Tag Archives: Books

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies – ed. by Scarlett Curtis

This is a nice collection of essays on feminism, edited by Scarlett Curtis. A large number of celebrities, artists, activists, and others are all explaining what feminism means to them (52, I believe). This means you get a very diverse range of responses, and there’s something in here for everyone. It’s been published with the UN’s Girl Up Foundation, and all profits got to them.

The book is divided into sections Epiphany, Anger, Joy, Poetry Break, Action, and Education. No surprises that my favourite essays were in Anger and Action.

I felt strongly that the first section would be a great read for someone just starting to realise they are a feminist, and may help someone who is just starting to understand the issues involved. I found this section to be personally the least interesting, although it is good to hear from younger women about how they discovered they were feminists.

The later sections were where I really connected with a lot of the writing. Particularly I loved Jameela Jamil’s essay on raising boys, and Keira Knightly’s on her daughter. Both very moving, and very powerful. Both obviously issues that are very important and close to my heart as I have a son and a daughter.

I, of course, also loved the essay on Co-Parenting by Sharmadean Reid. She states the case for separated parents to share child rearing responsibilities 50/50. It’s so obvious, yet it’s unusual. I have been in this situation for a few years now, and from the break up we have shared parenting 50/50. It’s great, honestly. I see so much resistance to it from people I know. Often from the mother who doesn’t trust the father with this responsibility. I can see where this may be valid (from both sides too, with useless mothers and fathers existing), but mostly you chose a decent person to procreate with. Let them shoulder half the job. Don’t let them swoop in for a fun weekend every fortnight. Let them have to remember when parents evening is, or when they need a packed lunch sending in, or when a birthday party is and a present must be bought for it. Don’t take the day to day care away from the other parent. Let them parent too.

There are benefits for everyone involved. The kids still get half the time with both parents. The Father (because it’s mostly the father who ends up in this low contact time situation) gets to parent just as much. And you get HALF YOUR TIME TO YOURSELF. Rejoice. You can get shit done. You can date, and have a life, and run a business, whatever you like with this regained time. In Reid’s essay, she says she wouldn’t have been able to set up and run her successful business without this parenting arrangement.

Who wrote the rule that single fathers only see their children every other weekend? This was a plot line that I scrubbed out of my life. I am not going to pretend it was easy. I would budget five years of emotional hardship for you to hold on to consistency and routine, and to discover with your co-parent what works for you both and your child together as a family. It’s not an easy ride, but stand firm! I promise, it’s worth it.

This is just one of the 52 essays in Feminists Don’t Wear Pink, and honestly is covers such a broad range of topics, it’s just the parenting ones that currently say the most to me and my life.

Another stand out essay for me was Dismantling and Destroying Internalized Misogyny: To-Do List by Dolly Alderton. Now I need to read her book immediately.

I also loved the essay Baker-Miller Pink in the Education section (written by Scarlett Curtis). I hadn’t. even. heard. of. this. before. Suddenly I want to paint my house in it.

Baker-Miller Pink: the calming colour

Overall, a huge coverage of issues in Feminists Don’t Wear Pink. An enjoyable, informative, eye opening, celebratory, collection of essays.

Books Bought and Read April 2019

Slowly catching up with these!

Books Bought

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The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris. This was for May book club. I ended up not getting around to reading it, and not being able to attend the book club. 😦

And that’s it! I’m doing very well with the not buying books thing. Shame I’m also reading the slowest ever, so hardly shifting any of the tbr!

Books Read

Click on the book title to go to my review of the book.

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Cold Bath Street by A. J. Hartley

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt            darkdark3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m reading sooooooooooo sloooooooowwwwlllllyyyyyy this year!

Other Blog Posts

The Jhalak Prize Longlist.

I wrote about this great prize because it was won last year by the great Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge (my review here). It’s a prize for writers of colour, and two of my favourite books from last year, were on the longlist. Happily one of them won, In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne (my review is here).

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

A young journalist, Monique Grant, is unexpectedly requested to interview Evelyn Hugo – rich, reclusive, old time Hollywood Mega Star. We know from the beginning that she must have been chosen for some reason, but we don’t know what that is…

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I enjoyed Seven Husbands. I didn’t get the reveal until it was revealed, so that was pleasing. If *I* manage to guess what is going to happen, then it really must be tragically obvious.

The book is set up with this mystery about why Monique has been chosen to interview Evelyn. We go back to the present every now and again, but the focus of the book is on Evelyn telling her life story. The book is split into sections named after each of Evelyn’s husbands. Each with adjectives describing the husband. I liked this as a way of introducing the tone of the next marriage. There are also occasional newspaper articles on Evelyn and her life.

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I suggested Seven Husbands for my book club. It was generally thought of as OK, but there’s not much to discuss about it, other than it was an enjoyable story. The funniest thing was someone noticing that it was the number 1 book in erotic bisexual fiction on Amazon. I’m afraid this might have left a few people a bit disappointed by the content! It’s, sadly, an extremely tame book in this respect!

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It’s essentially a good read. Hollywood love story, fame, love that can’t be made public, part mystery, glamour, dark secrets, it’s got a lot going on. Just don’t pick it for book club!

 

 

Books Bought and Read – February 2019

Books Bought

This year I’m not buying any new books. There are a few exceptions though, and this month it might seem like it’s all got a bit out of hand. I am starting a short story writing course – one session a month over the next six months. So, for academic purposes you understand, I bought a lot of short story books. But it’s ok, because I had to 😀

I’ll just list them all:

  • The Elephant Vanishes – Haruki Murakami
  • What We Talk About When We talk about Love – Raymond Carver
  • Unthology 7 – edited by Ashley Stokes and Robin Jones
  • Dear Life – Alice Munro
  • Any Other Mouth – Anneliese Mackintosh
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories – Ernest Hemingway
  • The Overcoat and Other Short Stories – Nikolai Gogol
  • The Collected Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield 
  • Dubliners – James Joyce
  • My Oedipus Complex: and Other Short Stories – Frank O’Connor
  • The New Yorker Stories – Ann Beattie
  • Stone Mattress: Nine Wicked Tales – Margaret Atwood
  • Bradbury Classic Stories 1: The Grand Master Editions – Ray Bradbury
  • Four Bare Legs in a Bed and Other Stories – Helen Simpson

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Plus Cold Bath Street by A. J. Hartley for book club.

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And I got a book voucher and so pre-ordered a couple of books I really wanted!

  • It’s Not About the Burqa: Muslim Women on Faith, Feminism, Sexuality and Race edited by Mariam Khan
  • Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men – Caroline Criado Perez

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Books Read

I seem to be really struggling with reading this year. I’ve only been reading a book every two weeks, rather than my usual book a week. Just gonna go with it! Probably just a symptom of stress associated with an imminent house move.

Click on the book title to go to my review of the book.

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

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A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

Other blog posts

review of my 2018 Reading Challenge

My 2019 Reading Challenge

The Psychology of Time Travel – Kate Mascarenhas

Four scientist women discover how to time travel. They successfully keep control of the technology and therefore become very rich and powerful, except one who is ostracised after the very first successful time jump.

We follow the women’s stories throughout their lives, and through their descendants.  Of course, not in any completely sensible linear way, because half of the characters are time travellers.

It’s a really good, quite thrilling read and I enjoyed a slightly unusual take on time travel. There’s no danger of anyone messing up the timeline because they live in a deterministic Universe. So we don’t have to deal with the Grandparent paradox or any classic time travel dangers. No split timelines, or parallel universes. It’s a nice straightforward way to do time travel! And yet, somehow, even though the events are predetermined, there’s still quite a good exciting story line!

Because there are no dangers associated with someone seeing themselves in this Universe, it means someone can hang out with themselves from different times. This leads to some great scenes, and some of my favourite moments of the book. For example, two characters are newly entering a relationship, when an older version of one of the characters shows up at their flat to restock the kitchen and do a bit of cleaning.

I had a little bit of trouble keeping up with all the characters – this would probably be ok if I had a paper copy of the book, rather than an ebook, because I would have just flicked back to remind myself who everyone was. It wasn’t that confusing though really 😀

Over all I enjoyed this book. An interesting, fun take on time travel, weaved into a thrilling adventure. Great fun.

Books Bought and Read – January 2019

Books Bought

I ordered The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid for book club. Although it still hasn’t arrived! So I have just cancelled the order and ordered it from elsewhere. Hope it turns up soon…

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It did eventually turn up! but not until near the end of february!

Also purchased The Rough Guide to the USA in preparation for a trip. I can’t travel unprepared, so this gets an exemption from the not buying books rules.

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Books Read

I only finished two books in January. But I did spend most of the month reading a quite dense history book! I just didn’t finish it until February. Click on the book title to go to the review:

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Marching Powder by Rusty Young

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Other Blog Posts

I published a few of my 2018 wrap up posts in January:

My 2018 Reading in Statistics

2018 Reading Bingo

Becoming – Michelle Obama (audiobook)

Michelle Obama’s story is the princess story I’ve been dreaming of. Raised in a modest home on the south side of Chicago, she worked her arse off to get to an Ivy League University (Princeton), followed by Harvard Law School (and I’ve watched Suits, so I know how important this is). She landed a really super brilliant lawyer job, but realised she wanted to do something more helpful, so she changed focus and worked with more community driven something or other (read the book for actual details).

Meanwhile, she meets this wonderful, brilliant man. They fall in love and support each other to achieve their dreams. Never holding each other back. They are strong, and in love, and, my god, reading about them falling in love is just what I needed to read right now. It’s so pure. And then she becomes the First Lady of the United States.

Even in this new role, she isn’t swept away by the glamour. She is uncomfortable being a person who is supposed to be defined solely by her husband. She is uncomfortable with the focus on her appearance. She is uncomfortable with the inconvenience she now brings to other people by her mere presence and all the extra security that is required.  She didn’t want her husband to run at all. And, by the way, she can not stand the business of politics and will never run for office herself. That’s not to say she didn’t conform where she needed to, and she has been her husband’s greatest support. I like Michelle Obama for her straight talking, determination to do a good job, and for her honesty.

You can take it that I liked Becoming. I really did. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Obama herself, and it’s a joy.

The insight into daily life in the White House is interesting. The staff and the routines. The international travel and the duties that now fall on her. The getting used to living in a giant house, only to visit Buckingham Palace and realising your new giant house is small fry.

Huge shout out to Michelle Obama’s mother, a true hero. The stories of Obama’s  upbringing, and her mother’s attitude to parenting and how she dealt with her children, I found inspirational. It’s hard to describe succinctly, but she was always aware she was preparing her kids to go off and be independent, strong adults. She never tried to step in and sort out troubles for her kids, she gave them chance to deal with things themselves. She listened and supported, but she didn’t go overboard. She said she wasn’t raising babies. A lot of it resonated with my own parenting style, a lot of which goes against much of current popular parenting.

It’s impossible to read Becoming without making comparisons to the White House today, and hopefully making a horrified face at the same time. Obama’s description of the Trump inauguration, and her decision at some point to stop fake smiling and just go with showing the emotion she was feeling is so relatable. I recall watching it on TV and being in awe of her face.

I loved Becoming. There’s so much more to it than I have described here. Give it a go.