A good primer on feminism, managing to acknowledge the complexity of the movement over time, while also being straightforward. It does a good job of cA good primer on feminism, managing to acknowledge the complexity of the movement over time, while also being straightforward. It does a good job of celebrating early feminism, while also acknowledging its problems, such as racism. It also refreshingly keeps up on what is going on in her moment now, and will hopefully make young people feel a part of something. I wish I'd had something like this when I was a teen!
I do want to see those YesAllWomen tweets credited though....more
This is by no means a bad book. Just, selfishly, was not what I was expecting or hoping it would be in this moment. I often found myself frustrated frThis is by no means a bad book. Just, selfishly, was not what I was expecting or hoping it would be in this moment. I often found myself frustrated from being a different point in my life and not being able to connect with some of the narrative. ...more
A good primer to feminism. Not too heavy on theory or history, lays out how the issues impact women's lives today, and is written in an accessible, coA good primer to feminism. Not too heavy on theory or history, lays out how the issues impact women's lives today, and is written in an accessible, conversational style. ...more
I love books about the seedier sides of history. They just make good narratives. And yes, sex sells. So I loved this book that covers the story of NewI love books about the seedier sides of history. They just make good narratives. And yes, sex sells. So I loved this book that covers the story of New Orleans around the turn of the century, covering things like Storyville, the birth of jazz, corrupt politics, and a potential serial killer. Empire of Sin paints a broad picture of specific parts of New
While Krist covers lots of territory here, he maintains a compelling narrative. True, there’s not necessarily a thru line in the sense that we don’t have any one story that seems to tie all the others together, although some of the politicians get pretty close. Still, his pacing is spot on. I never began to feel bored, which is particularly impressive for me with audiobooks. It’s easy for me to space out every once in a while.
I am strangely compelled by stories of historical serial killers, so the section of the book about the possible ax murder was my favorite. Those interested in H.H. Holmes and Jack the Ripper would also find this section interesting, though I wouldn’t have minded even a little more on this case. It did cement the fact that I am apparently afraid of murders from the past. I listened to this part of book while falling asleep and had to continue until the section was finished, because I was pretty sure otherwise I would have had weird nightmares. I have never pretended to be normal.
Sections of the book covering Storyville didn’t necessarily offer me any new information. I wouldn’t have minded this section to have some more anecdotes like Sin in the Second City. Storyville is one of the most iconic parts of New Orleans from this time period, and I would have liked to dig even further into this. Also, I’m not gonna lie; I’m interested in books that explore the history of prostitution.
While I admittedly don’t know much about the history of jazz, I think Krist covers it pretty well. This is where he does the best with anecdotes. But it should be established this is not a history of the musical evolution of jazz, rather the main characters in its creation in New Orleans, and how it played into the story of New Orleans.
As always, I loved hearing about the moral pushback against everything. And I think it would have been even further illustrated with more information on what the majority of New Orleans was like at this time. What was expected of most people? What did the general world around these distracts looks like? I think it only would have reinforced everything explored throughout....more
Thanks to net galley and Quirk Books for a digital ARC of The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy.
In The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy Sam Maggs gives us anThanks to net galley and Quirk Books for a digital ARC of The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy.
In The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy Sam Maggs gives us an overview of all parts of fangirl culture from the fandoms themselves, to fandom on the internet to conventions. Spattered throughout are brief interviews with women that can be considered bigger names in the fangirl community (I was excited to see Jane Espenson, Erin Morgenstern, and V.E. Schwab.).
This book really seems to be targeted at beginners or younger fangirls, which is great. It offers a great overview for those new to the game without being too overwhelming. It cautions against some of the negative sides of fandom (like the section on different kinds of trolls), without it feeling intimidating enough to stay away. I hope that girls just getting into the game will pick up the title, although I think those who've been in the trenches for a while will be more drawn to the book. In that case, there may not be as much new information. And there is little in the way of analysis and commentary, because that's not what Maggs is aiming for. If you know someone who's on the cusp of fandom, or have a young daughter, niece, neighbor friend, whoever, this would make a great gift. And the length of the book and format would allow that girl to casually browse at her interest.
The book really kicked into gear for me at the end in the chapter on fangirls and feminism. I especially loved it with the teen girl target audience in mind. When I was a teen I didn't have a lot of the vocabulary to back up my feminist ideas. While I think internet culture is changing that in big ways, I'm never opposed to something that introduces topics like the male gaze and the Bechdel test. ...more
This book was a fun and accessible look at how 6 inventions, or concepts in a way, changed our lives. It follows the chain of events to the other bigThis book was a fun and accessible look at how 6 inventions, or concepts in a way, changed our lives. It follows the chain of events to the other big inventions things like ice or time made possible. This book was almost a combination of micro and macro looks at history, and it worked. Sometimes I wished we dug in a little more because it was so interesting. But I enjoyed the accessibility.
I have not seen the PBS documentary that was developed to go with this book, but little bits lead me to believe it even expands on what's in the text. ...more
*Thank you to netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
From Henry V to Henry VII, Dan Jones hits the highlights one of the most famous conflicts in English history. We are introduced to such famous characters as Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou, Edward IV, Elizabeth Woodville, the Duke of Clarence, Richard III, and more. Jones seeks to complicate the popular idea of the War of the Roses as the red rose of Tudor against the white rose of York, or even the idea of Lancaster against York.
Jones uses language that is active and exciting. This history moves quickly and hits the high points. It doesn’t go into extreme depth anywhere, but it is also very accessible. As expected, I perked up about halfway through the narrative when the Woodvilles shows up because it added some personal drama into the mix. Seeing Warwick thrown off his high horse, even if we’re only given a brief description of him, is still satisfying.
Still, I wish there’s been more character building around those involved in the conflict. He does this excellently with Henry VI, Edward IV, and does a bit for Margaret of Anjou and others. With the use of quotes from primary sources throughout I’d hoped there’d be letters in collection somewhere that would give us an even closer look at the personalities of some of the big players. Additionally, I know that I have a harder time keeping track of people, especially when they’re referred to as their titles, when I don’t know basically anything about them. Jones gives us a lot; I’m just greedy and want even more. He’s good at painting the picture of the action, and I want even more insight into the people behind those actions.
Jones doesn’t necessarily take a stand on anything in the War of the Roses. His goal seems to be to offer a quick, cursory overview of the main events, and players of the War of the Roses. He succeeds at this. If I wish he had dug a little deeper. Or maybe provided a spin that answered that offered a fresh perspective, that does not necessarily fit the goal of the book. And the book is successful. Anything I want is being engaged enough by Jones to want more. I want to know what he thinks of all this. Does he think the Duke of Clarence was drowned in a barrel of wine? What exactly does he think went down during Henry VI death? But then he would be traversing into the lands of speculation and historical fiction, which is not where Jones seems to aim to be.
As a person who has read more about the women behind the War of the Roses, yes, especially the Philippa Gregory series, it was nice to fill in some of the blanks of the action. Still, with the popularity of such series I would have loved to see the history of the women at play included even more. They are not ignored, but are still kept toward the back, relegated as wives and mothers, with the distinct exception of Margaret of Anjou, and even here it could be further explored (for more focused biographies on some of these women also check out Women of the Cousins’ War by Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin, and Michael Jones).
This book made a lot of the power struggles, in terms of the gentry and who had what to gain on what side, and battles more clear. Additionally, as a dramaturg, this book will be a wonderful source for Shakespeare’s history plays. If you love Philippa Gregory or Shakespeare or the Game of Thrones series (still haven’t gotten to it—Ah! I know—but I hear it’s based on the War of the Roses?) this could be the read for you....more
I will admit that part of the reason I finally read Middlemarch this summer is because I knew this book was coming out. A lot of my enjoyment of thisI will admit that part of the reason I finally read Middlemarch this summer is because I knew this book was coming out. A lot of my enjoyment of this book coincides with my feelings for Middlemarch. So take my rating with a grain of salt, as you always should of course. Which you know.
With My Life in Middlemarch, Mead takes a look at how her interpretations of Middlemarch, and what plotlines have spoken to her most, have changed over the years as she revisits the text. Although, the books is just as much, or more, a biography of George Eliot through the lens of her great work.
Many have said you don’t have to have read George Eliot’s Middlemarch to enjoy Mead’s ode to the novel. That is true, but it will be a whole heck of a lot more enjoyable if you have. Also, if you are planning on reading Middlemarch, know there’s a whole heck of a lot of spoilers in My Life in Middlemarch. Sure, a lot of the joy of the novel is getting to spend
The structure of the book follows the books found in Middlemarch: Miss Brooke, Old and Young, Waiting for Death, Three Love Problems, The Dead Hand, The Widow and the Wife, Two Temptations, Sunset and Sunrise, and Finale. Mead has these sections align with periods of Eliot’s life, especially in relation to how it impacted what many consider her greatest work. She pairs this with some introductory analysis of the characters and plots of Eliot’s novel, particularly how these portions of the novel may have spoken to her over the years.
I will admit, I though there would be more of Mead’s personal journey in this book. She recounts her trips to visit primary sources or places and things linked with Eliot’s life. She also offers brief glimpses into her own personal life, and how she’s I will say that my biggest surprise came when Mead talked about associating with Dorothea when she was younger. Maybe if I had encountered the text the first time as a teen rather than a twenty-something I would have felt differently. Rather, I personally spent much of the beginning of the book wanting to slap Miss Brooke for her hauteur.
Mead crafts a deep exploration and wonderful homage to a novel that has had an enormous impact on her life. Any reader, especially a reader who has a work that they revisit time and time again, will recognize Mead’s feelings. Although, ultimately I feel those who have experienced Middlemarch, or any of Eliot’s other work, may appreciate this book the most. Even if you read Middlemarch in school, and never felt that connected to the text, Mead’s passion may inspire you to give it another go....more
I read Bad Feminist primarily while serving as a substitute teacher at my old high school. Throughout I was vaguely tempted to interrupt students doinI read Bad Feminist primarily while serving as a substitute teacher at my old high school. Throughout I was vaguely tempted to interrupt students doing their work with a "listen up guys this is important." I also wished I had copies to just hand out to students in the hallway. Additionally, that town in the middle of nowhere that she talks about, especially in the first handful of essays, is close to me. I really got the angst of the middle of nowhere parts. My biggest fear with this book is that the people who could benefit from it the most will never touch it. I can only hope that some teachers and professors across the country will use some of her essays as a jumping off point for discussion.
I feel like I should have something profound and borderline academic to say about this essay collection. I did not take a feminist theatre class for nothing. I did give a little yip of joy when Gay mentioned "The Laugh of the Medusa." That's about as academic as I'm going to get here, because I mostly just felt like a fangirl the entire time. I love these essays, partially because I agree with Gay. And her voice coupled with her views being presented through a pop culture lens is just so appealing. It's nice to be reminded that you're not alone in your views, even if the internet is better at connecting than ever. It was great to be able to couple pain and rage with some laughs. This is a woman that acknowledges and explores the appeal of something like 50 Shades of Grey, while also talking about how the series is problematic.
From the Help to Sweet Valley High, Gay covers a lot of ground. And she does it in a way that at the beginning of an essay I often can't foresee where it will go. I'm not going to point out any of these instances, because I don't want to spoil their power. We might start light, but these essays usually punched me in the gut (in a good way!) when I least expected it.
Whether talking about abuse, rape, reproductive freedom, racial representations, and any number of other topics, Gay reminds me what its like to have a conversation in which you stick behind your convictions, without the unproductive screaming that often occurs in national discourse over such issues. I'm not perfect. No one is. But I happily adopt the title of "Bad Feminist." On twitter recently Gay indicated she's not opposed to releasing another essay collection, although it will be years in the future based on her other projects. I'll be over hear happily waiting. ...more
A fun primer, but I basically want to read biographies of all of these women. This is the kind of book that my aunt would have given me for my birthdaA fun primer, but I basically want to read biographies of all of these women. This is the kind of book that my aunt would have given me for my birthday in my early teen years, and I would have loved it. ...more