Some Last Minute Christmas Suggestions for Feminist Booklovers

Kids (6-10):

Jump!Books Lucy Evans’ InstaExplorer

The first book in a series of adventure stories for kids, featuring intrepid explorer Lucy Evans. Armed with her trusty smartphone, her wits and an adventurous spirit, Lucy sets out to solve mysteries, explore foreign countries and cultures, and meet interesting people around the world. Her journey begins in a small town in Greece, where between sending messages to her friends back home, and exploring her new home, Lucy makes an intriguing discovery in an overgrown park. Ancient Greek carvings on hidden marble stone – and a clue to a long lost part of history.

Greta and Boris: A Daring Rescue

Greta’s best friend is her cat Boris. However, little does she realise her bewhiskered buddy is actually the Prince of the Kingdom of Cats. So when he is kidnapped by the Rat King, a young warrior cat named Kyrie Mi-ke is sent to find Greta, and together they face a mystical and magical adventure to bring Boris home again. Greta must face the challenge of the staircase of the autumn leaves; cross Cloud Top Land and the Milky Sea; end the war between the two tribes of mice and face the truth of the Millpond; before facing the Rat King himself.

Young Adult Fiction:

Five Wounds by Katharine Edgar

It is 1536. The north of England has boiled over into rebellion against Henry VIII and the rebels march south towards London, growing stronger by the day. Sixteen-year-old Nan Ellerton, sent home from her convent when the King’s commissioners arrived, has been promised in marriage to a powerful lord. When both he and his son Francis become embroiled in the revolt, Nan must choose – help the rebels, even though it could mean paying the brutal penalty for treason, or betray her beliefs and risk eternal damnation.

Women’s Fiction

Esmeralda Santiago’s When I was Puerto Rican – A Memoir

Andrea Levy’s The Fruit of Lemons

Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy. Snow. Bird

Yejide Kilanko’s Daughters who walk this path

Kiran Desai’s Hullabaloo in the Guave Orchard

Jhumpa Lahiri’s Lowland

Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake

Bucha Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood

Sunny Singh’s Hotel Arcadia

Madeleine Miller’s The Song of Achilles

Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love

Non-Fiction

Jeanne Theoharis’ The Rebellious Life of Mrs Rosa Parks

Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Road

Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra: A Life

Buy these books and help support the campaign Everyday Victim Blaming!

Iskra: a poetry anthology

Everyday Victim Blaming: Challenging Media Portrayals of Domestic & Sexual Violence and Abuse

What I Remember: an anthology of short stories

Did you know? an anthology of women’s poetry

 

If you buy any of these books online, please use this Easy Fundraiser link. Amazon and other major retailers make a donation to Everyday Victim Blaming for everything purchased through that link.

 

 

 

 

Five Wounds by @KatharineEdgar

I have had the absolute pleasure of reading various drafts of this book over the past two years. I started the first draft one evening and spent the following day half-asleep. The worst thing you can do when you have fibromyalgia is stay up late reading a book, but I simply couldn’t put it down as it melds all my favourite parts of literature: a brilliant, capable and feministy teenage heroine and historical accuracy.

5 Wounds is the comingof-age story of 15 year old Nan – a fiercely independent and headstrong young girl whose life changes drastically during a period of revolution and rebellion. Nan was sent sent to live in convent school following an unfortunate incident as a young child. This afforded her a level of freedom and education that many young girls of her class would never have experienced.

However, this is 1536 and the schism between Rome and Henry VIII has changed everything. Nan’s dreams of remaining in the convent and becoming a great Abbess are destroyed after Henry’s troops close the convent. Instead, Nan was bartered as a commodity and betrothed, rather unwillingly, to the much older and frequently married Lord Middleham. Nan’s father gains more land from this betrothal and Lord Middle ham a wife younger than his children. Nan’s Catholic faith, nurtured during her years living in a convent leads to her involvement in the Northern rebellion against Henry VIII during the Pilgrimage of Grace. Nan is forced to choose between her faith and her personal safety. Does she chose treason or eternal damnation?

The true strengths of Edgar’s writing are the character of Nan and the accuracy of the historical context of the Pilgrimage of Grace. Nan is alternately naive and brave, and her flawed choices reflect her optimism, faith and failure to understand the full consequences of rebellion. She is equally a child and an adult – limited by the constraints of her gender but freed by her desire to change the world.

Edgar’s love of history and the breadth of her research only adds to brilliance of the story. 5 Wounds precipitated one of my favourite historical discussion The Great Whether-Or-Not Noble Women Learned to Ride Normally Debate. I voted yes on the theory that noble daughters were valuable commodities and no sensible father would allow an expensive piece of property to remain incapable of escape from the numerous wars/ tantrums and general violence that defines European history.

I loved 5 Wounds. It was fast-paced, exciting and utterly brilliant. I can’t recommend it enough!

You can buy 5 Wounds from Amazon now.

Ethical Porn: The Sources

I made the decision not to include direct links to radical feminist blogs in my New Internationalist piece in March because of violent, creepy men. In my experience, left wing dudebros can be some of the most aggressive and nasty when disagreeing with women.

I believe pornography and prostitution constitute violence against women. Below is a full list of the books, articles and blogs I consulted when writing the piece. Many I had read before agreeing to the discussion with Kitty Stryker but some I came across when googling.

Blogs:

The Intercourse Series at Fact Check Me

Consent is Sexy and Sexy is mandatory at Rootveg

The problem with the consent to intercourse at When Women Were Warriors

so what you like PIV at mechantechatonne

PIV is always rape at Witchwind

The Tyranny of Consent at Feminist Current

The Cult of Pornography – A Black Feminist Perspective at Black Feminists

It’s just PIV at Fact Check Me

All porn is rape at Fact Check Me

There is something wrong with me at Ann Tagonist

Let me slip into something a little less uncomfortable by Ann Tagonist

Pornography, Patirarchy and Liberalism: Re-Reading Andrea Dworkin at New Left Project

Principled Pornography: How Queer/ Indie Sites are Reframing the Industry by Kitty Stryker

Books:

Kathleen Barry’s The Prostitution of Sexuality: The Global Exploitation of Women

Jennifer Hayashi Danns with Sandrine Leveque’s Stripped: The Bare Reality of Lap Dancing

Gail Dines’ Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked Our Sexuality

Andrea Dworkin’s Pornography: Men Possessing Women

Robert Jensen’s  Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity

Trine Rogg Korsvik & Ane Sto’s The Nordic Approach

Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture

Julia Long’s Anti-Porn: The Resurgence of Anti-Pornography Feminism

Linda Lovelace’s Ordeal

Linda Lovelace’s Out of Bondage

Laurie Penny’s Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism

Melinda Tankard Reist’s Big Porn Inc.

Natasha Walter’s Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism

(This is an old post that somehow ended up in the draft folder. )

International Women’s Day: Great Books for #ReadWomen2014

These are some of the brilliant books written by women that I in 2013.

Precious Williams’ Precious

Aminatta Forna’s The Devil that Danced on the Water

Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions

Valerie Martin’s Mary Reilly

Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Dreams

Barbara Kingsolver’s Pigs in Heaven

Rumer Godden’s The Doll’s House

Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

Chibundu Onuzo’s The Spider King’s Daughter

Aminatta Forna’s Ancestor Stones

You can purchase all of these books from News from Nowhere Radical & Cooperative Bookshop

 

Vagenda’s New Book & The Problem of Marketing Feminist Books

Feminist magazine Vagenda have a new book out which is brilliant because there can never be enough feminist books published. I am, however, concerned about the cover. It simply reinforces the “women as object” motif, particularly since this is a woman’s body without head.

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This isn’t uncommon for the publication of feminist books but it worries me. I doubt very much Vagenda had a choice in the cover but it does bother me that feminist texts are being published using pornified images of women’s bodies. Do publishers genuinely believe that people will only buy Vagenda’s book if the image is  ‘sexy’ because I have to say, I think that’s rather insulting to Vagenda’s audience. If the only way a marketing team can think to run book by a popular feminist website is with this cover, then they simply aren’t creative enough.

Vagenda’s book would have sold well without this cover. It’s just unnecessary.

 

Natasha Walter’s Living  Dolls:

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Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs

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