Tag Archives: reading

Quotidian: Virginia Woolf

SONY DSC“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

-Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Reading Love

reading print not tonight I'm reading

Source unknown

Tea and a Book

tea and books

YA Book Review: Airhead by Meg Cabot

airheadmegcabotbookcover

Airhead, Meg Cabot

HATED this book. One of the most sexist narratives I’ve ever read, and from a woman, to boot.

Emerson Watts is comfortable in her own skin. She loves video games, medical documentaries, and hanging out with her equally nerdy best friend Christopher, whom she only wishes would see her as a girl instead of his asexual buddy. Until a bizarre accident makes her a participant in a brain transplant meant to save her life, in which she’s given the body – and forced to take over the identity – of a world-famous teen supermodel.

………….
………….

Leaving the sheer bloody ludicrousness of the plot aside, the message this book is sending – to teen girls no less – is that it’s not okay or enough to just have interests and be yourself and have nerdy interests (interests which in real life would make you totally hot to a lot of guys, something the book was conspicuously silent on – do you know how many guys would love a woman who plays video games? A LOT). You can’t *just* be smart and have hobbies and your own personality – you must ALSO have the body of a supermodel and a smile that turns virtually every guy who sees into jelly.

Because at the end of the day, why settle for being yourself? When you can be smart, nerdy, AND hot? Thus fulfilling every male fantasy ever??? Seriously if Cabot had created a female character with men in mind she couldn’t have done a better job. Em in this novel becomes the teenage epitome of Gillian Flynn’s accurately-sketched, terrible Cool Girl in Gone Girl. The representation of Male Desire and its supremacy in culture and in narrative.

I HATED this novel with every fiber of my literature-loving, chick-lit-loving, feminist body. Excuse me while I go read some Kafka, *anything,* to get this taste out of my mouth.

P.S. Emerson – or rather her body – expires when a TV falls on her. I’m not making this stuff up, folks. 

P.P.S. The fact that there are two more books in this series makes me want to enlist The Bride (see Kill Bill if you haven’t seen it yet y’all) to track Cabot down and put the fear of woman into her so she never writes such a book again. I’ve read and liked/loved a lot of Cabot. This, is unworthy of her.

4 Books For People Who Like Character Driven Novels

4characterdrivennovels2Broke and Bookish launched this book theme for the week, so I thought I’d participate. They did 10 but I’m lazy and write longer descriptions because I get carried away so you’re getting four.

1. Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell. I’ve mentioned my love for Rainbow Rowell several times before, if you haven’t read her yet, she practically defines character-driven works. Eleanor and Park is a linear novel in that there are almost no characters featured at all beyond the central two; it’s a deep dive into the minds and personalities of two intelligent, outcast teens. Eleanor is a curvy loner with a unique clothing style and a troubled home life. Aloof Park is respected but left mostly alone due to being one of the only Asians at the high school. After a first, tentative connection on the bus, Eleanor stars reading along with him on the comic books he reads every day on the way to school. They forge a slow, tender, passionate connection over a shared love for music and comic books. It’s one of the best love stories I’ve ever read, and Rowell isn’t afraid to show the push and pull, tension and release, the intense obsession and curling joy and turbulence that comes with that epic first love.

2. The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James. You didn’t really think I could answer this without including the book featuring Isabel Archer, one of the most complex and also identifiable female heroines ever, right? I don’t like most of James’ other works, but this – it feels as though James is sitting behind me reading my thoughts. Isabel Archer is an American of good birth and no money until an elderly acquaintance spontaneously leaves her a huge fortune. She finds love, misfortune, and a lot of societal complications as she travels between Europe and England and finally settles down in Italy. It’s the most perceptive book I’ve ever read about how women think, in the same way that Nick Hornby captures how men think in his funny, piercingly accurate prose.

3. A Murder for Her Majesty, Beth Hilgartner. Who read this as a kid? One of the most re-readable books I’ve ever come across, this incredibly engrossing book is technically written for younger/teen readers but it so beautifully plotted and captures the atmosphere of 16th-century Tudor London so vividly, you’re immediately drawn in. Orphaned Alice Tuckfield is on the run, penniless in the rain, having left behind her country home after the sudden murder of her father. She stumbles upon a cathedral and is taken in by a group of choirboys who befriend her and allow her to join them if she masquerades as a boy. Mystery, plots, a gruff tutor who becomes a father figure, and plenty of banter and friendship light up the book. The boys all have distinct personalities and interact with Alice differently, becoming her family, brothers, and friends, and she, plucky, well-educated, and a gifted singer, leaps off the page. Most of the Goodreads reviews of this are from adults who report they couldn’t put it down, and there’s a reason why. So good.

4. Sunshine, Robin McKinley. I am not certain if this is the only adult book Robin McKinley ever wrote, but it’s certainly one of the few. Sunshine has always known there’s something a little different about herself, but since she doesn’t know what it is, she continues living her life as a baker in her small town. One day, however, she’s grabbed and wakes up chained to a wall next to a similarly shackled human-ish creature named Constantine. Things for from there. Sunshine is flawed, and funny, and snarky, and even as she very (very) reluctantly falls in love with the vampire whom she’s been thrown together with and who winds up protecting her from his own kind, she gives him all kinds of hell. This book is immutably gripping and so much better than I can describe, mostly because Sunshine is amazing.

Book Love: Rainbow Rowell and Book Photography

Cali of Inside the Book Reader takes stunning images of books – beautiful colors and construction.rainbow rowell book maps photo book kayak fangirl photo

CoffeeGirl Reads: The Snowman

thesnowman book

 

I started my first Jo Nesbø, who is probably the greatest Nordic crime fiction writer alive now that Mankkell is no longer writing and Stieg Larsson is dead. Thus far it is very broody and suffused with a tone of depression that matches what the main character Harry Hole is experiencing, but the prose is slowly drawing me in, particularly this gem.

A young woman in the front row stood up unbidden, but without offering a smile. She was very attractive. Attractive without trying, thought Harry. Thin, almost wispy hair hung lifelessly down both sides of her face, which was finely chiseled and pale and wore the same serious, weary features Harry had seen on other stunning women who had become so used to being observed that they had stopped liking or disliking it. Katrine Bratt was dressed in a blue suit that underlined her feminity, but the thick black tights below the hem of her skirt and her practical winter boots invalidated any possible suspicions that she was playing it. She let her eyes run over the gathering, as if she had risen to see them and not vice versa.”

The Snowman, Jo Nesbø

Bring on the chills.

And the sea will grant each man new hope, as sleep brings dreams of home

peacesA good day. I am thankful.

Volunteered at a shelter, then a long, good workout, now home, eating peaches, contemplating making some almond milk hot chocolate, and beginning a Ngaio Marsh mystery book, while the fan whirs in the background with the last promise of summer.

Life is heavy, sometimes, in its wholistic measure, so let it be light in the small things.

Illustration Love: Dream Fort

childhoodreadingtent

Dream Fort” by Erin McGuire

Illustration Love: Book Joy and Diners

Mina Price, who goes by Paperpie on Tumblr, creates gorgeous, moody, dreamy illustrations, and has contributed illustrations for such high-profile works as the Eleanor and Park special edition (from which I will post soon). In the meantime though, enjoy the two below one-offs. The first was conceived as a kind of pro e-reader celebration.

readingillustrationmagic

dinerillustration

 

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