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Purpose: An Immigrant’s Story [Wyclef Book Signing]

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how there are so many things happening in the Tampa Bay area that I don’t have the opportunity to experience. The reasons vary, but I decided that I am going to try to experience more things. With that said, I LIKED a page on Facebook that is dedicated to informing people of different events occurring in the Tampa Bay area. This is where I found out about the Wyclef book signing. Inkwood Books, Tampa’s only full service independent book store, linked up with the publisher of Wyclef’s memoir and put Tampa on the list of promotional stops.

I am a fan of Wyclef’s music, and thought this would be an awesome experience.  I hadn’t heard much about his memoir, so I was also going out of curiosity.  I am so thankful that I did.

The book signing took place at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church. This church is big, and I had never been there before. Needless to say, I didn’t know where I was going. In the process of finding where I needed to be, I ran into Wyclef, who was chopping it up with someone. I didn’t know what to do, so I said, “Hi.” LOL. He stuck out his hand, I shook it and introduced myself. He then proceeded to say “Wyclef.” It was pretty insane! Well, after that awesome encounter, I went inside the church where I purchased his book. I was also able to get a picture with him, but it was not a good one.

When I got there, I was under the assumption that I would just buy a book, get it signed and leave. However, I was mistaken. I learned  that Wyclef would be speaking about his memoir and would also perform. I was thrilled! The program started with a church member introducing Wyclef and speaking on the church’s mission work in Haiti. Then Wyclef was interviewed by a Tampa Bay Times music critic, whom of which I don’t remember his name. I personally did not like his line of questioning. I thought too much of the interview was focused on the negative. I didn’t think there was a balance between the negative and positive aspects of the memoir. At the completion of the interview, Wyclef took questions from the crowd. None of the questions were well thought out, or interesting. So, that portion of the program kind of lacked. Wyclef then went to perform for the crowd. He performed Gone to November, a freestyle, and a track from the CD, Carnival. It was amazing! At the end he signed books, and posed for photo ops. Thankfully, I was able to get a better picture.

My overall experience was moving. I learned things about Wyclef that I did not know, and found that he seems to be very humble and personable. I look forward to reading his memoir, and finding out more about him, his struggles and highlights. Based on the things I heard from Wyclef during the interview, his memoir should definitely be a good read. I strongly believe that we can learn a lot about ourselves when we take the time to find out about the lives of others. So, be sure to look out for my review!

Ordinary Woman by Donna Hill

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve slacked off severely with my reading over the years. At the beginning of 2012, I made a New Year’s Resolution to read at least 5 books within the year. Some may say that 5 books is not a lot, and you’re right. However, for someone who hasn’t read a book for leisure in quite a long time, that was a good number to start with. I’ve surpassed my goal. One of the books that I read was Donna Hill’s Ordinary Woman. I read this book in a week and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ordinary Woman is about  infidelity between a woman’s best friend and her husband. This book is set up to tell the same story through the eyes of each main character. This format allows the readers to understand how each character was affected by the infidelity and what led up to it. While, I haven’t read many books that are formated like this, I felt that this was a great way to tell a story about cheating. In reading this book, I was able to get a full grasp on how each character viewed themselves, the situation and the others involved. That was amazing!

This book had all of my emotions involved; I was sad, mad, happy, etc. Going into this book, I was under the notion that it was going to be about the drama that stems from a woman cheating with her best friend’s husband, but it was much deeper than that. While there are a variety of reasons why people cheat (something I do not condone), it was reiterated in the book that it doesn’t necessarily have to be just about the act of sex. This idea got me thinking and put the act of cheating in another perspective for me. I, like many people in this world, thought that cheating was just about having sex with another person. For a lot of people who cheat,  it’s not. Cheating can actually be about lacking something emotionally from the relationship they’re stepping out on.

The book’s characters were well-developed and realistically created, which is why I believe I was open to accepting them. Regardless of the role each character played in the situation, I couldn’t help but to relate to each one on some level. Relatability is a wonderful characteristic for any book to have. Overall, the characters created an entertaining storyline that kept me interested the entire time.

While one may think that the story would have a bad ending, it was anything but that. All of the characters experienced growth within the facets of their own lives. And unlike a lot of books about infidelity, there was a moral to the story. In my opinion, Ordinary Woman was about the idea that everything happens for a reason and it is up to us as to how we allow things we cannot control affect us.

I would definitely recommend this book. Ordinary Woman is a book that you will feel compelled to read from beginning to end. As far as which audience I think would get the most from it, I believe that this book was written for young to middle-age women.

Steve Harvey’s Straight Talk, No Chaser

I received this book as a Christmas gift last year. I didn’t ask for it nor was I enthusiastic about reading it. However, I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to check it out especially since I haven’t picked up a leisure book since only God knows when. Growing up I loved reading and upon finishing  this book I realized that I still love reading. Unfortunately, during my undergraduate studies I was constantly forced to read textbook after textbook, which brought me to lose interest in reading outside of what was required of me. However, that is neither here nor there.

I have not read Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man in its entirety. I’ve only read bits and pieces of  chapters that I thought seemed amusing. I didn’t think it was necessary for me to read the first book prior to reading the second, and I still don’t. Matter of fact, I don’t plan on finishing the first book at all.

Going into this book, I thought I was going to be preached to and topics were going to seem repetitive. I also assumed that I was going to discover how to find, keep and understand a man. While I did learn a few things, I found that a lot of the information shared were things women should already know like the topic about nagging. I am guilty of this at times, but I am aware of how annoying it can be. No one, women included, wants to be nagged all the time about anything! Another example of this is the section called, “Art of the Deal”. Steve mentioned that people negotiate all the time. Is this information supposed to be new? In any relationship, negotiation is a requirement. Duh!

While reading this book, I felt like Steve was trying to convince me that I needed to change who I am to better suit a man. At times, it seemed as though Steve was contradicting himself. Although he advertently stated that in a relationship there needs to be a level playing field in order for it to work, he constantly implied that women basically needed to put forth more effort. Confusing? Yeah, I know.

However, as I mentioned before I did learn some things from Steve. I enjoyed reading the section titled, “Showing Your Appreciation”. While, I don’t think it’s necessary to constantly praise someone for things they should do without hesitation; I now understand how important it is to voice your appreciation from time to time. It’s always uplifting to be praised for things you’re not expected to do, but to be given recognition for things you are expected to do can go a long way. Although I enjoyed reading about showing appreciation, my favorite section was “Dollars and Sense”. I think this section gave great insight on what a man is really feeling during tough times and how to support him as he is experiencing it. This section did put things into perspective.

Overall, this book was easy to read and follow along. It did provide useful insight on relationships, specifically from the male point of view. As women, I think we like to only look at situations as we see them without taking in account others’ views. I think the purpose of this book was to help us view things differently and act accordingly. I would have liked to see some of that information shared spun in a different light rather than being re-gifted. While not all of the information was new to me that doesn’t mean it won’t be new to someone else. With that said, I do recommend that women read this book as they may find valuable information that is specific to their lives and current situations.

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