Inspirations… (Jan. 19, 2017)

womens-march-sperry-wow-webThe Women’s March on Washington is what is inspiring me right now. It started out as just an idea following on the surprising election results and has now grown, grassroots-style, into the largest protest and demonstration to take place in response to the inauguration. The march is for everyone, regardless of gender identity, who believes that women’s rights are human rights. The primary march will be held in Washington, DC, but there will be supporting marches in cities, large and small, around the world. Where I live, there are at least three supporting events within easy driving distance.

I was impressed with the Women’s March Global Mission for Equality, and I hope this signals the beginning of a powerful and effective worldwide movement. I only wish that education of girls and women was a plank in the mission statement, because I personally believe that education is the key to empowering women.

For those of us who enjoy self-education, I offer my favorite feminist reads to help you resist in the coming years:

  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • The Female Man by Joanna Russ
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Lilith’s Brood by Octavia Butler
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
  • The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper
  • The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall
  • The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You by Dorothy Bryant
  • Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
  • Into the Forest by Jean Hegland
  • When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
  • Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue
  • The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Ammonite by Nicola Griffith

Recommended Reading: The Long and Faraway Gone

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The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney follows two characters–only slightly connected–who are both from Oklahoma City and are both struggling to get past unresolved mysteries from their youth. Wyatt, now a private investigator living in Las Vegas, returns to Oklahoma City as a favor for a friend to find out who is harassing a woman who recently inherited a bar; the trip brings up buried memories, because when Wyatt was fifteen and worked at a movie theater one summer, he was the only survivor of a mass shooting and robbery there, and has since struggled to figure out why. Julianna never left Oklahoma City; she is a nurse who is obsessed with what happened to her older sister, who disappeared from the State Fair that same summer. These two characters’ paths occasionally cross, but their stories are separate and are both engrossing. With three mysteries in one, this novel is understated but not slow-moving, with well-defined characters and a fascinating subtext about how we inadvertently touch so many other peoples’ lives as we go about living ours.

Interestings… (Jan 13, 2017)

A brief roundup of what caught my eye this past week or so…

The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the books that I count among the most influential in my life. The new television adaptation by Hulu starring Elizabeth Moss looks very good. Here’s the first teaser trailer.

Two obituaries of fascinating women I never had heard of until they died: Vera Rubin, who discovered dark matter, and Clare Hollingworth, the reporter who broke the story that World War II had begun.

Apparently, you don’t have to exercise every day. “Better is better” is my motto for 2017–which means just try to do better, instead of perfect, today. It’s a good thought for whatever goal you’re trying to accomplish. I know for me, it’s a whole lot easier to try to meet a goal of exercising 2.5 hours a week (in three sessions, say) than to try to exercise every day. My new Google phone has a Fit app that automagically tracks all my activity for the week and lets me know when I’ve hit my goal.

Funnies: Guy recreates popular movies with his cat; a list of totally true woman facts

Emergency Fund-Raising to Repair Flood Damage to Orange County Public Library

Consider donating to help our local library recover from flooding.

The Main Orange County Public Library sustained significant flooding during the winter storm this past week. Most of the damage occurred in the Teen Room and the Children’s sectio…

Source: Emergency Fund-Raising to Repair Flood Damage to Orange County Public Library

Best Reads of 2016

An annual tradition with me is choosing my top 5 reads of the year–not necessarily books that were published during the year, but books that I read and stayed with me, that stood out above the crowd. This year’s roundup is a varied assortment, but I highly recommend them all.

1. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay — a really unusual horror story that pays homage to a lot of horror classics

2. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende — just an enthralling work of historical fiction

3. Four Ways to Forgiveness by Ursula K. Le Guin — honestly, can she write a bad book? this one took my breath away

4. The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin — a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to his literary vampire-apocalypse trilogy

5. Descent by Tim Johnston — not your typical thriller, this novel about a father’s search for his missing daughter reminded me a lot of Cormac McCarthy

Did you have any favorite reads of 2016? Add them in the comments.

Hiatus…

I’m taking a hiatus from this website and all social media for an indefinite period. The Internet is not a healthy place for me to be right now.

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Why are there so many books with “girl” in the title?

Here is an interesting essay by Emily St. John Mandel that analyzes data to find common characteristics of books with the word “girl” in the title and try to answer the question of why this is a trend now. Fun game next time you’re in the bookstore: Make up a short story just using the the titles of books you see that contain the word “girl.”