Happy Reading: Books for the Stressed Soul

Written by @PresidentELLA

People often refer to books as a method of escaping reality… But we forget how critical they are to navigating reality. I swear by books. I think they can cure everything. For that reason, as my life takes the natural twists and turns we all go through, I was desperate for something that would elp relieve my stress and found myself at Barnes & Noble for some really great, really short reads.. 

“Here on Earth” by Alice Hoffman

Written by ELLA          This passionate and painful love story by Alice Hoffman begs us to turn the next page just like the characters beg for each other’s love. The tale gives so many examples of love and lies and the things they can do to your soul. We get a view into various character’sContinue reading ““Here on Earth” by Alice Hoffman”

“What Looks like Crazy on an Ordinary Day” by Pearl Cleage

Written by Ella

Ava Johnson has HIV and that’s the only reason she knows she shouldn’t be afraid of it. She’s a hair-dresser in Atlanta with a long list of clients and lovers. After deciding to write letters to her partners to suggest they get tested, one guys wife walks in with the letter demanding Ava “take it back,” as if it’s that simple. Soon enough Ava starts losing customers (as if you can get HIV from a wash-and-set). Ava decides to forfeit the madness and move back to her hometown, Idelwild, Michigan –but the drama doesn’t cease. 

Who isn’t looking for an escape? Even I was as I read this book. Pearl Cleage’s novel features so many brilliant illustrations of accidental strength. She presents us with a rare glimmer of hope that says, “it’ll all be ok,” even in the face is extreme doubt and pure ignorance.  Sometimes, the best way to escape the realities of live is to walk right up to them and stand up for yourself how you feel. 

“No Matter How Much you Promise to Cook or Pay the Rent You Blew it Cauze Bill Bailey Ain’t Never Coming Home Again.” – by Edgardo Vega Yunqué

Written by Ella

   While I was reading this book, there were times I had to hold my breath and force myself to turn the page. Near the end, I found myself sitting on the train with the book held up to my face, peeking through the spaces between my fingers, fearing the next sentence. No Matter How Much you Promise to Cook or Pay the Rent You Blew is Cauze Bill Bailey Ain’t Never Coming Home Again,” by Edgardo Vega Yunqué,  is as long as the title implies, and just as complex. But when you’re trying to describe the racial identity of a country like the United States, it will take a while… because it’s a bit scary.


“Arrow of God” by Chinua Achebe

Written by ELLA

        Arrow of God is a powerful, heartbreaking and sullen story of Nigerian society. In this book, Chinua Achebe, an Igbo Chief and brilliant writer, tells the story of a village named Umaro and their history of worship and British colonization. Achebe employs a masterful method of writing which intertwines his native Igbo dialect as well as the English of the colonizers. Through the eyes of various villagers and British officers, we learn about how miscommunication eventually leads to downfall.

“Miguel Street” by V.S. Naipaul

by Ella

         Books like these are brilliant and dangerous. VS Naipaul’s fictional tales cover topics of any society like skin tone, family structure, education, drugs, war, relationships, government, etc. While it provides an eery insight into the mind of the impoverished, it’s dangerous in making one assume that is is what Trinidadians are like. I don’t know many, but the good in my heart doesn’t want to accept that the culture promotes that idea that the only way to make someone learn is with violence. Really, this is the story of growing up in any hood – you watch the people around you, because they all seem to take the same paths. You witness those you loves go through us and downs, and hopefully someone who loves you is praying that you end up better. Hopefully, you find a way out. And… education seems to be the key.

“Summer Sisters” by Judy Blume

By Ella

Plain and simply: it’s about love. For everyone. In the worst moments. It’s about finding love for those who hurt you while loving yourself. It’s about understanding the difference between yourself & others. Between those who love you now and those who will love you later. It took me a little to get thought this book, but in the end, I LOVED it.

3 Plays by August Wilson

By Ella

    Wilson tells the truth tastefully. He doesn’t veil the pains of Black life, nor does he romanticize them. These plays have a brilliant way of making you consider the world around us as well as our relations with one another.  There are more to these plays than  discussion of Black vs. White, but they’re inescapable –as are typical of the issues of Black vs. White. These plays make one reconsider everything –love, faith, hope, trust, family, friendship, purpose, joy, talent, worth, sacrifice, life, death. I’m telling you. You read one, you’ll want to read the rest.  

“Existentialism” by Jean-Paul Satre

By Ella

 I’m not going to lie. This is a tough book to read… It’s even tougher to understand. Mostly because of the way it’s written. Satre writes a lot of things backwards, so when you’re reading, you sometimes have to take a sentence and twist it around in your head or read it out loud real slow in order to fully understand it. These 95 pages took me about a month to read. There were times when I could only read 3 pages and had to put it down because the material is just that heavy… I spent most of my time writing down the words I didn’t understand and trying to relate the statements to my own life. Honestly, if I don’t understand a sentence, I can’t keep reading. How can I expect to understand what happens next if I don’t comprehend what took place before?

“1984” by George Orwell

By Ella

      The saddest love story #OfAllTime. George Orwell’s 1984 was published in 1949. It’s amazing how much we think the future is going to change. This satirical novel, supposing what the world would be like in 35 years, is a great example of how much we fear the future –even today, I believe. The biggest fear some of us have is losing our freedom and falling under the totalitarian rule of another. Books like this are amazing because they can be applied to current politics, future politics and even our day-to-day lives.  is there any way for another person/body to govern you efficiently?