Book Thoughts: Orange is the New Black

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Hey everyone I hope you’re all having a great wednesday. I have another review for you. I’m sure many of you have seen this floating around the internet, especially lately since the season 2 trailer has premiered. I’d been meaning to watch the show for some time, but when I found out this was adapted from a book-true to book nerd form- I decided to read the book first.  Here are my thoughts, and I hope you enjoy.

Orange is the New Black is Piper Kerman s memoir which is also the inspiration behind the widely popular and successful Netflix TV show of the same name. The memoir follows Kerman’s year in prison which she served for her involvement in an international drug ring. When Kerman was in her early twenties, she transported illegal drug money to Brussels. She only did this once, but ten years later it caught up with her, and landed her in the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution.

Kerman comes from a privileged background which is something that she reminds the reader of various times. She does this not to brag, but to tell us that her time was made easier because 1) She was white, 2) She was educated, 3) She had the unconditional love and support from family and friends. In prison, these three go a long way to make your stay a little bit better. Kerman provides many stories of guards giving her special treatment for being what they called a “northerner,” or how thanks to her family’s ability to send her money, she was able to purchase commissary items.

What I liked about Kerman’s story is that it isn’t a pity party. She is well aware of the fact that she did commit a crime and however drastic her punishment may seem to her, the reason she is in prison is because of her choices. It was touching to see the connection she formed with some of the women in prison. Many of which she would have never crossed passed with in her day to day life. While these woman are not innocent, and landed themselves in prison because they too committed crimes, they are also victims of the lives they’ve had to live. Kerman reflects how tragic it is that many of this woman will end up right back in prison because they don’t have the support needed to truly rehabilitate themselves. That may sound sympathetic to people who commit crimes, or blaming their behavior on others, but when a society has repeatedly closed its doors to you. then you have learn to protect yourself in other ways. I think Kerman showed how that is the case for many.

Much of the book is also a factual account of prison life. We learn what what life in prison is like, from terminology, to rooming assignments, and buying commissary goods. The book also gives monetary facts about how much of our tax dollars are spent in maintaining prisoners and facilities.

Kerman writing is very clean not dramatic in any way. It is her memoir, so it is a reflection of her life and journey, and yet she also managed to tell various others’ stories. Not surprisingly the books has a very claustrophobic feel to it which is an appropriate tone for prison life.

I would have enjoyed an epilogue where we get to see how Kerman adjusted to life outside of prison, or even if she maintained any contact with her fellow inmates.

Overall a very well told memoir which is both educational and cautionary.

I have seen some of the show on Netflix, and I find it entertaining and well done, However, I will say that Netflix did take a lot of liberties with the show. Still worth watching.

Thanks for reading!

-Anasylvia

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Happy Valentine’s day!!Sorry for the lack of post this Wednesday, next week there I’ll get back on track. I just wanted to wish everyone on here a good day. I’m single this year, so I don’t have any special plans. Well, …perhaps I have a date with American Horror story and some chocolate, but trying to keep my blog PG, so I won’t go into details. Here in Cali the sun is back, the beaches are full, and the good vibes are catching.

I’ll leave you with a poem by one of favorite poets of all time. The beautiful Suheir Hammad.

 

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             Valentine

       

 some kinda funny to put valentine’s   

 in the middle of winter

 winter nights come to easy 

dark stays too long

in america

everybody hurtin in themselves

       and searchin  for comfort    for beauty

for one day

you get dressed    look good 

splurge  pamper  for one day

you feel loved

and america is your lover

you are safe and warm    your dollars

buy toys    cinnamon candy      burn your mouth

pretend roses    a dozen stems

twenty four hours 

can make up for all

you’ve given out     given up

corner flowers   like poems

especially love  poems

ain’t birthed  natural no more

this year i find myself tryin

to stuff  my hurt into a heart

shaped box rocks freezing fingers

 gold excavated from my grandmother’s mouth

seafood dinners   lizard lingerie  liquor lighters  lonely and open

been snowin grey inside

for long nothin

has warmed my bones

i look forward for love american style

vietnam nightmare haunt

veterans and desert storm

rains in the eyes of babies born slow

today the gods of brooklyn  accept

only blood and i

have no more to give

for one day some champagne   chocolate

the perfect  lipstick

somethin to erase me

to fall into a kiss like a river

and fish myself out a new

creature  feathers  strong bones

teeth shiny   thick

legs to stand on  firm root

i look for warmth within

and find coal

valentine’s red and white    thunder

brooklyn’s  shango red

and white bleedin

I will start with myself

then you    will feed

myself         kiss my own

elbow    and hold in my gut

knowin america is 

the lover    never was   love

on blankets of small pox

and bondage of chains

i will start 

with myself   next you

wishin us both happy

in war times in 

no warm times

one day of rest one

day of love one day

of holdin someone

real  some healin

stay warm

create spring

in your heart

start with yourself.

z

From ZAATAR DIVA by Suheir Hammad

Happy V-day everyone!

-Anasylvia

 

 

Book Thoughts: Blood Child and Other Stories

I’m currently in the process of looking for a part time, applying for grad school, and juggling a full time school schedule, so short story collections are just so convenient  at the moment. I stumbled upon this collection while browsing through my library, and boy was I ever pleased.  Also one of my goals for this year, is to read more sci-fi, so I think this was the perfect introduction into the genre.Here are my thoughts hope you enjoy!

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Absolutely amazing!! I have no idea how I am just coming across Octavia E. Butler. Everything in Blood Child and other Stories is pure gold. I was continuously blown away by this short story collection which is Sci-Fi at its best. From aliens and plagues, Blood Child and other Stories manages to capture human experience, fears, joys, and sentimentality so vividly.

My favorite of the stories is “Speech Sounds” which takes place a in a destroyed Los Angeles where the inhabitants are suffering the fall out of an illness which has made the world go silent. Some people have lost their sense to speak, read, or hear. Those who have retained any bit of their senses chose to keep it hidden because they are targeted by others who are envious. The world is violent and in complete anarchy. “Trust no One” is basically the motto here.

Another one that really struck me was “The Evening and the Morning and the Night” which takes a look at the aftermath of a cancer cure and the repercussions it had on those whose ancestors took it. The effects of the cure lead to a disease known as Duryea- Gode Disease (DGD). This disease is so extremely destructive and harmful that the carriers are treated as a sort of sub species to humans. I cringed at some of the imagery even though I couldn’t look away.

It’s these kinds of stories that cause me cause me real terror because I can imagine them really happening. Are we so far from these “stories” becoming reality?

“Blood Child” is also another work of brilliance and terror, as is “Amnesty”. “The Book of Martha,” “Crossover”, and “Near of Kin “are very dark and somber, yet all three have oddly hopeful endings.

An awesome bonus to this collection, is that Butler includes an afterward after each story where she describes how she came up with the story.It’s a nice treat to hear have her tell us in her own words what she wanted to accomplish with them, especially since sadly she is no longer with us.

In addition to the shorts, she also includes two personal essays  where she talks about her journey to becoming a writer. In Positive Obsession she takes up back to when the spark for reading and writing was lit. Her perseverance to make it into an industry that did not cater to her gender or ethnicity. And in Furor Scribendi she gives advice to young budding authors. If you are a writer yourself, or on your way there then I highly recommend these.

Overall, brilliant, beautiful, amazing, and every other positive adjective out there! I cannot wait to read more from her.

After finishing the book, I was so impressed by her, that I went online to watch and read interviews with her. This is my favorite because she’s funny and a lot of what she says is applicable to all fields of literature.

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R.I.P Miss Butler

Thanks for reading!

-Anasyliva