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.
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.
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.
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.
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.