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Joshua Whiting

learner, writer, creator, librarianish person

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All posts and notes on this site, sorted by when published.


Book Review - The Roots of Rap

[Originally Posted: 2020.02.12]
[Last Updated: 2022.02.19]

I posted a review of The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop, by Carole Boston Weatherford and Frank Morrison, on Goodreads, and I’m expanding on it slightly below.

The Roots of Rap - Cover Image

I was excited about this book and assumed I would love it because of the subject matter, but I guess I’m a little disappointed and feel the need to talk about it.

I posted a review of The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop, by Carole Boston Weatherford and Frank Morrison, on Goodreads, and I’m expanding on it slightly below.

The Roots of Rap - Cover Image

I was excited about this book and assumed I would love it because of the subject matter, but I guess I’m a little disappointed and feel the need to talk about it.

For readers who don’t already know much of this history (which I assume is going to be most children who encounter this book, including those who are fans of contemporary rap and hip hop)1 the text moves so quickly and resorts to so much listing and name-checking without context that they will likely need to go to some other sources if they want to actually make any sense out of it. (Like maybe the book should come with a link to a YouTube playlist or something? At least a bibliography or discography.) There are moments in which it gives off a vibe that you should just already know these things, and if you don’t you should be a little embarrassed to raise your hand and ask, which in my opinion isn’t a great vibe for a children’s book.

On the other hand, for older readers and actual hip hop heads that do know, the illustrations will be perfect but I think the text reads kind of corny, while the back matter is extremely dry. Maybe I’m overthinking this or expecting too much, and the main point of this book is actually just for kids to flip through and look at the awesome pictures. And if they are interested in hip hop it works fine for that. It is just slightly frustrating when there are so many great stories that could be shared from the history of hip hop, but this book hardly gives readers a single hook into learning or exploring more about any of it. It also makes me wish that some actual rappers would write some children’s books about rap (and about everything else, for that matter.)

For better context, pair this with When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop (a great example of a specific engaging story from the early days of Hip Hop) or the Hip Hop Family Tree graphic novels (although I can’t remember whether those are particularly kid-friendly) to give a peak into some of those stories. And if you want to hear the actual music, since the book doesn’t reference any kind of playlist, these yearly History of Hip Hop mixes are one great resource.


  1. As evidence of just how obscure this history is, here is Lil Yachty, not just a casual young fan but an established recording artist in contemporary rap, essentially claiming he doesn’t know or care much about rap history: https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7487023/lil-yachty-interview-fall-preview ↩︎

Standalone post link: Book Review - The Roots of Rap
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Read: The Undefeated

[Originally Posted: 2020.02.12]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

I read The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson

Read: February 12, 2020

The Undefeated - Cover Image

I want to give this all the awards. It probably should have gotten even more awards than it did.

(A little ashamed to admit that I’m just finally getting around to this, but I’m repenting of my unreading ways and doing what I can do now. And despite my claims to keep track of all my reading here in 2020, I’m back on Goodreads as well, I guess…)

I read The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson

Read: February 12, 2020

The Undefeated - Cover Image

I want to give this all the awards. It probably should have gotten even more awards than it did.

(A little ashamed to admit that I’m just finally getting around to this, but I’m repenting of my unreading ways and doing what I can do now. And despite my claims to keep track of all my reading here in 2020, I’m back on Goodreads as well, I guess…)

Nice official book trailer:

Standalone post link: Read: The Undefeated
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Reading: Charlotte's Web

[Originally Posted: 2020.01.11]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

I’m reading Charlotte’s Web with my kids at bedtime

Started Reading: January 4ish, 2020

Holding Charlotte’s Web in my hand

I’m reading Charlotte’s Web with my kids at bedtime

Started Reading: January 4ish, 2020

Holding Charlotte’s Web in my hand

Last Updated: January 14, 2020 This reading is restoring my faith in children’s fiction, after I got kind of burned out on it.

I’m still not entirely sure if I ever read this book all the way through as a child, or even paid attention to the movie all the way through as a child. I’m definitely paying attention now, though.

Standalone post link: Reading: Charlotte's Web
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Reading: In the Dream House

[Originally Posted: 2020.01.11]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

I Read In the Dream House: A Memoir

Started Reading: January 10, 2020 Finished Reading: January 11, 2020

Holding In the Dream House in my hand

I Read In the Dream House: A Memoir

Started Reading: January 10, 2020 Finished Reading: January 11, 2020

Holding In the Dream House in my hand

After reading Her Body and Other Parties a year or two ago I determined that I would read pretty much anything and everything that Machado chose to write and publish, and so here we are. A memoir about domestic abuse is not something I would generally seek out to read, but after sampling just a couple of sections I wanted to quickly read the entire book. Though the topic is serious and the underlying narrative is harrowing, the artful, fractured method she uses to explore this experience through all manner of genres, forms, and tones just excites me about writing more than anything else. I feel a little guilty having enjoyed this book as much as I did, but I think for all the trauma the author went through, she didn’t mean for this to be a traumatic read.

Try it:

Standalone post link: Reading: In the Dream House
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My Reading in 2020

[Originally Posted: 2020.01.10]
[Last Updated: 2021.02.20]

I used to be meticulous about tracking even my most minute reading updates on Goodreads1, but I’ve fallen off in the past few months, and I’m not entirely sure why.2

In the meantime while I try to figure that out, I’ve decided to post random3 updates4 about my reading on Twitter and also to experiment with creating a new thread/series here on this website that will serve as a running log of my reading life.

I used to be meticulous about tracking even my most minute reading updates on Goodreads1, but I’ve fallen off in the past few months, and I’m not entirely sure why.2

In the meantime while I try to figure that out, I’ve decided to post random3 updates4 about my reading on Twitter and also to experiment with creating a new thread/series here on this website that will serve as a running log of my reading life.

I may end up going back to active Goodreads use because I have a lot of friends there and I like to see what they are reading, and I think at least some of them like to see what I’m reading as well. But I’m still going to try this other method for 2020. I guess it is part of making this website my home location on the internet and keeping my content for myself and out of silos.

Tweets Cited


  1.  ↩︎
  2. This confessional tweet thread gets at part of what is going on with me. It also shares a great article about librarian reading burnout:

     ↩︎
  3.  ↩︎
  4.  ↩︎
Standalone post link: My Reading in 2020
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I Watched Parasite, 2019

[Originally Posted: 2020.01.07]
[Last Updated: 2022.02.19]

This review may contain spoilers.

Can’t stop thinking about ghosts in the basement and cockroaches scurrying under the furniture. And how maybe children’s fears should be taken seriously. This is a metaphoric spoiler.

Parasite Poster Image

This review may contain spoilers.

Can’t stop thinking about ghosts in the basement and cockroaches scurrying under the furniture. And how maybe children’s fears should be taken seriously. This is a metaphoric spoiler.

Parasite Poster Image

(First posted on letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/jdwhiting/film/parasite-2019/)

Is it weird that I started subscribing to the weekly showtime updates for the Salt Lake Film Society / Broadway Centre Theater almost a year ago but am just now finally attending a movie there on a random Monday night? Probably.

Standalone post link: I Watched Parasite, 2019
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I Watched Killer of Sheep, 1978

[Originally Posted: 2020.01.05]
[Last Updated: 2022.02.19]

Kids singing rhymes Dogs barking Car ignitions turning over but failing to start This bitter earth Scuffling and throwing rocks An ice cream truck on the next street over That’s America to me

Killer of Sheep DVD Cover Image

Kids singing rhymes Dogs barking Car ignitions turning over but failing to start This bitter earth Scuffling and throwing rocks An ice cream truck on the next street over That’s America to me

Killer of Sheep DVD Cover Image

(First posted on letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/jdwhiting/film/killer-of-sheep/)

Last night I also watched another film directed by Charles Burnett: My Brother’s Wedding, 1983. I watched the director’s cut. It was included in the same scratched-up DVD set as Killer of Sheep, which I obtained from the Salt Lake County Library. I waxed slightly poetic describing the sounds of Killer of Sheep above, but I think I liked My Brother’s Wedding even more, although I admit that a lot of the acting here is just bad. I laughed at moments that I don’t think were intended as comical on account of the acting, but maybe that’s okay. Overall, I’m glad I watched both of them as a double-feature.

My Brother’s Wedding Movie Image

(I’m still working my way through the 2017 and 2018 topics of the Film School Drop Outs Challenge at my own pace. This was watched for Week 32 (2018) - Movement - L.A. Rebellion.)

Screenshot of moment of Killer of Sheep frozen by a scratch in the library DVD Screenshot of moment of Killer of Sheep frozen by a scratch in the library DVD

Screenshot of library’s MARC Record for Killer of Sheep, just because I’m weird and this is my site so I can Screenshot of library’s MARC Record for Killer of Sheep, just because I’m a weird cataloging nerd and this is my site so I can. And also because I couldn’t get a direct hyperlink to their catalog record to work :(

Standalone post link: I Watched Killer of Sheep, 1978
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igh!

[Originally Posted: 2019.12.11]
[Last Updated: 2022.02.21]

Standalone post link: igh!
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Dogs--Evolution. Human-Animal Relationship--History.

[Originally Posted: 2019.12.01]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

A Dog in the Cave by Kay Frydenborg, with Luna in background

The other day at work I was going through some new MARC records for a school and came across this book they had purchased, and it covers the precise topics that I’ve been meaning to learn more about since a dog came into my life.

A Dog in the Cave by Kay Frydenborg, with Luna in background

The other day at work I was going through some new MARC records for a school and came across this book they had purchased, and it covers the precise topics that I’ve been meaning to learn more about since a dog came into my life.

Screenshot of Subject Headings for A Dog in the Cave by Kay Frydenborg

So now I’m learning about the co-evolution of humans and dogs. I love the serendipity of good library cataloging.

Standalone post link: Dogs--Evolution. Human-Animal Relationship--History.
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Thanks

[Originally Posted: 2019.11.28]
[Last Updated: 2021.02.20]

“Thanks” by W.S. Merwin - poetsdotorg screenshot

Thanks.

“Thanks” by W.S. Merwin - poetsdotorg screenshot

Thanks.

You better count your blessings for real. AMEN.

All My Heroes Are Cornballs by JPEGMAFIA - Cover

Standalone post link: Thanks
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Copyright 2022 Joshua David Whiting. Made in Millcreek, Utah, USA. Contact me. Built with Hugo and my own WP51 theme, still a work in progress. Hosted via Github and Netlify.