My Summer Booklist

I’m embracing my last summer break before I enter the workforce with a pretty awesome book list. Before my Spring 2018 semester ended I asked my teachers for some of their favorite books and recommendations. Also, I had a few books on my list for a while, and I decided this will be the best chance that I would get to read them all.

I have an Amazon Kindle ( Model: D00901) It’s one of the very first Kindles. I can not read in the dark with it, and it still has a keyboard. I love it, and I had it for years. I do not plan on purchasing a new one until this one dies completely. I enjoy buying my books on my kindle because I prefer to have a more minimalist lifestyle when it comes to my items. Also, I tend to enjoy reading on a screen. I get a weird feeling of frustration when I read for an extended period, and then I see how much more of the book I have left. I know it’s a weird complex but reading physical books overwhelm me sometimes. However, I have a few books that I already have a hard copy of so I will not be re-purchasing the same books, so I’ll be getting over my tiny epidemic.

When you go through the list, you’ll probably realize that there are a few themes: non-fiction, sociology, public policy, African-American history, natural history and slow fashion. The reason why I decided to focus on these themes was that I have a want to help my community. I want to help those who don’t know me and those I come into contact every day.

So, here we go…

 Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew DesmondImage result for evicted poverty                          I was recommended this book by my Human Geography teacher. He gave us the option to watch a video by the author Matthew Desmond. I absolutely recommend watching it. It is a synopsis of his book Evicted. This book received the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in General Non-Fiction and many other awards. This book follows a few families and individuals through their struggle in living in the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee. In summary, the author puts that eviction used to be extremely rare in American cities, but now it is prevalent especially for single mothers.
I have begun reading the book, and I’m currently in chapter 7. This book has captured my attention, and I’m learning so much from the families experience. It is heartbreaking but an intriguing story. Desmond, the author, wrote this book like a narrative rather than a regurgitation of statistics and numbers. This makes me feel comfortable to recommend it to my family and friends who are not interested in the same topics that I am.

 How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood by Peter MoskowitImage result for How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood by Peter Moskowitz

This is another book I was recommended to by my human geography teacher. I mentioned that I was interested in learning more about the topic of affordable housing to him, so he told me about this book that his book club is reading. I was automatically intrigued. The neighborhood in Atlanta that I live in has been seeing a resurgence of areas that were dead a few years ago. However, a lot of the areas were populated by people of color, and I have been seeing a shift in demographics that is a little bit concerning.

The author takes a reader through the destructive housing policies that uncover the massive, systemic forces behind gentrification in New Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, and New York. And how the simple question of who can and cannot afford to pay rent goes to the history of America’s race and inequality problem.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex HaleyImage result for malcolm x autobiographyMy mother talked about this book. She said it was an absolute page turner and she is amazed by the dedication and self-discipline of Malcolm X. This book I already had for a long time in my library. My Aunt bought me a copy years ago however I never took the time to read it. I’m interested in the story because usually I only hear extensively about Martin Luther King Jr. especially since I am from Atlanta, Georgia (MLK’s hometown). But, I wanted to learn about another aspect of the America civil rights movement.

White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism by Kevin M. KruseImage result for White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism by Kevin M. Kruse
White Flight was brought to my attention through my job. I work at an art museum, and we had an exhibition where an artist explored color theory and the history of Atlanta’s value of human life through public spaces. The artist used this book as research to help her create pieces. I was really intrigued by the idea, and I wanted to know more about the history of my city.
The author, Kevin M. Kruse, explains the causes and consequences of “white flight” in Atlanta and elsewhere. The author argues that “white flight” was more than white people moving and that it transformed the political ideology of those involved and created modern conservatism.

The Human Age: The World Shaped By Us by Diane AckermanImage result for The humAN age

I found this book by accident and the title intrigued me. In my opinion, hasn’t it always been “the human age?” Humans have been altering the world to suit our fancy for centuries, so what did this author had to say?
Diane Ackerman’s book won the 2015 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature. The book takes a reader through her unique insight of nature and humans’ place in it. Also throughout the book, she introduces the reader to individuals who are impacting the earth positively.

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline Image result for Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline

This book came up as a recommendation on my Amazon account because ya know, once you google something once it hunts you in the advertisements for weeks. As a promoter for slow fashion, I decided to give this book a chance especially since the reviews seem okay. I don’t have high expectations for this book because I’m sure it’ll be a repeat of information that I already know however the only information I am curious to understand another’s point of view

Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America by Lerone Bennett, Jr.

Image result for Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America by Lerone Bennett, Jr.This book was recommended to me by American government teacher. Honestly, I’m excited to read this fantastic book on black American history. I think this book is going be so good that I’m just going to have the book explain its summary. My teacher hyped up Mr. Bennett, and I have high expectations.
“In this completely revised edition of his superb history of black America, Lerone Bennett, Jr., brings his stirring narrative of the black experience up to date. Incorporating the insights of recent scholarship, Mr. Bennett traces black history from its origins in the great empires of western Africa, the transatlantic journey to slavery through Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era, and the civil-rights upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. Interspersed throughout the book are portraits of seminal figures in the struggles for freedom, and a completely updated section highlights black pioneers and their accomplishments” – Back cover of the book

These books are what I plan to accomplish this semester before I go back to school for the fall semester. I’m excited to learn more about topics that I’m actually interested in. If you guys have any recommendations, let me know in the comments! I’m always open to learn and hear others point of views.

Love Jazz ❤

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Shopaholic? Here are some slow fashion tips.

I stood staring at my closet thinking “I have nothing to wear” I’ve been through this scenario more than I’ve been comfortable with. I have always wondered, what was it that made me feel like my closet was incomplete? Was it the fact that I never bought what I actually really wanted because of the price? Was it over my lack of style identity, I was never one to fit into a specific “style.” Or, do I legitimately lack items? Or am I not appreciating the items I have?

There are too many questions I could come up with, and I’m pretty sure that y’all would agree with me. I have been struggling when I look in my closet because I’m unhappy with it, however; I’m a massive proponent of slow fashion. I do not want to give my money to stores that do not reflect what I believe in nor do I want to fall into the trap of consumerism.

So, after some research on the inter-web and listening to my teacher this semester, I found some pretty great ideas that are possible for everyone who wants to add items into their closet and still participate in slow fashion.

  1. Stop shopping and use what’s in your closet Stop!! Breath and take a second to go through your closet and declutter and organize. See what’s hidden. If you didn’t know I’m a college student with limited money, I do not have the freedom to spend excess money unnecessarily. When I decluttered, I realized that I did have a consistent theme/aesthetic and I found clothing that I haven’t seen in months. So my closet was at a better start than I thought. However, I realized that I was lacking items in my closet and that I can address the lack of clothes with other means of slow fashion.

  2. Swap Clothing/Take advantage of opportunities Hit up your friends and family. Ask if they are willing to trade clothes or give clothes to you. I personally have items that used to belong to my mother and father that are really dope. Also, hit up your local senior citizen. I met a colleague, and they told me at their church there was an older couple that was giving away items from their home. They were able to get a beautiful pair of pearl earrings, and a cute vintage purse that was made with real leather and all it needed was a little polish.

  3. Thrift Don’t say ew or yuck. The good Lord allowed the human race to create a washing machine. Thrifting is a great way to purchase clothing. You can find unique items and sometimes better quality items. It helps fulfill the “Hunt” craving I get when I want to go shopping, and the feeling of success is 10 times better when I find what I was looking for. Also, thrifting gets your crafty juices flowing.


  4. Up-Cycle The most refreshing aspect of slow fashion to me is the importance of creativity. My favorite activity as a teenager was going to a thrift store and find an item that was shaped horribly, but with a little snip here and there it can become the cutest item ever. Sometimes adding your own little touches like tie-dying a white dress you found or picking up embroidery to add a unique element can change an article of clothing immensely. Later in my life, I got to a point where my parents saw that I really enjoyed upcycling and they bought me a sewing machine.


  5. Make your own clothes I didn’t know in the past, but we can purchase sustainable textiles. It’ll take a little hunt if you want local material or if you live in an area that lacks stores but materials can be purchased online. Also, making clothes are great for unique body shapes. My struggle has always been that stores tend to think all women are shaped like boxes for some reason and when I buy jeans they end up with that weird waist gap that I’m pretty sure many of you can identify with, but I shall digress.


  6. Repair I want to recommend for all to help stimulate our local economies by using our local seamstress and cobbler (shoe repair). I found a few items in my closet that I can ensure more life if I repair them.


  7. Only shop with brands that you agree with I hear many of my friends say they are not creative so I want to recommend shopping with ethical, fair trade and/or sustainable clothing brands. It’ll require a bit of research, but it’ll be worth it. It will cost more than our local Forever 21 however, instead of shopping every week and spending $20 for 4 items we can save our money and shop once a month or less and purchase 1 or 2 high-quality items that we love because we took the time to look for their integrity.


  8. Just take care of what you can afford I know many cannot afford sustainable fashion (Do you think sustainable fashion is only for the privileged? Tell me your opinion in the comments)I recommend taking care of what you can. If all you can afford is a t-shirt from Wal-Mart or H&M, take care of it like it is the most beautiful silk in the world. Prolong its longevity, if you see a hole sew it up if the color is fading re-dye it. Do your best and be a good steward of what you have.

At the end of the day slow fashion is about being responsible and using our money with integrity. Keep trying. We are doing this together and it is going to be a process. We got this.

Love Jazz ❤

So What Is Slow Fashion?

This past semester I took a human geography class. In the course I learned about the impacts of fast fashion on the environment and humans.

Fast Fashion is a recent concept introduced to consumers of fashion. Companies like Forever 21, Zara, H&M, Gap and many others produce garments in an immensely fast pace. The items are made with cheap material that are produced in nations that have a small amount of environmental laws and workers’ rights. This allows these companies to produce large amount of items with little cost. Through their ability to make high quantity of clothes they’re able to encourage shoppers to by more and more and more of their trendy products.

The fast fashion companies are able to benefit from their low quality. For example, you buy a purse and in a month the material starts to rip or peel or the button falls off and then you have to go out and buy more items. It’s a vicious cycle, dude.

Initially, I didn’t find this an issue because the society that I have been raised in sees clothing as a disposable item however my opinion has changed due to what I have learned in class. The factories/sweatshops that the large fast fashion companies use are working their laborers in poor environments, encouraging children to work in unsafe conditions also, they are taking their toxic waste and throwing them in rivers and other areas which affect those who live there by giving them health problems and destroying the environmental balance of the world.

After learning so much about the impacts of fast fashion I realized that I need to do something that can help the humans that are being abused from my spending habits.

So I’m here to introduce the concept of slow fashion. It’s exactly what it sounds like, shop less often and shop better. According to an article by Hilary Milnes on the website digiday.com they say “slow fashion is the deliberate choice to buy better-quality items less often. When purchases are made, they’re environmentally and ethically conscious rather than trend-driven.”

Slow fashion is not the end all be all of all for the problems over seas however being responsible and being intentional about our purchases at least helps. Like the quote by Anna Lappé says “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

As for me I wouldn’t want someone to spend money to keep me in a cycle that I wouldn’t wish upon someone else. “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 7:12]

So make demands to your favorite fashion companies. Money is a tool that dictates a large sum of our lives, use it to help others. It’s already working! Fast fashion companies are making changes to become more sustainable but we still need to continue. I hope many of you will join me on my journey.

Jazz ❤