Quote for the Day: July 16th, 2022

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

Elie Wiesel

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: November 2nd, 2021

Women by Alice Walker

They were women then 
My mama’s generation
Husky of voice—stout of
Step
With fists as well as
Hands
How they battered down
Doors
And ironed
Starched white
Shirts
How they led
Armies
Headragged generals
Across mined
Fields
Booby-trapped
Ditches
To discover books
Desks
A place for us
How they knew what we
Must know
Without knowing a page
Of it
Themselves.

© Alice Walker. Alice Walker is one of the preeminent American writers of her generation. She is a novelist, short story writer, essayist, poet, and activist whose work, while critically-acclaimed and highly-lauded by members of the literary intelligentsia, far surpasses any words which mere mortals may bestow upon it. For her 1982 novel The Color Purple, Walker won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The Steven Spielberg-directed film adaptation was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, and if you’re asking me, the fact that it didn’t win in any category is one of the biggest snubs in Oscars history.

I first read “Women” as a high school freshman, memorizing and reciting it for extra credit. Later on, it grew in significance for me when I read Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and learned that if not for Alice Walker, Hurston’s great body of work would probably have languished in obscurity for all time. Walker’s acknowledgment of the labor of her Black women foremothers in making her own life possible is a major theme throughout her body of work, and nowhere is it clearer than in today’s poem.

Further Reading

“How Alice Walker Created Womanism — The Movement That Meets Black Women Where Feminism Misses The Mark” by Camille Rahatt (blavity.com, February 4th, 2020)

“In Search of Zora Neale Hurston” by Alice Walker (Ms. Magazine, 1975)

“Still Searching Out Zora Neale Hurston” by Kyle Bachan (Ms. Magazine, February 2nd, 2011)

“Womanist Theology” by Emilie M. Townes, written for and included in the Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America by Rosemary Skinner Keller and Rosemary Radford Ruether, eds.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: November 1st, 2021

Give of yourself of both hands and overflowing heart, but give only the excess after you have lived your own life.

Maybelle Stephens Mitchell, American suffragist, activist, and mother to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Margaret Mitchell, in a letter dictated to her daughter while on her deathbed

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Book Review: Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman (Author) and Loren Long (Illustrator)

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman (Author) and Loren Long (Illustrator)

Amanda Gorman is, quite simply, a revelation.

Amanda Gorman is, quite simply, a revelation. In Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, Gorman’s mellifluous and uplifting text is paired with Loren Long’s gorgeously-rendered illustrations to show readers of all ages that everyone has a voice and everyone can (and should) be an agent for positive change. I think it’s fair to say that 2021 is the year of Amanda Gorman. She catapulted into the spotlight after she was chosen to recite her poem, “The Hill We Climb”, at the inauguration of President Joe Biden. She is the youngest person to ever be chosen for that honor. She was photographed by Annie Liebowitz for the May cover of Vogue, becoming the first poet who can make that claim.

…if you ask her, she stands on the shoulders of giants – the Black ancestors whose DNA she shares and whose lives she honors with her work to create a more just and equitable America.

It would seem that Gorman is racking up “firsts” like nobody’s business, but if you ask her, she stands on the shoulders of giants – the Black ancestors whose DNA she shares and whose lives she honors with her work to create a more just and equitable America. In addition to Change Sings, which was released by Viking Books for Young Readers on September 21st, she is also the author of three additional books: The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough, which she self-published in 2015; The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country, which was released earlier this year; and Call Us What We Carry: Poems, which is due to be released on December 7th by Penguin Young Readers and is now available to preorder wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Book Review: How to Be You by Jeffrey Marsh

How to Be You: Stop Trying to Be Someone Else and Start Living Your Life by Jeffrey Marsh

I have followed Jeffrey Marsh on Twitter for years. Before I found a therapist, before I got on medication for my anxiety and depression, their videos helped me to be able to take a breath and center myself so I could get through the day. I’m sure I’m not the only person whose life has been impacted by them in this way, but I will forever be grateful for their calm voice affirming my place in the world over and over again until I started to believe it for myself.

How to Be You is the self-love manifesto that everyone in the world needs to read, but it is especially essential for those of us in the LGBTQ+ community. We live in a world that is often hostile to us, a world that bullies, beats, threatens, harasses, disenfranchises, and belittles us to the point of fracture, to the point where our very existence is seen as a threat to the standing order. Jeffrey’s assertion throughout their book is that it is our choice whether or not we are going to capitulate to the people who would make us smaller. We can be expansive or we can shrink. We can grow and learn and change and accept ourselves in all of our glorious complexity or we can draw lines of demarcation around ourselves and always exist as less than our true selves.

We can be expansive or we can shrink. We can grow and learn and change and accept ourselves in all of our glorious complexity or we can draw lines of demarcation around ourselves and always exist as less than our true selves.

I’m not going to lie, a lot of the self-help material circulating in the world today is worthless pablum at best and an avaricious money-grabbing scheme at worst, but Jeffrey Marsh is the real deal. Their work comes from a deep place of understanding what it feels like to be marginalized and maligned for being queer, and I am so grateful for their existence. I am grateful for this book’s existence. Thank you, Jeffrey. A thousand times, thank you.

Favorite Quotes from How to Be You

Confidence comes naturally if trust is present.

Aren’t you lucky that you get this life, this chance, to learn to set aside the yuck and muck of other people’s sometimes nasty words and do your best to live your life as fully as you know how?

Even if it seems like the whole world is against you, you’ve got to trust yourself. Even if no one else will honor you, you must honor what your truth is in any given moment.

Beginning to see yourself as worthy and trustworthy is the start of something beautiful. Why? Because you can finally let go. You don’t need to spend all your time trying not to be too much. You can relax. You can feel safe. You deserve that. Everyone deserves that.

Trusting yourself is the way to claim the life you’ve always been waiting for.

Trust your own self-examination more than you automatically believe someone else’s pronouncement.

Worry and hate are habits, and so are love and forgiveness.

Whatever your imagined crimes were in the past, they are not worth ruining your today for. You deserve to feel free. You deserve to be let off the hook.

The above quotes are © 2016 Jeffrey Marsh. All rights reserved.

Bonus: Jeffrey Marsh’s TedTalk

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter and Instagram @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.