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text 2015-07-03 16:00
Fabulous Finds Friday: July 3, 2015
The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh - A.A. Milne,Ernest H. Shepard
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum
E.M. Forster - Lionel Trilling
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - Ana Juan,Catherynne M. Valente
The Children of Men - P.D. James
The Second Sex - Simone de Beauvoir,H.M. Parshley,Deirdre Bair
A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique & American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s - Stephanie Coontz
Doctor Who: Ten Little Aliens - Stephen Cole
Dark Horizons - Jenny Colgan
Doctor Who: Shroud of Sorrow - Tommy Donbavand

I've skipped a few Fridays, so this weeks post collects the best or most interesting of what I've acquired for the last few weeks. I'm especially happy about the Winnie the Pooh collection and Wizard of Oz (the gorgeous B&N leather bound edition), as they are part of the library I'm building to enjoy with my son as he gets older. He's only 2, so I'm impatiently waiting for the days when he's old enough to enjoy something beyond Star Wars ABC.

 

These were mostly acquired at the used book store, but a couple of the Doctor Who books are Kindle editions.

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review 2015-05-04 21:38
The Feminine Mystique: A classic
The Feminine Mystique - Betty Friedan,Anna Quindlen

 

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan is an iconic book that relentlessly changed the way the American woman saw herself, until its first publication in 1963. Feministic in a good way, without the morbid extravaganza other reads of that type hold, it's relevant even now and if you don't choose to believe so, at least you can appreciate it as a historical document.


In my opinion the above statement holds more truth than any other quote about gender equality every did. Of course not all of her suggestions are correct, or well examined. Many of her points are dislodged to the extremity of becoming eerie representations of what it might have been at first as an idea. But noone can be so foolish as to ignore the masterful and underrated -until then- meaning behind every single testament, the choise.


The free choise. In few words the significance and value of the book lays completely in this little concept. This commanding, severe notion. For centuaries -in different stages every era- the woman as an archetype had very particular "jobs" to do. Marrying, taking care of the house, raising as many children as the fate would give her -with no use for any contraceptive method- having the men in her life dictating every aspect and every decision and of course the "stay there and look pretty" utility. But only that. For the mainstream, everyday woman there was no freedom, no individuality, no aspiration. If you wanted to be something else, something not more but just different you didn't had the choise.


Friedan's whole point is this, it doesn't diminish the want of a woman to be a housewife and a mother, it just states the actual fact, that you can be all that and a thousand more things, or not. You can be a mother and a working woman, or you can be a mother, or you can be a working woman, period. You can be anything you want, so long it is your choise, not just an outdated inclination. Don't barricade yourself behind meaningless gender roles, labels or privileges, make choises.


Bottom line, the book is not perfect. It's repetitive, drawn out and maybe a little arid at points. BUT it was a fundamental lever of motion back in the sixties that ultimately led to the Second-wave Feminism movement and created the coalition with other movements such as the civil rights and the student's rights, that eventually changed the world, in so many aspects, with an amazing force.
It must be appreciated and cherished for helping to make the world a little better, a little brighter, a little less menial and tedious.




THOUGHTS EVOKED BY THE BOOK

- I don't agree with her about homosexuality. I'm sure it was just a way of approaching the middle class, narrow minded women of the time and not entirely her beliefs.
- I believe that if you are a mother, you give to your child a piece of you, you will never get back and that is great if you make the choise to become a parent consciously. But if you only doing it in order to fulfil a stereotype you harm both you shild and yourself.
- Equality will never be attained, not really in all forms.
- The media still play a devious part in society discrimination.
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text 2014-12-01 17:29
November Reading Round-Up
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride - Joe Layden,Cary Elwes,Rob Reiner
The Year We Fell Down - Sarina Bowen
Yes Please - Amy Poehler
Scenes from the City: A Knitting in the City Wintertime Surprise - Penny Reid
This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women - Jay Allison,Dan Gediman
Men Explain Things to Me - Rebecca Solnit
The Feminine Mystique - Betty Friedan,Anna Quindlen
Dirty Rowdy Thing - Christina Lauren
Landline: A Novel - Rainbow Rowell
Screwdrivered - Alice Clayton

Any month where I read more than Booklikes 10-book-covers-per-post limit is a good month (except possibly November, where all the reading I did took time away from the NaNoWriMo writing I should have been doing, alas). Not counting all of the picture books I read with my boys, I finished fifteen books in November. (I only wrote ~12,000 words.)

 

4.5 stars:

 

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales of the Making of The Princess Bride, Cary Elwes -- This is a must for anyone who loves The Princess Bride. I recommend the audiobook, as most of the cast and crew contribute, so it's like listening to a radio show documentary.

 

The Year We Fell Down, Sarina Bowen -- I don't usually read New Adult, but I glommed onto the Ivy Years series hard. I read the whole series in a long weekend. This first book, with a paraplegic heroine, was my favorite.

 

4 stars:

 

 

Yes Please, Amy Poehler -- Considering I have nothing in common with Amy except that we both have two young sons, I related to this memoir a lot more than I thought I would. Plus, it was super funny.

 

Understatement of the Year -- See my above comment about glomming the Ivy Years series. This third book was my second favorite, a second-chance romance involving two hockey players (yes, it's M/M. Read it even if you don't think that's your thing.).

 

Scenes From the City, Penny Reid -- This won't appeal much to anyone who isn't already into the Knitting in the City series, but if you're already a fan, the fifth story in this collection will have you salivating for the 2015 release of Happily Ever Ninja. Act fast, this is only on sale through December 15!

 

Blonde Date -- A short story, really more of a vignette, in the Ivy Years series. The hero is wonderfully beta.

 

3.5 stars:

 

Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit -- a thought-provoking set of essays on feminist topics, but a little too spendy, considering how short it is, IMO.

 

The Year We Hid Away, Sarina Bowen -- My least favorite book in the Ivy Years series, this was still a very entertaining read. It just had an awesome premise which didn't quite live up to my hopes.

 

The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan -- This has been on my TBR for 20 years. I'm glad to have finally made time for it. It was a more timely read than I expected, but my interest waned in the last third of the book.

 

This I Believe, various -- I've been plugging away at this collection of short essays in my spare time since the summer. A few of them were real gems.

 

3 Stars:

 

Landline,  Rainbow Rowell -- My least favorite Rainbow Rowell book so far. I just couldn't connect with the heroine at all, but the book still had the sharp prose and poignant emotion that I love about Rowell's work.

 

Dirty Rowdy Thing, Christina Lauren -- Entertaining, but not especially memorable.

 

2.5 stars:

 

Screwdrivered,  Alice Clayton -- The snappy dialogue did not make up for the cliched plot and the too stupid to live heroine.

 

2 stars:

 

Beyond Possession, Kit Rocha -- my first disappointment in the Beyond series. This novella just felt flat to me. 

 

1 star:

 

The Temp, Part I,  Lacey Wolfe -- I won this in a giveaway. Since I don't have anything nice to say, ....

 

As for what's on tap in December, I just started Sarah MacLean's Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, and it's off to a strong start.

 

Happy Holidays!

 

 

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review 2014-11-17 17:54
Uneven, but well worth reading even 50 years later....
The Feminine Mystique (Audible Modern Vanguard) - Betty Friedan,Parker Posey

I have such a hard time reviewing audiobooks, for (at least) two reasons: 1) it takes me a lot longer to finish them than it would if I were reading and so my memory of the earlier parts of the book is not as clear when it comes time to write a review, and 2) I listen to audiobooks while driving, so I can't stop to make notes or highlight or bookmark sections I want to remember for later, so when it comes time for a review, I don't have much to say. This review, then, is just a broad sketch of my general impressions.

 

I've been meaning to read this book for twenty years, since my own days as a Smith student (Betty Friedan is also a Smithie), but I never got around to it until Audible made it a Daily Deal sometime this summer. Parts of it were very dated, as you'd expect, but most of it was still extremely relevant.

 

I don't know about the choice of Parker Posey as a narrator. She's a sort of high brow, intellectually superior, privileged white woman, and she speaks with a subtle but unmistakable undertone of Snark. This makes her very like Friedan, actually, but I think the message would be more accessible to a wider audience without the Snark. That's probably true of Friedan's writing, too.

 

I really enjoyed the introductory essays by Anna Quindlen and the 1997 foreword by Friedan. The 1997 reflection was fascinating, both in what it told of Friedan's reflection on her own work over time, but also my own sense--having missed the 1950s and 60s (when the Mystique was at its peak) but having come of age in the late 1990s and lived to the present--that feminism has lost ground since Friedan's 1997 essay. Friedan talks about the GOP's last desperate efforts to strike down abortion, for example, but the intervening years have seen those efforts become more successful and less desperate, alas.

 

I also liked the middle sections where Friedan eviscerated functional anthropology and Freudian theories used to keep women homebound and uneducated, though I found it ironic and unfortunate that, a few chapters later, Friedan bought into those same disqualified Freudian notions without question when she suggested that homosexuality was one of the regrettable side effects of the Mystique, because frustrated mothers can't help but twist and pervert their sons into homos. A product of her time, sure, but interesting that Friedan could be so skeptical of Freudian thought when comes to women and so blind when it comes to another marginalized group she didn't understand.

 

I kind of turned off in the later chapters about the psychological damage that frustrated mothers caused to themselves and to their children, probably because I don't put a whole lot of stock into psychology in general.

 

Still, it's an important book if you're at all interested in feminism or women's studies, and I'm glad to have closed this gap in my education.

 

 

 

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text 2014-11-04 18:06
Reading progress update: I've listened 681 out of 926 minutes.
The Feminine Mystique (Audible Modern Vanguard) - Betty Friedan,Parker Posey

I was totally on board with Ms. Friedan right up until she got to the chapter about how one of the tragic side effects of the Feminine Mystique is that all of these infantile, frustrated, overbearing housewife mothers can't help but turn their sons into twisted, immature, promiscuous, self-loathing, neurotic homosexuals. Wow! Amazing that Friedan could so clearly skewer Freud's theories about women as a product of his time, culture, and personal biases, and yet she swallows those same flawed Freudian theories about homosexuality wholeheartedly without question.

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