Wednesday, March 22, 2017

We Should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Adichie

We Should all be Feminists (2015) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is similar in some ways to Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman -- the text of a speech (in this case a TED talk) by the author transferred to the written word in a dynamic and compelling manner.

I haven't seen the TED talk, but from the text of the book, I imagine an impassioned, interesting delivery, so I will certainly try to watch it sometime (I embedded the video below, so we can all watch together!).

The message is of course spot-on, and presented in such a straightforward, common sense way that I would be surprised if anyone could finish the (very, very short) book or speech and not agree that the concept that "feminism" is really just the idea that women are people too and should be treated as such. A must-read for everyone!
"The problem with gender if that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn't have the weight of gender expectations." (p. 34)

Keep reading! Beth

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Dominion by C.J. Sansom

Dominion (2012) by C.J. Sansom was exciting, disturbing, interesting, and -- given current events -- pretty depressing. The story offered an incredibly important view of "what if" the allies had tried appeasement and compromise in relation to Hitler's reign. In not fighting back against the evil, the allies became the evil.

Sansom did an especially good job of demonstrating how insidious nationalism can be, how dangerous the rhetoric of 'others' can be for all citizens, not just members of the 'other' groups. It was a stark reminder that targeting certain groups of people can seep into the core of a culture and lead to devastating consequences for not just the targeted groups but for everyone as well. I really try to avoid politics on this blog, but I can't help wondering -- are we there again, so gradually we didn't notice?

Outside of the message of the plot, the pacing of the story and writing was great -- definately a book I had trouble putting down! The characters were very well-developed, the settings described so well I could almost hear the strange echoes of footsteps running along the pavement in the fog, and the integration of real historical elements with fictional characters / events and speculation made for a very compelling read.

I truly reccomend this book to everyone based on the merits of the fiction by itself; the fact that the message is so resonant with current events is a bonus.
“Whenever a party tells you national identity matters more than anything else in politics, that nationalism can sort out all the other problems, then watch out, because you’re on a road that can end with fascism.” ― C.J. Sansom, Dominion

Keep reading! Beth