This book is fantastic. It's not an in depth study of women in America by any means - how can it be, when it does, in fact, cover every one of the 400This book is fantastic. It's not an in depth study of women in America by any means - how can it be, when it does, in fact, cover every one of the 400 years mentioned in the title? - but Collins hits on all the important figures and movements, well known or obscure, and provides a wonderful collection of notes with lists of her favorite sources. I'm a little afraid of just how big my to-read list is going to get now....more
I'm a little underwhelmed by this one. The twist (the terrible thing Louisa does that she believes to be the reason she gets locked up) wasn't hard toI'm a little underwhelmed by this one. The twist (the terrible thing Louisa does that she believes to be the reason she gets locked up) wasn't hard to guess, and while Eagland pulls a bait and switch in regards to the guilty party (sort of), there weren't any surprises in this one.
Louisa was sort of tiresome, too. She wishes she were a boy! She wants to study! She wants to be a doctor just like her father! She doesn't do anything on her own to make her dreams happen, just hopes that her mother and brother will stop being disapproving!
Clearly, no one explained to her that all the really daring girls dress up as boys and go do whatever they want anyway.
The cover for this one is cool, with a very close up shot of the back of a corset, but the tag line is horrendous: "Treachery locks her away. Love is the key." Kill me now....more
Poorly argued, poorly written, obnoxiously partisan, and just generally annoying, and I'm the choir she's preaching to. I found Sue Hertz's Caught inPoorly argued, poorly written, obnoxiously partisan, and just generally annoying, and I'm the choir she's preaching to. I found Sue Hertz's Caught in the Crossfire, which I read at the same time, to be much more engaging, fair and timely, and it was written twenty years ago....more
It had it's moments, but nothing special. I knew it was outdated going in, but it showed, mainly through pop culture references - specifically discussIt had it's moments, but nothing special. I knew it was outdated going in, but it showed, mainly through pop culture references - specifically discussions of zines rather than websites - and the glaring lack of any commentary on Hillary Clinton. (She doesn't even make the index, though I could have sworn she was at least mentioned.)
The prologue (A Day Without Feminism) was a pointed, exaggerated look at what life was like in 1970, the year both authors were born, and their message is very clear - forget a debate over parental consent for abortions, back then a single woman would have trouble finding a landlord who would rent her an apartment. They certainly highlight all the low points, but they're not making anything up.
Unfortunately, the prologue got me all good and fired up and then rest of the book meandered around, petered off, and finally got plain old boring. There's good information here, but there's not much fun in the reading of it....more
Chevalier is such a consistent good read, but she's never managed to knock my socks off. I liked this book, and I love the way Chevalier picks a realChevalier is such a consistent good read, but she's never managed to knock my socks off. I liked this book, and I love the way Chevalier picks a real object of historical importance and works from there.
But mostly I just want to read a non-fiction book about Mary Annings, and not because this book was so amazing that I need to know more about these people. Mostly I just found the fictional bits of it (the friendships and the class issues and whether or not Mary was ever involved with any of the collectors) boring and want to know more about the fossils and the cranky old Englishmen who didn't know how to deal with them and were complete asses to the girl who made it all happen....more
I'm going to start right off by pointing out that the subtitle (Teenage Girls in Twentieth-Century Popular Culture) is a bit of a misnomer. "Teenage GI'm going to start right off by pointing out that the subtitle (Teenage Girls in Twentieth-Century Popular Culture) is a bit of a misnomer. "Teenage Girls From 1930-1965" would be much more accurate, as the first 117 pages were devoted to Nancy Drew and her contemporaries, while the next 100 focused on Gidget, Patty Duke, Shirley Temple's various roles, all of which came out in the 50s or 60s. I was disappointed, as I was looking forward to discussions of, say, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, My So-Called Life, and Britney Spears. (For the record, Buffy and Britney were mentioned three times each in the epilogue, while Angela Chase was never brought up. More on that in a second.)
I found Nash's writing to be dry and vague, and overly academic - though the book does appear to be aimed at academic circles rather than popular culture. She provided quite a few examples to back up her theory, most of which I was unfamiliar with, seeing as most of them predated my parents' adolescence, much less my own. Her theory was, boiled down to its simplest form, that popular culture is threatened by teenage girls because it doesn't understand them and believes them to be in opposition to the default cultural viewpoint, that of middle-aged white males. Nash theorizes that because the people producing popular entertainment see teenage girls as a threat to the patriarchy and all that it stands for, it marginalizes, ignores, or trivializes them, in large part by making them appear stupid or fetishizing their blooming sexuality - or both.
I can completely get behind her complaint that when books featuring strong, competent, three-dimensional, sympathetic, realistic, female characters are made into movies, they frequently lose all of those characteristics except female. She pointed out the Nancy Drew movies of the 1930s, where Nancy went from unnaturally smart - she knew the answer to everything, after all - to a blithering idiot. The ideas she had in the book were given to her boyfriend or her father, who she was regularly rescued by, in direct contradiction with the original text. More recent examples (both of which I am very fond of) include Anne Hathaway in both Ella Enchanted and The Princess Diaries, where the main female characters are both turned into silly, clumsy girls, obsessed with boys and noticeably less competent than their book counterparts. (Honestly, Anne, must you continue to ruin my favorite young adult novels?)
That said, the early slight of the Anne of Green Gables novels made me cranky. Yes, Ms. Nash, as Anne grew older, she matured. That's actually character development, rather than an anti-feminist message. If she had been as scatterbrained and naive as a mother of 5 as she was as a girl of 11, you would have made a big case about the dumbing down of an adult woman. Back away from my childhood favorite.
Those interested in the subject will find some good points here; those who are looking for a cranky feminist might find that as well. Those looking for some perspective on Buffy and Britney won't find much of anything. What I'd really like to know, though - were they left out because there hasn't been enough time to see what their impact on mainstream culture was? Or because they didn't fit with Nash's theory?...more
I finished this one, but I wasn't happy about it. It felt more like an attempt to capitalize on the so-called "age of the geek" than anything an actuaI finished this one, but I wasn't happy about it. It felt more like an attempt to capitalize on the so-called "age of the geek" than anything an actual geek might produce. I might be older and more organically "geeky" than the intended audience of teenage girls, but I don't see why teenage girls should have to suffer through this book....more
Fun, but lacking depth. Each First Lady gets a page or two - I think Eleanor Roosevelt and Jackie Kennedy might get three. It was nice to learn aboutFun, but lacking depth. Each First Lady gets a page or two - I think Eleanor Roosevelt and Jackie Kennedy might get three. It was nice to learn about some of the lesser known First Ladies, but nothing I feel the need to reread. It wouldn't make for a good reference, either, unless all you wanted was a very basic bio and a fun fact or two....more
A engaging look at the war over abortion, with stories from all sides: the doctors and nurses, the patients, the protesters, even the police. Still tiA engaging look at the war over abortion, with stories from all sides: the doctors and nurses, the patients, the protesters, even the police. Still timely twenty years after it was originally published, and definitely worth a read. For the record, both the book and the author were pro-choice, but without the in-your-face partisan politics that usually cloud discussion of the subject....more
An interesting and well written look at - as the title implies - women in pop culture. Douglas focused on the ERA for a couple chapters, something I aAn interesting and well written look at - as the title implies - women in pop culture. Douglas focused on the ERA for a couple chapters, something I am apparently not as familiar with as I previously thought.
My only problem with the book is that it's over ten years old. She briefly discusses Hillary Clinton's stint as First Lady (a First Lady who didn't obey the rules), and I would love to see what she thinks about (former) Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. Not to mention all the other topics that could be discussed: Buffy, Britney, Desperate Housewives, BSG, Danica Patrick, Nancy Pelosi, Ann Coulter... the list goes on. But outdated or not, her look at the 50s-80s is well worth the read....more
It's interesting, and a bit scary, and funny too. It's a collection of one to five page essays submitted by women of all ages (five being the youngestIt's interesting, and a bit scary, and funny too. It's a collection of one to five page essays submitted by women of all ages (five being the youngest), mostly from the United States, but a few from other countries as well. They're all true stories, things these women (and girls) have actually accomplished and survived and experienced. They all aim to be inspiring, and most hit the mark. I read the book all in one sitting (actually, I snagged it from my roommate, who has to read it for her Women's Studies class, and she's now demanding a reader's digest version, which is hard to do for a collection of essays...), and several of them stuck with me. A good read for anyone who's interested in feminism, on any level, or just in women's voices and stories.
Nothing I need to own, but I'm going to buy it for a woman I used to work with - I think she'll enjoy it....more
So I was meandering past the nonexistent paranormal sciences section of my local library, and I spotted Talking To The Dead. Kate and Maggie (and LeahSo I was meandering past the nonexistent paranormal sciences section of my local library, and I spotted Talking To The Dead. Kate and Maggie (and Leah) Fox are names that get tossed around all the time in books on the paranormal. They were the so-called founders of the Spiritualist movement, and two of the very few mediums of the time never to have been exposed as frauds. They really did bring the Spiritualist movement into the public eye after strange rappings were first heard in their childhood home, and it seemed as if they were able to communicate with whatever was making the noises. If nothing else, they were single female celebrities in an era when women weren't allowed to do much of anything.
There you go. You can now skip this book entirely, as that pretty much sums it up.
What I had hoped would be an interesting look at early Spiritualism - the people who created the spectacles, the people who believed in it so strongly, the mediums who were proved to be blatant frauds, the mediums that still puzzle history - well, it turned into a boring commentary on society supplemented with way too much on the oldest sister Leah. Leah was a huge influence on her younger sisters, and most skeptics hold that she was the driving force behind Kate and Maggie keeping up their hoax. And she could be a compelling figure... but not the way Weisberg writes her. She's flat and annoying, and there was far too much focus on her.
The social commentary would not be so bad if it were, again, interesting, and if it fit with the stories of the sisters. It seemed as if two different books on two different subjects were smashed together, with little transition between the two subjects. It was mostly just dull and dry and not particularly interesting - which is a shame, considering the subject she had to work with.
Eh. I've read worse, and this was much less cheesy and much more informative than the Travel Channel will ever be, but not anything I'd recommend....more