Tuesday, June 29, 2010

MSRL: A Great Resource For Multicultural Leadership

Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age by Juana Bordas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great book, a great resource for my Student Leadership & Development program. It offers a great view of multicultural leadership development from various perspectives that include the Latino, African American, and Native American communities. I also love the various exercises that are offered at the end of each section. If you are looking for a resource that will help get you started on creating positive, interactive workshops and discussions with college students, then this is a book for you.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

MSRL: My Magazine Habit!

Another way to squeeze in some summer reading is to read magazines. I love magazines because they are quick and easy to read, very informative, and I will admit, sometimes it's just fun to look at the pictures!   And  I have a confession to make, I admit it,  I'm addicted....To magazines! It started a few years ago (really in college, but back then I couldn't afford to buy any).  Once I graduated and entered the work world though, I would buy issue after issue of my favorite magazines, so much so that it began to become a very expensive habit. Until now.....I have a new BFF,this wonderful service called Mag Hound (www.maghound.com). Whoever thought of this must have had the same problem I had and knew how dangerous the love of magazines could be to your wallet. 

This is how Mag Hound works (it's so co cute too, their "mascot" is, well, a hound, a little dog who's tale wags when you log onto the site....but I digress!)  When you sign up for Mag Hound, you browse through the hundreds of magazine titles (they add new titles everyday), choose the ones you want for your subscription, add them to your list, and they give you a "once a month" subscription price that is far less than it would cost to purchase each magazine individually. So, for instance, I have signed up for about 6 or so magazines (don't judge me!), and I pay about $12.45 per month.  Now, think about it, most magazines have an average cost of at least $4.00 per issue. If you multiply that issue price by six ( that comes out to be abour $24 a month! - that's crazy right!)  So what Mag Hound does is feed a habit, at minimal costs, so that you don't have to break the bank just to read your favorite magazines (and if you let them pile up, you don't feel so bad). And get this, if one of the mags on your list is unavailable for that particular month (maybe it's a 10 month or quarterly publication) then you can choose a list of "substitutes" that can fill the place of the mag your not getting so that you can have non-stop delivery of your favorite reading material. Isn't that fantastic! And, another great perk is that you can switch or interchange the magazines you want at any time, so say you have a subscription to Glamour but you want to try Cosmo, you can do it all by the click of a button. Now, there may be a delay in your delivery when you do that, however, best believe, Mag Hound is so organized that you can log on to your account and see exactly when each issue of each magazine is scheduled to be delivered. And, if you know of other "Mag Hounds" in your life, you can even purchase gift subscriptions for the ones you love (or like a little!)

It's important when choosing magazines to focus on your interests. I consider myself a well-rounded, well informed person and my subscriptions include a combination of news and information, beauty and fashion, culture, and hobbies, that reflect that:
  • Real Simple Magazine (I love the format and size, easy to read, great tips and lists, great recipes)
  • Essence Magazine (I have been reading Essence since I was a teenager when my mother had a subscription and it's the perfect source for keeping up with the news, fashion, and issues that affect Black women)
  • Newsweek Magazine (I like to stay informed and I love Newsweek, especially since they changed their format. the articles are quicker to read, bigger, brighter photos, and it helps you have a conversation with someone about world affairs and you might just sound like you know what you are talking about!)
  • Poets & Writers Magazine (Delivered quarterly, I have been reading PW on an off since college and it's a great magazine for writers, authors, bloggers, and poets. It's a fantastic resource for those serious about writing, highlighting writing programs, new books, literary journals, conferences/retreats, and contests.)
  • Writer's Digest Magazine (Ditto on the above, and it's delivered monthly. What I do like about both PW and WD is that they have very interactive online communities for writers and always provide great resources for websites and making connections with other writers.)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine (Because I have all of these business ideas floating around in my head, I figured it would be a smart move to stop talking to myself about it and to start bringing my ideas to life! Entrepreneur has always been a great resource!
  • Food & Wine Magazine  (Because I'm trying to venture out and become a better cook, I thought I would add FW to my list for fun, plus I just enjoy looking at the fabulous photos and I do plan to try every wine they recommend, it's the only right thing to do! LOL)
  • Food Everyday by Martha Stewart (This is just a very cute, very to the point food magazine and what I love the most is that it comes if a very small compact format and that Martha Stewart provides a "grocery list" at the back of each issue that you can easily take to the store with you when its time to shop.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

MSRL: Review: And The Walls Came Tumbling Down, The Secret Life of Senator Jack

And The Walls Came Tumbling Down, The Secret Life Of Senator Jack And The Walls Came Tumbling Down, The Secret Life Of Senator Jack by Vernadine A. Merrick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a cleverly written novel, author Vernadine A. Merrick takes us through the roller coaster life of fictional Senator Jack Montgomery. As you read, one can't help but feel that his rise as a political superstar is eerily similar to that of our current President Barack Obama. The rest of Senator Jack's life, is very much a contrast of, probably most politicians, and if this were a true story, would be something that the cable news networks would eat up with non-stop coverage, and would go down in political history as one of the most fascinating political dramas of all time. But that's where the comparison ends, politics.

The rest of the story, although well written, often reading like a blockbuster film, very much filled with drama, is disappointing in the end, and in my opinion, doesn't have enough drama. I was enthralled with the writing, the details of the then Senator Jack's young life, the mystery surrounding his "former" life, and the transformation of this one time thug into a well polished politician.

I was hoping, though, that after I got through the first 300 pages, that the pace of the drama and the climax of the story of this character would have continued and been more exciting, considering the main character, Jack Montgomery's, checkered past. Chapters 18-20 and even the Epilogue were all too much of a "perfect ending" and I was very disappointed. I expected all of the twists and turns and momentum that intrigued me at the beginning of the book to carry me through until the end. In my opinion, that was not the case, I felt dropped off, and for lack of a better word, duped. It ended way too easily, predictably, and unrealistically, sort of like a fairy tale, and really what politician's life ends that way, especially if there is a scandal that threatens to destroy his life. I got very frustrated towards the end of the book because, as a citizen who keeps up with the drama of politics in real life, I was hoping that the author would have given us some more "monkey wrench drama", some more of the "Real DC", a cliffhanger, if you will, that would leave a reader wishing for a "Part II" of the story.

Overall, the book was very well written and I do look forward to seeing more from this author.


On A Personal Note: I decided to read And The Walls Came Tumbling Down, The Secret Life of Senator Jack and put it at the top of my summer reading list, on a whim, because I had the pleasure of meeting the author, back in May 2010, at a local Book Expo. I was very excited to meet her because we also had many things in common, specifically our membership in the same sorority. Also, our aspirations for writing seemed similar and in my quest to become a published author, I think it's only right to support other writers, in fact, I have several books from authors I met at that same Book event, that I hope to complete this summer. I wish all of these authors luck in their publishing endeavors.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

MSRL: Favorite Children's Books! Please Share Here!

 Someone recently challenged me to write a children's book. While children's books have not been my main focus for writing, I'm am slowly but surely considering the idea. As a part of my "research", I'm reflecting on what some of my favorite children's books were growing up. Having no children of my own, I'm somewhat out of the loop on what the current popular children's books are. I'm also very partial to books of
children's poetry , but I do remember some of the other fun books my teachers made me read and some I discovered on my own, that I came to love.

Here's just a partial list of my favorites from the past (circa 1980s):
  • Where The Sidewalk Ends - by Shel Silverstein
  • Honey, I Love - by Eloise Greenfield
  • A Light In The Attic - by Shel Silverstein
  • Falling Up - by Shel Silverstein
  • Superfudge - by Judy Blume
  • The Diary of Anne Frank - by Anne Frank
  • Charlotte's Web  - by E.B. White
  • Amelia Bedelia - by Peggie Parish
  • Corduroy - by Don Freeman
  • The Velveteen Rabbin - by Margery Williams
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit - by Beatrix Potter
  • James and the Giant Peach - by Roald Dahl
    A great resource for Top 100 Children's Books created by teachers:

    Please share your favorites here!

    editor, my summer reading list

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    MSRL Review: How to Be Your Own Publicist by Jessica Hatchigan

    How to be Your Own Publicist How to be Your Own Publicist by Jessica Hatchigan

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Since embarking on my quest to become an author/entrepreneur, I have been seeking books that will assist me in the process. I also look for books that are not too wordy, not to heavy with author anecdotes and "advertising" but books that provide basic facts and steps to accomplish a goal.  How To Be Your Own Publicist is such a book. Although geared more towards people who are actually creating products, this book can be applied to anyone offering any type of service or product, even a creative product.  It was easy to ready, easy to outline, and easy to find the information you needed. The chapters were labeled exactly what they were.  This book takes you through a step by step process of how to create a publicity campaign for yourself and provides great examples. My only criticism of the book is that, some of the chapters repeat some of the same information that was shared in a previous chapter, making it appear as if there was nothing new to say about that particular topic.  Also,because this book was written in 2002, some of the information on publicity as it relates to the internet and eletronic formats of publicity are a little outdated already. I would love to see a new updated version of this book because it is a great resource.

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