Sunday, May 8, 2016

a book I love and one I don’t

I first read The Women’s Room by Marilyn French when I was in my twenties. It’s a wonderful novel about Mira, a 1950’s housewife who experiences the enlightenment of the early Women’s movement. The absolute best part of the book is the detailed descriptions of the mechanics of keeping house and raising children in those days. I was born in 1958, but most of what she described was foreign to me.

Unfortunately, the horrible treatment of women depicted in this work of fiction is not foreign to me as it still goes on today. Until patriarchy gives way to a more just societal framework, it will continue. I believe this novel should be required reading for all young people.

A book I don’t love? You know what? I enjoy writing challenges. They give me ideas. And sometimes the forced topic leads me to think about things I otherwise wouldn’t have. So I’ll stick with it, even if I don’t want to. But the rebel in me just doesn’t care to revisit books I didn’t love. So I’m listing a few more I loved instead. Ha!

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. All of them. These chapter books were my favorites when I was a child. The madcap cures to wonderfully exaggerated problem children tickled my funny bone. I desperately wanted to meet Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. My favorite cures included The Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker Cure, The Fraidy-Cat Cure and The Whisperer. I saw one of the books at the library recently. Still magical!

Sue Grafton‘s alphabet mystery series, which starts with A is for Alibi. I adore her passionate, plucky private detective Kinsey Millhone. The first twenty-three in the series (A through W) are fabulous. X is really odd. I’m hoping Y will be a return to her best.

Bettyville is a wonderful novel I just finished recently. It tells the story of a man who has returned home to care for an aging parent. He can’t seem to make himself leave. The story will resonate for those who have experienced aging parents.

Ntozake Shange's poetry is amazing. Go read some. Now. Start with Nappy Edges.

Gods and Generals, and the two companion pieces The Killer Angels and The Last Full Measure may be the best Civil War books I’ve ever read. Michael Shaara is the author of the second book (which was actually written first.) His son, Jeff wrote the first and third books. Just spectacular.

Another female mystery solver, Kate Shugak, is featured in the Alaska-themed series by Dana Stabenow. All of them are excellent.

ANYTHING by Anne Tyler. That isn’t a book title. I mean, read any book written by Anne Tyler. You’ll thank me later, just as I thank Dr. J. Griffin Campbell for telling me about this amazing author. Her character development skills cannot be overstated.

ANYTHING by Toni Morrison. Her words sing.

I’ll stop there. Don’t want to overstay my welcome.

Nope. One more. Susan Faludi's Backlash:The Undeclared War Against American Women is a must read for progressives.

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