Category: Lavish Reads (Page 1 of 3)

Lavish Reads: The Power of Broke

When your back is up against the wall, your bank account is empty, and creativity and passion are the only resources you can afford, success is your only option.

PowerOfBroke

So many people have the mindset of “if I only had $X, then I could start $Y”. But few really know that many of the millionaires and billionaires we know of started with nothing: no inheritance, no angel investors, little to no savings. Instead, they had a big dream and some truly ingenious ways of putting their vision out to the world and making it a reality. That is true entrepreneurship, and I am constantly learning how to build wealth this way.

Daymond John, founder of iconic hip hop brand FUBU, and a judge on ABC’s Shark Tank has a new book out where he details his own rise to the top with $40 and a hunger to win. In The Power of Broke, are stories from himself and other entrepreneurs on the struggles and victories of building a brand. Definitely something to add to my Blackenomics collection.

Lavish Reads: Things Fall Apart


Chinua Achebe Nov. 16, 1930 – March 21, 2013
I read this iconic book by writer Chinua Achebe, years ago. It was the thought provoking and tragic tale of strong-headed village leader Okonkwo, that haunted me for days after I finished the last sentence. It made me question what whose values are more important and beneficial to my life – my own, or those who I might wish to emulate.
Today, one week after Achebe’s passing, I urge you to pick up a copy if you haven’t already.
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Shading 50 Shades

 
As a leisurely writer who enjoys reading a well-written piece of prose, I find myself becoming annoyed by the more splashy successes of horribly-written books. I often set out with the intention of reading these popular books with an unbiased mind, trying to gauge the merits of such books. But time and time again, I become turned off by reading the first 20 or so pages– and that’s even if I make it that far. The latest literary hit to fail my personal literary litmus test is Fifty Shades of Grey

Several months ago, one of my coworkers told me that she had started reading this mildly humorous, slightly macabre novel, and mentioned that it was so dirty that she was afraid to be seen out in public with it. She begged me to try it out and a few weeks later, I downloaded it to my iPad. With a series of false starts, I finally set out in earnest to read the damn thing. I was sorely disappointed. Not only was the writing horrible– I mean, junior high school, pass-a-note-in class kind of writing,–but I found the whole concept of the series highly unoriginal and watered down. 
I had to consider what I had read prior to 50 Shades that made me feel this way. Nearly a decade ago I was introduced to the likes of The Story of O and the director’s cut of the movie Caligua, which was directed by Penthouse founder Bob Guccione. Though this movie put all sorts of wild ideas into my head, it was The Story of O that truly captured my imagination. The book, within in 1954 by an author using the moniker Pauline Réage, is the story of a photographer who falls into the sensual trance of a sadistic lover on the grounds of a secluded chateau in France. He exposes her to a wild array of sexual deviancy and she, becoming more accepting and aroused, gives in to her lover’s demands. In the end, her lover completely turns her out, and she willingly becomes a sex slave to all of his acquaintances. I had never read such an erotic, romantic, sensual book such as O. It was a game-changer. 
A few years later I was living with an artist roommate with an extensive book collection. With her, I got to read all the books that I had put on my “to read” list, but never got around to actually reading. One day, I finally decided to pick up an enormous book that sat all the way at the bottom of the heap. It was by the Marquis de Sade, an author that I had read with brevity in college, while I studied the likes of Emmanuel Kant, and other French philosophers. The book that my roommate had was 120 Days of Sodom and it was an alarming 700+ pages. I didn’t think I could do it. So what kept me turning each and every page? 
When I first started the book, I tried to skip around and get a feel for where the book was going. This was a bad move as the book made absolutely no sense when read out of order. So I sat, day by day, diligently reading each and every paragraph. Slowly I became entranced by the words on the page as each story was artfully written to gently bring the reader into the depraved world of the main characters. In short, the book is disgusting, the filthiest piece of literature that I have ever read, and likely has ever been written. But de Sade was so clever in his writing that by the end of each chapter I find myself becoming accustomed of what may lie ahead, and shockingly accepting of what the characters would do. The end of the story is a horrific climax of blood, sex, and sadistic (the word a homage to the man himself) torture. I am almost embarrassed to say that I loved ever bit of it. 
This, to me, is good writing. I say all this to say, screw 50 Shades of Grey. Pick up something better. Like The Story of O, 120 Days of Sodom, or my new literary infatuation, Dream of the Red Chamber, an erotic Chinese classic that may trump all of the above. 
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Feminista – The New Chick Lit?

When I first heard of Erica Kennedy’s latest novel, Feminista, from The Black Snob, late last month, my heart skipped a beat at the sight of the title. After all, I’ve wondered for a while if society would ever quit pigeonholing a feminist with a hankering for all things fashion like me into a boring square peg. Add an unapologetically confident successful heroine of what Publisher’s Weekly lovingly referred to as ‘bitch lit’ named Sydney Zamora and I was game.

Yet, a funny thing happened while reading this book. The so-called bravado that it promised to provide was as paper-thin as the Sydney’s self-possession. For while I truly expected Feminista to be that chick lit game-changer, it predictably fell back on familiar stereotypes and ultimately reduced this ‘strong bitch’ to a whiny one. Thus, while I’m intrigued by the idea of chick lit’s ornery stepsister, Feminista proves that it has a long way to go before it truly comes into fruition.

Lavish Reads: One day Giveaway


I was erroneously sent two copies of The Thing Around Your Neck, a book I profiled last month. As you may recall the book featured touching, telling, and witty stories from the African woman’s perspective both in Africa and in America. I am giving away a fresh copy for my readers in another one day giveaway. Contest ends Wednesday at 9AM. Retweet @LavishChic for your chance to win!

Lavish Reads: Who What Wear

Every day, I get a little fashion nugget in my inbox courtesy the women at WhoWhatWear.com. As former fashion editors at Elle Magazine, Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr have the inside scoop on the latest celebrity fashion, looks to covet, and boutiques to browse. Wanna know what Rihanna was wearing at lunch? Or what Kerry Washington wore on the red carpet? Or how about tips on styling your everyday wardrobe? These trend experienced trendsetters will let you know, pronto! What gives them the edge is the insider knowledge and access that these two women have gained to the inner-workings of the fashion world.

Doubters, listen up: Who What Wear includes everything from original style advice from celebrity trendsetters such as Rachel Bilson, Nicole Richie, Erin Wasson and Rachel Zoe to helpful chapters like “What To Wear Where,” which explains just that. There are pragmatic chapters like “Runway to Real Way,” in which we detail the step-by-step process we use to translate high fashion looks into wearable outfits (it’s always good to refresh this knowledge, especially this time of year), and fantasy chapters like “Style by Inspiration.” We even included a little high-theory for you and wrote a whole mini treatise on the way trends cycle through the celebrity and fashion worlds!

Fashionistas, take heed!

Buy Who What Wear: The Book

Lavish Reads: American Fashion Accessories

Every season Vogue executive fashion director Candy Pratts Price give us a rundown of the season’s best accessory picks on Style.com. Now the editor, along with Art Tavee and Jessica Glasscock, has compiled a book of the most notable pieces of the 20th century and beyond. This eye candy of a read takes us visual ride from Madison Avenue to Main Street. I’ll definately have a peek.


Buy the book here.

Lavish Reads: The Thing Around Your Neck


Being an African aspiring to the heights of American success is one thing. Actually living in America as an African is another. I am neither, but somehow the characters in The Thing Around Your Neck seem to drift in between. Written by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, this collection of short tales takes us through arguably simple life stories that unearth a complex subtext. the African stories she tells are vivid, touching, and powerful, not unlike the writing of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, but in a subtly femine way. Luckily, the themes are not so subverse as to confuse a reader that hasn’t been exposed to life as a Nigerian, here, or there.

Themes of feminism, rape, and female inequality are issues that resonate with all women; stories of scorn that relate to skin tone are even deeper rooted in the minds of Black women. What brings this book within the grasp of the foreign reader–and by foreign I mean anyone who isn’t an Igbo Nigerian– is the short story form. Adiche touches on adultery, homosexuality, immigration woes, and self identity in a way that is thoughtful, and not in any way preachy. Reading one story a day gives you a simple, yet extraordinary dose of Adiche’s uniquely lyrical prose.

Purchase The Thing Around Your Neck here.

Lavish Reads: The Sartorialist

The Sartorialist Book: Simply good taste

When you browse over to the sidebar, you may have noticed some of our favorite art and fashion links. One of my favorite sites has been Scott Schuman’s The Sartorialist, a simple, non-flashy blog with simply great photographs of ordinary people looking simply fabulous. Now, Schuman’s good taste can be viewed in his new book, simply named The Sartorialist.

Available in paperback August 12, 2009. Order here.

Lavish Reads: Infidel

I originally read this book way back in the late summer of 2008, but never got around to posting it because at the time, I didn’t know what to say. It was just so powerful that I couldn’t figure out words to describe the horrific and heroic life of a woman who dared to defy a faith that both consumed and destroyed her life. Infidel tells the story of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Muslim woman, who, after years of living under the cloak of Islam, discovered that she no longer could embrace the faith. Her deflection from Islam and outspoken nature against the faith has burned her relationship with her father, her family, and the life of freedom she knew; because of the constant death threats against her, she now lives in seclusion in the United States.

In the mini movie Submission, Ali collaborated with director Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands. The video was so controversial that van Gogh was murdered in broad daylight by religious fanatics.

Even if you don’t agree with Ali’s portrayal of Islam, her book gives such an intimate portrayal of her life; at times I felt as if I walked in her shoes at the dingy apartment in Saudi Arabia, and as a religious stranger along the streets in Ethiopia. Her entire story-from faithful Muslim girl, to Dutch Parliament member, to social outcast–is beyond powerful. Below, the controversial video Submission.


Submission: Part 1
What do you believe?

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