Hello, everyone! Welcome to my blog. I plan to use this blog as a home for some of my more diary-style reflections, personal experiences, and other miscellaneous thoughts. If you’re interested in books/writing, check out my other blog, the OG Writer Under the Microscope. Feel free to engage with my posts by sharing or adding comments to your heart’s desire; I love to hear feedback and learn what other’s experiences are like. Thanks for reading!
Hello friends! It’s been too, too long since I did one of these, but here I am with a new book review. I have a lot more books that I’m wanting to read this year, so hopefully, there will be more book reviews to come soon. The book for today is one I am really excited to share with you all. It was highly recommended to me by a friend, so now that I have enjoyed it, I want to share it with everyone else.
The book is called Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie, and it is phenomenal. It’s a lot different than most of the fiction on the market these days, which is one of the reasons I liked it so much. Not only is it original, but Adichie strays from all of the familiar tropes in a very welcome way. The plot isn’t very dynamic, it is more of a biography-style tale of the immigration and assimilation of Ifemelu into America and how it affects her view of the world and her African culture. The characters are very realistic and dynamic, making it impossible to not become invested in their stories.
Because Adichie herself left Nigeria for America, you get the feeling that some of the experiences Ifemelu has are based on the author’s own struggles with being an African immigrant in America. The tone of the book is very thought provoking and provides an inside take on the hot-button topic of race and immigration. While it is not out-right a book about race, the narrative makes it impossible to ignore the issue. I loved that about this book because it makes you think without overwhelming you with one specific argument or viewpoint.
I truly think that everyone should read this book, no matter what type of books you like, because it is so impactful and real. You cannot walk away from this book without having been changed in some small way, and I think that’s exactly how a book should be.
I think we can all collectively agree that almost everyone hates writing essays in school. Even if you love writing, as I do, it can be hard to have to write on whatever arbitrary book or topic the lesson plans dictate. I definitely remember struggling with this attitude some throughout school, but when I went to college, I became a writing tutor, and my tune changed. The thing about most academic writing is that it isn’t so much about being creative as it is about honing key skills for life. Reading a book or an essay and understanding and interpreting the plot helps develop critical and abstract thinking skills. Being able to translate that knowledge into an essay improves communication and teaches students how to synthesize information. These kinds of skills are important for every career and walk of life. Being able to appropriately communicate your ideas and understand the ideas of others is a necessary human skill. Critical thinking is what helps us interpret instructions, solve problems, and make good decisions. Learning to write well is about so much more than just picking fancy words out of a thesaurus.
To be clear, I am not advocating against creative forms of writing. However, most of the complaints I hear are about how essays aren’t creative, and therefore boring. But, the different types of writing require different skills. Creative writing is more about the craft of world building, character creation, and word choice. Analytical writing stretches beyond that into the professional sphere. While creative writing may seem more fun or interesting, it is less useful to everyone than analytical writing is. Plus, the assumption that analytical writing can’t be interesting is so wrong. Even within the confines of a specific prompt, there are topics or themes to choose from that will suit different people. And even if your opinion towards the issue is negative, that’s okay. Sometimes a well-formulated critique can be just as important as a positive analysis.
Having the right attitude about school projects is all about understanding the purpose and application of them. Writing is about learning to think, reason, and communicate well, so approach it from that mindset. Go into it with the hopes of learning as much as possible, and you’ll be surprised by how much more interesting it can be than you may have originally thought.
I would like to start this post off with two disclaimers because I know this could be a dangerous topic. First of all, I’m not saying that these traditions themselves are inherently bad. Most of my problems with them come from the reasoning behind why they have typically practiced. Second, I’m not condemning anyone for liking any of these things. This is all based on my personal opinions. However, I do think it is important to take a careful look at the traditions we practice because we may not realize that we are perpetuating old values that we should no longer uphold. So, let’s examine some popular old (western) traditions that probably need to be discontinued.
- Asking Permission
Thankfully, gone are the days when women’s rights were slim-to-none and they were basically the property of their parents and husbands. This also means that men should not be expected to ask permission to propose to their girlfriends. Not only does this take so much power away from the woman that she doesn’t even get the first say in her own marriage, but it continues the idea that the woman really “belongs” to her parents or her father, and that it is their decision to “let” her go.
- Giving Away the Bride
This is another practice that goes right along with asking for permission. Not only is it so ancient that it really doesn’t match the attitude of our culture anymore, but it makes the bride seem like property. Personally, I am not even a fan of the bride walking down the aisle with her father to the groom because, even without saying she is being given away, that’s still really what is happening in that gesture. What if the bride and groom walked down the aisle together or from opposite sides of the venue, symbolizing them stepping into marriage together?
This one isn’t necessarily regressive or harmful, but it seems unnecessary. Not only does it open up the potential to invite conflict and awkwardness into the ceremony, should someone actually object, but it also makes it feel like not everyone has faith in the marriage. If any friends or family had serious objections, they should have been brought to light well before the wedding.
- Only Men Should Propose/There Must Be a Proposal
Some people may still prefer that men be the ones to propose, and that’s okay, but it seems unfair to say that women should never be allowed to. If the couple has already talked about marriage before, which they likely already have, why shouldn’t the woman be allowed to be the one to say, “let’s do this”? Also, I don’t really feel like there need to be proposals at all anymore. If the couple has already discussed marriage, why does there have to be an official asking?
- Only Females Get Engagement Rings
The area of wedding ring wearing has definitely changed over the years, with many people opting to not wear one or with them being swapped out for something else, like a tattoo. However, when people do get engaged, it is typically the woman who wears a ring, and the men usually don’t. This also reeks of the time when the ring was somewhat a symbol of ownership, saying that someone already had claims on her. Now, if people want to wear rings as a symbol that they are committed to someone, why shouldn’t men have one too?
Weddings and wedding traditions have evolved a lot over the years, with many people opting out of popular rituals. However, some have managed to stick around through the changing times, despite being echoes of the past. We need to carefully examine the choices we are making when it comes to tradition, especially in marriage, because traditions are often symbols of ideas that we no longer support.
Well, I graduated from college. One thing I have to say about college is that it has been the best experience for me of my entire life thus far. It was altogether a conglomeration of good and bad distinct experiences, but on a whole, it grew me and matured me in profound ways. I think the best thing it taught me was actually how good a bad experience can be for personal growth. I won’t go too into depth, but I was not the biggest fan of the university I attended. Many things contributed to that sentiment, but as I look back now, I know that no matter how much I did not like my school, I can’t say I didn’t learn from it. Even something you disagree with can strengthen your thinking because it helps you to reason out exactly why you believe what you believe, and that’s what my school did for me. Not to mention, I did have some great experiences there and I met some amazing people there. Some are with me with for the long-haul and some were passing acquaintances, but every person was important to me and taught me something about how to be a better person. I’m not done learning yet, both in and out of the classroom, and I never will be, but I took some big steps forward in college, and a few little ones back, and all of them made me into a new, better version of myself, and that is better than anything else that school could have done for me.