-so annoyed at the delay it would cause in my getting home to my comfy bed and much-needed nap after a long day of banker's hours. Besides, driving through a yellow light is not illegal and several of the police officers at this suburban precinct were my clients. Perhaps they just had a quick question for me that couldn't wait until 9 a.m. the following day.

The officer took forever to approach my car. No doubt he was already running my plates and driving record. By the time he reached my window, I had a full on attitude. I did not recognize him and asked if he was a rookie. That was probably strike one to his ego. He already had the ticket written. I went on a rant how he pulled me over unnecessarily, didn't give me the courtesy of asking why I thought I was stopped but instead wrote me a ticket immediately. I also diagnosed him with Napoleon complex somewhere in there. Strike 2. 

He finally asked for my license, registration and proof of insurance to complete filling out the ticket. He also asked if a weapon was in the car. Without thinking, I abruptly moved to open the glove compartment and he drew his gun, asking me to put hands up and slowly step out the vehicle. I rhetorically asked, "I can't open the door and get out of the car with my hands up, now can I?" The situation turned further left when he called for backup and my smart ass asked why he was scared of "lil 'ole me." Since the station was right across the street, four more cops arrived within seconds. Now there were five white officers with guns drawn pointed at me. 

Good thing the Chief of Police was a very good client of mine. I dropped his name, he arrived on the scene, apologized for the officer's behavior and sent me on my merry way. I never saw that rookie again. I'm fully aware if this situation occurred today—in such times of racial tension with Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor and Detroit's own Priscilla Slater—I would not be alive to write this. That thought weighs heavily on my spirit.

DiAngelo points out that white fragility is more than defensiveness or whining; it is a form of bullying. Throughout the book, she has successfully identified assumptions, patterns and solutions for behavior in today's culture. Racism is still here in 2020 even though some claim to not see it. Don't silence the discussion. Listen, process and engage. This live read and final book review is my first step in navigating white fragility.

Title: White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Author: Robin DiAngelo
Published: June 2018
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️

Welcome to the 2nd Literary Marie's Live Read! If you follow me on Twitter, you are familiar with my live tweeting of television and music. This is the space where I "live read" my reactions while reading. Bookmark and revisit this page to see my live updates and final book-to-movie adaptation review of The Spook Who Sat by the Door, a black literature classic written by Sam Greenlee in 1969.

This 50-year-old novel focuses on civil rights and black militancy. A politician needs supporters in the black community so he instigates the CIA to hire black high-ranking officers. Dan Freeman is enlisted in the elite espionage program and becomes the first black CIA agent.

After mastering agency tactics, Dan Freeman retires. On paper, he works with the youth in Chicago. In actuality, he's training black youth to be Freedom Fighters. His goal is to ensure black people's rights and equality for all. If that means overthrowing the white government, so be it. No one suspects the spook who sat by the door.

Admittedly, I have glossed over this book for years. I had no interest until Nipsey Hussle's reference on Victory Lap album and interviews. And to discover there is a movie adaptation too! In the spirit of 🏁THE MARATHON CONTINUES, please join me beginning Thursday, August 8.

08.08.2019 I am in the habit of reading for 30 minutes before bed. And so my live read begins!

08.18.2019 So I probably shouldn't have picked such a heavy book in the midst of vacays. EEK!

09.02.2019 What better way to spend Labor Day than to read about the first black CIA agent?

"You know they call CIA agents spooks?"  Nope, I had no idea. So that's where the title comes from! And it makes sense. Dan Freeman has a way of fading into the background and blending in. He became what others wanted him to be for the sake of his agenda. Nice chess move!

"A showpiece spade is a showpiece spade, no matter how many times he gets his picture in the papers or how much bread he makes." and "They'll use me, but they'll never like me." Whew—message times two! I have certainly felt this way in Corporate America. No matter the size of my salary or how often I am publicly praised, I will still be "you know...the black girl. Her!" This book makes it painfully clear that society has not improved its thinking when it comes to race identity and equality.

"He was considered an example of Negro progress." As if the majority of Negroes are not expected to succeed. Dan Freeman proved wrong though! He soaked up knowledge and took it back to his community. Maybe this is one of the many reasons Nipsey Hussle references this book.

09.07.2019 It has been five days since I finished reading The Spook Who Sat by the Door. The overall tones and message remain in my mind but the ending escapes me. I actually had to un-archive the eBook and re-read the last chapter twice. It is a carefree Saturday so I decided to watch the movie adaptation (found on YouTube). The quality is shit but thankfully the dialogue and pacing follows the book to a T! I was certain the visual would remind me of the ending. But you know what...minutes after the credits rolled, I sat staring at the screen confused. The ending is incomplete. Like the film tape just ran out. Like the plug fell out the outlet and the TV powered off. Like it went on commercial break and never came back on. There has to be a sequel, right?

Title: The Spook Who Sat by the Door
Author: Sam Greenlee
Director: Ivan Dixon
Cast: Lawrence Cook (Dan Freeman); Janet League (Joy); Paula Kelly (Dahomey Queen)
Book Published: March 1969
Movie Release: September 1973
Book Pages: 257
Movie Time: 1 Hour, 42 Min
Genre: Action/Crime Drama
Edition: eBook
Book Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 
Movie Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 

♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️ ♠️ ❤️
Happy Pub Day, Michelle Obama!

Hi, bookhearts! If you follow me on Twitter, you are familiar with my live tweeting of television and award shows. I sometimes live tweet my reactions while listening to new music too. So I figured, why not do the same thing for books?

I am going to "live read" Becoming, a memoir by Michelle Obama. She needs no introduction but deserves all the recognition: Former First Lady of the United States, mother of two down-to-earth daughters, wife to the first black President of the United States, one of the most iconic women of our era, initiator of a more active and healthy nation, advocate of women and girls worldwide and proud South Side Chicagoan. And she can dance too! Becoming is Michelle Obama's revelatory story in her own words, on her own terms.

I am settled in with the new hardcover edition, a cup of hot Lady Grey tea sweetened with raw honey and a touch of creamer, Walkers shortbread cookies and snug in my faux fur throw with the fireplace lit. I am in my reader's element excited to begin. I encourage buddy reading so here's the Reading Guide for book clubs and others reading along. Bookhearts, revisit this page to see my live updates and final book review.

11.14.2018 I have the hardcover and the eBook so I can read on-demand.

11.16.2018 First Lines Friday: "When I was a kid, my aspirations were simple." It is only the Preface and already I relate to Michelle Obama. As kids, we have simple thoughts as to what our future should be. Think about it—not once has a child said they look forward to paying bills, working overtime, dating or infertility. Common answers are doctor, lawyer, mother or sports player. So it really is one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up?

11.18.2018 Clearly I am taking my time reading this one. Absorbing every word because there are lessons to be learned within her reflections. For example, Chapter 1 is a story of her first piano recital. She was used to practicing on an old piano. So when seated in front of a sparkling baby grand piano, she was hesitant. Where to place her fingers? Where is the middle C key? There will be a time in our lives when we are taken out of comfort zone. Take a breath. Focus. And excel.

11.20.2018 "It takes energy to be the only black person..." I work in an industry dominated by older white men. Sixteen years in this career and I am sadly used to being the only meatball in the rice. As I move deeper into the industry and expand my professional circle, I am the only poppy seed in a bowl of salt. A young black chick is the last person expected in the room. So when Michelle Obama broke down how it takes energy to be the only black person...whew! I felt that. This is turning into a blogmoir post, let me get back to the book.

11.21.2018 "I'm not raising babies. I'm raising adults." It seems Mama & Daddy Robinson had the same parenting method as my parents.

11.22.2018 Since I am not behind the wheel, I am back-seat reading while en route to spend Thanksgiving with family. Ah, it is the little things in life that I am thankful for.

11.23.2018 The BECOMING ME section was very informative. Well-paced and set the stage for rest of the book. As I begin reading the second section, BECOMING US, a thought hits me. I could be missing out on "my" Barack! When Michelle met him, he didn't have a car, smoked cigarettes, was not fully settled in profession, and other things that are on my dealbreaker list. I need to ditch my box-checker mentality. I could be blind to a whole husband! Let this be the reason I open my eyes and "let my insanely high standards slip."

"He'd get dinged up and stay shiny, like an old copper pot." Now that's #goals! I am halfway through the book where Barack Obama was chosen to speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. That 17-minute speech was a pivotal moment, with Michelle by his side. I am forced to reflect myself. Where did my own story take a turn? Have I even reached that moment yet? Or am I too stuck in expectations and following the path of a To Do list? For sure this memoir is teaching me to ditch unhappiness in any situation that is not fulfilling. Throw my hands up and let the roller coaster do its thing. Reach continuously toward a better me. (I am aware this live reading is turning into a long ass journal entry or blogmoir post. You will deal!)

11.25.2018 The storytelling is truly mesmerizing. A working-class black girl from the South Side of Chicago became the best First Lady of the United States. Read that sentence again; I'll wait.

11.29.2018 "I'm an ordinary person who found herself on an extraordinary journey." And oh, what a journey it has been. Reading Michelle Obama's memoir is a must. It is not an option. It is more than a mere suggestion. Consider it required reading for every dignified minority whose voice should be heard and whose existence should be known.

Color me invested in the Obamas. I downloaded Barack Obama's memoir, Dreams from My Father. And I am catching up on all of the book promotion interviews, starting with Carpool Karaoke. Jam along with us by pressing play below. 🎵This is for my girls🎵

11.30.2018 Seventeen days. It took me seventeen whole days to finish a 400+ page book. Why? Because I did not want the story to end. Because I soaked up every syllable. Because I took my time reading and related each chapter to my own life experiences. In fact, all of my bookish buddies are taking their time with this one. Let me attempt to explain why.

Becoming is like a homemade meal. You are excited while grocery shopping for the ingredients (checkout in your online cart or purchasing in a brick and mortar bookstore). You get home and lay everything out on the counter (admire the book, read the description again as if it even matters at this point. Change your social media status to "currently reading.") Start preparing the meal and cooking (crack open the book and read a few chapters). Once the meal is finished cooking and you smell the aroma, your mouth is watering. You've waited for this moment of tasting your home-cooked dish. Closing your eyes in ecstasy on the first bite. But you don't want to rush it! Take your time eating (reading) until the last forkful (page). Look down at your clean plate (closed book) with a smile. What a satisfying meal (book)! Now pass on the recipe (recommendation) to friends, co-workers, loved ones, or gift a fellow American.

This memoir is so well done. Thank you for sharing your unique story with such grace, Michelle Obama.

Title: Becoming
Author: Michelle Obama
Published: November 2018
Pages: 426
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

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