Reading for pleasure is a huge part of my life so it’s only natural that a little bit of space is devoted to books of note (of interest?) that I’ve read or am currently reading.
WHAT I’M READING NOW:
- Dissenting Opinions: Feminist Explorations in Law and Society, edited by Regina Graycar
- Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America, edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay & Kate Harding
Nasty Women is a collection of essays on a variety of topics – from the election itself to the Women’s March on Washington to what it’s like to raise children of colour or live in a rural, Trump-supporting area as a lesbian couple in a post-Trump era. The writing was excellent, the essays were smart and thoughtful, but the strength of this book lay in it’s presentation of diverse topics, voices, and viewpoints. The opportunity to read opposing views on the same issue within the same text is valuable not only in learning to appreciate multiple perspectives, but also because it highlights the diversity of thought within the feminist movement. I think this is particularly important because there is a pressure to present feminism and feminists as a monolith (which I understand because there is a need to stand united), but this suppresses debate and critique, and erases the experiences of many women who may identify with broader feminist aims but feel that the movement excludes them. This book highlights the fact that it’s okay to debate and disagree and call out racism within the movement, and it doesn’t take away from the fact that we’re working to create a better future for women and all people. Plus, it’s just an interesting read 🙂
- Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship, by Kayleen Schaefer
This was for the Girls Night In book club. It was a light, non-fiction book about female friendships – how girls and their relationships are portrayed in the media, the value and power of female friendships, what they bring to our lives, and how they change. It was a good read, not ground-breaking, but others in the club really loved it.
- Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
PAGE. TURNER. A very entertaining novel that begins with a house fire (arson) in the pristine, planned community of Shaker Heights and then traces the complicated stories and events that led up to the event. It centers around mother-and-daughter relationships while also thoughtfully engaging with issues of race, class, unfulfilled dreams/life trajectories, happiness, fulfillment, activism, art/expression, fire/passion, and chaos and order (among so much more). The novel touched on these issues in subtle ways while telling a truly human story. Great for book clubs, a quick and enjoyable read.
- The Power, by Naomi Alderman
This was a tough one – I wish there was a rating on Goodreads for Love/Hate! This novel chronicles the development of immense electrical power in girls/women and the resultant changes to society and gender relations by following several individuals that eventually cross paths. The “hate” is because I found this difficult to read at times – it touches on the role fear in shaping women’s lives across the globe and it just made me so… angry. It was also very well-written and I couldn’t put it down. Interesting read.
- I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did, by Lori Andrews
Interesting read about the lack of privacy in the digital world and how protections granted to us offline haven’t been preserved for online spaces. The book makes the case for a social media constitution throughout (which I wasn’t aware of when I picked it up), so it feels repetitive at times, but a good read all the same.
- American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, by Nancy Jo Sales
I couldn’t put this down! Sales interviewed over 400 teenage girls (divided into chapters for each age group) about the role that social media plays in their lives. I’d like to know more about how the girls were recruited and if the author went into the interviews with a specific frame or theory that shaped her questions. The book was an absolute page-turner and really drives home how integral social media is to young people’s relationships and social development. It also outlines the various ways that increased focus on external appearance translates to intense pressures and anxiety on young girls in particular. To me, it underscored the importance of media literacy and offline connections in the new digital world. Added bonus: I learned many new words that made me feel super out of touch with “the youth”.
- Mrs. Kimble, by Jennifer Haigh
This novel was a fun read – not the lightest subject matter at times, but it’ll leave you smiling. Recommended to me by a friend (thanks Mia!), it tells the tale of three very different women who were all (at one point or another) married to Ken Kimble. Aside from providing a peek into the psychology of these women (very deftly written), it subtly illustrated how (American) women’s social and economic circumstances changed from the 1950s with each successive Mrs. Kimble, as told through their individual stories.
- Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
I don’t think you’d call this one a biography but it’s a collection of stories and musings from the funny, fabulous, feminist Amy Poehler. Even if you’re not familiar with her work, this book is super entertaining. It’s an absolute favourite and a pleasure to read. Out of all the books that I would put in a similar genre (i.e., books by Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Caitlin Moran, Lena Dunham), this one is my favourite because in addition to being funny it’s also very honest. It digs a bit deeper than the others in my humble opinion. Bonus: if you listen to the audiobook Amy Poehler reads the book AND there’s a guest spot from Sir Patrick Stewart who pops in to read the “Plastic Surgery haiku”.