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One Holiday I Celebrate Passionately—365 Days a Year.

Today I’m thinking of a slogan I used to hear tossed around on the King holiday. “A day on, not a day off,” —the one day I made a point (to point out) I Take Off, as I honor Dr. King 365 days a year.

I was six years old when Dr. King was assassinated; and years beyond then before I came to truly understand his work. Politics was something heavily debated in our home, yet I was so busy trying to make sense of the arguments that it took a lot of questions, and analyzing, and reading and living before I could see ‘over the mountain.’

None too ironic, while many around me debated what they would do if mistreated, I was glued to them sit-ins my family had showing on the TV, thinking about what I would NOT DO. No way would I beg anyone to take my money in exchange for inhumane service. It was years later before I came to respect the altruistic lessons behind nonviolent sit-ins, Freedom Rides and such, even if...and still to this very day, customer service is my Achilles’ heel.

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If It Ain’t Broken, Don’t Fix It

Since I’ve never been one to reflect over spilt milk, I’ve also never been one caught up with making (and keeping) New Year’s resolutions. My motto is, ‘If it Ain’t Broken, then leave it alone.’

And so, with 999 ways to get a point across, I’m continuing in the pursuit of curating, reading and recommending books I genuinely vouch ARE THE RIGHT BOOKS. I believe leisure reading of the right book, meaning right for the individual reader, not only motivates a love for reading, but translates over into our daily lives as well.

Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes by reading his or her experience is a great way to gain a richer account of narratives we may have learned via 3rd parties, or assumptions internalized through our own core beliefs. There simply is no greater time than now to embrace stimulants that fosters an understanding of heritages, cultures, interests, careers, perspectives and walks of life other than the one, or ones we are more familiar.

My reading and writing goals fo…

It’s Official! RYCJs Top 10 Favorite Books ...read in 2017

For those who will desire to miss it, (my You Tube video sharing what books enhanced my mood this year), I took time to spell out the list.

In no particular order:

- Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
- Pain Don’t Hurt by Mark ‘Fightshark’ Miller
- Love in the Driest Season by Neely Tucker
- Tha Doggfather by Snoop Dogg
- My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King
- My Mistake by Daniel Menaker
- When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
- I Choose to Stay by Salome Thomas-EL
- The Journey Home by Clifton Taulbert
- Cold Hard Truth On Men, Women, and Money by Kevin O'Leary

Thank you, Authors. I HIGHLY recommend reading from this list. I've read many phenomenal books this year, and these rose to the top. Every one of the memoirs, not all written in 2017, kick-started my mood, were humorous in spots, touched me to the core, and in my estimation... promises to grow a Smart, Engaged, Literate Society.

M E R R Y  🎄  C H R I S T M A S

Top 10 Joys of Reading Books...

The first and foremost joy of reading is Finding the Right Book. This is an absolute must. The full joy of reading gets dicey if reading a book, or anything for that matter, is not engaging from the start.

Once the right book is in hand, Excitement is what follows. Wanting to know what will happen next, and how the story will wrap up is what keeps the pages turning to the finger-licking end.

During this time, and surely by the end you’ll notice how Relaxing reading the right book is. Even if you have a million things to do, and the world is falling apart around you, your thoughts will be consumed with finding a corner to curl up in and finish reading this story. (You don't really think you'll be able to save this world do you?)

Surprising, even to me, reading (the right book of course) embodies a Healing factor. This doesn’t mean reading alone will cure the inevitable. Some facts of life are in fact a fact. However, reading (particularly the right book) stimulates the most ma…

A Reading Confession

And so it happened... again. I finished reading a book that had been on my DNF (Did Not Finish) shelf...in all truth and honesty... for years I think!

This is a humble confession nonetheless. It's not easy to ignore stigmas I’ve picked up on over the years, salty about readers like me who take years... often decades after publication to get around to reading, and finishing a book. And even so, in my defense, confession #2; this is the sole reason I’m reluctant to part with my DNF shelf.

Despite all the books I own, the beauty of this DNF shelf are ALL the times when I cannot find one book on my (coveted to-read) shelf that suits my mood. Either they are too long, or too light, or too something or the other (usually emanating from that first page) that is not ‘just right’.

That’s when I’ll amble over to my DNF shelf, wondering and wondering of all the books on this shelf, which one... Is The One?

Once I plucked ‘Just Waiting for the Bell!’ by David Wehmeyer off the shelf. How in …

A Hard Act to Follow

One challenge of reading is reading a really engaging book and then, with fingers crossed, hoping the next book will top, or at least equal the reading experience. For me the challenge is quadrupled because I pine for redeemable stories... stories that have the power to give me a peace of mind.

All that exposed, because I'm always looking out for those looking for this same peace of mind, along with hoping that by putting out this good energy the favor might be returned, I pulled together a list of favorite books that not only are spirit enhancers, and thus easy to refer to as riotously entertaining, but also...and of course... were some hard acts to follow.

A Hamster is Missing in Washington, DC by Ed Spivey Jr.
Doing Germany by Agnieszka Paletta
Farewell, My Beijing by Chi Newman
Hong Konged by Paul Hanstedt
Just Waiting for the Bell by David Wehmeyer
Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
The Kitchen Sink Papers: My Life as a Househusband by Mike McGrady
The Last Blind Date by Linda Yelli…

A Cursory Look at Reasons for Collecting Books

This post was inspired by a post I caught on Facebook (@BooksonBustle). Recently I’ve come across a number of observations vibing about ‘too’ many books. I’ve as well peeped photos where it is obvious that the owner of said photographed books are challenged by what to do with their overpowering collection of books. I’ve even walked in places furnished by card-tables and cardboard boxes lining barren walls, filled with books.

Now, before I get going...elucidating appropriate ways to view ‘too’ many books, I must point out I respect the perspective of the writer who authored the Book-Bustle post.

Once upon a time I borrowed a practical number of books I could reasonably read within a 2-week borrowing period from public libraries. And if I happened to purchase a book brand new, a rarity prior to 2009, I usually read it...and apparently as I’m now realizing...stored it somewhere out of sight.

But that was then...before reading, writing, blogging, reviewing and publishing books, and recom…