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List ten books that have stayed with you.

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1) Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. 
2) The Alchemist by Paul Coehlo.
3) Surely you must be joking by Richard Feynman.
4) A Brief history of time Stephen Hawking.
5) The easy tarot guide by Marsha Marshino.
6) The Faces at the bottom of the well. by Derrick Bell.
7) Negrophobia by Darius James.
8) Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
9) The places you'll go by Doctor Seuss. 
10) Eastern and Western Mysteries David Alan Hulse.

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There are so many............

These aren't in any particular order of importance and I'm sure there are some that SHOULD be included in the top 10 that I'm not thinking of right now but here are 10 just off the top:

Message To The Black Man (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad)
Up From Slavery (Booker T. Washington)
The Phantom Tollbooth
Black Labor White Wealth (Claud Anderson)
Mein Kampf (Adolph Hitler)
The Bible
The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Alex Haily)
Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill)
Time Machine (H.G. Wells)
Life After Life (Dr Raymond Moody)

It's been years since I've read them and I don't have the best memory in the world to remember every detail of them, but I do remember how much I got caught up reading these book and just thinking about them still brings comfort to this day.

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Del was a good idea:

  1. Fun with Dick and Jane
  2. A Snowy Day
  3. World Book Encyclopedia
  4. Dr. Seuss Books (all)
  5. Charles Shultz Peanuts (all)
  6. Encyclopedia Brown (all)
  7. Alice in Wonderland
  8. Cane
  9. Beloved
  10. Who Owns the Future

I know it looks like a crazy list; only 3 of the authors are Black and I've only added 4 of the books to this site. All of these books (and more) have stuck with me for one reason or another. #1 was the first book I remember reading. #2 was the first book I ever saw with a Black boy in it and I recall being surprised by the that--and I was really very young at the time.



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1.       The Dictionary

2-10.  The biographies of the many noteworthy people i have read over the years.


Up until recently, i have been an avid reader all of my life, and i couldn't begin to narrow down the titles of all the fiction books i've read.  If i  finished them, then they impressed me.  The dictionary has always been my enabler.  Every word definition is a story unto itself.  

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I initially had about thirteen books. Snowy Day wasn't that Jack Ezra Keats. I reread his books to my son. Too bad about the flack he caught. He seemed like a well meaning man.


Do you remember the Charlie Brown Christmas. Franklin was the only black kid. He was the only one on the other side of the table. He was also the only one with a lawn chair and it was broken. 

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A Charlie Brown Xmas was my favorite holiday cartoon it was neck-in-neck next with the How the Grinch Stole Xmas.  I watched it every year when it came on TV up until my kids were young.  Eventually I purchased the VHS, but once I was able to which it anytime I wanted the allure of watching it during Xmas wore off.  I have not seen it in years.  Funny I don;t remeber Franklin and the broken lawn chair.


I aso enjoyed the music.  I actually brought the sheet music to "Linus and Lucy" and an expensive electronic keyboard to learn how to play it.  I never got around to actually learning how to play it....


Don't tell me Ezra Jack Keats sexually abused some woman.  What kind of flack did he receive and for what?

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Cynique mentioned the dictionary as one of her top 10 books.

I actually considered listing it, but declined because I honestly haven't sat down and read an entire dictionary from cover to cover.
I've gotten started numerous times....lol....but haven't completed it yet.





What was Life after Life ?

Sorry, I didn't see your question earlier......

Life After Life was a ground breaking book by Dr Raymond Moody about people who have actually died and their soul/spirit traveled to the "otherside" and came back to tell about it.

It's one of the books that helped me to make the transition from traditional religion to a more pure Theism.
It also strengthened my belief in the afterlife....or more properly the "afterdeath".

Speaking of Charlie Brown......

Wasn't Peppermint Patty the first lesbian cartoon on television.....lol.
She looked just like Charlie Brown but with hair, had a masculine voice, and had that little girl following her around calling her "sir".

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1) Sleeping with a D-Man by Mel Hopkins

  • The Princessa by Harriet Rubin
  • The Art of Learning (Read it Twice) by Josh Waitzkin 
  • Instant Millionaire by  (read it twice) Mark Fischer
  • Transitioning From Employee To Entrepreneur : A Road Map for Aspiring Entrepreneurs : Marvin L. Storm 
  • The Art of Profitability by  Adrian J. Slywotzky
  • 50th Law by 50 cent and Robert Greene
  • Testament of Solomon by King Solomon
  • Indiscretions by Yolanda Hooks Buick
  • The Footprint of God by Greg Iles 
  • Are You There God, It's me Margaret  by Judy Blume 
  • Just Morgan by  Susan Beth Pfeffer 



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1 hour ago, Troy said:

Hey Mel.  I just adeed the 50th Law to the site. What was it about the book that struck you?

It is exactly what you posted up there... being courageous and the many ways we fail ourselves by being fearful.  But wait I wrote a review when I finished reading it. From 2011 -   https://melhopkins.com/2011/04/11/the-50th-law-thou-shall-not-fear-2/


Since finishing The 50th Law by Curtis “50-Cent” Jackson and Robert Greene, I’ve been feeling some type of way.

If I had to identify the feeling, it would be an emotion ranging from vindication as in “I knew it” to one of frustration as in “when did I forget what I knew?”


I'm jumping ahead of myself.


The 50th Law is a multi-genre book.  Its 304 pages (although my copy only had 291 pages) is divided up into genres of 1/4 history, 1/4 leadership, 1/4 self-help, and 1/4 memoir. 


If I were to summarize the content, it would be "Fearless-to-Free to be You and Me.”  The latter being the title from the 70s soundtrack, telecast, and movement, which sought to do away with traditional gender roles.


Almost 40 years later, the message resurfaces.  Although it doesn’t promote gender neutrality, it is just as empowering. The 50th Law seeks to have us embrace our individuality to be the best we can be.


This message is driven home by author Robert Greene providing an intimate look into the lives of historical figures and celebrities including 50 Cent. 

Greene illustrates how these iconoclasts embraced their individuality early on and without apology, which contributed to their professional and personal success.


Embracing your individuality seems easy enough, right? It is if you don’t mind separating yourself from the crowd, standing out and apart.

If it is easy why would the majority of humans spend their entire lives trying to fit? 


According to 50-Cent and Robert Greene “Fear” is why we so desperately cling to each other like sheep.

And while “Fear” is the usual suspect, it is their answer to the “Fear of What” and the resulting solution that separates their thesis from those of modern-day philosophers.


The answer is so thought-provoking it will have other readers “feeling some kind of way” long after they put the book down.


I highly recommend “The 50th Law” to those who are ready to break away from “the herd.”

Copyright (c) 2011 MH


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Not necessarily in the order given, the following books are the most valuable information, I think, because of the real world issues they discuss or their metaphorical message(s) by both Black and White authors.   

  1. Souls of Black Folk
  2. Up From Slavery
  3. The Fire Next Time
  4. Sharing Wisdom
  5. Metamorphosis  
  6. The Great Gatsby
  7. To Kill a Mocking Bird
  8. If Americans Knew
  9. Critical Issues in Policing
  10. The Republic
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@Mel Hopkins yeah I figured I'd answered my own question once I researched the book.  This question probably should be a different conversations but there seems to be a thin line between being reckless and fearless. I'm the "I'll try anything once" kind of guy. Maybe I've lucky so far bungee jumping, skydiving, and the thousands of somersaults I've done have never hurt me :-) I dunno...


You see, speaking from personal experience I quit a good paying job 10 years ago to run AALBC.com full and have been struggling ever since, but I have not stopped enjoying what I do despite the struggle (shoot maybe because of it :)).  I know people that work jobs they hate for the money or security.  I have never done that.  I'm not sure I'm capable of doing it.


I do disagree with the author (Robert Greene), he said a number of times everyone has fear.  I do believe there are people who have no fear, or the have so little of it they may as well have none.  I believe I have met a couple of truly fearless people.

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@Troy , What's revealed in this book relates more to courage.   In the examples you mentioned, the risk taker has already made the decision .  There's nothing to fear when you're in control. For example, no one forced you to bungee jump,  skydive or perform thousand of somersaults. you made the decision.  But God forbid, you ended up a quadriplegic (God forbid) - now you're no longer in control of your body - so how you continue through life displays your ability to be fearless/fearful.  That's the book's motif - how we deal with the hand we're dealt.  

There are people who take those risk but crushed by the results. They display their fear in various ways that appear normal to the onlooker. It looks like self-sabotage.  For example, a man who had one bad heartbreak but  is now fearful to let himself be open to love  is a display of fear.     There are people who appear fearless but have a safety net to count on when walking the tight rope.    Fear is very nuanced but both Greene and Fiddy tackle as many scenarios to make the point and arrive at the books intriguing conclusion.  Even though I took a lot of notes I may want to revisit it again.  (smile)


You and Greene appear to agree. He said that he wants to punch folks in the face that say fear is innate. He seems to believe its a only a starting point or a fleeting emotion that anyone can overcome.     

Edited by Mel Hopkins
your should be- YOU'RE
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Well said, Mel Hopkins! To take your explanation a step further, fear as an emotion is indeed, a subjective innate response to any stimuli experienced by every human being.  An infant existing the wound into a world of noise, light, and life may experience (still debatable) fear from the stimuli.  Like other mammals, human fear is only different because we respond from a place of reason rather than instinct.  Most mammals would probably not fight to the death for any reason whereas humans may resolve to fight to the death, not out of fearlessness but out of reason.  The fear is still there.


I'm inclined to think that any subjective emotion is a display of intelligence.  Like people who say they "have a Constitutional right' to live, go and do as they please is probably more foolish than fearless.  Although it is their Constitutional right.  So the next time someone says "I can stand in the middle of the road if I want," prompt remind them a motorist' fear of being late may very well rob him/her of all rights!!


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  • 8 months later...
On 12/20/2017 at 3:25 PM, Mel Hopkins said:

Sleeping with a D-Man by Mel Hopkins


@Mel Hopkins WOW! I received your book! And I skimmed it. It is a lot! So, it will take me awhile to read it, but it has drawn me in!

You're title seems so on point! It is filled with a lot of fact based setting and mixed in with supernatural forces and fantasy. You've taken me to Ethiopia, Jamaica, New York and I never lived in New York but you put me there. You've mentioned so many of my favorite and passionate ancient people!  So far too, there is so much that makes me relive a lot of what you wrote about in my younger days. It is so refreshing to read from an author that brings to life my youth and my experiences. Wow! 


Okay, this is not 'my review', I've got to go to Starbucks, gets some coffee and get to reading. 

Wow! My boring research will never compare to your talent in how you can weave such a beautiful story based on facts. You are very talented.  Brilliant.


So far, I became caught up in the 'pink and green' setting! LOL My sister pleged AKA and my cuz/roommate too. And your book takes me back to memories in how I had to hide her from her 'big sisters'... and then guess what!? Uh... a year or two later, I pledged too.... ZETA! LOL. And my roommate had to hide me... we refused to go to probate show... I'm on the edge of my seat with 'Drew'. I felt like jumping through the pages... YOu bring back my memories of ... college cheerleading... basketball games... football games...my girlfriend dragging me out in the night to run down her no good, two timing boyfriend..... banging on the door.... and then me too, getting my girlfried to go with me in the night ... on a mission to bust that man ... in his game...  


I love the back cover too, You have a beautiful figure. You look like you should have been a beauty pageant winner. 

On 12/12/2017 at 8:50 PM, Pioneer1 said:

There are so many............


@Pioneer1 This is my problem.

I have to think about this. 

But I love your list. 

On 12/20/2017 at 5:23 PM, Kalexander2 said:

Up From Slavery


@Kalexander2 Does the film count? I love this film and book too, but it was difficult to get through.

On 12/13/2017 at 9:28 AM, Troy said:

Fun with Dick and Jane

@Troy Oh my Gosh! That was my favorite book! LOL.


On 12/13/2017 at 4:10 PM, Cynique said:

The Dictionary


@CyniqueThe Dictionary was my bestest friend until 'smart lookup came along'. 

Edited by Chevdove
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1 hour ago, Chevdove said:

So far too, there is so much that makes me relive a lot of what you wrote about in my younger days. It is so refreshing to read from an author that brings to life my youth and my experiences. Wow! 


Okay, this is not 'my review'


@Chevdove  I'll take it!  LOL... You've made my day! From what you wrote I get the sense you are having fun and that was my overall goal!  I wrote this book for my oldest daughter who was on her way to college and would be away from me and my mother for the first time in her life... I wanted to have an expanded version "the talk"  but most of all I wanted to her to have fun reading it... (I have 3 daughters and none of the married yet or have children - They are just focused on their careers.   I think I scared them LOL) 

Thank you for the compliment on my figure ... that was in 2004 when I was still smoking; sucking down cambridge diet shakes for meal replacements and doing the Jane Fonda workout and The Firm 6-days a week to maintain that 145 lbs / 36-26-39 figure.   I no longer smoke but I know  if I want to maintain that size or anything close to it - I can only eat 1200-1500 calories a day - or it's a wrap and I stand 5 feet 9 inches tall!!! 

Ok don't get me started because I'm on my Cambridge Diet Shake regime, coffee and water right now and I'm a bit delirious  (hahahaha) .

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13 hours ago, Mel Hopkins said:

Ok don't get me started because I'm on my Cambridge Diet Shake regime, coffee and water right now and I'm a bit delirious  (hahahaha) .


@Mel HopkinsGood for you! I am happy you gave up the cigs though! You are so honest! What a virtue. 

Yeah, you might have made your daughters a little cautious but that is good. 

I need to do something too... aerobics.... I've enjoyed the attention I received in my younger days and I am kind of embarrassed now, a little bit. But 

your book is bringing back the good memories! --and the funny memories too. I am so glad I bought your book!



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