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review 2019-09-11 15:30
Black Lives Matter
Stay Woke - Candice Watts Smith,Tehama Lopez Bunyasi

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review. 


So I read this book a while back when I got it via NetGalley. I honestly just wasn't in the mood to review it though. Not because it wasn't a good primer about systematic racism and why black lives matter. But because I am just sick of justifying my existence to people out there. I don't know how many people have heard about the 1619 Project that the New York Times published. But the number of white men and women who screamed reverse racism and how black people need to get over slavery was just exhausting to see online. We could get over it if our country acknowledged it. We have the historians fighting the good fight out there, but we as a country don't want to hear about the ugly things we have done. We are Americans and therefore we are always on the side of truth and justice, except when we are not. Go read about how we treated the First Nation people in the United States, how many lies we told, how many people we massacred. Go read up about the Chinese Exclusion Acts. Or you know, the fact that we locked up Japanese Americans during World War II. 


"Stay Woke" is a really good book that dissects race and the history of racism in the U.S. I have to say as another reviewer said, the things that this book touches upon were not surprising to me. I think though that it definitely will be great reading material for any man or woman out there that wants to read about about racial equality and how and why black lives matters started back in 2013. 

This book also has a glossary that I thought was good to include so people can become more knowledgeable about certain terms. I also loved that each of the chapters links to resources if a person reading wants to find out more. The illustrations that comes with the books that get into statistics around hate crimes and money earned for African Americans was eye-opening as well. Hate crimes are going up post Trump being elected in 2016, and I would be interested in seeing the final analysis on that after 2020. I had to do some digging to find some for you all to review since I got this via an electronic ARC though and found these on the book's Amazon page. 




I thought that Candis Watts Smith and Tehama Lopez Bunyasi did a great job of breaking things down and actually giving readers facts. A lot of things get obscured online due to trolls or just inaccurate reporting. So it was very good to me to just read this book. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-09-07 10:08
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Meditations (Hardcover Classics) - Coralie Bickford-Smith,Marcus Aurelius,Diskin Clay,Martin Hammond,Martin Hammond

TITLE:  Meditations


AUTHOR:  Marcus Aurelius


DATE PUBLISHED:  2014  [First published 180]




FORMAT:  Hardcover [Penguin Pocket Hardbacks]


ISBN-13:  9780141395869



"Originally written only for his personal consumption, Marcus Aurelius's Meditations has become a key text in the understanding of Roman Stoic philosophy. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with notes by Martin Hammond and an introduction by Diskin Clay.

Written in Greek by an intellectual Roman emperor without any intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius offer a wide range of fascinating spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the leader struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. Spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation, they cover such diverse topics as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods and Aurelius's own emotions. But while the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation, in developing his beliefs Marcus also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a series of wise and practical aphorisms that have been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and ordinary readers for almost two thousand years.

Martin Hammond's new translation fully expresses the intimacy and eloquence of the original work, with detailed notes elucidating the text. This edition also includes an introduction by Diskin Clay, exploring the nature and development of the Meditations, a chronology, further reading and full indexes.

Marcus Aelius Aurelius Antoninus (121-80) was adopted by the emperor Antoninus Pius and succeeded him in 161, (as joint emperor with adoptive brother Lucius Verus). He ruled alone from 169, and spent much of his reign in putting down various rebellions, and was a persecutor of Christians. His fame rest, above all, on his Meditations, a series of reflections, strongly influenced by Epictetus, which represent a Stoic outlook on life. He was succeeded by his natural son, thus ending the period of the adoptive emperors.




This is a complilation of the private musings of a Roman emperor.  A great deal of these musings and pithy observations are still relevant today.  Some observations are profound and others provide inspiration.  The writing is direct with none of the obscurity of The Art of War by Sun Tzu.  Interesting and something to chew on, over a lenth of time.




"Do not waste the remaining part of your life in thoughts about other people, when you are not htinking with reference to some aspect of the common good.  Why deprive yourself of the time for some other task?  I mean, thinking about what so-and-so is doing, and why, what he is saying or contemplating or plotting, and all that line of thought, makes you stray from the close watch on your own directing mind."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 3, Section 4]


"Think always of the universe as one living creature, comprising one substance and one soul:  how all is absorbed into this one consciousness; how a single impulse governs all its actions; how all things collaborate in all that happens; the very web and mesh of it all."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 4, Section 40]


"Think constantly how many doctors have died, after knitting their brows oer their own patients; how many astrologers, after predicting the deaths of others, as if death were something important; how many philosophers, after endless deliberation on death or immortality; how many heroes, after the many others they killed; how many tyrants, after using their power over men's lives with monstrous insolence, as if they themselves were immortal.  Think too how many whole cities have 'died' - Helice, Pompeii, Herculaneium, innumerable others.  Go over now all those you have known yourself, one after the other:  one man follows a friend's funteral and is then laid out himself, then another follows him - and all in a brief space of time.  The conclusion of this?  You should always look on human life as short and cheap.  Yesterday sperm:  tomorrow a mummy or ashes.

      So one should pass through this tiny gragment of time in tune with nature, and leave it gladly, as an olive might fall when ripe, blessing the earth which bore it and grateful to the tree which gave ti growth."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 4, Section 48]


"The best revenge is not to be like your enemy."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 6, Section 6]


"Dig inside yourself.  Inside there is a spring of goodness ready to gush at any moment, if you keep digging."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 7, Section 59]


 "Constantly reflect that ll the things which happen now have happened before:  reflect too that they will happen again in the future.  Have in your mind's eye whole dramas with similar settings, all that you know of from your own experience or earlier history - for example, the whole court of Hadrian, the whole court of Antoninus, the whole court of Philip, Alexander, Croesus.  All the same as now:  just a different cast."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 10, Section 27]


"Practise even what you have despaired of mastering.  For lack of practice the left hand is awkward for most tasks, but has a stronger grip on the bridle than the right - it is practised in this."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 12, Section 6]





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review 2019-09-02 02:41
Miss Melville Regrets
Miss Melville Regrets - Evelyn E. Smith

Apparently suffering from acute nostalgia, I have lately found myself remembering books last read thirty years ago, and thinking of them fondly, and wondering were they really that good?




Susan Melville is a middle-aged artist and Manhattan blueblood, without a job, without a fortune, in a rent-controlled apartment going coop with nothing left to sell  and no hope. So she takes the only reasonable offer she's received. And now she kills bad people. Only bad people. Very bad people.


It's a comedy of manners with a charming heroine and a marvelous ending. And of course I enjoy it, now that I am also a woman of a certain age. Where Prizzi's Honor or Get Shorty went for a certain cool style, Miss Melville evokes a traditional vibe that would still feel at home in Southern Living.


A fun start to my Halloween reading.


Edited to add: Murder Most Foul, indeed

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review 2019-08-31 01:51
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
Francie grows up in Brooklyn with her parents and brother in 1910.  Most of the story is told through her eyes as she grows up.  She has a level head and sees people and situations for what they are.  I liked her. 
This book is a timely today as it was when written and during the time period it is set.  The attitudes from then are, unfortunately, the attitudes of today.  Francie and her family were poor.  Her mother worked cleaning several buildings.  Her dad found work as a singing waiter when he could.  The kids contributed to the family coffers in small ways.  Addiction and abuse are all around them.  But good is around them also.  Katie, the mother, realizes that her children will be more educated and live better lives than she and Johnny.  She wants that for her children.  They have a hard life but they rise above it.  I loved Katie's sister, Sissy.  She adds color to the story but loves her family. 
I found this a hard book to read but I am so glad I read it.  The lyricism of the prose is beautiful.  Each chapter is a vignette of their lives at a particular time--trivial things that make a life.  It is a wonderful read.
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review 2019-08-23 02:50
Better than Carrots or Sticks
Better Than Carrots or Sticks: Restorative Practices for Positive Classroom Management - Dominique Smith,Nancy Frey,Douglas Fisher

Audience: Adult

Format: Kindle/Owned



This book has some great material. I love the restorative practices for classroom management approach. The basic idea is to create a respectful classroom environment and teach students how to work through issues and resolve conflicts. Classrooms should be welcoming, constructive environments built on mutual respect and focused on encouraging student achievement.


The authors provide practical suggestions for how to implement the suggested practices and strategies. There is a lot of focus on building relationships: students to students & student to teacher.


This book is a must-read for any teacher - we must focus on developing compassion, relationship skills, and empathy in our students. We want them to learn more than just reading, writing & arithmetic (and tech skills). We want to help develop thoughtful, respectful, and intuitive adults.

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