Book Review: The Rose That Grew from Concrete By Tupac Shakur

Image Courtesy of Goodreads.com

From Goodreads

His talent was unbounded — a raw force that commanded attention and respect.

His death was tragic — a violent homage to the power of his voice.

His legacy is indomitable — as vibrant and alive today as it has ever been.

Tupac Shakur’s most intimate and honest thoughts were uncovered only after his death with the instant classic The Rose That Grew from Concrete.

For the first time in paperback, this collection of deeply personal poetry is a mirror into the legendary artist’s enigmatic world and its many contradictions.

Written in his own hand from the time he was nineteen, these seventy-two poems embrace his spirit, his energy — and his ultimate message of hope.

Cover Gushing Worthiness: What I like about the cover of this poetry collection is Tupac is the cover. I think this is one of my favourite pictures of the Rapper because he’s looking right at you. It’s almost like he wants you to read his poetry and have a conversation about it. I also like the fact that it’s Black & White. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a cover without full colour.

Review: 

In the event of my Demise,

When my heart  can beat No More

I hope I Die For A Principle

Or A Belief that I had lived 4

Because I feel the shadow’s Depth

I have come 2 grips with the possibility

and wiped the last tear from my eyes

I Loved All Who Were Positive

IN the event of my Demise!

Tupac Shakur was easily one of the greatest Hip Hop artists to ever grace the genre. His music was raw and honest; it inspired an entire generation of youngsters who felt alone and cheated by the system. The same thing can be said about Tupac’s poetry. The Rose That Grew from Concrete (TRTGfC) is a collection of 72 poems written by the rapper between the ages of 19 and 22. It contains a wide range of poems, from those about love, pain and death, to government assistance, liberty, drugs and freedom. With a beautiful forward  by  acclaimed poet Niki Giovanni, The Rose That Grew from Concrete is a window into the soul of a different Tupac Shakur, than the picture painted by the media. This young man was self-aware , sensitive, loving and above all filled with hope for a better tomorrow.

 I have to admit that I had to be educated on Tupac’s music this year. Prior to becoming familiar with his music, I had seen a lot of his quotes and I knew that he was probably one of the smartest people to ever exist on this planet. Then my roommate and I spent a night jamming to Tupac’s music and after that I was hooked. So that was my introduction to Tupac-  the award-winning artist. However his poetry collection was my introduction to Tupac, before he became a sensation.

For a person with zero interest in poetry, I devoured TRIGfc in two days. I couldn’t stop reading Tupac’s words; they were beautiful, sad, bitter, angry, and at the same time filled with hope and love. The frankness of Tupac’s poetry is heartbreaking because no person, regardless of race, gender, young or old, should ever have to experience the suffering Tupac speaks about. For all the sadness in TRTGfC, there are livelier and romantic elements such as the poems the rapper wrote to the many loves of his life, which had me squealing like a teenage girl. Tupac just made me raise my standards for men; to potential significant others- you need to be able to write poetry like Tupac. That’s one of my conditions:P… except not really because it would be pretty hypocritical of me to ask someone to write poetry for me when I can’t even write poetry for myself. My temporary weakness aside, what grabbed my attention were the poems dedicated to Nelson Mandela, Afeni Shakur (Tupac’s mother), his unborn child as well as those addressing racism, inequality, classism and fame. The poems “Government Assistance or My Soul,” “Ur Ripping Us Apart!!!,” “Liberty Needs Glasses” and “The Promise” are poems that spoke to me because social justice is something that I’m passionate about. With everything that is going on in the world from the shooting of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin to what is happening in Gaza and Iraq, I think Tupac’s poetry is more relevant than ever. To hear Tupac as a 19-year-old talk about all of these social justice issues is inspiring on its own.  However, for all the respect and love I have for Tupac’s poetry, what was most disheartening to read was the poem In The Event Of My Demise. As I read the poem, I felt as if Tupac had created his own self-fulfilling prophecy and it had come true.

   Apart from the wonderful and emotional poetry in TRTGfC, an interesting aspect of the collection is its layout. The pages on the left contain the handwritten version of the poem and the right has a typed version. Personally I recommend reading the handwritten poem because there is a greater emotional impact and it is a glimpse into Tupac’s creativity with poetry. He would use symbols to represent words or he’d draw images to affirm his opinion.

   And 2morrow I wake with second wind

And strong because of pride

2 know I fought with all my heart 2 keep my dream alive

 This has been said time and time again and I’m going to echo the sentiment: Tupac Shakur was truly a man before his time. While the millennial generation was unable to experience his music and strong voice, through his poetry there is an opportunity to understand who Tupac Shakur was as a teenager and young adult. As someone who has found inspiration in his words, I can’t recommend this poetry collection highly enough to those interested in contemporary poetry and to those who just want to understand the rapper a bit more.

My Rating: 5 out 5

Would I recommend it? See above!

Top Ten Tuesday #40

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish. I think it’s a fun and fantastic idea and here’s this week’s Top Ten.

Top Ten Tuesday Ribbet 2

It’s been a really long time since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday Post and I can’t believe it’ll be my 40th one! I didn’t think that I had actually published so many TTT posts, but apparently I have. So this week’s list is Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read (based on how you are as a reader or they’re books that are recommended often). So here’s my list :)

Images Courtesy of Goodreads.com

Images Courtesy of Goodreads.com

The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

So many people have recommended The Hunger Games series to me, especially with the movie franchise being so popular. I saw the movie first before I even understood what it was about. A part of me knows that I should pick up the book, but then the other part of me knows that it’s so similar to Battle Royale another graphic novel that I want to read. So I’m still undecided about reading it.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Oh man, I’ve heard NOTHING but GOOD things about Saga! From the people at my local comic book store to my friends, everybody’s been talking about this graphic novel series. It is definitely something that I want to read.Hopefully I will get to it soon, but I have so many things to read!

Legend by Marie Lu

I’m not really someone who reads YA Dystopia, but Legend has come highly recommended from one of my good friends, who was also nice enough to let me borrow her copy of the book. I have to say that the Legend series has some beautiful covers. I really hope I enjoy this book!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

The funny thing is, I’ve gifted this book to friends who have loved it, but I’ve never read the book even though it’s been recommended to me so many times. I know myself to know that I’ll probably end up ranting about this book and the characters in it. But I’m SO tempted to buy the books with the new covers. They are so gorgeous!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This is another book that has been recommended a lot to me. I admit that Rowell has some of the most beautiful/quirky covers I’ve seen in a long time, but after how she handled Park’s character in  Eleanor and Park I don’t think I want to read any of her works. Although I would be interested in this book. Oh well.

All Images courtesy of Goodreads

All Images courtesy of Goodreads

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

I don’t think I’ve met a single person who hasn’t enjoyed reading Between Shades of Gray. It’s been highly recommended to me by several people. I’m not sure when I’ll actually get around to it, but I will at some point.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt 

I’m a sucker for boarding school stories; no wonder Emperor’s Club is one of my favourite movies of all time. The Secret History was recommended to me by one of my good friends. She says The Raven Boys reminds her a lot TSH. I’ve seen it a couple of times at the bookstore, but I never picked it up. But once I finish some of the books from my never-ending TBR pile, I plan to give this one ago!

That’s it from me for this post!

Have you read any of these books? What are some of the books that are highly recommended to you? Leave a link below so I can check them out!

Cheers,

Savindi

The Book Blogger Test

The Book blogger test

Hi Everyone!

I’m officially done school which is a relief! Now I can have some time to read, relax and hopefully do some baking  which I haven’t done in a really long time! Anyways I’ll write a post about my plans for this blog later, but right now I wanted to do do this tag because it’s been ages since Cayce from Fighting Dreamer tagged me for the The Book Blogger Test Tag! So here are my answers!

What are your top three book pet hates?

Oh dear, I feel like this is something that I can go on ad on for. But I’ll just talk about my top three instead of making it out to be one of Hermione Granger’s essays :P

  1. When female characters are required to have a male character come and save them or having the need to have a male companion in order to have  a satisfying life/existence. This is something that makes me want to pull my hair out and scream. Not all girls and women dream about having a Prince Charming or that suave male character that lifts them off their feet. I find it to be insulting and somewhat degrading that women are often portrayed as being incapable of functioning without a male character in their lives. Yes we all are co-dependent on one another, but it does not mean that women cannot function as human beings without having a boy or a man present in their lives. We can function just fine without having a significant other. We won’t lose our heads over it.
  2. When authors don’t do their research -I cannot talk about this enough. It bothers me when authors write about POC or characters with disabilities without doing an ounce of research or even talking to POC and people with disabilities. It’s incredibly disrespectful, insulting and hurtful. It makes me more angry when those works become bestsellers and portray people in such a negative light sometimes. So authors please do your research. You’re in a position where you have all the resources in the world to write a good book. So take advantage of that opportunity and write a good book.
  3. The use of the word ‘exotic’ to describe a POC. When are authors going to learn to stop using that word?  It has such negative connotations towards POC. Just because we’re different it doesn’t make us exotic. We’d also like to be viewed as human beings thank you very much.

Describe your perfect reading spot

 

Image courtesy of Favim.Com

 My bedroom isn’t this beautiful, but I love reading in bed. It’s the best place for me to read. The bus isn’t too bad of a place either!

Tell us three book confessions          

   Book Confession 2

Book Confession 1

Book Confession 3

When was the last time you cried during a book?

I haven’t really cried while reading a book in a while! But I do know that I cried while reading A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and I was definitely emotional while reading both Indian Horse and Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese. It takes a lot to get me to cry while reading a book.

How many books are on your bedside table?

Um…I don’t really have a bedside table. Does my desk count? Because that is the table that is next to my bed and currently it has over 30 books. My headboard for my bed is also a book shelf and I think it has over 20 books as well. I usually keep the book that I’m currently reading on my headboard/shelf or on my desk.

What is your favourite snack to eat while reading?

I don’t think I ever snack while I’m reading to be honest. I think I would be more worried about the fact hat I might get my pages dirty while reading. I do drink plenty of tea and water while I read lol. I usually keep my mug of tea on my desk and sit on my bed and read all the time :). My favourite teas to drink though are : Glitter & Gold, Matcha Tea, Organic Stormy Night and Earl Grey!

Name three books you would recommend to everyone

  1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz -This is one of my all time favourite books. It’s so beautiful and lyrical. ‘
  2. The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur I was never really interested in poetry until I read Tupac’s collection. It was beautiful, sad, inspiring and educational. I love how there’s so much incorporated into Tupac’s poetry.
  3. Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese I’m a fan of anything Richard Wagamese writes. His writing is poetic, lyrical and beautiful. He captures the human condition and spirit so well.

Show us a picture of your favourite bookshelf 

I’m being a bit lazy because all of my bookshelves resemble Mr. Ollivander’s Wand shop with things stacked here and there. But here’s a picture of my bookshelf/headboard

IMG531

Write how much books mean to you in just three words

Friends, Educational, Inspirational

What is your biggest reading secret?

Hmmm…probably fangirling a lot when some of my favourite fanfiction stories are updated :P

And I Tag

Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings 

Sam @ Realm of Fiction

Nuzaifa @ Say it With Books

Mishma @ As The Pages Turn

Rachel @ Life of a Female Bibliophile 

Thomas @ The Quiet Voice 

Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts 

Have a great Monday!

Cheers,

Savindi

Bookish Haul of Awesomeness Numero Quince

Bookish Haul of Awesomeness

Hi Everyone!

I know it’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog. School will be done on August 15th and then I can finally heave a sigh of relief and enjoy the last remaining weeks of Summer. I hope all of you have had an enjoyable Summer :). I’ve bought a lot of books since I started School and even when I was in Sri Lanka, but I haven’t had time to blog and even when I’ve had free time all I’ve wanted to do is mindlessly watch TV. Anyways again we have long weekend here in Canada, so I thought I’d finally sit down and post  about a book haul.  Anyways here are some of the books that I’ve purchased in the last couple of months :)

My Books :)

My Books :)

PicMonkey Collage II

 

So here we go!

The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book by Gord Hill

I don’t remember how I came across this book; it might be when I did a presentation on the Publisher- Arsenal Pulp Press. This graphic novel looks at Indigenous Resistance to European Colonization of North America. One of the things that I find interesting is that the book is in Black & White as opposed to colour. I’m not sure why I’m surprised maybe because most of the DC Comics I read are in colour; but then again I read Mangas which are in Black & White. I’ll probably do a review of this after I finish reading it.

Cataract City by Craig Davidson

Craig Davidson came to speak to my class on our Orientation Day. He was a pretty great speaker and we all got signed copies of his book. A lot of my class who has read it have liked it. I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but I hope I’ll enjoy it too! It’s supposed to be pretty dark and gritty which should make for an interesting read :)

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

I won this book when House of Anansi (A Canadian Publisher) visited our class. It’s a Western book and I’ve heard good things about it, so I hope I enjoy it too.

Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids by Deborah Ellis

This is one book that I have loved since I started to read it. Again I don’t remember how I heard about it, but I remember the minute I did hear/find it I knew I wanted to read it. Voices of Indigenous Kids is something that we seldom hear and I think it’s important to recognize their voices and respect them. The stories of these youth are incredible, sad and inspiring. I’ll talk about the book once I finish it. I commend Deborah Ellis for bringing these voices to our attention.

Mexican White Boy by Matt de la Pena

Before I start, I have to say Matt de la Pena always  has some of the best covers in YA! I’ve started to read this one, but then I’ve had to stop before school. I’ve enjoyed it a lot so far. I love how de la Pena explores the question of identity; especially when you’re biracial. In some ways I can relate to Danny when he questions where he belongs and learning about one’s own culture. I wish school would hurry up and finish so I can get back to reading!

House at the Corner by Enid Blyton

I had never heard of this series until I was at a bookstore in Sri Lanka and I love the covers! They are so beautiful and fun! Again this one is on my tbr pile. I’ll get around to it after August 15th.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The world needs more people like Maya Angelou; she was such a phenomenal and inspiring woman. I have to admit that I never studied her poetry or  her other works in school, but I’m familiar with some of her amazing quotes thanks to tumblr. There have been a few that have really stood out to me during the last few months for personal reasons and I wanted to know more about her, so I bought her autobiography. I love the cover for this and I hope I enjoy it when I do get a chance to read it.

Some other goodies :)

My brother was in the UK in June and for a bit in July so he got to visit the Harry Potter Studio and these were the goodies that he bought for me!

IMG496

I also bought a Legend of Korra mug for myself which arrived yesterday!

LOK Mug

LOK Mug

That’s it from me for this post. Have you read any of the books in my haul? If you have what did you think of them? Do you watch Legend of Korra? Are you liking this season?

Let me know!

Cheers,

Savindi

My Beats (1)

Piano-Wallpaper-music-24173621-1280-800

Image Courtesy of Fanpop.Com

Hi Everyone!

Technically I should be doing the ton of school work that awaits me, but here I am on my blog wanting to post about music. Since I haven’t posted about books in a while, I thought I’d post about the other thing that’s close to my heart; music. I don’t listen to one genre of music specifically; whatever that catches my ear, I usually listen to it. However in the past few days  I’ve been listening to a few tracks specifically so here are some of them!

Lupe Fiasco- Hurt me Soul

One of my friends introduced me to Lupe Fiasco because I enjoy Tupac’s music and I can say that I’m hooked. This song is from his debut album Food and Liquor. I listened to the entire album and it’s one of the best albums I’ve heard. I highly recommend it!

Lupe Fiasco- Words I Never Said

This is actually the song my friend sent to me and it’s one of the most powerful songs I’ve heard. Social Justice is something that I’m passionate about, so to hear artist talk about the problems in politics and society is always interesting to me. This is just a great song.

Beats by Dre- The Game before the Game

My list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include something to do with the World Cup! Even though I haven’t been following it as closely as I would like, I’m always interested in the music that comes out during this time. The Game before the Game is one catchy song. It’s incredibly addictive and the beat is so awesome :)

Spyair- Imagination

It’s no secret that I love sports animes! My latest addiction is the anime Haikyuu! which is about a Volleyball team. Honestly this is the only time I get excited about Volleyball. I just love this song by Spyair because it’s so upbeat and motivational in a way. The video too is awesome.

DJ Khaled- All I Do Is Win

Okay this purely stems from the fact that my group for my Sales Class won the Pubfight game that we played. It’s not an actual pubfight, but it’s where you create your own publishing house and fight for titles. There’s an auction and the grpup with the highest revenue over a number of weeks win. I think we were all surprised that we won  and happy of course! One of my friends posted Emma Stone lip syncing this song on Jimmy Fallon (she was fantastic!). So yes lol.

Channeling our Inner Beyonce

So we posted so many Beyonce gifs in our group facebook message because Queen Bee is just so fierce and awesome. Then my roommate posted this video on my wall on Thursday night and I’m just so amazed! My standards for men just went up; they need to be able to dance like Beyonce ;). These guys are so awesome and so fierce. It’s inspiring!

Anyways that’s what I’ve been listening to recently.  What about you guys? have you heard any of these songs? Do you have any recommendations for me?

Have a great Saturday!

Cheers,

Savindi

Identity

Hi Everyone!

I know it’s been a while since I last posted on my blog and the truth is school is incredibly busy. It’s going by so fast and we had a bunch of assignments and book conference this past week. Anyways so for our Creativity & Psychology of Writing course, we had to write 600 words of prose or poetry. We’ve handed the assignment in, but I thought I’d share with you the story that I wrote. I titled it “Identity” since I’ve already mentioned that it’s something that I struggle with. So here it is!

Identity

So which one do you prefer? Being here or being in Canada?” That is the question almost every single immigrant kid in any country dreads when they go back to their homeland. How do you answer such a personal question? What do you do with the fear of offending the person who asked you? The ‘who’ is the most important person, but then nothing really matters because in the end the person is going to form their own opinion of you whether you agree or disagree. You’re going to be stuck in that image they’ve created about you. No matter how prepared you are for the question, it never gets easier to answer.

‘I’m home’ is the feeling I get when I go back to Sri Lanka. The sense of familiarity appears as soon as the pilot says “We’ll be landing at Bandaranayaka International Airport soon.” I eagerly look out of the window and watch Colombo come to life amongst the bright lights. I would tell my mom “Our Street is somewhere down there too.” I’ve called it home for most of my life, but then again I call Canada home too. I’ve spent my teenage years and my short life as an adult there. It’s where I developed a passion for history, social justice, publishing and many other things. When I go back to Sri Lanka I’m always asking myself, “What is home?”. Is it the landscape? Is it my history and attachment to this place? Is it my family and friends? I can’t give myself a proper answer yet alone another person. But what I do know is home is what you make of it. Sometimes a place may stop feeling like home once everything familiar disappears, but you hold onto it as long as you can.

Whether it was sitting on a train and watching people hanging off it on a Monday morning as they headed into Colombo, admiring the beauty of a hotel which was previously owned by my grandmother’s family, riding in a Tuk Tuk, eating street food, or even just sitting and playing Scrabble with my grandma. All those actions amounted to feelings from another time. Sri Lanka is different now. There is more corruption; things are more expensive; the population has grown. And yet through all the difficulties of life people move on towards another day. Besides home, maybe it was the feeling of resilience that resonated with me. These people have endured riots and a civil war which devastated the country for 30 years and I remind myself that I am one of those people. Along with my family, I have endured the loss of electricity and water, a bomb blast close to our house and the feelings of helplessness as we waited for the day the war would be over. Living through those conditions shaped who I am today and will continue to shape me in the future. I’m forever grateful to have grown up through that adversity because in the end I learned a lot.

Even as my stay ended on April 22nd, and I cried as I left my grandparents and childhood home behind, I’m sure of one thing: I’m a child of Sri Lanka as much as I am of Canada. I’m not going to be able to separate one from another. If not for experiences in both countries I wouldn’t be who I am. What does the feeling of home and identity have to do with each other? I think they’re both what we choose them to be. No one can take that away from you.

Have a great weekend!

Cheers,

Savindi

Bookish Haul of Awesomeness Numero Catorce

Bookish Haul of Awesomeness

 

 

Hi Everyone!

Wow it really does feel like forever since I did a book haul post! To be honest it’s been a while since I bought some books. Due to Financial Restrictions that I have I’ve kept my book buying at a bare minimum, but this weekend I really couldn’t help but splurge some cash on some books that I really do want to read. Speaking of books, I did buy some books in Sri Lanka, but I’ll show pictures of those on a different day. Anyways here are my books!

My Books

My Books

Tupac's Book of Poetry

Tupac’s Book of Poetry

Tupac's Poem "The Rose that Grew from Concrete"

Tupac’s Poem “The Rose that Grew from Concrete”

TBTDOAPI

TBTDOAPI

The artwork in Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

The artwork in Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur

It’s been a pretty difficult week for me and I’ve been looking for some strength and inspiration;I’ve definitely found that in Tupac’s poetry. I admit that I didn’t start to listen to Tupac’s music until last Sunday when my roommate  made me listen to Changes by him. I’ve heard his quotes before listening to his music and it’s so obvious that he’s one of the smartest rappers to grace the Hip Hop music scene. Tupac’s music is filled with the want for Social Justice, so is his poetry. But I think his poetry really tells a story of someone who was incredibly sensitive, aware and truly and I mean truly wanted to make a difference. I think he did make a difference because so many people have been inspired by his music. I’ll write a review for his book of poetry once I finish it.

Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese 

I’ve made it clear that Richard Wagamese is one of my favourite authors since I read Indian Horse. I was going to wait till the book came out in paperback, but I couldn’t wait. I wanted this book now. I can’t wait to read this book because Wagamese is an author who understands the human condition in so much depth and captures it so well in this books. I really really hope I enjoy it. I’m going to be so sad if I don’t love this book as much as I loved Indian Horse.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie 

I’ve been hearing about this book for a very long time, but I never picked it up for some reason. Then the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign came out on twitter and one of the books that was mentioned was this one. I immediately decided to buy it because I’ve never read a YA novel about Native Americans (Specifically Aboriginal people in the States). I really hope I enjoy this one. I love the art work by Ellen Forney. I’ll be writing a review for this one as well.

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald

I’ve been following the story of Snowden’s revelations since the story broke out last year. It’s incredibly fascinating and concerning that such a thing as a privacy is fading slowly. I’m also a fan of Greenwald’s work, so I’m looking forward to reading this book.

So these are my books! Have you read any of them? If you  have what do you think of them? Let me know!

Cheers,

Savindi