Photo from Amazon.com
Regrettably, I just recently discovered Newbery Medal award-winner Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry at a public library and it’s the best audiobook I have heard this year.
Narrated by Tony award-winning actress Lynne Thigpen, who left us much too soon, the book focuses on 9-year-old Cassie Logan and her family, set in Mississippi during the 1930’s Depression. The land and the fear of losing it drives the novel.
Author Mildred D. Taylor pulls from stories her family shared with her to take us through the very real struggles of racism, poverty and hatred. Yet the book has many wonderfully lighthearted moments that uplift the power of family, love and unity.
Thigpen’s powerful narration brings Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry to life and at the end of the audiobook, Taylor shares insights into her writing process and the influence her family, especially her father, had on the novel. Taylor treats us even further, by singing a song that came to her as she was working on the book.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is more than an award-winning children’s book; it offers a poignant window of history for adults as well.
Photo from barnesandnoble.com
Last year I discovered an update to Dale Carnegie's famed bestseller. How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie & Associates with Brent Cole, published in October 2011.
Those magical words “digital age” caught my attention.
Essentially, this book enhances your soft skills with a solid Web 2.0 framework, enabling you to reap rich relationship rewards.
Of particular note: “soft skills such as compassion and empathy drive hard skills” … by linking both skill sets "to operational productivity, organizational synergy and commercial relevance because all require human commitment.”
Here are 15 insights from the book:
1. Make your status updates, tweets and posts meaningful by "removing your agenda."
2. Engage in face-to-face connections when possible.
3. Look for nonverbal cues during interactions with friends, family and others.
4. Use common courtesy online just as you would on a first date.
5. "Resist badmouthing as a differentiation strategy."
6. Think before you hit "Post."
7. Take a breath and “calm down” if you are upset.
8. Look ahead to the future because you might need help from an unexpected source.
9. Listen with everything you've got.
10. Allow your online life to be as harmonious as possible.
11. Uplift others' needs more than yours.
12. Maintain relationships by finding and SHARING common ground.
13. Recognize the responsibility that comes with being an "influencer."
14. Settle disputes in person rather than online.
15. Admit mistakes and make restitution right away.
Read this book to enhance your relationships, which enriches your entire life. Brent Cole is reachable at email@example.com.
New On My Reading List
With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee
Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas & Found Happiness by Dominique Browning
2 Books Making News
Once upon a time, I was a beginning saxophone student and my cousin, Kenneth "Kenny Ray" DeWalt, (right) was learning to play the trombone under the direction of Emerson Able Jr., at the famed Manassas High School in Memphis, Tennessee.
Cuz taught me to use a broom to help learn the keys on the sax. Then he worked with me on breathing correctly. All of that coupled with Band Director Kurl McKinney's instruction came in handy when the Lincoln Junior High School Band went to the Strawberry Festival in Humboldt, Tenn., back in the day. (See my band photo in the slideshow below).
Kenny Ray went on to become a professional horn player, performing with Rev. Al Green and The Bar-Kays, thanks in part to my mom, Mrs. Rowena Whiting, who bought him his first horn. She also prophesied that he would perform on "The Tonight Show." He didn't believe her and laughed. Years later he called my mom from "The Tonight Show" just before he performed!!
Meanwhile, in high school and college, I put the saxophone down and picked up a microphone, video camera, and other journalist’s tools. This is my Black History Month salute to my 54-year-old cousin, Kenny DeWalt, who shared insights with me about his amazing professional career during an interview Jan. 5, 2013, in Memphis.
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