Big Girls Don’t Cry by Rebecca Traister
Adam & Eve by Sena Jeter Naslund
Lord Peter by Dorothy Sayers
Juliet by Anne Fortier
Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women
For those interested in gender and politics, current events, modern history, political campaigns, gender and culture, women’s studies, or damned good nonfiction, I highly recommend this book. I’m a fan of Traister’s writing, so while I’m not wild about the title or cover art of Big Girls Don’t Cry, I still very much wanted to read it. I got about half way through my local library’s copy and decided I needed to have my own. I purchased my own copy and finished reading, merrily underlining and noting passages in the remainder of the book.
Traister began supporting John Edwards, so she begins the book talking about the Edwards’ campaign and its use of young women bloggers. She then writes about Elizabeth Edwards, Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton and how they were changing the idea of what a political spouse should and should not do on the campaign. The meat of the book is the Democratic primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. There was so much happening then, it was easy to miss things. I’m a fairly political person, yet I found myself reading about events in Big Girls Don’t Cry that I didn’t remember.
Favorite line: When asked if the “overzealous sex positivity and profanity of Internet feminism were weakening the movement,” Gloria Steinem responded “As a person who walked around with a button that said “Cunt Power” on it while I was wearing a miniskirt, I don’t know that that’s the case.” Love Gloria.
Adam & Eve
The Four Word Review: not what I expected
I think I was looking for a more erudite Da Vinci Code. I thought there would be debate and analysis about this early version of the Genesis story. The text is more of a MacGuffin. A text is discovered which implies human authorship of the Genesis story. The newly discovered text is by P. P’s friend wrote a human-centered, procreation oriented version of genesis. P’s version was based on art, and the lone creator/artist idea. It’s interesting, but it’s not explored. We don’t even learn what the text says until the final fifth of the book.
“I…wondered if fear were not the original sin. Not disobedience. Every child knows that at some point it becomes wise to disobey. And every wise parent forgoes punishment for disobedience at some point. Fear and violence, twin sins. Gabriel and his men fear the modification of ideas–the idea that a fatherlike God had literally created a first man and woman, the idea of the uniqueness of life on earth and our cosmic significance. ” (315)
“It was my faith that the this truth would eventually help to free humans from the bonds of egotism. The truth should make us humble: we are neither central nor unique in the universe. Values are not given; we must creat our own” (329-330)
“We could be good companions, closest friends, parents, whether we married or not” (333).
“As soon as we were human, it was part of our nature and our necessity to creat art. It is essential–art is as essential to our humanness as food or shelter” (Lucy, 276).
“Two great dangers,” Pierre said. “Violence and the way men view women.” (280).
In the beginning, God created Heaven and Earth. Or, When God began to create Heaven and Earth. Or, In the beginning there was something /and there was nothing. / When they connected, there was everything. / And it was everywhere.
Four word review: typical golden-age detective fiction
My senior year of college I took Genres of Popular Fiction—what my professor called her tenure present to herself. When discussing detective fiction, we talked about the idea that in the early detective fiction, to some extent, the solution is the answer because the author says so. Sometimes particular information is withheld, or we’re not privy to a detail our detective has noticed.
I’d never ready any Dorothy Sayers. I started because 1) Azar Nafisi mentions Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries in Reading Lolita in Tehran (one of my favorite books) and Gaudy Night is profiled in A Bookshelf of Our Own. Gaudy Night features Harriet Vane, who is first introduced in the Lord Peter mystery Strong Poison. I loved Gaudy Night (truthfully, I don’t remember Strong Poison) so when I saw the Lord Peter short story collection at the local library, I thought I’d give it a go. It wasn’t a waste of time, but I definitely prefer Amelia Peabody, Russell & Holmes or The Moonstone.
The Essential Feminist Reader and Feminism: The Historical Readings
Four word review: Just a taste (excerpts)
I was disappointed that so many of these writings were excerpted. Yes, it’s impractical to reprint A Vindication of the Rights of Women (and I do already own it) but I would have rather seen fewer selections reprinted in full. Still, for one who has no familiarity with these writings, I suppose an excerpt is better than nothing.
Things to read/reread: Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf, Woman and the New Race by Margaret Sanger, On Understanding Women by Mary Ritter Beard, Women and Economics by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Manifesta by Jennifer Baumgardner & Amy Richards, a biography of Margaret Fuller and more about Huda Shaarawi.
I’m reading this now. I bought it last Fall and have been reading it off and on since then. This is through no fault of the book, simply that I foolishly tried to read it during the campaign and eventually had to admit defeat and temporarily shelve it. It’s a rich novel that takes place in 14th century Siena and present day Florence as Julie Jacobs learns about her ancestor, Giulietta Tolomei, the original Juliet.