This book caused some major irrepressible giggling. The parenting sections were hysterical and though I've never watched Downton Abbey, Moran's review...moreThis book caused some major irrepressible giggling. The parenting sections were hysterical and though I've never watched Downton Abbey, Moran's reviews had me in stitches! There were also some very interesting interviews with Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, and Lady Gaga, as well as a couple of serious essays all with a liberal perspective on topics such as cutting funding for public libraries and benefits. All in all, excellent book. Highly recommend it! (less)
Really enjoyed this book. Bashir is a doctor from a very traditional background. She spends a large part of this book describing her early life and th...moreReally enjoyed this book. Bashir is a doctor from a very traditional background. She spends a large part of this book describing her early life and the life of her village before the atrocities of Darfur. As a doctor, she witnessed some terrible things and as a doctor who treated rebels, she was ultimately targeted by the government. She endured horrible personal tragedies as her country fell apart, but did ultimately make it to England and gain asylum. She is so brave to tell her story with such honesty. (less)
This was a pick for my feminist book club. Unfortunately, I didn't make the meeting, so I didn't get to discuss it with my ladies.
I wasn’t sure about...moreThis was a pick for my feminist book club. Unfortunately, I didn't make the meeting, so I didn't get to discuss it with my ladies.
I wasn’t sure about this book. We had only recently read Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman, and I wasn’t sure I was ready for another personal reflection through career and motherhood. (Especially from someone who clearly aced it, going on to have an amazing career and two beautiful children despite battling post-partum depression). There is an interesting line for me in these kinds of books where they go from inspirational to tiresome.
Anyway, I slogged through the first bit of the book when suddenly I was introduced to the Thumbelinas. Shafek writes of the distinct portions of her personality as though they are real tiny women who live inside her. They all have distinct patterns of speech and dress, and live in little houses in her soul. They have names like Little Miss Practical, Mama Rice Pudding, and Dame Dervish. While at first I resisted them, (this convention seemed forced), I grew to really like them. I actually found I liked them much more than I liked Elif herself. I also very much enjoyed the interludes where she writes about literary women’s lives and their struggles with motherhood and career.
Ultimately, I’m happy for Elif Shafek that she vanquished her post-partum depression and went on to “have it all.” I see that she struggled through a very difficult time and I do appreciate how hard it was for her. I think it must be very difficult to write this kind of story of yourself without making it feel like you are giving yourself a giant pat on the back. And of course you deserve a pat on the back when you come out an experience like that, but sometimes it just felt like hero worship, like she was writing the Odyssey and placing herself as Odysseus.
So, I’m a bit torn about this book. I think I should go on to read some of her fiction. (less)
Lundy Bancroft has worked with thousands of abusive men through his work with the nation’s first counseling program for abusive men. His direct experi...moreLundy Bancroft has worked with thousands of abusive men through his work with the nation’s first counseling program for abusive men. His direct experience provides important insights into how abusive men think and why they abuse their partners. This book not only seeks to understand the mindset of an abuser, it is also an important resource for any woman who is in a dangerous relationship, providing safety planning, warning signs of abuse, tactics, and danger signs.
I deeply appreciated his all encompassing definition of abuse and the large section on the mythology of abuse. Though I work at a domestic violence center and have received some training, I learned a great deal reading this book.
This isn't a book only for women who have experienced abuse. This is a book for everyone. Bancroft points out that 2-4 million women are assaulted by their partners in the U. S. alone. One out of every three women will experience violence in their lifetime. Partner abuse is found in every culture and is a huge worldwide public health problem. (less)
Beautifully written feminist classic on motherhood. Topics range from ancient speculative matriarchal societies and rise of the patriarchy, to the rel...moreBeautifully written feminist classic on motherhood. Topics range from ancient speculative matriarchal societies and rise of the patriarchy, to the relationships between mothers and children, to the rise of institutionalized childbirth and the fight for control of women's bodies and reproduction. Throughout, Rich weaves emotion and research with personal experience. (less)
LOVED this book! Told in shifting perspective from four women dovekeepers in the Judean desert fortress of Masada. The story of Masada is such an inte...moreLOVED this book! Told in shifting perspective from four women dovekeepers in the Judean desert fortress of Masada. The story of Masada is such an interesting one and Hoffman does an amazing job of reinterpreting it through the eyes of women. So glad my bookclub suggested this one!(less)
Read this one for an online feminist book club and really enjoyed it! Very well researched. General premise is that people (mostly journalists or popu...moreRead this one for an online feminist book club and really enjoyed it! Very well researched. General premise is that people (mostly journalists or popular science writers but the occasional scientist as well) are interpreting data according to their own preconceived notions and/ or greatly exaggerating the conclusions of research into the neuroscience of gender. The author also goes into great detail about how stereotyped views of women affect their views of themselves and their performance on tests even choice of professions. Very interesting. (less)
This book definitely made me feel angry and anti-capitalist and I'm glad it is out there.
Ehrenreich, a PhD in biology, and investigative journalist,...moreThis book definitely made me feel angry and anti-capitalist and I'm glad it is out there.
Ehrenreich, a PhD in biology, and investigative journalist, spends several months as a low wage worker to try to understand how people get by when they aren't being paid a living wage.
This is an important topic and this book has done a great deal to bring the plight of the working poor to light in our country. I absolutely appreciated the details I was unaware of. I was especially interested in her analysis of the housing situation in this country. This book was written before the bust. Obviously housing insecurity is a huge problem in our country.
I hate to make this review about Ehrenreich personally, but since she ultimately wrote herself into the story in such detail, I can't help it. There are times in this book when she is just so pretentious and privileged (and I am too so I shouldn't complain) that it is really difficult to read. You know she is trying to make the point that this system is unfair and that her coworkers are hardworking people who deserve access to the American dream, but sometimes her writing just drips with condescension. Perhaps this is just a defense mechanism, because she certainly makes it clear that she is treated without respect as a low wage worker. Or perhaps she is being brutally honest about her viewpoint to make a point. Still, I found it a bit difficult.
Despite its flaws, I'm glad she wrote this book. (less)
I really enjoyed this one... a very concise book packed with information about the history of trends in feminism. I now want to read many more Bell Ho...moreI really enjoyed this one... a very concise book packed with information about the history of trends in feminism. I now want to read many more Bell Hooks books!(less)
I enjoyed this book. For what it was, it was fun. Most of the works were familiar and I enjoyed going back to them.
However, I'm sorry to say that I di...moreI enjoyed this book. For what it was, it was fun. Most of the works were familiar and I enjoyed going back to them.
However, I'm sorry to say that I didn't really find Staal changed by these great books of feminism, most of which were second wave, and did not address many of the issues I find really important in feminism. 2nd wave feminism is great, but it was mostly a movement of economically privileged white women. These books are very important... I am not downplaying their part in the movement, but they are not the end of feminism. It's like Staal never made it to past Betty Freidan. She clearly read other texts in her class, but they didn't resonate with her, so she didn't write about them.
So, I think the title is inaccurate. I don’t think this book is really about reading feminism, I think it is about the transition to motherhood and difficulties of juggling career and family. And, yes, feminism has a lot to say on that subject. With that in mind, I suppose Staal's life was changed in that she had a better relationship with herself as both a mother and a writer at the end of the book?
I don't know... I'm just not sure feminism is only about how each person individually lives their life; I feel her book is missing activism or service to others, or at the very least a recognition that her privileged life is not the norm for women in our country and around the globe.
Or if she just changed the name of the book? How about Reading Feminism: How the Great Books of 2nd Wave Feminism Helped me Cope with Motherhood. I like that better.(less)