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Showing posts from March, 2017

She's Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan: More transgender memoirs, please

You know how last year you'd catch a random episode of I Am Cait, and suddenly you'd be like, who is this extremely articulate and intelligent woman talking on this reality show and why does her name sound familiar?

Well, that woman was Jennifer Finney Boylan, and her name sounded familiar because you've had a copy of her 2003 memoir She's Not There on your shelf for approximately 5 years.

Boylan is an extremely intelligent English professor who used I Am Cait as a vehicle to speak about transgender rights and issues. Her memoir covers her life from small child to married transgender adult with a family and a professorship. And weirdly enough, best friend Richard Russo, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls. 



I really loved She's Not There. It's especially brave for the time in which it was written, and it's a clear narrative of her struggles and resolution of the fact that she was born with an exterior that did not match who she naturally was.

Her them…

Between the Wars by Philip Ziegler: 1919 says "Haha like that'll ever happen again." 1939 says ಠ_ಠ

HO BOY. World War I and World War II. What happened between them! Philip Ziegler can tell you. Some of it, anyway.

If history isn't even really your thing, this book feels particularly timely, as it shows how the unthinkable occurred. There's a reason World War I used to be called the Great War. Everyone thought 'Well, this was the absolute worst NO WHERE TO GO BUT UP FROM HERE.'





The thing is, most people nowadays, except for those who have a complete set of Churchill's The Second World War (my parents have two sets in case you need one) pretty much think of WWII as England/France/America vs Germany/Italy/Japan. And then Russia's kind of running back and forth between them, like a confused kid playing Red Rover.

I loved having a more expansive view of the year "between the wars" opened up to me. I didn't know SHIT about Picasso's Guernica. I didn't know anything about the actual Guernica that inspired it. I didn't know about General Fran…

A Quick Rundown of Irish Lesbian Author Emma Donoghue's Books for St Patrick's Day

HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY! What better way to celebrate than quickly running through an Irish lesbian author's work with little tidbits about each book.


These aren't all of Emma Donoghue's books, but it's a LOT of them, because when there is an out lesbian author who is even halfway good, you read her shit. And Emma Donoghue is more than halfway good, so there y'go.

Slammerkin
Slammerkin is INTERESTING because it's about this girl in the 18th century who wants more out of life and basically gets thrown around London until she winds up working for a lady and there is a SURPRISE ENDING. It makes you feel like you know what it was like to live in the 18th century, which is awesome, and it's based on a newspaper article Emma Donoghue found while just casually perusing an 18th century newspaper, because Emma Donoghue is a giant nerd.

Landing
Landing is basically a romcom novel about a Canadian girl falling in love with an Irish flight attendant lady and I WOULD LIKE…

How the English Suffragettes Helped Radicalize Us | International Women's Day

SO, women getting the vote in 1920 was a long process involving a lot of work that had been in motion since the early 1800s, but let's ignore the entire 19th century and jump forward to the early 20th when things began to move REAL FAST until the monumental achievement of the 19th amendment, i.e. some recognition that women are people. Which shouldn't be monumental, but HERE WE ARE.



A big part of the movement picking up so much speed in the 1910s was the influence of the radical English suffragettes on the American women's movement. American suffragists never quite reached the live-free-or-die mentality of the English suffragettes, but they became much more "take to the streets" than they had been since the time the women of the temperance movement went to pray in front of saloons.


English women had basically been told to "hang on for a sec while we do this other thing" by the British government for DECADES, and anyone who's been put on hold right aft…

The Girl on the Train: Everyone read it so I read it

Yeah, I read The Girl on the Train well after everyone else, but now I've done it, so I am part of the cultural zeitgeist. This is Gone Girl all over again. And in so many ways! First off: missing or harmed girl lit. What's going on with that. What in our culture is prompting it. I HAVE MANY QUESTIONS. I get that missing girls have pretty much always been fascinating (see Erzsebet Bathory), but we're going through A Thing with them now, I am 99% sure, and it Means Something, but I do not yet know what.


So, Girl on the Train plot: Lady whose life has fallen apart daydreams about a couple she sees when the train she takes every day passes their house. One day the girl-half of the couple goes missing. Fallen Apart Life Lady decides to insert herself into the investigation because WHY NOT. The perspective switches characters every now then, because that is So Hot Right Now.

I have no idea how some of these types of books become insanely popular, but for this one, I would guess…