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text 2018-05-18 18:07
The Country Girls / Edna O'Brien
The Country Girls - Edna O'Brien

Meet Kate and Baba, two young Irish country girls who have spent their childhood together. As they leave the safety of their convent school in search of life and love in the big city, they struggle to maintain their somewhat tumultuous relationship. Kate, dreamy and romantic, yearns for true love, while Baba just wants to experience the life of a single girl. Although they set out to conquer the world together, as their lives take unexpected turns, Kate and Baba must ultimately learn to find their own way.

 

I have absolutely no idea how to rate this book. Can I say that I enjoyed it? Yes and no. Can I say that I appreciated it? Yes indeed.

It was an important book for its time—published in 1960 and showing an Ireland that doesn’t exist anymore. One where the Catholic Church and patriarchy reigned supreme and women had extremely limited choices. You could get married or become a nun. That was pretty much it, at least for the country girls. Women weren’t admitted to be sexual beings and weren’t supposed to criticize how their society worked.

Edna O’Brien writes beautifully about the naiveté of the two rural girls when they come to the big city. Kate is the artistic, romantic, intellectual girl who has idealistic visions of what life should be like. She wants to discuss literature with her dates and they only value her sexuality. She becomes involved with an older married man from her village because he offers a window into the more sophisticated world that Kate longs for. Baba, on the other hand, is far more earthy—she wants to smoke, drink, and enjoy the company of men. The two women couldn’t be more different from one another, but small communities make for strange friendships. With few people of the right age to choose from, you bond with the most compatible person available and these relationships rarely withstand leaving home.

The poverty, the alcohol problems, the repression of women--The Country Girls reveals them all. No wonder this book was denounced and banned. It was hanging out the dirty linen for the world to look at.

Ireland is a country that is definitely on my “to visit” list. I love reading books which are set there and I will definitely read more of O’Brien’s work.

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review 2018-05-16 22:32
GEEK GIRLS DON'T DATE DUKES by Gina Lamm
Geek Girls Don't Date Dukes - Gina Lamm

Leah goes back to Regency times to find her Duke but she finds Avery, the Duke's valet, instead.  Instantly attracted, they miscommunicate or don't communicate at all.    When tragedy falls, they are able to work through it.

 

This is a fun, light romp.  Leah is definitely a girl of modern times.  She's outspoken and goes fully into everything that comes her way.  Avery is hard put to stop her at times so he is rescuing her often.  I enjoyed the two of them and am glad they got everything straightened out in the end.

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review 2018-05-14 00:26
Dangerous Girls
Dangerous Girls - Abigail Haas,Abby McDonald

This was a really entertaining read and I really enjoyed the book, but it was also so got damn irritating.

 

I know that there are parents out there who pay no mind to what their children do and as a result their kids take full advantage of it and do some insane shit. I know this, I really do. And yet, reading books like this it always shocks me because, like ... WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS? What kind of parent thinks it would be a GOOD IDEA to send their underage child on a vacation with a bunch of underage, equally irresponsible teenagers, in a foreign country? Without any adult supervision I might add, why would you think that would end well?

 

The only person that you really get to know throughout the story are Anna and Elise, everyone else is just kind of background. They don't really serve a purpose and honestly, if they hadn't been in the book, it wouldn't have made a difference. Honestly, I can't even name anyone else other than Tate and I finished this book today.

 

I didn't even like Anna or Elise, both of them were so fucking annoying I just wanted them to shut up. Elise was honestly such a lil bitch the entire time, she had perfectly caring parents and she treated them like garbage. She had no regard for her own well-being and safety, and in the end she stabbed her best friend in the back honestly fuck her. I don't feel sorry for her.

 

Anna seemed like a whiny cry baby throughout the entire book in the flashbacks building up to the day the murder happened like sis buy a journal and write your feelings in it. I can't believe someone would get this worked up over some crusty boy who was literally so uninteresting. She shoulda just dumped both Elise and Tate and moved on with her life. Don't get me wrong, she faked the entire thing really well, if my friend hadn't already spoiled the book for me, I would've been S H O O K.

 

Detective Dekker was honestly such a creep, I hate that man. On top of that, he was really fucking bad at his job. He had literally zero actual solid evidence that Anna was the murderer. He just kept pulling up stuff that had happened years ago and acted as if it was relevant to the murder which it literally was not.

 

"I'm just trying to establish the relationship the suspect had with the victim," EVERYONE LITERALLY TOLD YOU WHAT THE RELATIONSHIP WAS DROP IT AND MOVE ON TO THE ACTUAL MURDER CHRIST.

 

I don't even know what charges they had Anna arrested on. I don't know what the laws in Aruba are regarding murder, but from the episodes of Law and Order: SVU that I've been binge watching lately, courtesy of my mom, it doesn't seem like they had anything to hold her on. I'm probably mistaken, but I'm pretty sure you can't have someone arrested and held in captivity based on circumstantial evidence. And where even was the evidence? Elise was stabbed in the chest 13 times and you're telling me there was no evidence except for the knife she was stabbed in? Where are the clothes that Anna wore to stab her in? Aruba is a pretty small island it's not like the clothes would've just disappeared.

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review 2018-05-11 17:04
After Birth, by Elisa Albert
After Birth - Elisa Albert

As we approach Mother's Day in the U.S., pop culture has lately been reassuring me that my decision to never have children is a good one.

 

Most recently, I went to see the movie Tully, in which a woman who's just had her third child struggles to sleep and care for herself until finally she relents and accepts her brother's gift of a night nanny. Life for her improves markedly, perhaps magically (for a reason).

 

Inspired by Tully, I consciously chose to read After Birth. Might as well ride this wave of mother-related trauma, I thought. The novel follows Ari, a first time mother, over the course of three months, her son just turning one. It flashes back to when she was pregnant, endured what she feels was a needless C-section, and when what is likely to be post-partum depression ensues.

 

In its bitterness, its sometimes funny rants and ambivalence about Jewish identity, After Birth felt of a piece with Albert's first novel, The Book of Dahlia, which I read last year. I admired that book for its stubbornly unforgiving protagonist, dying of brain cancer. Similarly, Ari's often caustic, volatile voice, her resentment at modern birth practices and various mothering cliques, as well as the unnecessary isolation of motherhood, was often refreshing to read. Sometimes, however, it became a bit much for me.

 

Ari wrestles with her past, doomed relationships with other women, including her mean mother, who died of cancer when she was young, former friends, roommates, lovers. In the present, she befriends and helps a new mom who was in a seminal feminist band. This relationship enables Ari to "grow up," to perhaps become less judgmental or bitter about the women in her life, and those who may become a part of her life.

 

Like everything else, motherhood in the U.S. has become commodified, both as an inextricable part of the health care industry and as a way to sell "stuff" that mothers have done without for ages. The most valuable, engaging aspect of After Birth is the insistence that, however individual birth plans and approaches to mothering may be, women are not meant to raise children on their own (whether there's a man or not); we're meant to help each other.

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text 2018-05-10 21:34
TBR Thursday
The Country Girls - Edna O'Brien
Beneath the Sugar Sky - Seanan McGuire
The Borrower - Rebecca Makkai
Honor Among Thieves - Ann Aguirre,Rachel Caine
The State of the Art - Iain M. Banks
A Curious Beginning - Deanna Raybourn

Such a good selection of books from my library!

 

I will finish A Plague of Giants this evening and I'll continue to have Robots Vs. Fairies as my coffee break book.  Then its time to get started on this selection.

 

I have tomorrow off work--tomorrow is also the beginning of the Calgary Reads Big Book Sale.  I plan to be there when the doors open at 9 a.m. with my wishlist in hand to have first pick.  Photos for Monday!!

 

Also planning to see a performance of Julius Caesar with my Shakespeare buddy on Saturday evening.

 

Have a wonderful weekend, my BL friends.

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