Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Random Book Review Post

Here's a sampling of what I've read over the past few months that I thought was good enough to pass on to all of you. Read these books!!

He's a Stud, She's a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know
Jessica Valenti
Why it's awesome: Jessica Valenti, founder of Feministing, is amazing. In this book, she breaks down 50 common gender-based double standards and gives advice on how to overcome them. I heart her.
Quote: "A guy throws rocks at a girl's window in the middle of the night. He won't take no for an answer-he must date her! He serenades her, shows up at her classes, waits at her car. These could be scenes from a burgeoning romance or a stalker gone mad-American culture doesn't differentiate, really. If a woman does these things, however, she's always a stalker. A crazy ex-girlfriend. A psycho. Shit, women are called stalkers for even daring to call a guy a couple of times! Never mind that the majority of stalking is done by men, and the majority of victims are women. When it comes to romance, women are the stalkers and men are just...romantic."

Title: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
Author: Max Brooks
Why it's awesome: Written in interview style, it's the story of the zombie apocalypse told by the survivors. Hypothetical futuristic journalism. Love it.
Quote: "I...I'm not totally sure. When I try to remember, everything goes by too fast. I had it by the neck. It pulled Jenna toward its open mouth. I squeezed hard...pulled... The kids say I tore the thing's head off, just ripped it right out with all the flesh and muscle and whatever else hanging in tatters."

Title: I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids
Author: Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile
Why it's awesome: The authors interviewed moms from across demographic lines and compiled the results into a book that addresses more of the reality of motherhood than almost anything else I've read.
Quote: "Now that we're entering preschool, I feel like I'm back in high school. The peer pressure is immense. You want to get friendly with other moms so your child is included in playdates and gatherings, and to some extent that responsibility lies with the mother. I'm not into that at all! I thought I was done with those politics in high school!"

Title: Breathers
Author: S.G. Browne
Why it's awesome: It's a zombie romance novel. Need I say more?
Quote: "If you've never woken up from a car accident to discover that your wife is dead and you're an animated, rotting corpse, then you probably wouldn't understand."

Title: Women Who Run With The Wolves
Author: Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.
Why it's awesome: Dr. Estes uses myths, stories and archetypes from multiple cultures to express the beauty and strength of the feminine psyche, the "Wild Woman" in each of us. This book is wordy and intense, but well worth the time and effort it takes to get through it.
Quote: "So like many women before and after me, I lived my life as a disguised criatura, creature. Like my kith and kin before me, I swagger-staggered in high heels, and I wore a dress and hat to church. But my fabulous tail often fell below my hemline, and my ears twitched until my hat pitched, at the very least, down over both my eyes, and sometimes clear across the room"

Title: Lessons From The Fat-O-Sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce With Your Body
Author: Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby
Why it's awesome: Marianne Kirby and Kate Harding, both of whom I have praised here before, wrote this awesome book of awesomeness about seemingly simple concepts like Health At Every Size and self-love and all that awesome stuff. You should probably read it.
Quote: "And so we are proud to present to you, for the low, low cost of free (well, if you're reading a library copy or thumbing through this chapter in a bookstore), the Harding-Kirby Lifetime Diet Plan: Eat what you're hungry for when you're hungry for it, and stop when you're full. Period."

Title: Ask A Ninja Presents: The Ninja Handbook
Author: Douglas Sarine and Kent Nichols
Why it's awesome: Do I really need to explain this?
Quote: (From a chapter discussing ninja skills like kicking, punching and dodging) "For one month, simultaneously date a vampiress, an Amazonian queen, a mermaid, a witch, and a Hollywood actress. Tell each one that you love her and her alone, keeping each relationship hidden from the others. On the last day of the month, send the following e-mail to all of them.

Dear Stinky Butt,

I hate your face. I have totally been doing it with like all these models and sick people since the day we met. Consider this trash day and yous on the curb, biznatch.

Eat Gerbil Poop, (her pet name for you)

Now dodge these scorned ladies and duck the hell that their crazy asses bring at you. You are not allowed to fight them or harm them in any way. You are only allowed to evade their fury."

Title: Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape
Author: Compiled essays, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti
Why it's awesome: This collection of essays discusses the relationship between rape culture and female sexual agency. It tackles the issues from many different angles, but the unifying theme is the idea that the "no means no" model of rape prevention is insufficient-what needs to be added is an understanding that consent means saying "yes," not simply the absence of "no." And for that to happen, women need to be free to say yes, to agree to and ask for what they want sexually and romantically, and not be shamed for it.
Quote: "What does it mean to say to someone, 'Fuck me?' Or, to put it a little more delicately, 'Touch me?' To tell them exactly how you want to be kissed, licked, petted? Or to tell them just what it is you want to do with them? For one thing, it means that you are taking the bull, as it were, by the horns. You're letting your lover--and yourself--know what you're looking for, rather than leaving it up to the imagination. You're giving them explicit instructions and thereby saying 'yes' so loudly, they have to hear you."

Title: Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
Author: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Why it's awesome: It's Pride and Prejudice. And zombies.
Quote: "Elizabeth accepted their company, and they set off together, armed only with their ankle daggers. Muskets and Katana swords were a more effective means of protecting one's self, but they were considered unladylike; and, having no saddle in which to conceal them, the three sisters yielded to modesty."


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