A winner has been chosen by NotoriousSpinks herself and the winner is…..
Jamie! Jaime, please follow @NotoriousSpinks on Twitter and DM your address information to her. Thank you!
Below is a blog post called ‘5 Books That Changed My Life’ written by a friend of mine named Notorious Spinks. We have been friends on the Internet for quite some time, but we officially met for the first time at the Blogging While Brown Conference last month. To learn more about Ms. Spinks, you can read her bio, which is written under this post. She is also hosting a book giveaway on TCC! Read on and enter and enjoy!
As far back as I can remember, books have always played an important part in my life. Maternally, I was the baby of the family and my three older siblings had grown folk lives. As a result, there was lil’ ole me left with nothing to do but read and listen to Johnny Gill on the record player.
The books listed below are just five of the books that have truly impacted my life and helped to shape me into the woman I am today. I often question if I would think about things the way I do if it were not for these books. Thanks Cubicle Chick for inviting me and I hope you enjoy my article as much as I enjoy your site.
Sister, Sister by Eric Jerome Dickey
When I read this book I was just living. My goal was to go to college and get a good job. Success was the most important thing in my life because I was born and raised in South Memphis, Tennessee. My mom was a single parent and dad was a deadbeat and like so many families we didn’t have much but we made it work.
I remember reading Sister, Sister and not wanting to put it down. Finally, I got to the end and I thought I was done but not before reading the author’s bio. It read something like this; “Eric Jerome Dickey was raised in Memphis, TN and graduated from Carver High School.” I was instantly changed. Dickey was from my neighborhood and we were alums of the same high school. How cool was that but better yet, that bio gave me hope. It let me know that I didn’t have to just read books but I could write them.
Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris
I got this book from the library not knowing what to expect. The cover had two feminine looking pretty boys and a woman eyeing each other and I had to know what all that was about. Well when I started to read about Raymond and his life on the downlow I was flabbergasted by the issue of bisexuality. Yes, Harris was talking about the downlow before there was even an official name for it.
This book has such an impact on me because anyone that knows me can tell you that Shirley (my mama) tried to keep a tight rope on me. I was raised in a house where children went to the other room when company came and you didn’t interrupt or get into grown folks conversations. So needless to say, I thought people were gay or straight, but bisexual? I even remembered the blues song my aunt Joyce would play about the man leaving his wife for his friend Bill but it was just a song, right? So I must credit Harris for opening eyes to another aspect of relationships, same sex relationships.
Li’l Mama’s Rules by Sheneska Jackson
I first read this book in 1998 when the topic of HIV/AIDS was still taboo, secretive, hush hush and all that. Li’l Mama aka Madison Maguire was young, intelligent, financially secure and single. Like me, Madison had a deadbeat dad so I instantly connected with her character. On the other hand, unlike me, Madison played the field dating whoever she wanted. Sex was so casual for her but that all changed when she discovered that one of past flings died from AIDS. After dealing with denial she eventually got tested.
Sheneska Jackson prepared me for life with this novel. When I read it I was young but I never forgot it especially when it came to sex. But the time I would remember it most would be on Friday, September 26, 2003 when my brother died. My brother was HIV positive when he died. The virus weakened his immune system and he couldn’t heal from surgery. As I still grieve over his untimely death, I remember Madison’s story. It confirmed for me that it is never okay to have unprotected sex and living with HIV is an option with proper treatment. It also pushes me to embrace those LIVING with the disease because as unfortunate as it may be, it is not over for you. If you so happen to read this, thank you Ms. Jackson for this novel and preparing me for a day I didn’t know would ever come.
Single, Married, Separated, & Life after Divorce by Myles Monroe
This book found me in the bookstore at a time I needed it most. It was after my brother died and I was silently wishing it was me instead. I wasn’t suicidal but I wanted my nieces and nephew to have a dad around to raise them since our dad chose to write-off his responsibilities to us. I was really in a low place and nothing seemed to make sense until I read the first page which stated “Singleness is a myth. To be single means to be all one (alone), separate, unique and whole.” At the time I was dating and I had this guy pressuring me to have a relationship with him. This one statement was so moving to me because I was not whole and I was in need some emotional healing. After I read this book I assessed relationships on a different level and I still have this book. I reread it periodically to remind me to stay true to who I am especially when it comes to matters of the heart.
The King James Version of the Holy Bible
My foundation. My sword. My confirmation that when the world is against me I have a Father who is for me. Growing up in the South, church has always been a large part of my life and there always seemed to be a church on every corner in my neighborhood. I remember reading the Bible when I was young and it didn’t make a bit of sense to me but I often times found myself still trying to read it. Those “thou” and “thee” words threw me for a loop every time. But one day, I came across a New International Version and my life has never been the same.
My favorite book in the bible is Romans and the author Paul is my favorite character. I loved how Paul was the underdog but he went from persecuting the people of God to saving them. Paul’s story let me know that God has a purpose for us all even when we don’t see and when others write us off, God has the last word and that is all that matters.
As a special to The Cubicle Chick, I am not only sharing the books that helped make and mold Notorious Spinks but I have a book for you. In My Father’s House by E. Lynn Harris is the first book to be released since his untimely death in 2009. To win the book all you have to do is:
Tell us the five books that changed your life by leaving a comment below.
Become a fan of Notorious Spinks Talks and The Cubicle Chick on FaceBook
The deadline to enter is July 6th at 7pm CST.
Notorious Spinks is a full-time journalism student and AmeriCorps member. She is passionate about issues that affect people of color such as race, equality and infant mortality in AA women. In her spare time she loves to volunteer, read, write and listen to music. You can almost always find her at www.notoriousspinkstalks.com and www.twitter.com/notoriousspinks.
Great post! Its going to take me a minute to think of the 5 books that have changed my life. I know the #1 book is The Bible by far. Like Notorious, I had a hard time reading the Bible in my younger years but always gave it a try. My mother blessed me with the Everyday Lide Bible by Joyce Meyers and it has truly changed my life. The next book that comes to mind is Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillian. I was a teenager when I read this book for the first time and I didn't know much about love and relationships. Waiting to Exhale opened my eyes to different types of relationships. Hmmm, I'm drawing a blank trying to come up with 3 more. I understand if that means I don't qualify for the giveaway. I really just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed the post — it really made me think.
Notorious Spinks says
Thanks for sharing your books Chineze. It took me a minute to pick the five most important because I try to take something from every book I read. Thank you for stopping by and for posting. (Danyelle might let you slide with two…)
Yes, I think you are okay with your two books! @Chineze
1) The Souls of Black Folks- I come from a small town in SC and when I went to college, I had only had one black teacher in 13 years. I wasn't taught much black history, if any. Black folks in my town were busying trying catch up with the whites. I read The Souls of Black Folks my freshman year and it changed my life.
2)The Bible-I've been in church all my life but it wasn't til' my kids were 3 and I went thru a custody battle only to triumph in the end that i knew that God is powerful! I started to lean into the word and my mother bought me a dual version of the bible so I could understand it better. I'm so grateful for that! I constantly open that book for answers. It is the book of answers!!
3) Invisible Life- My aunt gave me this book to read the summer 1995. Then she told me she was gay. I already knew ( lol!) but the way she came out the me, i'll never forget. I'm still a huge E. Lynn Harris fan, may he rest in peace.:)
4)Sugar-Bernice McFadden. She's my favorite writer. I read Sugar when i was pregnant with the boys and on bed rest. I was instantly hooked to her writing
5)The Warmest December- Could've been written by me. I also had an alcoholic father who was dying. I related to the book so much. Probably hardest book i've to read.
Notorious Spinks says
Thanks for your feedback Jamie. I have all those books on my shelf. I need to read McFadden's books. I know it's a shame I own them and they are in my to be read pile. I also need to read The Soul of Black Folks. Im glad you won the custody battle.
Dont forget to get Glorious, McFadden's newest book..
Stephanie Df says
5 books that changed and shaped my Life would be
1. Of course the Bible. This is recent for me. I use to fall asleep every time I attempted to read it. But the older I get and the more I realize that the only reason I am still here and living the life that I am living is because of God, Its much easier to read and comprehend.
2. A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown. This chick has overcome hell and high water to get where she is now, literally. This book tells you in a nutshell, if Cupcake (and yes thats her real name) overcame and became who she is now, anyone can. The sky is the limit. I dont care how bad things look, know that you are NOT your circumstances. Put God first and his will for your life will be done. He does not want us to do without but for us to prosper. I closed this book knowing that my life would be forever changed.
3. The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Soulja I first read this book in college when the author came to the school to do a book signing. This is another encouraging book. Women like Kat Stacks certainly need to read this!!!!!! Someone please send her a copy!
4. Beloved I thought the book was waaaaay better than the movie. Made me realize how our actions can truly influence us and our psyche later in life
5. Discover your purpose by baker miller Helped me discover my passion and live it out
Notorious Spinks says
Thanks Stephanie. Ill have to check out #5. I just might send Kat Stacks a copy but something makes me think may not be able to read that well. LOL!
Oh I didn't know she had a new book!! Thanks for looking out!
The 5 books that changed my life are:
1. A Woman's Worth authored by Marianne Williamson. In this book she really drives home what power women truly has that sometimes we don't know or sometimes forget that we possess.
2. Saving Our Sons by Marita Golden. I am a single mom of a now 20 year old young man now and I believe this book help me immensely.
3. Me & My Big Mouth by Joyce Meyers has help me beyond measure! When I tell you that my mouth has ALWAYS been a problem fo me. Trust me it has. It has been in my library for over 10 years. .
4. All The Joy You Can Stand written by Dabrena Jackson Gandy let me know that it s okay to pamper myself & it's okay to expect joy in my life. Even the little things can bring joys and it's okay not to feel guilty.
5. The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz has done so much for me in principle as a woman, mother, businesswoman, friend and lover. When I find myself going to a dark place. I can just read the agreements and that gets me in the right frame of mind.
As you can see I am a self-help book junkie but sometimes that's the only way I can keep my sanity:)
Notorious Spinks says
@ Dionne, Thanks for stopping by. All those look good but I'll have to look up #3 because I have to keep this mouth on check .
This is hard for me because I can't think of 5 books *shrug* … but here goes:
1 ~ The Bible … and actually all my books could seriously come out of this one collection of books because my ENTIRE life changed when I got a hold of the Word of God.
1a ~ Ecclesiastes … You want to get whopped all about the head and neck with life changing wisdom? Then Solomon is your guy with Ecclesiastes and him dropping knowledge that challenges you and makes you better (if you let it).
1b ~ Job …. When you're "going through" as they say…no one can show you how to do it with grace and honor more than Job. His friends and family gave bad council but he never strayed from God and many times I need to be reminded of that.
1c ~ Psalms …. Just beautiful … so many beautiful scenes painted by the hands of David. I actually have Psalm 3:3 as my license plate: "For thou O LORD art a shield to me, my glory and the lifter of my head". Amen.
1d ~ Proverbs … Once again, 100% pure wisdom to revolutionize your life if you let it.
1e ~ Song of Solomon … heh, once you get married SoS is kinda smoky when you really catch onto how God designed sex and its purpose of intimacy, enjoyment and procreation with your hubby. oooh la la!
2 ~ I know you said 5 but I figure since all of mine were out the B.i.b.l.e. I'd add a non-Bible one: Atlas Shrugged by Ann Rand. It's the 1st book I read that really challenged my ability to read when I was a kid. I'd fallen in love with The Color Purple and read it until literally the cover fell off…then I got my hands on Atlas Shrugged and whew, that was a hard read but it made me not afraid of larger more complex writing. I then read Beloved by Toni Morrison and I'm still not sure I got all her complexities *ha* … but they made me love reading, challenging or not.