The Four Agreements is, per the author, a practical guide to personal freedom. It presents the Toltec manner of thought regarding our reality and how to live in it without limiting ourselves or letting others limit us.

The Four Agreements are:

Be Impeccable With Your Word

Don't Take Anything Personally

Don't Make Assumptions

Always Do Your Best


There are some inspiring passages in the book and the author has a unique (Toltec?) way of looking at things. In some ways it reminds me of The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav.
Diamond, here's a brief summary of a new Mosley book....

Fear Itself, A Fearless Jones Novel, by Walter Mosley
(Little, Brown and Company)
Los Angeles in the 1950s is a hard place to be, and Fearless Jones is a bad man who's done hard time and just wants to get it right. In this second Fearless thriller, Mosley's trademark hard-boiled meditations turn to class-and how those who love to lay claim to it often have none at all. Paris Minton needs the help of his old friend Fearless to find out what's happened to one of the City of Angels' favorite sons. When their quest takes them up the social ladder, they discover the truth about being bourgeois.
A technothriller is an action adventure book where there is lots of description of military hardware and new gadgets, i.e. Tom Clancy.
"Act of War" is written by a former Air Force officer who talks about some of the technology that is just around the corner, ie unmanned war planes and cybergenetic battle suits that gives soldiers five times their strength.
If you think that sounds like sci fi, I have seen documentaries which say the military is currently developing technology like this.
Crude robot vehicles were used for bomb disposal in Iraq.
quote:
Originally posted by motik:
If you think that sounds like sci fi, I have seen documentaries which say the military is currently developing technology like this.

oh I'm sure that's a reality - I wasn't sure whether you were a NeuroMancer William Gibson fan.
I personally despise the moral and conscious 'distance' that unmanned killing machines can give/allow the operator.
Australia's version of Tom Clancy is Matthew Reilly - quite a successful writer at 31yrs old.
The techno-style stories I like are more sci-fi style.
quote:
Originally posted by Yssys:
I'm trying to get my hot little hands on the book "Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America "Charisse Johnson and Kumea Shorter-Gooden.


i just finished this book this week and the coldest winter ever by sistah souljah. I'm looking for something new to read.
I finished "The Darkest Child" by Dolores Phillips. It was a very interesting and enlightening novel. My book club had a very heated discussion on the various characters and their situation in this novel. I thought the author did a wonderful job keeping your interest. I couldn't put the book down it really held my interest. Very good read.
quote:
Originally posted by FireFly:
quote:
Originally posted by Santana St. Cloud:
Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins.

I haven't read it, but this is quite a popular in Australia... how are you finding it?
.


I really like it! I'm quick to believe that much of what he writes actually happened. I think some people think Perkins embellishes his story. But, if anything, it seems to confirm all the things I hate about politricks.

Also, I find it interesting how he often uses words like slave/slavery/plantation to describe how the corporatocracy exploits underdeveloped nations and their poor.
Focusing on my children...

I'm reading... (again)

The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer

and

The Private Eye/ (5x) Looking/Thinking by Analogy: A Guide to Developing the Interdisciplinary Mind Hands-On Thinking Skills, Creativity, Scientific Literacy by Kerry Reuf



Peace,
Virtue
I'm reading "Kindred" by Olivia Butler. After her recent death, I felt ashamed that I'd never read any of Ms Butler's work. It's a great book.

I'm on a personal quest to find recent books by black authors that aren't porn, soft porn, or just plain old junk.
quote:
I'm reading "Kindred" by Olivia Butler.


A sci-fi reading friend let me borrow "Parable of the Sowers" a couple of years ago. (I don't read a lot of fiction, let alone science fiction.) I finally read it earlier this year. Two days after I finished it, Ms. Butler died.

R.I.P.

quote:
I'm on a personal quest to find recent books by black authors that aren't porn, soft porn, or just plain old junk.


Stay away from "B-Boy Blues." A co-worker recommended this one to me years ago; she loved it! Let's just say, books like that are the reason I don't read a lot of fiction. :ugh:
I've been fascinated by the events which occurred in Cambodia, and the Khmer Rouge communist regime, 1975-1979. Pol Pot, what a monster; and the role that the U.S and Nixon played in this is mind boggling. Choeung Ek and Tuol Sleng, are comparable to Auschwitz, and Darfur, and..........


Books I just finished:
Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors, Dith Pran and Kim DePaul
and, The Triumph of Meanness: America's War Against Its Better Self
and, Pol Pot, Anatomy of a Nightmare

The New Killing Fields: Massacre and the Poitics of Intervention
--------------------------------------------------------


I've also been reading about concentration camps throughout history, around the world, ie.
Shark Island, or Haifisch Island, which is a small island off the coastal city of Lüderitz in Namibia which is used as a campsite for tourists.
Haifisch Island was the site of a concentration camp from 1904 to 1907 in which prisoners of the Herero and Nama tribes were worked to death and experimented on. Forced labour from the camps were used to build Lüderitz and local railways. Other camps existed throughout the then German South-West Africa and sites like Swakopmund, Windhoek, and Okahandja. The Herero and Namaka genocide was recognized both by the United Nations and Germany. (Wikipedia)



Rivers of Blood, Rivers of Gold: Europe's Conquest of Indigenous Peoples

Advancing the revisionist tradition, Cocker's book demonstrates the gruesome similarities among events usually seen as radically disparate: the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the British takeover of Tasmania, the subjugation of the Apache in the American Southwest and the German wars in Southwest Africa. Cocker, a writer for the British Guardian, demonstrates that in all four cases the same processes were at work, and each produced the same results: the devastation of native people (Cocker estimates that as many as 50 million were killed). He describes military efforts by the Europeans, from the Spanish conquest of the great Mexican city of Tenochtitl n to the German ambush and massacre of women and children in the tiny African village of Hornzranz. The vestiges of colonial cruelty, he argues, continue even in a world that supposedly abandoned the horrors of colonialism after WWII. "For large numbers of Europeans and those of European descent," he writes, "tribal peoples remain a defeated and immaterial branch of humanity. We have a duty to make their story part of our own." Wisely, Cocker is not solely Eurocentric in his condemnations; throughout, he acknowledges that barbarities can be found all over the globe and throughout history, giving his account greater sweep. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, this superbly written book deserves a wide readership. (source:Amazon.com/Publishers Weekly)
quote:
Originally posted by Santana St. Cloud:
quote:
"Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by Perkins.

"The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" by Palast



I finished the first one about a month ago. I'm thinking of buying the audio version of the second one. I started reading Palast's latest, "Armed Madhouse."


Just a few pages into "Armed Madhouse" and Palast footnotes a reference to "face-off" he had with Perkins, calling him "one deviously brillant corporate trickster."

Small world.
quote:
Originally posted by Fagunwa:
Just finished Love by Toni Morrison now reading Glyph by Percival Everett. Both great black authors who's books never fail me.


Just finished reading "The Sky in Not the Limit" by Neil deGrasse Tyson. I liked it SO much!!! I have a stash of books in my desk drawer at work. One of them is "Love". However, instead of grabbing it I decided to grab "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville.

I really wanted to read MD after reading Cornel West's "Democracy Matters." He says Melville was antiracist, anti-imperialist and loved democracy. West also calls MD "an indictment of American imperialism" and "a call for multiracial solidarity."

And I thought it was just about a whale.
HUNG BY SCOTT POULSON-BRYANT

ITS ABOUT THE MYTH OR FACT OF THE BLACK'S MAN GENITAL.

HE IS VERY OPEN IN THIS BOOK---MAYBE A LITTLE TOO OPEN, BUT HE'S A GOOD WRITER. I LIKED IT. HE'S FRESH, HE'S DIFFERENT, AND HE'S GONNA RISE I THINK.

I ALSO LIKE CARL WEBER, ERICK JEROME DICKEY AND ZANE.

IF YOU ARE NOT OPEN MINDED, I DONT SUGGEST YOU READ THIS BOOK "HUNG".
quote:
Originally posted by donna12:
HUNG BY SCOTT POULSON-BRYANT


Is it a book to learn from or is it supposed to be something light?

Hung has been on my reading list for so long, but while what little I read was entertaining, I didn't feel I got anything new from it (which is something I wanted).

Except for terms.

I stole the term "White girl-ed" and White boy-ed from an excerpt I read.

Did a thread here about the WG thang.

Homage to SPB, of course.
Hung Up on Size
The author of a new book about an old stereotype discusses America's fixation on measuring up.
By Brian Keith Jackson




Q + A with Scott Poulson-Bryant

The cover of Scott Poulson-Bryant's new book, Hung: A Meditation on the Measure of Black Men in America, is none too subtle: A ruler is slapped across an image of a chiseled, shirtless man. But what about the meditation part? Brian Keith Jackson spoke with him.


Your title doesn't leave much to the imagination.
The title came to me before the book did. I loved the idea of black men historically and stereotypically being considered well hung. But there was also a time when black men were being hung from trees for being well hung"”a supposed threat to white American culture during slavery, Jim Crow, and afterward.



Okay, but what about that ruler? Isn't that exploiting the exploitation a little?
I wanted a ruler on the cover. I'd be lying if I said there's no power to be derived from the myth.


Have you derived much power from it?
I was a sophomore at Brown, and I met a white girl at a party. We had sex. She'd come after me. I didn't pursue her. Afterward, she basically said, "I thought your dick would be bigger." I asked her why, and she said, "Because you're black." And I said, "I did too." That isn't to say that I have a tiny dick, because I don't. But I always thought as a black man I should have a certain number. That's what society teaches you.


But how are you trying to advance the conversation about all this?
Enough people talk about it, so I figured maybe they'd want one brotha's perspective on it. There was a time when as black men we were the discussion"”but not part of the discussion. The mere fact that I can be is a step forward.


So what have people been saying about your contribution to the discussion?
Women love the book.


And men?
Black gay men do. Some white guys that I've talked to have really been excited"”well, not excited, but into what I was talking about. One white guy sent me an e-mail and said, "What you don't deal with in the book is the perspective of dick size. A seven-inch dick on a guy who is five foot five is going to look different on a guy who is six foot nine." Probably, but that's not what the book is about.
quote:
Originally posted by donna12:
HUNG BY SCOTT POULSON-BRYANT

ITS ABOUT THE MYTH OR FACT OF THE BLACK'S MAN GENITAL.

HE IS VERY OPEN IN THIS BOOK---MAYBE A LITTLE TOO OPEN, BUT HE'S A GOOD WRITER. I LIKED IT. HE'S FRESH, HE'S DIFFERENT, AND HE'S GONNA RISE I THINK.


"AND HE'S GONNA RISE I THINK." No pun intended, right? Smile

I read it earlier this year. I liked it. I liked that he included the anecdote about the white guy who was so eager to show him how "hung" he was. Like, the dude needed to dispell a myth/rumor, or prove that he was the exception to the rule(r). Wink

Lexington Steele is now the butt of an inside joke I have with a friend. And no, I haven't seen any of his movies--yet.
quote:
Originally posted by Santana St. Cloud:
Now, I'm reading James Loewen's Sundown Towns.

I probably won't post to this thread for a while; ST is close to 500 pages long.


Ooooh... When you emerge please post your thoughts/review on this? Smile

Not many fiction books really do it for me either. I find life and the people in it are so darn interesting - and stranger than fiction - as it is. Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by FireFly:
quote:
Originally posted by msprettygirl:
...as well as, some world mythology.

I like the way you just casually slipped in the world mythology reference... Big Grin so... tell us... which countries/cultures? Smile
Mythology is so darn interesting!


Well, I'm mostly into African mythology particularly egyptian, yoruban, dahomey. Right now i am starting to read some from India. I like stuff on creation, the origins of the universe/man-my favorite on creation is the creation of the universe and Ife according to the yoruban people. What type of mythology do u like firefly?
Brandt's travelguide to Ghana.
Brandts have the best range of guidebooks that cover individual African countries that I've seen over here.
Heck, you want to travel to every country they write about! Big Grin

msprettygirl... although I haven't read in much detail... the mythologies I'm particularly interested in include Native American Indian, some Greek myths, and particularly the Polynesian 'Tiki' history of gods and dreams.

I haven't even begun with African mythology... I'm fascinated how so many ancient cultures share an animist belief system and where they connect and crossover.

It's also interesting to me - from a sociological perspective - to examine how western cultures embrace and borrow/steal certain aspects of ancient mythology when it suits and the impact the elements have on people. Sometimes superficial, and sometimes more. And, with the weird western mindset of 'destroy paradise' then 'reclaim paradise' - or a synthetic, manipulated version of it - particularly the pacific islands. Confused
Been doing a lot of reading on African religious influence in the Americas: Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy by Robert Farris Thompson, The Spirituality of African Peoples by Peter Paris, and Mama Lola by Karen McCarthy Brown.
quote:
Originally posted by FireFly:
Brandt's travelguide to Ghana.
Brandts have the best range of guidebooks that cover individual African countries that I've seen over here.
Heck, you want to travel to every country they write about! Big Grin

msprettygirl... although I haven't read in much detail... the mythologies I'm particularly interested in include Native American Indian, some Greek myths, and particularly the Polynesian 'Tiki' history of gods and dreams.

I haven't even begun with African mythology... I'm fascinated how so many ancient cultures share an animist belief system and where they connect and crossover.

It's also interesting to me - from a sociological perspective - to examine how western cultures embrace and borrow/steal certain aspects of ancient mythology when it suits and the impact the elements have on people. Sometimes superficial, and sometimes more. And, with the weird western mindset of 'destroy paradise' then 'reclaim paradise' - or a synthetic, manipulated version of it - particularly the pacific islands. Confused


yeah i like reading about native american thought on dreams, I haven't gotten too deep into polynesian history but it seems interesting too. Yes I tend to think that the more things are perceived as being different the more they are the same in reality which is the case with ancient cultures across the board to me.what about Australian mythology? Is there such a thing? I'm sure that it exists, but is it something alot of people embrace, study, or acknowledge?
Just 'surfing' by, and felt compelled to say it again.

'The Education of Booker T. Washington' by Michael Rudolph West is a MUST READ for thinking African Americans, AND every person majoring in Sociology, or Politial Science, or American History.

This book will be many, if not most, of the reading requirements for courses in these subjects within three years.

It should be required reading in every African American Studies curriculum NOW!!

No, YESTERDAY!!

No hyperbole here.

PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
what about Australian mythology? Is there such a thing? I'm sure that it exists, but is it something alot of people embrace, study, or acknowledge?

Australian mythology is from The Dreaming - a series of myths and stories to explain the evolution of nature and the world. I have several books about them but I haven't read them for a long time.

I started searching for indigenous Australian philosophy books recently which has been quite a challenge - I finally found two that cover their philosophy which tries to explain their spiritual and animist belief systems. I'm very interested in how similar their ancient belief systems may be to African society. I have lots of snatches of info but no framework yet to link it all together yet. The book I have waiting in line is Ancient & Modern ~ time, culture and indiegnous philosophy by Stephen Meucke.
Indigenous Australian culture/languages/oral traditions are so interesting and so vast and unique to each particular region and group. So the short answer is yes. Wink
White Girl/Black Girl - Joyce Carol Oates

(Is it just men, or doesn't this woman have an odd way of physically describing Black people?)

quote:
Originally posted by FireFly:
HATING WOMEN: America's Hostile Campaign Against the Fairer Sex ~ Shmuley Boteach (I've never read anything by him before)


What do you think so far?

I love Rabbi Shmuley. I've never read anything by him, but I've been observing him for a few years now. I don't always agree with him on societal matters, but I always get the feeling that he has studied what he talks about, which I respect.

I can only imagine what his take on women in America would be.

From what I've seen, Shmuley has a tendency to champion the Strong Woman stereotype that Black women are aquainted with. That typical, If only you women did this, men would do that, type of thing.

In my eyes, when people put all the responsibilities of society on women, they are treating men like morons.

Nevertheless, I'd probably agree with Shmuley's take on society a bit fundamentally. Not on his cures (Women, fix it) or causes, but I'd probably at least agree on the main problem between the genders in today's society (duh).

I must add that Shmuley isn't the typical sexist. He isn't justifying men's behavior when he passes responsibilities. He isn't looking through rosey lenses when discussing men.

Actually, he can be a bit condescending towards his own sex.

Yeah, he thinks men should treat girls like girls and women like women, which would make women would act like women should (couth and divine--the way an orthodox rabbi thinks we should). Yadda, yadda.

But also that men do wrong because women aren't making them do right, and the real problem with society is that women are acting dum-dum and irrational like men (he uses different wording, of course).

Which is his basis of women should act like women (smart) and fix everything.

Do you get this impression from his book?
Hiya... I picked these up yesterday and started reading the Gary Younge book first. It's a lot more socio-political than I realized, which is great, but I'm stretch for time to spend on in-depth reading this week. So I've switched to Shmuley Boteach's book. I'm only a few pages in... so I'll post my thoughts when I'm into the 'meat' on it.
Boteach appears now and again on commercial TV here, he's a good speaker, although, like you, I don't agree with all his thoughts. I'm curious about the stereotyping he applies to both women and men, being one who rejects stereotyping, I'm curious to see if he is simply being reactive or helping create some stereotypes of his own.
.
I'm reading a fun (coffee table) book, Found II by Davy Rothbart. It's about the stuff people find like letters, post-it notes, photos, etc. and submit to Found Magazine. Some of the finds are LOL funny, some a bit disturbing, some just plain weird. Here's a find that I thought was pretty cool. Well, the story behind the photo is cool.
I'm reading "The Measure Of A Man" an autobiography by Sidney Poitier, I found @ my local library.



In today's high-speed, technology and mega-consumer, celebrity-driven world, with films crammed full of product placements and car chases, it's touching and grounding to read about Poitier growing up on tiny Cat Island, in the Bahamas...


"On that tiny spit of land they call Cat Island, life was indeed very simple, and decidedly preindustrial. Our cultural 'authenticity' extended to having neither plumbing nor electricity, and we didn't have much in the way of schooling or jobs, either. In a word, we were poor, but poverty there was very different from poverty in a modern place characterized by concrete.

It's not romanticizing the past to state that poverty on Cat Island didn't preclude gorgeous beaches and a climate like heaven, cocoa plum trees and sea grapes and cassavas growing in the forest, and bananas growing wild.

But the beauty of Cat Island wasn't just what we had; it was also what we didn't have. Poverty notwithstanding, I was lucky, and the reason I was lucky was that I wasn't bombarded with contravening images and influences that really didn't have any direct connection to my nurturing. I didn't have to diget - television - children's show and cartoons. I didn't have to digest the stuff on radio and have to ask, 'What are they saying? They're talking about selling me something. Why are they selling me something? I don't have a job." I didn't even have to deal with the myriad stimulations that come from the presence of mechanized vehicles. No one on the island had so much as a car or motorboat.

[Now if you take a modern family in the United States...]

"We put our kids to fifteen years of quick-cut advertising, passive televison watching, and sadistic video games, and we expect to see emerge a new generation of calm, compassionate, and engaged human beings?

In the kind of place where I grew up, what's coming at you is the sound of the sea and the smell of the wind and your mama's voice and the voice of your dad and the crazines of your brothers and sisters - and that's it."
A couple of books that I have recently read that I would highly recommend are the following:

Islam in the African American Experience by Richard Brent Turner
This is a book by a prof at Xavier University. It is probably the best book that I have read on the development of and African American Islamic tradition. He begins with Islam in West Africa analyzing how after its introduction by Berbers from North Africa, it was adapted and existed along side of African traditional religions for centuries. It was this blended tradition that made it to America with 7-8% of enslaved Africans being Muslim. This population is interesting because it included scholars and dignitaries who spoke and read Arabic and who retained their religious practice during slavery.

Other highlights - Turner sheds light on the AA Islamic community and their early connections to Pan-Africanism and Black Nationalism. There is the incredible influence in the AA Islamic community from Indian Islam through Ahmadis and the Ahmadiyya Movement.

Santeria from Africa to the New World: The Dead Sell Memories by George Brandon
This is a nice summary of the development of Santeria. His principle argument also deconstructs the notion of syncretism and the scholarly obsession which purity of traditions. The other interesting thing for me about the work is that he makes a strong case for Santeria being an urban phenomenon and that its introduction in the US was the catalyst for many AA's to seek to return to Orisha religions.

Spiritual Churches of New Orleans: Origins, Beliefs, and Rituals of an African American Religion by Claude F. Jacobs and Andrew J. Kaslow
This book deals with the Spirit Church movement, one of the most understudied AA religious traditions. It is a thaumaturgical (magic and miracles) tradition. Again, it has been seen in negative light by more orthodox Xians for its "syncretism" of African, European, and indigenous practices that emphasize healing, spirit possession, etc. These churches are particularly strong with respect to the involvement of women. One of the founders is Mother Leafy Anderson who channeled spirit of the Native American rebellion leader Black Hawk.
The Feast of All Saints by Anne Rice:

Set in 1840's New Orleans, this historical novel traces the journey of the community of free people of color who were feared and ignored by whites. Suspended between worlds of blacka nd white, finding stability only int their own community, they live in tension and ambiguity that form their greatest strength and their greatest weakness. The protagonist is a 14 year old boy named Marcel with one white and one free black parent. Together with his sister and two close friends they deal with the transition of adolescence and its mirror in the ambiguity of their social position. Marcel awakens when his idol, a famous novelist and free man of color comes to New Orleans to open a school. Marcel has been promised an education by his rich white father and Marcel intends to make it at Christophe's school. Meanwhile, his sister Marie is being courted by a prosperous and respected friend of Marcel's, but her vulnerability and the plans of other jeopardize her happiness. Marcel is making his own journey to adulthood through relationships with Christophe and his family. When it is announced that Marcel is to learn a trade to support himself instead of finish academic study, Marcel rebels, is removed from school, and wanders seeking the truth about who he is and what he was meant to do.
quote:
Originally posted by FireFly:
Smile ummm... is it too much to ask for you msprettygirl and kresge to post up a short review of these darn interesting books you're both reading?? Pretty please?


No that's not too much to ask at all firefly. I actually saw the film version of the book and loved it so i bought the book. I want to read a little bit more before i put up a review because i don't want the review to be soley based on what i saw in the movie. Give me a week. Smile
Do comic books count? What if I call it a graphic novel?

John Ridley's The American Way is pretty good so far. It's about how the government manufactures superheroes in order to give Americans hope. Some of the their superpowers are real, some are bioengineered. All of their encounters with villains are scripted. Americans love heroes and heroics, and love to be the victors against anything that threatens the American way.

When Old Glory dies the government needs to replace him. Wes Chatham* decides that the replacement should be a Negro. This would "show America that a Negro can be a hero same as whites." Barack Obama Jason Fisher has all the qualities that the government is looking for.

However, his identity is hidden from the public and his colleagues by a helmet until the glass shield covering his face is cracked during a fall. (I guess plexiglass wasn't around at the time.) Some of his southern colleagues like Southern Cross (and he burns just like one) aren't too thrilled: "What the hell you sellin', [Chatham]? Bad enough you shine us into thinking this coon's a hero."

*Wes was in advertising until he lost him job. That's when his old friend Bobby Kennedy gave him a call. He knew Wes would know how to market hope to the American public.)

It'll be interesting to see how everything turn out. Smile

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