Book #77: Everyday Sexism

Laura Bates, Everyday Sexism, 2014, 384p

This book has been on my radar since I started following Bates’ Twitter account of the same name. This was around the time I became an angry lady (see How To Be a Woman for more deets about my anger).

I’m a young (ish) gal who takes transit, works with the public, and is an avid pedestrian. I am sick and tired of hearing comments about my body, sexuality or my marital status. I am done with people questioning my knowledge because of my so-called lady brain. Obviously I can’t troubleshoot your device because I have a vagina. (PS. This is my job and I don’t use my labia to type. Pffft).

It continues to blow my mind how rampant sexism STILL IS. It’s 2016! The stats and testimonials in Bates’ book will leave you feeling sad, angry, and disgusted with society.

This book is great. The Twitter account is also fantastic (Check it here: Everyday Sexism).

 

Book #76: All the Rage

Courtney Summers, All the Rage, (2015), 321p

Gasp. There are some times where the library hold gods do not shine upon me. I am finished a book and stuck waiting for another. Yeah, I could pull one of the hundred TBR books from my bookshelves… OR I could creep through the eBooks that are available online until I find on that I can read right then and now that sounds remotely interesting.

Which is exactly how I fell upon All the Rage.

We meet Romy – a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. We don’t meet Kellen Turner – but we learn a lot him. The town’s golden boy isn’t so golden after forcing himself upon Romy. But no one believes her, so Romy is left to build up walls around her and continue on with high school. Romy creates a secret life for herself working at a diner in another small town, where no one knows her story. But when a popular girl, who is linked to both Romy and Kellen, turns up missing after the annual high school bush party – the town takes notice.

So. This book tackles a pretty tough subject. Does it do it well? Maybe…

This entire book is filled with bullying – bullying of Romy for having a drunk dad, being a slut, being a liar. Bullying of Romy’s mom’s new boyfriend because he has a disability. These people are dicks. The whole idea of people not believing a rape victim isn’t new. The whole idea of the separation of classes isn’t new.

I don’t know how I feel about it. The ending of the book is touted as shocking – but I almost want to call it lazy. Summers leaves a trail of breadcrumbs throughout the story which doesn’t pan out. Maybe it was trying to be twisty. I feel like it was blah. The characters weren’t super developed. You never really get a good sense of Romy – she is too busy applying her armor of red lipstick and nail lacquer.

I give some shits about this book but not a ton. It’s okay. At best.

Book #75: If I Fall If I Die

Michael Christie, If I Fall, If I Die, (2015), 288p

I always peruse through the Giller Prize lists, because I’m SO Canadian. Do I typically read a lot of Canadian authors? Sadly not really, with the exception of Miriam Toews. Being a teen fiction addict, it’s sadly tough for me to get hooked on a contemporary adult book. Which is nuts – because I used to ONLY READ contemporary adult fiction for like ever.

For some reason, Christie’s book jumped off the long list for me. I somehow missed the rush of holds and got my copy pretty quickly. It fell to the bottom of my TBR pile AND I did manage to get to it. Yay!

Will has grown up in Toronto, Cairo, New York, Paris… but has never left his house. Will’s mom, Diane, is fiercely agoraphobic – leaving Will’s world limited to their Thunder Bay home, with rooms named after world famous capital cities. One day, Will hears a noise Outside and heads out in a helmet to investigate. He meets Marcus, a neighbourhood boy, who is never seen again. Will gets a taste of freedom and enrolls himself in school. There he befriends Jonah, an aboriginal skateboarder, and sets for on his mission to find Marcus.

Christie’s writing is beautiful and lyrical. I can rarely say that about a book. It was an interesting take on mental health issues and fears. The ending was slightly twisty and I didn’t predict it. Ended up somewhat cutesy, which I didn’t see coming.

I dug this book. Sad it didn’t win the Giller.

Book #74: Why Not Me?

Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?, (2015), 228p

Mindy Kaling is my spirit animal. Sassy, witty, pop culture addict, and will never turn down food. Me to a tee. Ha!

I really, really liked Kaling’s previous book, Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? So when I heard the she had done it again, I had to get my little paws on it.

Mindy regales us with tales we can relate to: losing friends, trying to lose weight while really changing nothing about our lives, and fangirling over celebrities. My favourite essay? Her quirky, nerdy, lovely tale of her friendship with Office alum, BJ Novak. Also a fave was her list of how her and her sitcom persona, Mindy Lahiri, are twins and enemies.

While not as crass as Chelsea Handler or as open about her head stuff as Jenny Lawson, I dig Mindy.

Like honestly, she needs to be my bestie, so then we can both proclaim ‘whoa’ at both hot guys AND hot pizza. Cause hot damn, I do love me some of both.

Book #73: Grave Mercy

Robin LaFevers, Grave Mercy, (2012), 550p

Welcome back, teen fiction. I have missed you a little, while trying to be a quasi adult and read adult-like things (well, not adult like things, cause I haven’t read anything really dirty in a while).

Ismae is only a young pup when she is sold to a disgusting, abusive man to be his wife. When he discovers her secret (a nasty red scar on her back that marks her as Death’s daughter), he flips his shit. Ismae is whisked away to safety and brought to the coolest convent ever – St. Mortain’s, where they serve Death. Ismae is trained to become an assassin to serve Death however is deemed necessary and is given a smattering of murderous goodies, including garrote bracelets (Bad ass!). Her first mission: spy on Duval, a handsome dude smackdab in the center of a political uprising. The catch? She also may have to assassinate him. The other catch? She kinda digs him.

I don’t think I’m too keen to read the other two books, which are both told from another girl’s perspective. It works for the Lunar Chronicle novels, but I don’t know if it will work for these ones. Not really wanting to know anything about the other girls – kinda itching to see what goes on with Ismae and Duval… cause I’m a creep, yo.

This one is wordy and long. It’s worth a read though, if you can get past some of the predictable cheesiness. Cause seriously, you should read it for the garrote bracelets and various other concealed weapons alone.

 

Book #72: The Autistic Brain

Temple Grandin, The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum, (2013), 206p

This was a book club pick. Would I have ever picked this up on my own? No way, no how. Did I learn a few things? You betcha.

Grandin weaves her personal experiences and thought processes with current scientific studies and discoveries to paint a picture of how autistic brains work. She touches on, amongst many things, the sensory sensitivities and stigma faced by those with autism.

What I found very humbling was Grandin’s acknowledgement (with her vast knowledge and expertise) that she too makes assumptions based on her persona experiences and feelings. She assumed that because, as an autistic, she felt/said/thought things in one way that every other person with autism did too. I also love that she is first in line for any new technological  advancement to learn more about the disorder.

I’ll admit I was quite ignorant about autism before reading this book and feel slightly less ignorant after completing it. Interesting read that I never would have picked up unless I was forced to. My job is really tough, guys. 🙂