Category Archives: Introductions

Introducing The Page Turner: Spinks’ Niche

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. ~ Sydney J.Harris

“Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair” but books have served as my window to the world.  They have always been there to comfort me, one page at a time.

Who is Notorious Spinks?

I’m a Blogger, entrepreneur, public relations specialist, social media maven, certified book whore and proud aunt to seven nieces, two nephews and two great-nieces.  Of all those things I’m most proud to be an aunt.  You can usually find me spoiling holding the babies in one hand with a book in the other.

The author who influenced me the most?

Hands down, Eric Jerome Dickey.  I read my first EJD novel when I was 17-years-old, Sister, Sister.  Don’t ask me what the book was about because I can’t tell you but I remember how my heart raced as I read his bio.  EJD grew up in the same neighborhood as me and we graduated from the same high school.  His success gave me reassurance that I really could do anything I wanted to do.  He made it out and I could too…

Now my favorite author is Zora Neale Hurston.  Baby I love me some Zora.  Her gumption is unmatched.  Like Zora I don’t mind giving my two sense on any issue or injustice.  *In my Bone Crusher voice* Cuz I ain’t never scared. Sometimes you just have to speak up and out.  My favorite writing from her is a letter she wrote to the editor of the Orlando Sentinel in 1955 entitled, “Court Order Can’t Make the Races Mix.”  This work from Zora continues to fuel my fire when I speak out about issues that are unpopular.  But I’m not in this to win the popularity contest either.  Shole ain’t.

What is Spinky reading?

I’m reading Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones.  It is set in Atlanta during the child murders and told from the viewpoint of a child.  So far I love it because it’s a fresh perspective on a true event as Jones was a student in Atlanta while the murders were happening.  The review will be up soon.

So if you’re looking for the Notorious One you can find me on my soapbox over at Notorious Spinks Talks.  I’m usually talking books, brands, culture and events while doing the dougie.

Until next time Spinkys.

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Introducing The Page Turners: Cashawn’s Niche

I cannot remember my life without books. I’ve been reading independently since I was about 3 or 4 years old and it has always been my favorite getaway. My mother has always been a voracious reader and made sure that my siblings and I had an endless supply of books. I grew up in a world without the Internet, uber-realistic video games and endless TV channels so books were very important to me. I was kind of little and introverted as a child, so while a lot of kids were outside rabble-rousing and being boisterous, I would be in the house reading some book. My favorite books growing up were a random book of Bible stories that my paternal grandmother gifted us one year and this huge book called “The Dictionary of Dictionaries” that appeared out of nowhere one day. It was exactly what it said it was: a book full of different dictionaries, nothing but words. Yes, I know very weird for a kid, but it has paid off.

I stopped reading kiddie books in the 8th grade when my English teacher, Ms. Cooke introduced me to Toni Morrison’s book The Bluest Eye. From there she had me reading James Baldwin, Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks. Ms. Cooke is the second biggest influence in my life outside of my mother when it comes to my love of reading and exploring and learning about Black literary culture. I read any and everything I could get my hands on by a Black author back then and quickly fell head over heels in love with Zora Neale Hurston and she is still one of my absolute favorites. I discovered Gloria Naylor, Terri McMillian and my favorite author ever, J.California Cooper in my late teens-early 20’s. They explore in depth my favorite themes of women, family, girls, Black people, love, history and relationships. So far through my 30’s, thanks to reading “Cane River” and “Red River” by Lalita Tademy, I’ve discovered a new interest in historical fiction and science fiction. Thanks to fellow Page Turners Nakia and Malca, I discovered Tananarive Due’s black sci-fi books as well. I’ve also found a love for the work of Lolita Files, Lalita Tademy, Wally Lamb, Dorothy Allison, Sue Miller and Kenji Jasper since I turned 30. Who knows what my 40’s hold in store!

I cannot gush and swoon over authors without mentioning Bernice L. McFadden. She is my favorite author ever. I cannot describe how much her work means to me. The way she tells a story is incredible. The depth of the characters and the plot structure are absolutely sublime. She writes of family and love so well, that I have been often moved to tears. She wrote my favorite book ever “Loving Donovan” and as a Black woman who writes, if I could ever tell a story the way she does, I could leave this world feeling like I “made it”, no matter where I am in life.

I’m a mom of a 16 year-old daughter who has been a book lover since before she could actually read and a very soon to be 12 year-old boy who has finally picked up the family tradition of reading after finding a series of books that speaks to him (the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan). By trade, I’m a early childhood educator, so I’ve had more than my share of experience with children’s books.

Though my interests are widespread, I will focus mainly on Sci-Fi and Historical Fiction. The genres offer a new world of discovery and adventure, and cause one to expand their realm of possibility within literature.

Right now I’m reading Uncle Otto, by Winifred Cook, which I received as a birthday gift this year from ChrisAlexander, also of The Page Turners. I guess that will be my first review for this site. Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss that or any other of the goodies we have in store on this blog.

I can also be found at my Lifestyle/Humor blog, “Dirty Pretty Thangs.”


~pbg

Introducing The Page Turners: Shydel’s Niche

My love of books started very early.

I can remember being 5-years-old, sitting in front of the stereo in the living room with my picture books sprawled out across the floor.

Mom would always buy me books that came with records. That way, I could learn how to associate the way words looked with the way they sounded.

I had quite a few picture books, but the ones that I remember most are The Lady and the Tramp, Goldielocks and the Three Bears and another book that gave lessons on how to count money and cross the street.

I still remember the chorus to the song:

When it’s time to cross the street Make sure you use your eyes before you use your feet.

The older I got, the more I turned into a literary hustle man.

Mom would buy books from Scholastics and I would let folks in the neighborhood rent them for a couple of bucks. I even read most of them beforehand and would review them for my potential customers. One Scooby Doo sticker meant the booked sucked. Three Scooby Doo stickers meant it rocked!

Sadly, once I reached high school, my mind started to drift.  With so much required reading, (Malcolm X, Romeo and Juliet, The Great Gatsby) the last thing I wanted to do was to read for fun.

Today, that has all changed!

When I walk into a bookstore, my heart flutters.  I instantly turn into the 5-year-old book worm who sung along to the records that came with his picture books.

And while it’s difficult to find time to read (I’m a nine-to-fiver, blogger, freelance writer and sometime actor) I make it my business to bury my head in a book whenever I can, even if it takes me forever to finish it.

Currently, I’m engulfed in Wally Lamb’s identical twin drama I Know This Much is True. Lamb’s casual, conversational flow is brilliant.

Although I’m a pretty slow reader, I breezed through Zoe Heller’s What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal, in eight hours flat. It’s a witty, intense drama about a teacher who starts up an affair with one of her underage students.

Suzan-Lori Parks rocked my world with her debut novel, Getting Mother’s Body, a gutsy, unconventional family drama about a pregnant teenager who goes on a quest to dig up her mother’s body in the hopes of recovering some expensive jewelry she’s alleged to be buried with.

But the first and only novel that ever really touched my heart and made me cry was Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.

*Pulls out Kleenex*

Lawd! I can’t even go into details of the novel without falling out into the ugly cry.

*Waves Hand*

If you haven’t already, read it!

I also highly recommend Aliya S. King’s juicy, salacious page turner, Platinum and The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow.  Two phenomenal books, which feature Black female protagonists written by Black female authors. Dope!

You can expect me to explore the world of short stories and children’s books that tackle mature subject matter or feature a child protagonist.

I just started Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me, narrated by a sixth grade, fatherless latchkey kid who’s helping her mother practice for her upcoming stint on the $25,000 Pyramid. They’ve got big plans for the money, but something tells me things are not going to go according to plan.

Stay tuned for my review to find out…

Introducing The Page Turners: Malca’s Niche

Hello! My name is Malca and I’m a proud book slore!

I love books and anything related to books. My mother was my influence in the reading game and I was taught to appreciate books and reading at an early age. I’ve always had a very vivid imagination.  Through reading I’ve been able to experience many adventures, fascinating characters and stories that a single mother living in a small town like me could only dream of experiencing in real life.

My favorite authors, or “Dealers” as I lovingly refer to them, are California J. Cooper, Diane McKinney Whetstone, E. Lynn Harris, Mary Monroe, and Terry McMillan. I would call myself an equal opportunity reader or addict. I’ll try almost any type of book. I don’t discrimate when it comes to the pursuit of the next great read or my next fix, as I like to say. I love to read about different cultures and books that take me to faraway places one day, and later, read a book where the protagonist is just up the block.

The last book I had the pleasure of reading was Actress Pam Grier’s amazing autobiography, Foxy: My Life In Three Acts. My next book will be the first book I’ll review for this blog, and that’s for me to know and you to find out. 🙂

I love the thrill of opening a new book and anticipating a new adventure from start to finish and I hope to convey that spirit in my reviews. Having the opportunity to lead someone else to the path of their next book fix or save someone the time and money by advising what not to read (and I will be honest) is so exciting and maybe…just maybe I’ll get to lead another reader down that wonderful path to being an all-out, no turning back, in anticipation ofthat next fix Book Slore!

Latas, Malca 🙂

Introducing The Page Turners: Alise’s Niche

Me!

I am Naturally Alise.  I am a poet, spoken word artist, blogger, social network junkie, budding web designer, and total  book whore.  I live in Durham, NC, aka  the “Bull City”.   I write poetry, social commentary, and foolishness over at my blog poetry, love, & laughs. Enough of all that, let’s jump into this!

I find television to be very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.  ~Groucho Marx

I am what one would call a reader with a voracious appetite.  Yup, I read a lot.  When I say a lot I mean I read a new book every couple days, sometimes more on the weekends.    I even went without television for a large chunk of time. It is amazing what cutting back on television can do for your life….you should really try it by either getting rid of your TV or detoxing for an extended period of time, real talk…

A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it. ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

I become so emotionally invested in the books I read.  I have even dreamed about some of them, and act like a crack fiend needing to get back to them. (i.e. the 1000+ page book I read in 2 nights).  I get sad when I am get to the last 100 pages of a book.  I am not being figurative; I really do get to feeling some kinda way.  I have even been brought to tears by some of the selections I have made lately.  Maybe it was just allergies; yeah, I am going to go with that.

If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.  ~Toni Morrison

A few of the books I read have disappointed me with their endings.  Either the endings were far fetched, or the author left no sort of conclusion that satisfied me.  This realization has kick started me to wanting to improve my writing, and be the author that writes books the way that I want to read them.   However, I have discovered this is no easy task.  So when an excellent book crosses my path I respect it on a new-found level.

A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.  ~Franz Kafka

If you do not know I am a poet and spoken word artist and reading so many books has also made me want to write more.  I have been pumping out poems left and right, usually inspired from a line or a scene in what I am reading.  My new focus on literature and art has made me a better performer, a better listener, just better…

A house without books is like a room without windows.  ~Heinrich Mann

I am not partial to any particular genre.  I read books scattered over the whole spectrum.  Sometimes I go for very serious subject matter, at times I love a good quick easy commercial “beach read”, and sometimes I love a nice suspense filled mystery.  It all depends on what day you ask me, I tend to be random in that way.  Here are some of the books I have read over the few months… if you are my friend on facebook, check out my Visual Bookshelf:

Some People, Some Other Place, J. California Cooper
The Hour I First Believed: A Novel, Wally Lamb (read this thick monster of a book in 2 days, such a page turner… this is one of the books that made me cry…)
Stalker, Faye Kellerman
Any Known Blood: A Novel, Lawerence Hill
The Book of Night Women, Marlon James
Currently Reading: One Fifth Avenue, Candace Bushnell and Betsey Brown: A Novel, Ntozake Shange
Currently Re-reading: Mama Day, Gloria Naylor (actually re-reading this for my first review for this site!)

Thrift Stores are my best friend, you can’t beat $0.25-0.50 for books (I don’t like library books, I like to own my books, because I am also a re-reader)  Speaking of re-reading my niche will be re-reading books that I read as a child/teenager (I read lots of very adult books) and giving my new found insight and critique as an adult.  Should be fun….  Welcome!

Introducing The Page Turners: Alex’s Niche

And hello.

My name is Alexander Christopher Suchandsuch, more commonly known (on these interwebs, anywho) as ChrisAlexander. I come from Planet Virginia, from a land called Hampton, where making babies and accumulating DUIs are the local pastime. Luckily, I escaped. After spending three amazing years training as a dancer and hunting Subway rats in New York City, I now reside in the land of spray tans, bad weaves and taco stands, Los Angeles. Mama, I made it.
As a full-time magical negro, I read as much as possible. You think hair grease alone produces glorious hair? (Ha!) In attempt to remain smarter than your average bear, I try to read a few books a month. Because I hope to eventually complete and publish my personal story, I enjoy mainly memoirs and any type of nonfiction. Two of my favorite writers are Richard Wright and Junot Diaz. Anything by or concerning the lives of Malcolm X or Huey Newton is also a must-have. Rather than collect shoes and cute colored babies, I am an amateur book hoarder. It’s better than drugs, yes?

Books are essential. I am an introvert. I have become even moreso since transitioning to the West Coast. I enjoy a rich interior life, and am completely fine with spending days absorbing literature. In short, books are far less disappointing than people tend to be. Here, I hope to share my passion for the written word and be exposed to more great authors and titles in the process.

Quick facts:

I am right-handed. Left-handers are dark-sided.
I am a Lupus survivor.
I have a sister. And that’s all I’ll ever say about that.
Girls who aren’t afraid to eat make the world go ’round.
Howyoudoin?
Long hair don’t care.
Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em.
Whoomp, There It Is.
And so on…

I can also be found at www.coloredboy.net.

*chris.alexander*

 

Introducing the Page Turners: Nakia’s Niche

Welcome to our little space on the internet, dedicated to the books that we read; the authors who pen them; how we feel about storylines, plots and writing styles; and how certain novels affect us. Our intention is to facilitate dialogue about literature and the role it plays in our lives.

My name is Nakia, but I go by sugaHoney in the blogging world. This blog project started from a conversation that I had with Alex, from coloredboy.net, about our current reading lists. In expressing our desire to chronicle how we feel about the books that we read, we both thought that collaborating on a blog would be a great idea. We then thought of other bloggers and friends we know through the web who also love to read, and write. So we asked Malca, who never seems to be without book in hand; Alise, voracious reader and the blogger/poet behind naturallyalise.com/blog; and Shydel, another lover of the written word and the man behind he urbaneurbanite.com.

Here we are, five bloggers ready to share our opinions, willing to let you know why we continuously turn the page, or quickly close the book. We’ll be sharing whatever books come across out paths, but we’ll also each have a specific niche or genres of literature on which we will focus.

Since I’m up first, allow me to delve into my love affair with the written word:
My mother always attributed my love of books to her consistently reading while she was pregnant with me. I started reading almost before I could talk in complete sentences. Books were the best gifts and the library was one of my favorite places. I was one of those kids who always signed up for reading programs and consistently ordered books through Scholastics. The fact that I was an only child definitely helped to foster this desire to read non stop. How else would I entertain myself when my friends weren’t available?

When I was twelve, I stumbled into the world of black literature after hearing people raving over Terry McMillan’s, Waiting to Exhale*. I remember seeing Kim walking around with it on Hillman’s campus on “A Different World”, which became my cue to ask my mom if I could read her copy. That one step opened my world right on up. Where there had once only been Madeline, James & the Giant Peach, The Babysitters Club, Ralph and the Motorcycle, and Ramona, there were now stories that reminded me of my mom and aunts, their friends, the women at church, the women in my neighborhood, the people at my school. There were books about contemporary people who looked like me! I fell in love with Terry McMillan, and eventually moved on to Toni Morrison, Bebe Moore Campbell, Tina McElroy Ansa, Gloria Naylor, Pearl Cleage, J. California Cooper, Tananarive Due, and Dianne McKinney-Whetsone.

It didn’t stop with just Black women authors, though. Walter Moseley’s Devil in a Blue Dress, Ernest Gaines’ A Gathering of Old Men, Stephen L. Carter’s The Emperor of Ocean Park , and Junot Diaz’ Drown, all won me over for life.

I eventually began looking for those who wrote of the Black experience outside of the U.S. This brought me in contact with favorites like The Seasons of Beento Blackbird by Akosua Busia, 26A by Diana Evans, Unburnable by Marie-Elena John, and two of my absolute favorites, Fruit of the Lemon and Small Island by Andrea Levy.

As I matured, I realized that I needed to step out of the box of just reading books by Black/African writers. I started with The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, followed by The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and so and so forth. In doing so, I recognized how reading is more about how seamlessly the writer can share stories of the human experience and condition, and less about if I can identify culturally with the characters.

So I plan to be all over the place with my reviews and recommendations. I love Black authors, but overall, I love good writing. I’ll share my personal picks, along with selections that my book club, BookTini, will be reading, but my specific niche will be older books that have been in print for at least 15 years or more. Think Dorothy West, Ralph Ellison, Alice Walker, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Cade Bombara. I’ll also try to focus on books with settings in foreign lands: the West Indies, Europe, Africa, Asia, South America (I cant wait to delve into The Unaccustomed Earth, Powder Necklace, Dog War, and The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives) .

Stay tuned for introductions to our other contributors throughout the rest of this week. I definitely hope you enjoy what we have to share.

We’re here to inspire you to turn the page.