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text 2016-04-08 23:00
Femme Friday - My Next 5 TBR Memoirs
I Have Iraq in My Shoe: Misadventures of a Soldier of Fashion - Gretchen Berg
In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom - Yeonmi Park
The Argonauts - Maggie Nelson
Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family - Najla Said
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness - Kay Redfield Jamison

I have a soft spot for memoirs. Not just memoirs, but memoirs of regular people. I love to learn about the many lives that are out there and reality tv just doesn't do it. Memoirs are personal accounts of the things that people have been through. I've read a few already, but even those are mostly from people who are famous (or were by the time the memoir got into my hands). There is a lot more to the human experience than we see on a daily basis, so the next five memoirs that I've chosen to read (though they will be scattered among other reading in the coming months) are about people and experiences vastly different from my own. Here they are: 

 

  1. I Have Iraq in My Shoe: Misadventures of a Soldier of Fashion - Gretchen Berg  I have had this book on my TBR list for a long time. The title just called me in the middle of the book store. I have a bit of a weakness for stories about acclimating to new areas and cultures and this seems like a fun one. 
  2. In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom - Yeonmi Park  I also saw this a little while back. It popped up in my Recommendations feed on one site or another and seemed interesting. 
  3. The Argonauts - Maggie Nelson  This is another one that popped up on some feed. The reviews that I read on it were mixed but the premise is enough to put it on my list anyway. It was living and loving someone who is gender fluid that got me. 
  4. Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family - Najla Said  I stumbled upon this one while looking for a book about Arab-Americans. I was checking the Heritage/Diversity months and discovered that April is Arab-American month which led me to realize that I had yet to read about any real Arab-Americans. I say real because I LOVE Kamala Khan, but she is fictional. 
  5. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness - Kay Redfield Jamison I don't know about you, but mental illness scares me. It is often poorly self-diagnosed and I rarely know people who seek treatment. Even in that rare instance, sticking to a regiment can be arduous, proving illness can be tough, and it takes a toll on everyone, not just the ill person. This memoir explores manic depression from inside and outside the institution that treats it. 

 

Do you read memoirs? What are you reading next? 

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review 2016-04-04 00:37
At The Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance - a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power
At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power - Danielle L. McGuire

I've been looking forward to reading this book for quite some time, but I'm glad that I hadn't done so until I left Mississippi. There's a part of me that wishes I would have known to see some of the places mentioned in this book, but I'm also glad that I didn't have to live with the full truth. It's hard to miss the racism, even now that persists in some places down there, but it's apparently not what it was. I grew up learning about slavery and civil rights campaign, but never in this kind of detail and never concentrating on the experiences of the women. Growing up in a community of Hispanics who were either first generation American or not born in the US, we didn't relate to it as our history so it didn't resonate at the time. Even our parents couldn't take it that way because many of them were dealing with Castro during this timeframe.

Since then, I've gotten more into learning US history, lived in more of the country, and known people with a greater variety of backgrounds. I can better appreciate the struggles of others and how they shaped US. This book does an amazing job of relating to the reader how the struggle of black women during this time was unique to them and not necessarily the same as black men or white women. It also ties it into the rest of the civil rights movement and where their struggle finally connected to second wave feminism. There were some parts that were covered that I knew about and many new things, such as Rosa Parks involvement prior to that infamous day on the bus that we're all taught.

This was an enlightening book about the civil rights movement and the role of black women within it. I especially enjoyed the way it didn't veer off into the familiar things that everyone in the US learns in elementary school. Those things were mentioned and given their due, but they didn't overtake the story of the women here, which I thought was great. This was about black women specifically and that there's more to feminism and being a woman than the experience of white women and more to civil rights than the experiences of black men. It also gave me a greater appreciation for this TED talk that I had seen quite some time ago and has been feature on 60 Minutes:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2tOp7OxyQ8&w=560&h=315]

I knew who Rosa Parks was but only from her refusal to move seats and I didn't know any of the other women he mentioned in his talk. I couldn't help but think about it as I read through the story of her full involvement in the whole of the civil rights movement and NAACP. I had loved the reaction of E.D. Nixon when Parks was arrested that's given in the book (around page 102).

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review 2016-04-04 00:09
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns)
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling
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review 2016-04-03 23:31
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide - Nicholas D. Kristof,Sheryl WuDunn
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review 2015-01-20 00:27
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Bad Feminist: Essays - Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist is an anthology of witty and confessional essays mixing personal experience; opinions on race, politics, media, gender and sexuality; and reviews of books, TV and film – sometimes all in the same essay. Roxane Gay lays out what it is to be a feminist. That there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ one. Being human precludes us from perfection. We’re complex creatures. We can enjoy something even if we don’t agree with the ideas behind them. That’s the very definition of cognitive dissonance.

 

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Source: literaryames.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/bad-feminist-by-roxane-gay
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