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- Book Review| Heavy by Kiese Laymond
“I wanted to write a lie”….these are some of the first few words of the critically acclaimed memoir, Heavy by Kiese Laymond. Laymon continues, “I wanted to write an American Memoir”. These two quotes, though succinct, outline his reality that finding love, for himself and others, as an African American male, was different than the universal American love story in which is inherently believed. What is now being played out in current events via protests around the world against police brutality, Laymond skillfully writes as a personalized perceptive account that can be easily relayed to diverse audiences. Simplistic, effective, emotional, and neutral -this American Memoir is as American as the celebrated Educated by Tara Westover. Exhibiting brave pursuance of the liberty in telling ones own unique story is as American as it gets. ✨Laymond, an English professor at University of Mississippi, accounts his personal journey as an African American male in learning how to responsibly love while navigating barriers in which most are unaware; Named a Best Book of 2018 by the New York Times, it’s written in the form of a letter to his mother, using their relationship as a baseline to which he approaches all others -inherently transferring not only the jubilant emotional currency but also the traumatic. “ I did not want to write to you. I did not want to write honestly about black lies, black thighs, black loves, black laughs, black foods, black addictions, black stretch marks, black dollars, black words, black abuses, black blues, black belly buttons, black wins, black beens, black bends, black consent, black parents, or black children. I did not want to write about us.” ~Kiese Laymond In this work, Laymond’s writing style is basic and untraditional, conversational even. A fitting style for the structural literary theme. The title can be subjective, that is, based on the experience that shape the readers’ lenses. It can reference the eating disorder Laymond possessed, the weight of keeping these stories a secret from his mother for so long, the hypothetical weight of being a “black body” in America, the weight of processes his story as an observer and so on. Herein lies the beauty of this work. The grace is which Laymond is able to relay the needs of his younger self with words untraditionally used to reference a “large male black body” is admirable: soft words, tender words, vulnerable words. This cross draws an emotional response from the reader to more closely experience Laymond’s discourse in feeling these emotions while navigating a world rejecting the notion that he should in fact feel them. Expectations applied both by those inside and external to his community. Astutely, the central storyline revolves around the human body. A reference to his human body, it’s conscious and subconscious experiences as he comes of age: social phycological trauma, physical beatings, sexual experiences -those welcomed and unwelcome, the complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, romantic interests and more. Some of the more heartbreaking passages describe he and his friends trying to make sense of being labeled “gross” from a White teacher. These passages account them trying to decipher why that word and if it was something they had done to cause this choice of language. Happier passages outline the support and uplift of he and his friends for one another as they navigated trials together, as well as the warming hope of his mother and grandmother in him becoming the next great writer of his time. Chapter Synopsis: I. Boy Man a. Train b. Nan c. Wet d. Be II. Black Abundance a. Meager b. Contraction c. Hulk d. Gumption III. Home Worked a. Fantastic b. Disaster c. Already d. Soon IV. Addict Americans a. Greens b. Terrors c. Seat Belts Promises There is so much to intellectually unpack in this novel which may add to the list of reasons it is already used as supplementary text in some collegiate classrooms. Its ambivalence, in a sense, allows each reader to write and evaluate their own coming of age stories in parallel and subsequently relate it to the social climate of today. The New York Times writes, “…this generous, searching book explores all the forces that can stop even the most buoyant hopes from ever leaving the ground.” A drawback to this artwork is that the reader is left wanting more. It is obvious that some parts of the story are intentionally left out. As the reader you can’t help but feel like Laymond wants to tell you something but can’t. Towards the end of the novel, Laymond eludes that his mother may have asked for some parts to be removed from the original transcript before publication. This book is an intimate conversation. One that everyone should have. One that “confront[s] the terrifying possibility that few of us know how to responsibly love”. Happy Reading Friends! Xoxoxoxoxoxox, ROTR Follow ROTR on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Share this review with a fellow book lover! Check out a raw honest and gripping interview with the author of HEAVY by Kiese Laymon with the SmartBrownGirl Bookclub by YouTube influencer @Joulzey:
- Book Review| Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
Hi 👋🏽 bookish friends! Sending a big warm WELCOME to all the newbies following @readingonthernblog. We are so glad that you are here! The rules of probability say that you are likely reading this post in search of a well written, entertaining and educational book. You’ve come to the right place. Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman (@deborah_feldman ) is a memoir detailing how and why the author decided to leave her Orthodox Hasidic Jewish Community to eventually flee to Germany (of all places!). Having previously never exiting Williamsburg, a small town in Brooklyn, New York where ancestors of her community settled, Feldman bravely left behind the only way of life she had ever known. #Netflix, a video streaming service, features a limited series of the same name. Though motion picture is very entertaining, every reader knows the book is always better. For a busy book lover like myself, the @audible #audiobook version was very enjoyable. Fittingly, it is exquisitely read by Rachel Botchan and Cassandra Campbell. Feldman’s writing may be just as exquisite, very formal, yet exquisite non-the-less. Feldman has curated a writing style which maintains the beauty of literary formalities yet still manages to pull the reader into the story, avoiding the scholastic composition essay feel that some writers just can’t manage to shake. In this memoir, initially we are introduced to young Deborah being raised by her deeply religious and devoted grandparents, evaluating if her destiny is already predetermined based on the fate of her biological parents. The first chapter takes the reader through a vivid mirage of how, as a child, she found her “Superpower: acting convincingly, getting others to believe what she truly doesn’t feel”. A superpower which would allow her to maintain solace in her community until she ultimately decides to leave. “If you have no roots, you have no legacy. All our worth is defined by the worth of our ancestors. We make the name for our children. [I wondered] who would want me with no name to pass on?” ~Deborah Feldman Deborah’s mother, originally from a separate Jewish community in Europe, married her father at a young age, moved away from home and attempted to start a family as expected. Later she would learn that her husband is socially inept, maybe mentally ill, which causes her to break under the pressure of cultural norms. With no choice other than to leave Deborah behind, her mother escaped the community, never to look back. At least, until it was Deborah’s turn to marry. Naturally curious, witty, intelligent and with a deep desire to be helpful, Deborah outlines a case which leads the reader to assume it was almost impossible for her to meet the expectations of her community. For example, as a child Deborah loved to read all books, which in her community was forbidden for women, especially those of the Holy book (“Talmud”). Several chapters refer to her hiding books or hiding the knowledge she had gained from reading books to assimilate. Reading books was even a negotiation in which she needed to make with her husband during their marriage. A secret he would agree to keep from their respective families as well. Reading the Talmud is where Feldman associates the loss of her innocence: a point where she stopped believing in authority. This was also compounded by her reading other forbidden readings detailing fellow community members being in the “outside world”. Though located in the heart of New York City, following the rules of her community meant no outside influence from the “Goys”, a term reserved for anyone not of the Hasidic Jewish community and even extended to her mother once exiled. Feldman gracefully guides the reader through phases of her childhood, education, romantic engagements, marriage, motherhood and eventually exit of the community. Also, we get to see the smaller linear steps which lead her to become a talented writer. Her thirst for knowledge, sparked a love for reading which set a fire for writing. A Goy English teacher, contracted to teach at a private school in her community, challenged her to learn writing as an art. Eventually this led Deborah to becoming a teacher in Williamsburg and pursuing a formal education outside of her community (also forbidden). After starting a blog about her Orthodox Jewish experiences, Deborah extraordinarily landed her first book deal. Seeing this opportunity as her way out, she wrote a raw, gripping tale about experiences that very few shared. “Later in my adulthood, I’ll [look back] and understand that I wasn’t equipped as a child to make room for arguments that would undermine every single choice made for me. That would shatter the foundations of my very existence. I would see that I had to believe everything I was taught if only to survive. For a long time, I wouldn’t be ready to accept that my world view could be wrong.” ~Deborah Feldman One of the most interesting storylines in the book is of Deborah and her husband. It is presented as a strange shell of a love story tainted by cultural expectations. An environment where Deborah describes no greater love could exist than that of the rules and goals of the community as a whole. One in which she (and their son) could never be primary. The updated audio version includes an Epilogue and Afterward in which Feldman writes about the aftermath of the book. Saddening events in which the community she once belonged equates her to some of the most horrible human beings in history because of her perceived betrayal in Deborah positioning the Hasidic Jewish Community as extremism. I struggled with writing this review. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and story, Feldman shares a deeply personal topic. One that includes a community, her community, that descends from a very public painful past. One of experiences that I personally could never know the intimacies of, which makes me apprehensive in sharing an opinion. However, I find stories like Feldman’s to be some of my favorite stories. Ones that in some way may be parallel to many but tends to seldom share the spotlight. Ones that are perceived to never intersect with the rest of the world. Well written personal stories that connect the dots on distant pages, teaching us that all of our stories intersect, none are parallel; it’s just a matter of time. The human experience doesn’t need proximity. We are all connected. The public reasons that make the history of this story sensitive and uncomfortable are the same reasons that must have made it extremely difficult for Feldman to write and share with the world. Whether one knows very little or much about this topic, Unorthodox is a symbolism of courage. Without confirming or denying the conclusions Feldman proposes or the actions that followed, one of the most freeing and difficult actions for those in a mature value structure is to, not only, question the norms but also take the responsibility of deciding whether to propagate those norms. Even if that means the opposite of what everyone in the structure has ever taught. Feldman decided to become the hero of her own story. For those reasons, this is a story for everyone. Chapter Synopsis: Prologue Chapter 1: In Search of My Secret Power Chapter 2: The Age of My Innocence Chapter 3: The Dawning of Knowledge Chapter 4: The Inferiority of My Connections Chapter 5: Possessed of purpose Chapter 6: Not Worth Fighting For Chapter 7: Costly Ambitions Chapter 8: Justice Prevails Chapter 9: Up in Arms Epilogue Afterword Happy Reading Friends, Xoxoxoxoxo, ROTR Follow ROTR on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Share this review with a fellow book lover!
- Book List| For the Collegiate Humanities Non-fiction Lovers (A Trio!) 🤓
Hi Bookish Friends! ROTR caught just the right book sale at Barnes and Nobles a few weeks ago and ended up somewhat randomly picking a non-fiction trio currently leading the collegiate humanities sector 🤓. Full reviews on the blog! 💕 ✨Heavy by Kiese Laymond, an English professor at University of Mississippi, accounts his personal journey as an AA male in learning how to responsibly love while navigating barriers in which most are unaware; Named a Best Book of 2018 by the NYT, it’s written in the form of a letter to his mother, using their relationship as a baseline to which he approaches all others -inherently transferring not only the jubilant emotional currency but also the traumatic. The writing style is basic and untraditional, conversational even. See the ROTR full review Here! ✨Edge by Laura Huang, a Harvard university business professor, is about finding your distinguishing factor using the worlds lens. She hypothesizes that everyone is subject to stereotypes/bias therefore, depending on what that is, hard work might not be enough alone to get ahead. She writes about how to use the opinions of you from others (good or bad) as an advantage in communication, branding and business relations. The writing is fun and relational mixing business & psychology. Huang is one of the youngest Harvard business professors, making the 40 Best Business School Professors Under 40 list by Poets & Quants. See ROTR full review Here! ✨Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is a NYT best seller which takes a sociological look at the western norms of romantic love by gender. The writing style is sophisticated and maintains an air of astuteness. It accounts the true stories of three women who end up in undesirable circumstances all in the name of “love”, how society either accepts or rejects these notions and the effects. Based on eight years of immersive research it “explores desire, heartbreak, and infatuation in all its messy, complicated nuance.” ~Washington Post Happy Reading Friends! Xoxoxoxoxoxo, RTOR Follow ROTR on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Share this review with a fellow book lover!
- Book Review| Addiction by Robert Reddic
Here at ROTR we love receiving book mail! A few weeks ago, Author Robert Reddic III, a long-time follower of the @readingontherunblog sent in a signed copy of his book requesting a review. Thanks! Keep reading for the details and to learn how you can win a signed copy for yourself. Reddic, better known as Robert Reddic III, is a Navy vet and father with a passion for story telling. Reddic's first book, Addicted, is a fictional story that follows an American family through a journey of triumphs and failures due to an assortment of familial additions. The front cover design touts a picture of two identical young ladies with distinct facial expressions in an intense stare enticing the reader to ponder their similarities and differences. The book is 282 pages long, cover-to-cover offering over 30 chapters of love, pain, and reconciliation. Author synopsis- Addiction: A family that is afflicted by their own personal addictions. Join the Austin family, as they go through life. See how a wealthy family in the New York suburbs deals with life’s difficulties. Grow with each family member as they attempt to beat their own demons, and move passed their fight with addiction. The story begins with Trevor and Mary meeting in the year 1980 while attending college in the New York City area. Despite being from a racist family, Mary falls in love with Trevor, an African American marketing major from a past very opposite of her own. While planning a life together, her father refuses to support Mary’s decision. Trevor becomes fearful of losing the one person he loves the most and his feelings of insecurity send him to the casino one too many times. This causing the need for the couple and family members to clean up after his growing gambling addiction. After the wedding, Trevor and Mary go on to have identical twins, Elizabeth and Nicole, subsequently losing a son at birth. The tragic loss spirals Mary into an opioid addiction. As Elizabeth and Nicole grow, it becomes obvious that the two girls are on different trajectories. Elizabeth, beautiful and talented, struggles with becoming a workaholic while Nicole’s feelings of inadequacy leads her to drug and alcohol addiction. Most of the story focuses on Elizabeth and Nicole, and can be interpreted to symbolize the domino effects of trauma within families. Each chapter of the book is marked by the year (between 1980 and 2017) and highlights a significant familial moment or event. The chapters are short enough to enjoy the entire book in doses making it a good “one chapter per night” nightstand read. Addiction is written in third person leaving the reader to desire knowledge of events outside of the narrator’s point of view. This can work for the audience in a way that allows the reader to take the story and make it personal to them by inserting familiar scenarios. The opposite can also be true if the reader interprets the narrator as an anonymous character which could give the reader a distant feel to the family, almost as if hearing a story from a stranger. Also, there are few scenic descriptions which may make it more difficult for the reader to melt into the story and adds little to the reader’s effort at personalizing the story as mentioned above. Reddic’s love for story telling is obvious by the showcased tenacity and passion in reaching out to ROTR for a review. Written in 2017, Addiction is Reddic’s first published book following a six-year enlistment in the Navy (thank you for your service) and a ten-year hiatus from exploring his love for writing. The writing here in Addicted is formal and, at times, stiff however the story is interesting, linear and complete. The reader won’t be able to help rooting for the family to win, as are we with this new up and coming writer. We are very much looking forward to Reddic’s next body of work. Dear Reddic, please remember to send your friends at ROTR a copy of the next one as well! We thank you for the honor. To purchase your own copy of Addicted, visit www.robertreddicauthor.com or follow the author on Instagram (@robertreddicauthor). To win a a signed copy gifted to ROTR, send us an email telling us why you love the blog! Entries must be submitted before October 31, 2020. Happy Reading Friends! Xoxoxoxoxoxo ROTR Follow ReadingOnTheRun Blog on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter . Share this review with a fellow book lover!
- Author Exclusive: Lynette Davis
Hi ROTR friends! Hit the links below for an exclusive chat with Lynette Davis, author of Success to Die For. These video interviews offer advice to aspiring writers and give us an inside look to why mental health is such an important topic in the business world today. You can find Lynette Davis on her blog at http://lynettedavis.com/ and on Facebook Advice for aspiring writers: Full Interview: Happy Reading friends! Xoxoxoxoxo, ROTR
- Book Review| The Coldest Winter Ever: A Novel by Sister Souljah
As the July fiction pick for the ROTR Book Club, this book did not disappoint! Warning! This engulfing, thrilling piece of Urban Contemporary Literature may cause side effects of sleepiness due to late night reading better known as “Can’t put it down” syndrome, and may (absolutely does) contain graphic sex scenes and explicit language. It's twenty chapters of naughty. The main character and narrator, Winter Santiaga is beautiful, young, smart, and…untouchable. Born into a crime family, as the daughter of the head man in charge, Winter has the world at her fingertips. At least until her world comes crashing down around her and everyone she knew, even trusted, turned their backs on her. The Coldest Winter Ever is the debut fictional novel of Sister Souljah. Originally published in 1999, the novel has gained a cult like following causing regular surges in new interest. With a new sequel novel, about the main character Winter, due out this year (2020), interest is currently a buzz. Though Souljah has written three follow-up books over the years based on supporting characters in the story, Winter seems to remain the favorite among fans. “Now a bad bitch is a woman who handles her business without making it seem like business. Only dumb girls let love get them delirious…” ~Winter Santiaga In this novel, Winter, named after the weather climate during her birth, is the oldest of four and takes full responsibility for looking out for…herself. With a selfish nature she finds it hard to consider the needs of others and doesn’t fully recognize the effects of her actions on those around her. Souljah does an exquisite job creating an antagonistic main character provoking the reader to desperately desire warning Winter of all her wrong choices before the aftermath. Following her father's decision to move the family, including herself, mother, baby sister and twin sisters, to a mansion in the Long Island suburbs of New York City for protection, Winter hatches a plan to keep life interesting. Defying all the rules and centering her decisions around money, clothes, jewels and sex, Winter finds herself in one problematic situation after another. Though cold-hearted, Winter has one warm center that she can’t shake. A mid-level worker for her father named Midnight. Tall, dark, handsome, smart and mysterious -Midnight carries himself like a man with a mission and is unimpressed with all that is important to Winter. Throughout the story Winter is at the mercy of the men in her life without even knowing it. She remains in a mirage in which she is always in charge, calling the shots. Mid-way though the book, Winter meets a woman who tries to help her see that the life she admires so much will only lead to destruction, to no avail. So, what’s the overall theme of the story? If you ask fans of the book, each one would probably give a different answer. However, one thing is agreeable: the author sets out to empower women and urban communities. Throughout the story, Souljah consistently includes themes involving stopping the cycle of brokenness within families, and the destruction of communities via drugs. It’s obvious because…well, the author tells us so. Souljah offers a collector’s edition of the book on the Amazon Kindle App which includes personal interviews and character assessments written by the author herself. The activist explains that she wanted to create a character in which young urban people could identify. She wanted to offer an experience that would allow the reader to witness the outcomes of poor decision making, hopefully before they have the chance to harm themselves in real life -all while expressing the value of community and mutual respect. By the end of the story, after a wild ride, you’ll feel the same way. The collector’s edition also includes two follow up books (prequels) which allow readers to learn more about Midnight, Winter’s love interest. So…we’ve got more reading to do! This book is recommended if you are looking for a weekend of entertainment. It’s a thriller filled with twists, turns and oh so much scandal. Books by Sister Souljah The Coldest Winter Ever (1999) Midnight: A Gangster Love Story (2008) Midnight and The Meaning of Love (2011) A Deeper Love Inside (2013) As always, Happy Reading Friends! Xoxoxoxo ROTR As always feel free to join the book chats by following www.readingontherun.com on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
- Book List| August 2020 #TBR list
Happy August Friends! It’s a new month so here at readingontherun.com, that means time for a new #tbr reading list and a new giveaway! Announcement: The winners of our July giveaway are: My Spiritual Journey by the Dalai Lama (@bing111 via Instagram), and A Million Little Pieces by James Frey (@meecheroo85 via Instagram) Congratulations to our winners! Remember to post and tag ROTR on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to let us know if you enjoy the read(s). Winners must DM @readingontherunblog with a shipping address before August 31, 2020 to receive their free book. This month I will be giving away a copy of Hustle and Heart by Patricia Bright. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to learn more on how to enter our monthly giveaways. Keep reading if you want to learn more about my August #tbr list. What’s on your “to-be-read” list this month? Happy Reading Friends, Xoxoxoxoxox ROTR Evicted by Mathew Desmond Non-Fiction/ Buy on Amazon I took a sociology class at University that opened my eyes to the complicated nature of poverty. In fact, it’s magnitude here in America is quite unique. This book landed on both Bill Gate’s and former United States President Barack Obama’s reading list a few years ago. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winning account of eight families from the poorest neighborhoods in Milwaukee trying to secure housing. Harvard Sociologist, Mathew Desmond, sets out to change the way we view poverty in America and highlights the centralized importance of “Home”. The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein Non-Fiction/ Buy on Amazon Currently the nonfiction @rotor_bookclub pick, The Color of Law is essentially a historical look-back at the governmental laws, policies and practices that contributed to racially segregated neighborhoods in the United States of America. Included are meticulous research and personal accounts of those immediately impacted. Rothstein, a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, sets out to make the case of governmental action in reversing the effects of unconstitutional segregation. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn Fiction/ Buy on Amazon If you don’t know already, Gillian Flynn is the author of the wildly popular, New York Times Best Selling book Gone Girl. Sharp Objects is Flynn’s debut novel published six years prior (2006), now an Emmy nominated limited series on the HBO network. Its plot follows main character Camille, a reporter newly released from a psych hospital. Once released, her first assignment requires a return to her tiny, dreadful hometown. Camille desperately tries to outrun her demons while investigating several bizarre murders of young girls in a town she despises. Flynn’s style is original, dark and suspenseful. This should be a highly entertaining read. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey Non-Fiction/ Buy on Amazon This is an oldie but goodie! Going 15 years strong as a top seller, this book sets out to unveil the habits that are common to some of the most successful people so we too can apply them to our goals. Things here at readingontherun.com are picking up nowadays and I need a little help being more efficient and effective getting content to you all. I’ve read this book a few times over the years for various projects and I find something new every time.
- Book Review| Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth
Hi Friends! A few blog posts ago our happy reading friends here at ReadingOnTheRun.com hosted @rule1fit to give us some much needed Travel Inspiration from Alaska. Before we let @rule1fit get back to work we asked her to recommend a book (or two) to satisfy our #bookcravings. Check out her answer below. Enjoy! ROTR asked me to recommend my favorite book. It is not about Alaska, and I could not think of a way to work it into my travel post. But, I cannot leave here without recommending a light hearted read called Cheaper by the Dozen. I know what you are thinking, “isn’t that a movie with Steve Martin?” Yes. But, the movie is definitely “inspired” rather than a faithful portrayal. I’m an engineer. I’m a female engineer. Cheaper by the Dozen, and its sequel Belles on their Toes, is about the founders of industrial engineering: the Gilbreths. This husband and wife duo invented the field together. Lilian Gilbreth became the first industrial engineering PhD in history – not the first female industrial engineering PhD. The first one. She’s been dubbed the “mother of modern management.” She invented the foot pedal trash can, standardized the height of the stove, invented the kitchen work triangle (the distance between stove, sink, and refrigerator), and a slew of other things you use every single day. She and her husband Frank decided on their honeymoon to have twelve children – and they did.Their escapades as a family are captured in Cheaper by the Dozen and its sequel. The first book is primarily about Frank Gilbreth and his development of motion minimization, efficiency, and ergonomics and the refinement of his theories that came through practicing them on his children. He truly inspired me to teach my children more, to hold my standards higher, and to believe in their abilities to have competence, to contribute, and to connect at the earliest ages. The second book is about Lilian Gilbreth following the death of Frank, charting her course to care for the remaining 11 children by continuing to develop this field of engineering. If you want the happiest of reads, a family of spunk and joy, and a couple that inspires you to load the dishwasher faster and with less extraneous movement so that you have more time to dream big dreams, this is your book. I have to say one more thing. This book. This Cheaper by the Dozen for all its hilarity inspired me immensely to look at my life and eliminate the wasted movement, the wasted time, the wasted emotional energy and channel my efforts towards good, high, lovely pursuits. I believe it inspired me to build my latest effort – a website/blog (Rule1Fitness.com) dedicated to habit formation and becoming fit forever. It isn’t a fitness method so much as it is my life philosophy. It is everything I have learned from decision analysis, project management, investing, and engineering applied to healthy living. The one rule I live by is to never give up my gains. It involves having a vision for my life and then building habits one at a time that will help me fulfill that vision. I’ve discovered that habits are the key to unlocking my vision because they keep me perpetually moving forward even if my conscious mind is called away by something urgent. To make it concrete, my habits make my healthy lunch or march me to the gym for a work out while my conscious mind is dealing with the dilemma of the day! Without habits, those daily dilemmas derail me every single time. My mission is to give people the tools to create their own autopilot, made up of their habits, that continuously drives them towards their ultimate vision, which, hopefully, includes being healthy and fit! Happy Reading Friends! Xoxoxoxoxo, ROTR Are you interested in being featured in the ROTR blog? Visit our Contact Us page to submit a request.
- Book Review| Heart & Hustle by Patricia Bright
Heart & Hustle: Use your passion. Build your brand. Achieve your dreams. (226 pgs.) is an official millennial pep-talk packaged in lovely purple hues (book jacket) with white accents (hard cover). Following a sweet dedication to her daughter named Grace, Patricia Bright takes the reader on a winding, time-lapsed, nonsequential journey beginning with the deportation of her father during childhood while growing up in South London, to turning millions of social media followers into a multimillion-dollar business. The book is filled with endeavors of motivational stories, references to basic research sources for supporting material and “Life Lessons” from the author, inclusive of interview techniques to land your first job. There are a total of 39 Life Lessons throughout. Also, included are spaces, little nooks and crannies, that allow the reader to reflect, write and document making it in part memoir, self-help and goal journal. Bright is a successful millennial Youtuber based in London who focuses her channel on fashion and lifestyle. Recently, the business maven also launched The Break Platform, a channel focusing on teaching business and finances which already boasts over a quarter million followers. "But what I’ve learned is that ultimately it doesn’t matter whether someone’s got a degree or not. It’s all about whether someone can apply themselves to a task, even if it isn’t the most glamorous thing to do, and deliver results. Success lies in the ability to learn and consistently execute."~Patricia Bright Though upbeat and appealing to the eye, outside of the few personal stories Patricia shares, this book doesn’t really offer any new information. The value it brings to the reader is examples of how the author stays motivated, focused and approaches setbacks. If you are already a fan of Bright, you may find yourself closing the last chapter a little disappointed. The energetic, comedic wisdom that jumps off the screen during her videos doesn’t quite come across these pages the same way. We do however get a peek of what we love most about her: insights on the origins of Patricia’s glamorous yet practical theories around hard work, money, love and parenthood. Considering the differences in English spellings and slang usage between British (UK) and American written correspondence (for example, words using “s” instead of “z” – recognise vs. recognize), there are multiple misspellings (or were they?) and typos before we even get to page 30. You’ll likely find a few here on ROTR so don’t dismiss this read just yet. To all the literature buffs, just know that - no, Patricia is not a writer of masterpieces. More like a social media giant who earned a book deal and was under a tight deadline. You won’t find beautiful sentence structures, scene descriptions or elegant syntax. However there is value in this read for those needing a confidence boost when thinking of working for themselves. "The truth is, as with many things in life, a lot of us know what to do, but actually get up, be consistent and follow-up -that’s the challenge we must rise to." ~Patricia Bright The title Hustle & Heart can be applied to Patricia’s muti-hustle nature which is described during the first few chapters and may be the most inspiring part of the book. As one of her very first jobs, Patricia recollects selling door-to-door from a kitchen catalog with a group of neighborhood friends which later lead to an “official” job in retail -fueling her passion for fashion. Throughout her journey in retail, Patricia kept multiple side hustles: styling hair, selling makeup and making YouTube videos. At University, as a result of loneliness, she began spending hours a day online in beauty chatrooms. After college, Patricia went on to grow a successful career in financial consulting and banking while continuing to work on her YouTube channel. Following a layoff and a few bad bosses, her YouTube channel (and resulting revenue) began to grow. She then made the tough decision to become a full-time social medical star subsequently hitting 1 million followers on YouTube in 2017. The book concludes with Life Lessons on self-love and a list of book recommendations for the win (see below)! Chapter Summary: Introduction 1. Natural-Born Hustler 2. Yes, I work for myself on the Internet! 3. The importance of building a following on Social Media 4. The science bit – practical advice for building up a social media profile 5. Taking your audience to the next level of growth 6. Online vs. Real Life 7. Create your wealth 8. A career vs. Going at it alone 9. How to run your empire 10. A woman’s world 11. Discovering who you are (and what you value) 12. Staying the course in style 13. The power of a Pep-talk 14. Streamline the Stress Away 15. Feeling Good From the outside in Time to Say Goodbye Patricia Bright’s recommended Reading List 1. Feel the fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers 2. I am the problem by Soozey Johnstone 3. The Athena Doctrine by John Gerzema and Michael ‘Antonio 4. The 5 second rule: Transform your life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins 5. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money -That the Poor and Middle Class Do not! By Robert Kiyosaki, with Sharon Lechter 6. Money Masters of Our Time by John Train As always, Happy Reading Friends! Xoxoxoxoxoxo, ROTR Want to be featured on ReadingOnTheRun? Send us a note @email@example.com ! Let's book chat on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
- Book Review| A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
Hi Friends, welcome back. Today we are going to do another fun color with me and book chat. So, grab your coloring books and markers. Like this video and subscribe to this channel if you want more of these book chats and book reviews. In the comment section below, let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought about it. Let’s get started. As always, I’ll post the completed version of the pages we color together on the ReadingOnTheRun blog. Scandal Alert! A Million Little Pieces by James Frey is a memoir originally published in 2003 with rave reviews and even an Oprah’s Book Club shout out. It’s a memoir documenting James’ stint in rehab, at 23 years old, for a decade old Addiction to Alcohol, Crack, Cocaine and Glue. The writing style is superbly bursting with emotion and personality all of which ebbs and flows with his mental state changes throughout the process of attempting to get sober. The simplistic, repetitive language, absence of traditional story punctuations (quotations and chapter numbers) and stylistic run-on sentences transports the reader into the world of addiction. There is no doubt that James Frey is a distinctively talented writer. This is a recommended enjoyable read. One issue though…. it’s not true! Ok, some of it is not true…it’s a bit complicated. Let me tell you. Now, if you are new to the literary world, let me orient you a bit. A memoir is supposed to be non-fiction piece of literature. Meaning, it’s supposed to be a true story. Shortly after this book was released it was found that some of the stories included in this memoir (and later, other books by Frey) was proven untrue. Specifically described as suspiciously untrue in this book is an occasion that Frey describes where he visits the dentist and gets two root canals and two caps on rotten, broken teeth without any anesthesia…only using stress balls and a favorite children’s book for comfort. Let. That. Sink. In. The Addiction Clinic in which James attended has no record of this incident. “An Addict is an Addict. It doesn’t matter whether the Addict is white, black, yellow or green, rich or poor or somewhere in the middle, the most famous person on the Planet or the most unknown. It doesn’t matter whether the addiction is drugs, alcohol, crime, sex, shopping, food, gambling, television, or the fucking Flintstones. The life of the Addict is always the same. There is no excitement, no glamour, no fun. There is no future and no escape. There is only an obsession. An all-encompassing, fully enveloping, completely overwhelming obsession.” ~James Frey The story opens up with Frey on a plane, drunk, high, with a hole in his cheek and no knowledge of how he ended up there. Over the next few chapters we, the readers, follow James from the care of his parents to one of the best recovery facilities in the United States. While in the Minnesota facility, through James’ experience, we meet a slew of interesting “characters”. We initially meet Larry, a man desperately trying to get well so he can return to his family, only to find out he may have unknowingly given them all HIV. Another man, Matty, is introduced as the former light weight boxing champion of the world, now a shriveled-up addict fighting for sobriety. Ed is a loudmouth who had his hair plugs pulled out from the husband of a former lover before being admitted to the sobriety center. Leonard is an organized crime boss who grows fond of James and looks out for him while they spend time in the facility. Miles is a Judge, astute, educated, an obvious leader who plays the clarinet when he feels the urge of addiction. Lilly is a damaged beauty recovering from addiction to make her grandmother proud and falling for James fast. The feeling seems to be mutual. Addictive even. The facility is filled with all types of people from every walk of life. Also, we meet interesting authoritative figures, leading the patients to sobriety from experience as all of the clinic employees are also recovering addicts. James reveals bits and pieces of his life throughout the book including the fact that he didn’t believe his trauma originated from home. He grew up in a loving, healthy family. When his family moved to a small town his only friend was hit by a passing train in an accident that he was believed to be responsible because of a lie he told. We get to watch James weave in and out of his inner most feelings of love, betrayal, hate, pride, and fear. As he begins to build a relationship with Lilly, he reveals is virginity was given to a prostitute in a moment of pity for himself. This only make him hate himself more. You can’t help but root for James as he fights for sobriety. I bought my copy of the book (could be your copy soon! See giveaway info below) during a book haul at a used bookstore some time ago (video is on YouTube channel). Included in it are notes from the author and publisher respectively addressing the untruth accusations and their respective actions that shortly followed. Frey explains that the story is from the mind of a recovering addict (his own) and may have been embellished. The publisher all but apologizes for backing Frey before knowing all of the facts. None-the-less Frey insists that the stories are true to him and his experience as a recovering addict. Now if the knowledge that this is a well-written, highly engulfing, must-read doesn’t make you want to read this book, the scandal will! Giveaway: Win a copy of A Million Little Pieces by James Frey *Must Complete all of the following* 1. Like this Instagram & Facebook Post 2. Follow ROTR on Instagram and Facebook 3. Tag a friend who would love to read this book in the comment section below! 4. U.S. Shipping Only. Giveaway ends 7/31/20 12am CST As Always, happy reading friends! Xoxoxoxoxox, ROTR
- Travel Inspiration| The Awe of that Alaska Glow
Meet Eileen, a fit coach, life coach, healthy living enthusiast, engineer and mother of two! As a Texas native now living in Alaska with her family, Eileen has offered to take us happy reading friends, here at ROTR, on a journey through the beauty of Alaska and all its wonder. You can follow Eileen on Instagram (@Rule1Fit) or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website rule1fitness.com for her trusted healthy living tips. Read all the way to the end for a special treat: A pic of ROTR and @Rule1Fit on an adventure of their own! Enjoy this Travel Inspo post friends! Alaska was never on my list. I mean it was sort of always on my list, but in an “eventually” sort of way. Then, my husband came home and started talking about Alaska… in an “immediate” sort of way. So, my “eventually” for a visit became “immediate” for a permanent residence. Now, I happen to be the type of city girl who has never wanted to be a city girl. I got married to a country man thinking that we would live somewhere out in the middle of nowhere with some horses. I did not realize I was marrying a “go anywhere, do anything” man with a passion for not going back to the country… at least the country where he grew up. Air Fare – Round Trip $600-$1000. On Alaska Airlines, if you book your trip now with travel dates prior to the 12/31/2020, you can change or cancel without any penalties. Plus, the first class fares were $500 each way when I last checked, which is pretty much the lowest I have ever seen. AirBnB rates are seasonal in Alaska and can vary widely. Winter rates are much lower than summer. We paid $70/night for a long term stay, but short term runs $100/night winter and $150/night summer. I can personally recommend this Airbnb in Anchorage, which is a great launch pad to day trips around South Central Alaska. Did you know that the whole world glows bright as if there is a full moon shining during a snow storm? I did not know. I woke up, in Alaska, to a glow one night and went to the window to look for the full moon, but instead found giant white flakes falling fast. Snow. Instantly, Alaskans came alive. Not that they weren’t alive before. They were out in shorts at Costco (a supermarket) because it was above twenty degrees Fahrenheit. When the snow comes in, the skis come out. Cross country, down hill, alpine touring! We practice the “when in Rome” life philosophy. We put our two kids (2 and 4) in downhill skis and took them to an amazing resort called Alyeska (imagine a southerner pronouncing Alaska and you will know how to correctly say Al – ee – es – ka.) This resort is in a little town called Girdwood, AK just 45 minutes south of the Anchorage airport. As I understand it, and don’t take my word for it, the resort is not as large as Telluride in Colorado. However, what it lacks in number of runs it makes up for in breathtaking beauty. All of Alaska is epic. Truly, epic. You overlook the Turnagain Arm (an offshoot from the Pacific Ocean) and the Alaska Range from the upper mountain runs and a tram will bring non-skiers up to a restaurant called the Seven Glaciers… because you get to look at seven glaciers. Let me say one more thing about Alaska and its epic-ness. I have personal gratitude to Alaska for having very accessible mountains. I get altitude sickness… as ROTR well knows from one of our personal trips to Colorado. The amazing thing about the Alaska range is that the mountains are steep and they are high and they are gorgeous and they start at SEA LEVEL. This gives you all the joy of mountain climbing, hiking, skiing, biking, trail running, bouldering, parasailing, and whatever other things you can think of doing without the thin air (and, for me, without the altitude sickness). If you go to Denali, the bet is off. That puppy is 18,000 feet high. Bring your oxygen. But, like I said, you don’t have to go far to experience epic Alaska because all of Alaska is epic. Close to Girdwood and Alyeska is the town of Whittier. It’s a town where the entire population lives in the same apartment building. It’s a fishing village at the gateway to the Prince William Sound. There are a couple of good restaurants with fresh halibut fish and chips, but you should go there to hike the Portage Pass. You can take a train or car through a bi-directional tunnel. There is a published schedule listing the times that the tunnel changes direction and a charge of $13 for passenger vehicles. The hike is steep, but manageable. There is something other worldly about the Prince William Sound stretching out behind you and the mountains stretching out in front of you, all the while knowing that you will see the brilliantly blue Portage Glacier and Portage Lake below when you reach the peak. You can make it all the way to the lake if you are willing to continue another mile along the trail, or you can head back down to the rock beach on the Sound and dip your feet and pick up shells. While you are there, if the days awastin’, head back through the tunnel (remember to check the schedule) and visit the Portage Lake. It’s a much shorter trip to take the Portage Glacier Cruise to see the Portage Glacier up close. The glacial winds, as you can imagine, are brisk and stiff! It’s quite a sight. When in Alaska, prepare to experience the wilderness. This is not a trip for gastronomes. You might find some great seafood – especially salmon, halibut, clams – but the trip to Alaska is about enjoying untamed glorious Nature. Glorious Nature. I’ve usually fallen into the gastronome bucket, but my mind has been opened to the amazing flavors packed into a sack lunch eaten following an epic hike. A healthy amount of tired makes everything taste delicious. Happy Travels Friends! Xoxoxoxoxo, ROTR Are you interested in being featured in the ROTR Travel Inspiration series? Visit our Contact Us page to submit a request.
- Book List| July 2020 #TBR list
As we all know, it's important to have goals! New month new reading goals... As we adjust and adapt to the current changing healthcare climate, and actively advocate for causes we support, it's important for us to make time for self-care. If you are a fellow book lover or just want to read more this year, start by making a "to-be-read" (#tbr) list of your own... A friend of mine recently asked how I find time to read so many books. Then, a few more friends asked me the same question. I plan to do an entire blog post answering that exact question, but I'll give you a sneak peek here: I always keep a running list of books that I want to read on hand! In the social media book world, we call it a #TBR (to be read) list. It's easy to make one, just open the notes tab on the electronic device of your choice and label it "TBR" (or a pen and paper is just fine) then go about your regularly scheduled program. When you come across a book that seems interesting to you, whether via TV, Radio, a friend or readingontherun.com , write it down. Before you know it, you'll have a list of books that you couldn't possibly finish in a lifetime. Therefore, you can never use the excuse "I just have nothing to read". Of course, you could always just sign-up for our book club and we'll send you plenty of good books for consideration. I picked a few from my list for this month. Check out my July #tbr list below. Enjoy! A Million Little pieces by James Frey Non-Fiction/Memoir This memoir chronicles James' sobriety journey over his 6 weeks in rehab recovering from addiction to Alcohol and other substances. This book spent time on the bestsellers list (sparking a "little" scandal) and the critics call it a story of triumph! Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman Non-Fiction/Memoir You may have seen a preview for a limited series of the same name on Netflix. I watched all four episodes in one day and then decided the book it was loosely based on would be better (as always). Unorthodox is a story about how Deborah Feldman decided to leave her Orthodox Hasidic Jewish Community and flee to Germany alone (of all places!), having previously never stepping a foot outside of New York where her community still lives. Heart & Hustle: Use your passion. Build your brand. Achieve your dreams by Patricia Bright Non-Fiction/Memoir Patricia Bright is a larger than life social media personality boasting millions of followers across multiple platforms. After being laid-off from her corporate finance job and succeeding at having one video go viral on YouTube, she decided to pursue a full-time social media career. Patricia brings her signature bright smile, quick wit, London (UK) roots and Nigerian heritage to the party every time. I am looking forward to sharing some laughs with her in this read. (Get the Book) The Coldest Winter Ever: A Novel by Sista Souljah Fiction/Contemporary Urban Literature A re-read (after decades!) in preparation for the next book on my list, this is a story about a young girl named Winter living in New York City coming of age in an organized crime family. Beware, Winter is not always a "likable" main character which makes the story that much better at drawing in and engulfing the reader. Sista Souljah is a master storyteller. I agreed to re-read this one with a friend so it should be fun! Feel free to join us! (Get the book -Kindle Edition) Midnight by Sista Souljah Fiction/Contemporary Urban Literature The character Midnight is a love interest we, the readers, meet in The Coldest Winter Ever: A Novel. The mystery of Midnight is a large part of the allure for fans of the original book. Therefore, nine years later, the author, Sista Souljah began releasing what is now a three-part series to give fans more insight to "Midnight". This series turned out to be just as popular with fans! (Get the book -Kindle Edition) As always feel free to join the book chats by following www.readingontherun.com on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. As always, Happy Reading Friends! Xoxoxoxoxox, RTOR