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Showing posts from 2018

Fly Like a Girl, Move Among the Stars & Ponder the Universe

#CardynBrooksReviews #books Sky Girls by Gene Nora Jessen with Foreword by Eileen Collins Aviation non-fiction history Originally published March 1, 2002; Sourcebooks reprint edition August 18, 2018 Opening with a foreword from retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Eileen Collins who was a NASA astronaut and also the first female commander of a space shuttle, this 2018 reissue of 2002’s The Powder Puff Derby of 1929 starts with a brief overview of aviation from ballooning in the 1700s. Transitions between centuries, generations, and innovations jump a bit from point to point in the introduction, but smooth out in the main text where the daily log format including thumbnail biographical sketches of this cast of intriguing real-life characters establishes the narrative structure of an exciting and dangerous adventure being retold by the survivors to their heirs. Gene Nora Jessen’s immense knowledge of aviation mechanics and lore combined with her direct access to a few of

Snapshots of Lives Real and Imagined

A Stranger's Pose  by Emmanuel Iduma and Abraham Oghobase, et al. with foreword by Teju Cole Cassava Republic Press creative non-fiction memoir with photographs Scheduled for release this week, here's last week's review: Black Girls Must Die Exhausted  by Jayne Allen Quality Black Books  September 2018 contemporary adult fiction with chick lit leanings There is a substantive distinction between BLACK fiction and fiction written about characters who happen to be black, among other traits, that’s difficult to quantify. Black Girls Must Die Exhausted , the first entry in a scheduled trilogy, falls into the latter category. It is integrated in ways that mainstream contemporary fiction rarely is beyond ethnicity, including socioeconomic class, geographic region, age, and gender. Blend a 21 st -century New Adult version of Waiting to Ex


As of October 31, 2018 the Private Moments Publishing imprint of 5 Prince Media is closed. Margins run lean even for the big 5 publishers and those margins are paper thin for indies and small presses. My thanks to Bernadette Marie for being a supportive publisher who is also a talented author who respects other authors. Working with her and her team strengthened my writing and enriched my life. Sites that are offering DE for exorbitant prices are not affiliated with me in any way. Happy Writing & Reading to all! Cardyn P.S. I'm still deciding when and how to reissue DE.

#NaNoWriMo Readathon Saturday, November 3, 2018

Happy National Novel Writing Month! This is what you missed at the #NaNoWriMo Readathon at the Bowie Branch Library Saturday, November 3 rd : novelists a poet an essayist a playwright a memoirist dedicated readers games free “I <3 Books” T-shirts All brought together by a phenomenal librarian! Where are the photos of the event and my display? You ask. Well, snapping pics never seems to make it onto my mental to-do list until AFTER an event has ended. (A chronic oversight that’s likely Freudian in nature.) Blame my camera averse inner hermit, who also didn’t want to video record my segment. But my parents* (the same people who frequently call me about “fixing” the solid blue screen on their television) did. The blurry photo of me standing in profile leaning forward with my shirt baggy at the waist (SO flattering!) is their contribution as my self-appointed film crew. (It was a very good natural hair day though.) All of the writers we

The Persistence of Memoirs and Venn Diagrams of Identity

There's some thematic overlap in these lives lived by two very different men on different continents. The Life and Times of a Very British Man by Kamal Ahmed   Heavy, An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon Scribner  October 16, 2018 non-fiction literature This intimate mosaic of a complicated, messy life rendered in four parts is as emotionally substantive as it is viscerally grueling. On page 6 when the author asks his grandmother “…whether she minded if we talked about words, memory, emergencies, weight, and sexual violence in our family,” he’s warning readers as well. Born in Jackson, Mississippi in the mid-1970s to college undergrads in economically impoverished circumstances, Kiese Laymon eventually earned a tenured position at Vassar, an impressive accomplishment made more so by the details of all of the obstacles, setbacks, and dangers he

Baltimore Book Festival Saturday, September 29, 2018

Where Are All the Asian Beach Reads? Moderator: Aesthetic Distance 's Eliza Romero Panelists: Jay ( - apologies for missing his last name - in for Dr. Tamara Bhalla), Sunny J. Reed, Vanessa Ulrich, Keith Chow   Takeaways: Middle-brow literature determines current cultural baselines. Accessibility to inclusive middle-brow lit is essential for the diaspora of readers. Incompetent diversity in casts of characters sucks a bushel of lemons. Transracial adoption and racial mirroring are underrepresented in middle-brow lit. Book rec's: Prep The Private Citizens Free Food for Millionaires Some of the panelists' media content: Nerds of Color Sunny J. Reed blog Plan A Magazine Primpy Sheep Afrofuturism: Black Panther, Janelle Monae, and the Spaces in Between  Moderator: Justina Ireland, author of Dead Nation and editor(?) of Fiyah Magazine  Panelists: Bill Campbell (Rosarium Publishing), Kosoko Jackson, Irette Y. Patterson, L. Penelope Takeaway: Reim

Last Gasp by Howard Levine   Last Gasp by Howard Levine contemporary (ca. 2010) adult thriller Black Opal Books* September 2018 In Last Gasp , what has become the pervasive threat of mass casualty events due to the intentions of terrorists sets the stage for a thriller with a tale of two brothers at its core. Spinning out from the hub of Vietnam War veteran Frank Tedeschi’s personal and professional relationships, each connection moves the investigation into the conspiracy theory forward, while incorporating momentum from past events. The blending of the present-day events in 2010 with Frank’s experiences in the 1970s highlights the similarities between two generations of debate about patriotism. Zealotry of all kinds is portrayed and challenged, as in this passage on page 24: Both factions justified their positions with quotes from the Koran, which was seemingly every bit as malleable as the Bible. Last Gasp combines social com

A Modern Memoir, Ancient Mythology, the Cosmos and a Whodunit

Always Another Country, A Memoir of Exile and Home by Sisonke Msimang  World Editions 4 September 2018 non-fiction feminist literature An individual’s memoir always includes other people, families, and communities. Context matters. In Always Another Country , generations of the author’s family embark upon a nomadic sojourn from South Africa to Russia, Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya, Canada, and Ethiopia, then back to Zambia in an overlapping circuitous route across continents and decades that ultimately returns them to South Africa with excursions into the United States soon after the election of Nelson Mandela as president of S.A. The integrity of their family connections between each other and their nation or origin gets challenged and changed by their experiences in each temporary homestead. While “Families are nothing without the stories they tell,” is proclaimed on page 111, this idea of personal history as collaborative narration is visually established with a pers

There's No Place Like Home

image from  Always Another Country by Sisonke Msimang

National Read A Book Day, Thursday, September 6, 2018

  This is your brain.   This is your brain on books.  (An artistic interpretation of firing synapses)   Questions?  Read a book to discover the answers.  Happy Reading!

National Book Fest, Saturday, September 1, 2018

A later than planned departure from home kept me from making it to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s session, but that allowed me to attend all of Tayari Jones’s talk, which was awesome. Tayari Jones Highlights: ·          She’s a strong advocate for supporting the National Endowment for the Arts. ·          Her ultimate message today remains the same as it was 7 years ago: Follow your dreams with the expectation that the universe will rise to meet you. ·          Glowing remarks about a mentor who has helped her in countless ways. That mentor was also being featured at #NatBookFest, possibly speaking at the same time in a different ballroom. ·          Her thoughts on being raised in a society where girls were either good or not good. T.J. read a lot and spent substantial time in the library, making her a good girl because “no one gets pregnant in the library.” Librarians told her that’s not true. (Hank-panky in the stacks? Oh, my.) ·          T.J.