What Are We Reading, Page 8
This is a continuation of the topic What Are We Reading, Page 7.
Join LibraryThing to post.
I am reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle because it is that time of year.
>1 vwinsloe: Ooh, I read that earlier in the year. There is supposed to be a film version coming out, but I have yet to see an actual release date.
>3 sweetiegherkin:. I didn't know about a movie version. Thanks for the heads up!
>5 CurrerBell: Ooo okay. I had given up on checking for the release date so I didn't see the film festival date. Hopefully it does get picked up, fingers crossed.
Just finished reading The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace by Lynn Povich. Extremely interesting lesson in feminism and politics in the 70s but, oddly enough, not as well written as I would have liked.
I'm reading Lives like loaded guns, a biography of Emily Dickinson and her family.
i always read the posts on this page but don't remember reading about vampire books. probably i skimmed them or immediately forgot them because i really don't like vampire books. ha. and here we are. i'll try to remember to update! (i'll say that in the 25th anniversary edition that i'm reading, gomez has written a foreword where she says that her fury-response to an incident of catcalling on the street sparked her to write the novel in the first place. so i was immediately intrigued.)
>11 overlycriticalelisa:. It was just a few comments regarding Fledgling and Sunshine and Anne Rice's vampire series. But you're right- I'm intrigued by that comment by Jewelle Gomez as well!
I finished an uneven historical romance entitled The Fever Tree. It was on my radar because I love reading about southern Africa, and hadn't read much with a backdrop of the diamond mining there. As I say, it was uneven, starting out Jane Austen-esque and then transitioning to the disgusting circumstances of the diamond miners and a small pox epidemic. It almost gave me whiplash, but I think that was what the author intended as the unlikeable protagonist lost her innocence and privilege in more ways than one.
Edited to add that I picked this book up off of a free library case at work. It had a serial number on the title page and was registered with bookcrossing.com I had never heard of this project before, which tracks books much like the wheresgeorge.com currency tracking project. Bookcrossing has apparently been around since 2001, and with all the time I spend perusing freebies, I am surprised that I hadn't come across it before.
I just started Children of Blood and Bone which is a YA fantasy loosely based in Africa. It was highly recommended by a friend and although I am only 50 pages in, I think that it was a good recommendation.
Not reading anything female written at the moment, although I am reading What Matters in Jane Austen? which is literary criticism about a female author's works, so perhaps that counts.
well, the gilda stories was okay. i'm sure it was radical when it was published (1991) and the vampire stuff was...mild enough not to bother me at all. it was more of a way to have a set of linked short stories with the same main character over a 200 year period of time. also, i guess it was a statement about the vitality and power of black women at the time. but the vamipre stuff wasn't bothersome or the main thing. the book was meh for me, but we read it for a group and other people liked it alright.
>16 overlycriticalelisa:. Thanks. I hadn't realized that it was that old (27 years!)
Due to your recommendation, Sakerfalcon, I just read Red Clocks and absolutely loved it. It's set in what could be the present time with just a little variation: the human life amendment has been passed so human rights are granted from the time of fertilization. This means that not only is abortion illegal with mandated prison terms for both the pregnant woman and the person providing the abortion, but IVF is also outlawed because the gamete can't give its permission for the transfer. Add to that a new law stating that adoption is illegal except by a two parent family because every child deserves to be raised by two parents. The book follows an infertile woman, a pregnant teenager, a mother who hates her life, and a nature-based woman (a witch) who provides health care. I doubt many of us has ever known a woman like the witch but I think most of us can relate to the rest of the women. I like that the infertile woman wonders more than once why she is so obsessed with having a baby and that all the women greatly value time they spend alone.
I read another excellent book about infertility and adoption mixed in with the plight of undocumented aliens, Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran. Again the characterization is great with believable characters who sometimes make really stupid decisions. Both of these books got 5 stars from me.
A nonfiction book I enjoyed very much was Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein about the loss of car manufacturing jobs in this Wisconsin town and all the long term effects. She really does a good job of showing how General Motors let these people down and at the same time shows the rise of Scott Walker and super, labor busting conservatives. It was quite pleasant to have just finished it before Walker finally went down.
yeah, and she takes the reader through a handful of different time periods, starting in 1850 and ending in 2050. one of them is 2020 so it was kind of fun to see some things she predicted in 1991, like videophone calls, in 2020. btw she predicted the world in a pretty dire situation in 2050, which, according to the un climate report, might be right on target.
>19 overlycriticalelisa:. It's always interesting to see what predictions are right on and which miss the mark. I'm still waiting for my flying car.
>21 Sakerfalcon: Absolutely, I could see how it could happen here and now.
>27 Citizenjoyce: Followed by this appalling revelation: "America is Blaming Pregnant Women for Their Own Deaths."
>18 Citizenjoyce:, >21 Sakerfalcon: I finished I finished Red Clocks in a few big bites. I found it to be very affecting without being emotionally manipulative. I read the overarching theme as essentially being about choice or choices. No matter how restricted our choices may be, by government, by family, by internalized culture or society, we still make them. We persevere. And most importantly, we keep making choices as long as we are alive. The sentence that described this to me was "By walking, she tells her students, is how you make the road."
Thank you both for recommending this book. It will stick with me for a long time.
>29 vwinsloe: I'm glad you liked it. It sounded the alarm without being pessimistic. Your article, on the other hand, is nothing but pessimistic because it's real.
With the idea that you can't start too young, I just read a little Portuguese children's picture book, Don't Cross The Line, which is a cheerful way to show children that people acting together can overcome tyranny. There's a guard with a machine gun on the first left-hand page. He stops all characters from moving on. He has orders to allow no one to occupy a right-hand page because the "general reserves the right to keep the page blank, so he can join the story whenever he feels like it." The characters don't riot or fight. They joyfully dance, float, creep and haunt as they get more and more crowded on the left-hand page asking why they can't advance and giving reasons they need to. And it turns out the guard is just as human as the rest of them. For the little political activists in your family.
>29 vwinsloe: The lack of emotional manipulation is something I appreciated too. Glad you liked it as well as I did. It's definitely one of the better books in the recent crop of feminist dystopian fiction.
Is anyone watching My Brilliant Friend on HBO? Alas, it's in Italian with subtitles, but I love seeing it brought to life. I can finally keep everyone straight seeing them in their families.
>34 Citizenjoyce:. Unfortunately, I don't subscribe to HBO. I might like My Brilliant Friend on film better than I did in print, because I found it very slow reading.
I've started listening to The Perfect Horse and am learning a lot that I didn't know.
I am reading The Enchanted which has taken me by surprise. It had been languishing on my TBR pile, and I picked it up thinking it was fantasy. I'm not quite sure what it is (and I'm about halfway in!) but the writing is as beautiful as the subject matter is dark.
Reading Art and Feminism edited by Helena Reckitt - an in-depth look at feminist art of the late 20th century.
Finished Art and Feminism edited by Helena Reckitt. Couldn't quite get on with this book. The introduction was too "art historian" for my level of knowledge and many of the works were performance pieces represented by still photos with descriptions which made them sound juvenile and pretentious. Images of some of the static pieces and more obviously political work did resonate with me, but again the descriptions often seemed to refer to a closed-in art world aesthetic. Maybe that's what being an artist is all about, and I will never get it.
Anyway, back to more comprehensible (to me, anyway) science and technology with Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt which tells the stories of the women involved in the US space programme from the 1940s to today.
I just finished Quiet Until the Thaw. This novel was not on my radar screen until I saw Alexandra Fuller speak at my local library a couple of months ago. Her talk was a fascinating reflection on white supremacy, having been raised by them in Zimbabwe. She covered much of the same ground in her memoirs, but it was exciting to hear her speak and to talk about the common patterns of oppression that bridge time and place. She talked a bit about this novel, her first, and how much time she spent with Native Americans before and during the writing. So although I bought the book with an open mind, it really didn't sit well with me that she should take on such a project. Obviously, any book about Native Americans on reservation is going to have to deal with the social problems that resulted from colonialism and near genocide. But no matter how sympathetic, I think that such a candid portrait can, and more importantly should, only be painted by a Native American. I find it interesting that Fuller did not attempt to write a novel about black Zimbabweans. Did she know on some level that this would not be a good idea?
About to start Sara Paretsky's latest V I Warshawski book Shell Game. I'm not a big fan of crime fiction but Paretsky's mix of hard-boiled detective with a soft centre, and political and social commentary are irresistible.
I just finished Anything is Possible and was very impressed. I didn't know that it was related to My Name is Lucy Barton which was a book that I liked very much. The structure of Anything is Possible is linked short stories that share characters and places with My Name is Lucy Barton. I got a thrill of recognition when recognizing a name and enjoyed figuring out how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. The theme of this book seemed to be "shame" and its causes, including sexual "deviance," poverty and wealth. Many, if not most of these stories, have a hopeful note that shame can be overcome, or at least coped with. Highly recommended.
I'm still listening to The Perfect Horse which is not as interesting nor as well-written as I had hoped.
And I've started Vn, probably to finish the year.
I haven't quite finished Dietland yet, but unless this is one of those unfortunate books that the author doesn't know how to end (like Us Against You) Sarai Walker is my absolutely, fabulously favorite author this month. There's one other book listed under her name, but I don't know if it's Dietland in a different language. I have to admit I didn't watch the series, which hallelujah is being blasted out again on AMC over 12/28 and 12/29. I had no interest in watching a series about dieting. Silly me. This book is a riotously feminist book about, well, she doesn't want to call it terrorism, but it's sure about women finally taking a stance against misogyny. If she writes anything else I'll sure read it.
>39 vwinsloe: Thanks for recommending The Blazing World, I'm only 40 pages in but enjoying it immensely. The protagonist has a lovely sardonic attitude without veering into cynicism or angst and points out the anti-women biases in her world with a light touch. The style reminds me a bit of A.S. Byatt's Possession.
>46 SChant:. You're welcome. I think that your read will be all the more interesting for being informed by a book on Art and Feminism. I was completely ignorant about the subject and still enjoyed the novel.
I just started Dreamers of the Day which is the only Mary Doria Russell novel that I have left to read. She has a new book about the labor movement coming out next year.
I finished Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South and was shocked at how wonderful and timely it was: union problems, questioning religion, women making decisions about the direction of their lives. I have to say, in spite of the love of Jane Austen, this is the kind of woman character I want to read about, one who makes her own decisions and steps out of societal constraints to follow her own inclinations. I guess 40 years from the early to mid 19th century showed some great progress.
I think many of the books I’ll be reading in the near future will be coming from here https://www.tor.com/2018/12/27/100-sf-f-books-you-should-consider-reading-in-the-new-year/
There are few new books, many I’ve already read, and almost all by women.
>49 Citizenjoyce:. Oooo, thanks for posting that link. I'm sure that I will find more than a few suggestions there for 2019.
I'm finishing up 2018 with Six Wakes. The characters are all clones (well, and one AI computer) on a spaceship in outer space. The last incarnation of all the clones have all been murdered, setting up a locked-room mystery plot. I am intrigued by the consideration of ethical questions and dilemmas that arise where everyone has the opportunity to replicate themselves endlessly through cloning.
I just finished The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish. If you look up the definition of extrovert and optimist in the dictionary, Tiffany Haddish must be there. It seemed like her early childhood was fine though they were somewhat short of money because her father deserted the family when she was 3. Then her mother had a terrible car accident which left her brain damaged. She is later diagnosed with schizophrenia, but it seems that she has a TBI that has altered her personality leaving her violent, especially toward Tiffany. Eventually, the children are taken from her mother and put into foster care. They end up with their grandmother but only as foster children so she can get paid for caring for them. When Tiffany turned 18 and the foster money stopped, grandma kicked her out. Then there's bullying; terrible, jealous and user boyfriends; an even more terrible husband; and comedians and promoters who insist she has to put out if she wants a comedy job. This could be a very depressing book, but Haddish is irrepressibly funny. She makes much of her life, except the abuse, sound hilarious. Comedians usually have dark inner lives, and Haddish probably does, but she is such an extrovert and so determined to make her life fun that she just plows through and brings joy to everyone who sees her. She reminds me of Richard Pryor by exposing the deepest, most hurtful parts of her life and using them in her comedy. Her star is rising. I hope it continues to do so. Oh, two things that are especially wonderful about the book. She is the first woman I have read who describes her abortion in a joyful way. It's about time someone did this. None of that "Oh, it was the hardest decision of my life, but I'm glad I did it." Nope, she was happy because she was free. She knew she wasn't ready to be a mother and, as she has done in all areas of her life, she solved the problem. The second delicious morsel is that she says she didn't put out to get ahead, (though she has had lots and lots of sex, it wasn't as a bargaining chip) and the women who did, aren't in comedy anymore. Nice to know, and nice to tell those coming up behind her.
I like gathering best of the year lists
Amazon best novels
Amazon NewYorkTimes Best sellers
Barnes and Noble
Evening Standard, UK
The Irish Times
New York Times
>52 Citizenjoyce:. Thank you for posting those. I am a recovering "completist," so it always helps to have lists of books about which there is some consensus. I have really, really got to stop reflexively picking up books by authors whose previous works I have liked. I find that even with the best of them, more often than not I am disappointed.
I recently finished and enjoyed Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. Usually I don’t want to know too much about a book before I start it, I like to be completely surprised. I’d read that the book was a fairy tale retold, Rumplestiltskin, and this is one of my favorite genres. I was pleasantly surprised by the Judaic underpinning of the story. Is there much Judaism in most fairy tales? I can’t think of any. So that aspect completely drew me in. I’m also enthralled when clever women discover their own power and when characters can change the way they view life and other people. Alas, I found the story dragged in parts. I can’t say I like long or short stories better, I like them to be as long as they need to be. I thought Spinning Silver had a little padding, but other than that was delighted by it.
>54 Citizenjoyce: Thanks! I just got that not too long ago. I'll have to try to get to it soon.
I read Little Fires Everywhere and liked it more than I expected. The book covered most aspects of pregnancy and maternity (birth, surrogacy, adoption, abortion, miscarriage) without seeming contrived or judgmental.
I also read a few stories from A Manual for Cleaning Women, and, so far, I appreciate the writing style. Reminds me of Charles Bukowski in more ways than one. I'll probably be reading these stories off and on.
I'm almost done with Karen Memory, and I am enjoying the hell out of it. Loads of steampunk fun!
>54 Citizenjoyce:. I put Spinning Silver on my wish list with some reservations. I read Uprooted and thought that it was just okay, although everyone else I know who read it absolutely loved it.
Join to post
You must be a member of this group to post.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.