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  • Book Review| Where You Are Is Not Who You Are by Ursula Burns

    #bookrec 👋🏽Hey y’all…I spontaneously bought this new (released 2021) memoir by Ursula Burns shortly after reading her recent interview in the July-Aug 2021 edition of @HarvardBusinessReview, mainly to get the tea ☕️ on how she gracefully (or not) handled the activist investor 😵‍💫 making waves during her tenure as CEO of Xerox. However, the book doesn’t focus much on that at all. A delightful surprise!😀 Major 📚 theme: #dothework #teamworkmakesthedreamwork Much of this short read focuses on her upbringing, volunteer work, family life and what she felt were the most impactful elements that led to her success. Burns also details (as much as her executive departure contract allows 😉) a few major projects in which she spearheaded while gaining more responsibility at Xerox as well as the relationship dynamics she and the preceding CEO shared over the years while recollecting both a few wins and lessons learned. As the first woman CEO in the Fortune 500 to be preceded by another woman CEO (Anne M. Mulcahy ⬅️ patiently waiting on the book too!⁉️) and as the first African American woman CEO of a Fortune 500, she contributes the hardworking strict values instilled from her mother, outspokenness, smarts, dedication, and mentors as major contributing factors. To get a sense of her personality while reading, I mixed a few of her past YouTube videos into the rotation and enjoyed her down to earth, straightforward, honest energy. 🤓 . Have you read this yet? Share your thoughts in the comments below 👇🏽! Happy Reading Friends, Xoxoxoxoxox, ROTR As always feel free to join the book chats by following on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

  • Book Chat| Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

    Hello Bookish Friends, welcome to a new installment of ROTR community book chat! In our Book Chat series, followers and ROTR blog community members write us to share their thoughts on books that have offered personal impactful insights into their lives. We love receiving and sharing these stories with our community to inspire connection, discussion, empathy and to discover new reads. Yes, please! Keep reading to lean more about how the Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech changed Joshua Labata's outlook on life: In all honesty, I wasn’t exactly young when I picked up the book. However, I was young enough to shrug off a children’s book as something puerile and bygone. My mother picked Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons for me from a bargain bin at a bookstore for a handful of pesos, and it showed. Tortured spine, frayed pages, the smell of literary dust we so often romanticize: that was the book. My shelf housed it in my indifference for about a year at the least. On a late-night whim of the adolescent mundane, I forked out the worn thing and parted its fragile form. The book swept across me in a startling lucidity. There’s a sweet and serene bliss in simple and potent prose, and this bliss washed across me as I read. I could picture Salamanca curled in the backseat of her grandparents’ car. A fluttering shaft of sunlight plays across her young and troubled face. If I reached my hand out of that car, I could feel the wind caress my palm. Seeing the colors and contours of each thing detailed by the text, I’d never experienced this kind of reading before. Perhaps it was the time I read the text that awakened this experiential sense of reading in me. It’s funny because all these years later I can still drift to what I saw then; I can experience a memory of a manifestation. As our protagonist enthusiastically recounts her life, shadows of that flashback play out from behind her. However, in the name of a more romanticized narrative, I say this reading was born truly of the text. Like the sacred tomes of some glimmering fantasy world, this book seemed to endow me with some supernatural ability, enlivening a capability I’d never experienced: to relieve instead of merely read. However, this book isn’t so prized to me merely because it was intrinsically such a fantastical tale and auxiliary for my imagination. This book is prized to me because it pivoted my interests afterward. I read a lot of incredible books. Gaiman’s American Gods kindled an insightfulness to the mythology of our everyday lives and Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, the unapologetic behemoth that it is, buried a romance and lust for philosophy in my life and my writing. All the while, I submerged into this literary manifold, knifing through that prosaic and familiar membrane of text. I began reading well to live elsewhere. Read all about how The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins inspired another RTOR community member by clicking Here! There’s admittedly some storytelling symmetry that the catalyst for this newfound love in life would be the one to present the hardship of life as well. This catalyst was my mother, my first storyteller, and her cancer diagnosis arrived shortly after I finished Walk Two Moons. Every time I recall the experience after my mother’s diagnosis, I picture it starved color, achromatic. The grey tiled floor of the hospital she stayed sprawls into a miserable infinity in my mind. It smells of dried roses and sounds like a suppressed electrical hum. Soon, the typical retreats into the variegated confines of reading failed to alleviate the emotional strain. It was colorless there. So, compromises arose. Through self-pity, alcohol, and like vices, I encumbered myself to cope. As one can easily imagine, this attempt quickly fell short. What’s more symmetrical than grief’s arrival from joy than a continuance of a story by revisiting its beginning. I arrived once more to Walk Two Moons, and its second and greater boon emerged. I had been so engrossed in its prose and immediate story that my focal fell away from its very truth. Its entire story was all about coping with loss, veiled within its astounding beauty; within a world of text hid a means to live within our world. The book was preparing me for what was and had already come. Coping is cruel but it must be confrontational to live well. So, I began to write with my friends. If I couldn’t rekindle the vibrance in what I read, I would write it. Eloise was the name of our eventual storytelling darling, an ingenue and her innocence victimized by fate. Her city floats above a resource-starved dystopia, its bronze sheen rivaling the sun that it graces so closely towards. She travels back in time through a world of supernatural cruelty, seeking to placate these terrors only to exacerbate them. It’s an incredible story rife with magic, metaphysics, and our own personal experiences of life, and that’s why we haven’t finished it all these years later. It is a story that reflects the two tenets taught by Creech’s writing: writing is for escaping our world and, more importantly, facing one’s own. I’m still writing, that color flooding back with every attempt I take at penning a tale, and that’s more than enough. It’s because of a simple children’s book, my mother’s book-buying budget, and my imaginative friends that I compose this little story now. I write out of gratefulness, in a way. I want people to experience these wonderful worlds of my imagination to take on their own, just as I did. Instead of reading well to live elsewhere, I began to live well with writing, here. Writer Joshua Labata can be found here: (Instagram) @joshua._.lab (Email) Want to be featured in the ROTR BookChat Series? Contact Us!

  • Book Chat| The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    Hello Bookish Friends, welcome to our first ROTR community book chat! In our Book Chat series, followers and ROTR blog community members write us to share their thoughts on books that have offered personal impactful insights into their lives. We love receiving and sharing these stories with our community to inspire connection, discussion, empathy and to discover new reads. Yes, please! Keep reading to lean more about how the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins changed Nabila Shafa's outlook on life: I remember reading The Hunger Games for the first time back in high school. It was a book that changed my perspective on novels forever. Since then, I have read and reread the book countless times, and it still keeps surprising me. I’d find some new details every time I would read it, some new fact that I would notice, made me fall in love with the books even more. Of course, there was also the satisfaction I’d get every time Katniss did something unbelievably brave, or show her fiery side. The sadness I’d feel seeing the sufferings of the districts. And then there were the deaths, so many deaths, so much sadness, pain beyond something that I’ve read from a book. The first time I read the book, was the first time I cried because of a book character. Before this, no book has been able to make me cry, and I read a lot. I cried for sweet little Rue, who was the eldest of six siblings, only twelve years old, who has never had a full belly, who was so happy to get a full drumstick for herself. Her death was so tragic, so painful, I sometimes think it hurt me more than Prim’s death. While Prim’s death was more tragic for me, and I absolutely resented the author for ending the book with that, I could never get over Rue’s death either. It was even more amplified when in Catching Fire, Katniss and Peeta does the victory tour and they see the Rue’s family. It was like I reliving her death once again. The second book of the trilogy, Catching Fire might be one of my favorite one, because this is where everything comes into play, the plot becomes more focused. Also the fact that this is where the uprising came more into focus, it showed how angry the districts were, how there was a show of solidarity. Especially the interview before the games began, when they held hands in solidarity, it just felt like they were adding fuel to a fire that I couldn’t still see but felt in my bones. And then the games began and it was such a rush, it was exhilarating, no more trekking for miles looking for water. I remember how brave and kind Mags was, how she sacrificed herself. How the Morphling sacrificed herself for Peeta. Everything was moving too fast, nothing made sense and then it all did. They were all in on the secret except for Katniss, and since the book was from her point of view, I as a reader was just as clueless as her. The third book, Mockingjay, was a little difficult to swallow, it was death and destruction from the beginning. I don’t know how many times I teared up or flat out cried throughout the whole book. The visit to district twelve, seeing the ruins and the bones. The visit to the hospital in District 8, the bombing, the speech. And then there was the rescue mission and Peeta trying to kill Katniss. That was one of the best plot twist I have ever read. Everything was made up and yet it made so much sense, she built the plot up from book one with the hallucinations Katniss got from the Tracer Jacker venom. And then came the last fight, the 76th hunger games as Finnick would put it. Then the deaths came, everyone I ever liked started to die one by one. One horrifying tragedy after another. Until of course the biggest of all tragedy happened, the parachutes floated down with bombs, killing the children. I remember how Katniss saw Prim among the medics, how she was calling out to Prim, rushing to her, how Prim even turned and saw Katniss, her mouth moving as if to call out Katniss, and the rogue bomb exploded. Prim was dead, and I couldn’t believe it. The fact the book started with Katniss doing everything in her power to save Prim and in the end for her to die like that. Even the pact that Katniss killed President Coin, it just wasn’t enough. It left a void in me that I could never feel. I have since then read the books countless times more and every time that void would get a little smaller. Of course I never analyzed anything when I read the books for the first time, I just read it because they were such good books. But the more I read them, I started noticing things more and one of those times, I realized Prim’s death was essential for the plot in a way. It was the only way Katniss would have believed president Snow when he told her the theory of how it was Coin who ordered the bomb disposal. Maybe there were other ways too, and I would always be wondering about that. But in the end I accepted her death, accepted the fact that the Hungers Games trilogy will always be a tragedy for me. No amount of happy ending could change that. It made me evolve as a reader, I could never go back to reading the books I have ever thought were good before I read this trilogy. It made me realize there was so much more to a book than the typical hero saving the day. The hero can be vulnerable and they can be weak. And yet through all that they can get up and fight because they believe in the right cause. Writer Nabila Shafa can be reached on Facebook: Want to be featured in the ROTR BookChat Series? Contact Us!

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    ROTR Freebies Free Books! Book of the Month Discount link Free Downloads Now! Join Our Bookish Community Visit ROTR Blog! Join the ROTR Bookclub! Get Our Monthly NewsLetter! About Me For Authors Submit a request for us to review your book! Short Story Sunday Series Writing for Beginners Business Inquiries Contact Us Form Lifestyle ROTR Travel Inspirations Series LuLu Natural Candles ROTR Amazon Wishlist Social Media GoodReads Facebook Instagram YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

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