Monthly Archives: August 2006

American Bee

American Bee: The National Spelling Bee and The Culture of Word Nerds by James Maguire has a somewhat self explanatory title.

American Bee gives a unique look into the lives of the boys and girls who make it to the National Bee. Their cultures, races, relgions and backgrounds vary widely but their love for language and spelling bonds them to one another.

Maguire incorporates the vocabulary he inevitably acquired documenting the event in this book which makes reading it gratifying for fellow logophiles. (Word lovers!)

In other news for word nerds, each year new words are added to the dictionary. This year, 2005, was no exception. Please officially welcome to the English language the following words/phrases:

geek chic
water birth

Unsure of some of those yourself? Look them up at, where they also have a list of the words which were looked up most often in 2005.
After you spend some time studying, see if you could hack it at the Spelling Bee by taking the National Spelling Bee Quiz at



Filed under books, culture, fun links, kids

Not a Genuine Black Man

Not a Genuine Black Man: Or, How I Claimed My Piece Of Ground In The Lily-White Suburbs by Brian Copeland is a book I borrowed from the library that I plan to purchase to keep in my own personal library.

Brian Copeland is a black man who grew up in San Leandro, California. At the time when his family moved there, San Leandro was a 99.99% white community and openly hostile to blacks.

Mr. Copeland grew up to be a successful comedian and radio show host amongst other impressive accomplishments. But, one day he got an anonymous letter stating,

“As an African American, I am disgusted every time I hear your voice because you are not a genuine black man.”

This begged the question, what is a genuine black man? And so began the comedy routine and later this autobiography.

His story is one so heart wrenching that you will find yourself in tears for the young Brian as he struggles to fit in but in return is unjustly frisked by police officers, beat up by peers, literally stoned, followed by store security, accused, oppressed, and denied one simple right that every human being is guaranteed under the United States Declaration of Independence – the pursuit of happiness.

Even through so much heartache, Brian manages to keep his sense of humor and you will even laugh aloud just as often as you’ll tear up while reading, Not a Genuine Black Man.

Ultimately, there is a happy ending, and with it, a message. No matter what your race, this is a book that can change your life and the way you view and treat others for the rest of your days. Of all the books I have recommended on my blog ever, I recommend this one over them all.


Filed under books, culture, opinion