Read in the past week: I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids
, by Jen Kirkman. A book that's not without its good points, but ultimately a disappointment. While I did find several bits in this book to be funny, Kirkman's gender essentialism (she's very insistent on proving that she's a "real women") and the heterosexism (she decides that being childfree is the "new gay" except worse because they don't get a parade. Call me when someone dies for being childfree, then you can declare your problems are just like ours.) really brought me down. It's a very defensive book, which is to a degree only to be expected. Kirkamn is defending life choices that are marginalized by the rest society. But she doesn't want to admit she's defensive. She says near the beginning that being childfree isn't part of her identity. My response to that was, "...You wrote a book about it." I'm not saying it's the whole of her identity, but once you've written 200 pages, you can admit something matters to you.
Kirkman also does very little work at applying her experiences to society at large, which made this a disappointing read for my feminist bookclub, which is why I read it. Princess Ben
, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. I'm so tired of rebellious princess stories. I'm tired of character who are so tired of being royalty, and apparently wish they could starve in the mud like peasants. Characters who react to each requirement of their station as it's the first time they'd heard of the concept, rather than knowing these things like they actually would.Princess Ben
manages to twist the tale to allow the rebellious princess to realize that all that etiquette and all those affairs of state actually matter, and to learn that being a commoner sucks. Unfortunately, the book is seriously brought down by the love story, which is ham-fisted and subtle as a brick. Also, there's a bit of associating weight loss with virtue. It's not as bad as some other examples, but it is there. And it's a little weird that the book doesn't seem to know where it's set, with fictional countries and fantasy creatures, but also referencing China and Mongolia. It bugged me, but it might not bug other people.Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America
, by Melissa V. Harris-Perry. A book about the political role and emotional lives of Black women. Sister Citizen
relies heavily on statistics and focus groups, while also creating a running thread of literary analysis (with such titles as Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Color Purple
, and The Bluest Eyes
) to emphasize its themes. It's an interesting combination, and Harris-Perry makes it work.Currently reading: Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom
, by Sean B. Carroll. Picking up this book had nothing
to do with seeing the title and "evo devo" and being reminded of Orphan Black. Nothing at all. Nothing. ("Endless forms most beautiful" is from Darwin's The Origin of Species
and is also the title of an Orphan Black episode.)This entry was originally posted at http://veleda-k.dreamwidth.org/411391.html. Please consider commenting there.