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Posts Tagged ‘We Should All Be Feminists’

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So, Meghan Markle of the USA marries Prince Harry of the UK in six days. When Kate Middleton married Prince William, The Book Jam published a post reviewing books about princesses. For these royal nuptials, we thought we would highlight books that might help Ms. Markle as she assumes her new duties in the UK, figures out life in a new country, and orients to her new role.

FC9780380727506.jpgNotes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson (1998) – And sometimes as you adjust to new circumstances,  you just need humor and a good travel guide. Like Ms. Markle, Mr. Bryson also married a Brit and found his life forever changed. This book chronicles his final trip around Great Britain, which had been his home for over twenty years, before returning to the USA. We believe Ms. Markle might find it helpful as she adjust to life in the UK. And, we believe that Mr. Bryson’s humor is always welcome, even if she finds his perspective on the UK or being married to a Brit different from her own experiences. She could also read his In A Sunburned Country as prep for her first official trip Down Under as a Royal. And, we will close by saying again that Mr. Bryson knows how to make you laugh.

FC9781101911761.jpgWe Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2014) – Ms. Markle is a self-proclaimed feminist. This gorgeous, concise long-essay-of-a-book might help her to articulate why as she travels the UK in her new role.  We envision her handing these books out like candy as she performs her new duties. Previously reviewed by us on our post entitled Beyond the Marches.

FC9781612370293.jpgLet’s Go London: Oxford and Cambridge (2013) by Harvard Student Agencies (2013) – Assuming she can ditch her security detail, this guide could help Ms. Markle find London’s top spots for those traveling on a restricted budget. Though we realize she has almost unlimited resources, if she wishes to remain in touch with the non-royals who inhabit this planet, we recommend this guide as a great way to find young travellers on limited budgets from all around the world. As another online review states — “Let’s Go Budget London is a budget traveler’s ticket to getting the most out of a trip to London—without breaking the bank… This slim, easy-to-carry guide is packed with dollar-saving information to help you make every penny count.” There is also one for Europe to help her escape on her on foreign trips. Either of these books would make great graduation gifts for those students lucky enough to have time and some money to travel.

FC9780143113553.jpgFC9780735212206.jpgExit West by Mohsin Hamid (2017) – or Strawberry Fields  (published as Two Caravans in the UK) by Marina Lewycka (2007) – Both these novels provide excellent ways to understand refugees – a cause that may benefit from some Royal Attention. Strawberry Fields/Two Caravans takes place in the English Countryside; so, it could count as a travel guide as well. These books were previously reviewed by us on Refugees, Immigrants, Syria, and Other Thoughts and Our 2016 Summer Reading List.

FC9781501166761.jpgAsymmetry by Lisa Halliday (2018) — We recommend Ms. Markle (and you) read Asymmetry. Why? well because, sometimes as you adjust to new circumstances you just need a good book. This first published novel by Ms. Halliday is just that – a quiet novel, written with gorgeous prose about interesting and distinct characters living their lives in New York, London, Iraq and elsewhere. Asymmetry explores the power of fiction – with excerpts from some of your favorite novels cleverly placed throughout. It also explores what happens in situations of inequity – a twenty-something in love with an older, well-established, and famous novelist (based upon the author’s actual life we gave heard), and an American man detained by immigration in London. The final section offers humor and some closure. While we honestly felt like Asymmetry was actually three loosely related but intelligently written short stories, instead of a coherent novel, this novel has us thinking about it days later which is never a bad thing. Don’t take our word for it though, The New York Times also gave it a lovely review. (The Times reviewer also said she read it three times, so maybe if we did the same coherence would grow apparent.)

FC9780811855518.jpgPorn for Women by The Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative (2007) – It might be worth having a copy or two of this picture book hanging about Kensington Palace for her prince and her to review as they launch into married life. Previously reviewed by the Book Jam on Mother’s Day: Porn (men with vacuums) and Practical.

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Once again, it is time for our annual list of great books to dig into after the relatives have left ( or, after the holidays end). This year, we seem to have selected some amazing tales that all have powerful women at their center (maybe we are channeling the women’s marches of a year ago). However, no matter their commonalities, each of these books will provide excellent reading to start your new year. Happy 2018!

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FC9781631494758.jpgWomen and Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard (2017) – Stop everything you’re doing, find a copy this beautiful little black book and start reading. Next, immediately buy ten copies and share them with your daughters sisters, and mother. And then, read it again. And then, share it with the men in your life (e.g., sons, husband, partner, co-workers, neighbors). Mary Beard’s newest work, sure to be a classic (no pun intended), is based on two of her lectures and draws upon her deep knowledge of the classics (she is a professor at Cambridge University and is the author of bestselling SPQR).  Beard examines how the the stories of mythical Greco-Roman characters like Penelope, Medusa, and Clytemnestra have informed women’s contemporary perceptions of how women are allowed to use our voices in public and to navigate the centers of power. A perfect pairing with Chimamanda Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists and a powerful resource to help guide women in the #metoo era. ~Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie

FC9780399575068.jpgHum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marias (2016) – An intimate look at life in South Africa during Apartheid.  This tale is told through the eyes of Robin, a young white girl who loses her mother and father during during the 1976 student uprising in Soweto. By using the narrator’s innocence to drive a plot of how she and Beauty, a middle-aged Black teacher who also experiences heart-wrenching loss during the uprising, are flung together, Ms. Marias exposes so much about how living through hate and fear causes unending harm. A great book for those with an interest in South Africa, human rights, racism, atypical families, and/or coming-of-age stories. ~Lisa Christie

FC9780735224292.jpgLittle Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (2017) – A page turning tale of a suburb turned inside out when a mother-daughter duo rolls into town.  With her latest novel, Ms. Ng tackles race, adoption, planned communities (based on her own experiences growing up in Shaker Heights, Ohio), teenagers, middle-aged dreams, and art, all in a well-written tale of family and love. ~Lisa Christie

FC9780062654199.jpgThe Alice Network by Kate Quinn  (2017) – This suspenseful tale moves seamlessly between World War I and World War II and follows the stories of two iconoclastic women, the more mature Eve Gardiner and young American Charlie St. Claire.  The older Eve is damaged, aging, living in London, drinking entirely too much,  and still trying to recover from her experiences during the Great War a spy in Northern France for the all-female Alice Network (which existed and is based on historical records). Charlie has come to Europe in 1947, unmarried, pregnant, and trying to find her missing French cousin Rose who disappeared during the French occupation in 1945. Charlie and Eve form a fragile, unlikely friendship and work together while moving through France to solve the mystery of Rose and to find an individual who betrayed The Alice Network in 1915.  This is excellent, well-researched historical fiction and will appeal to readers who enjoyed Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge and JoJo Moyes’ The Girl You Left Behind. Perfect for “after the relatives have left.” ~Lisa Cadow

And finally, HAPPY 2018!

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Ok, let’s be honest – this won’t really be last minute for most of us. In reality, this list of superb possibilities for Mother’s Day gift giving will be just in time, as most of us have yet to wrap up Sunday’s gift giving occasion.

So, for all of you looking for a great Mother’s Day gift, or something good to read yourself, here we go:

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FC9781583335741.JPGOh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon (2016) – If your mother likes to cook veggies (or if you like to cook  veggies for your mother!), consider adding this plant-based recipe book to your shelf. Oh She Glows Every Day  is bursting with fresh, flavorful vegan ideas. Don’t be alarmed by the “v-word”: every dish in this collection tastes amazing and doesn’t leave eaters missing meat at all. These two mom chef reviewers particularly love the “Thai Crunch Salad” (Liddon’s almond butter dressing and cast-iron skillet tofu are now staples), the “Guacamole and Black Bean Loaded Sweet Potatoes” (how filling, how healthy, how easy!), and the “Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Coconut Bacon” (we love the addition of maple syrup to this dish — how Vermont!). This book, quite simply put, is VEGGIE-LICIOUS! ~ Lisa Cadow 

Celine Cover ImageCeline by Peter Heller (2017) – So, maybe your mom is not a PI, or hiding the fact she gave birth to a child when she was 15, meaning you have an older sibling somewhere. Maybe she is not the daughter of a woman who fled the Nazis and then ended up in an long lasting affair with the most famous admiral of WWII, but your mom is your mom and she really does deserves a good book for Mother’s Day. And, if you also read this novel exploring the complicated life of its main character Celine, it might provide a great way to discuss life’s decisions, and possibly discover some things she hasn’t yet told you. ~ Lisa Christie

The Women in the Castle Cover ImageThe Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck (2017) – A compassionate, yet tough look at how Germans allowed the Nazi party to take hold with such devastating consequences for all.  This novel follows three German women before, during, and after WWII as they face the consequences of their personal choices. The story questions what it means to survive and, ultimately, what it takes to move on with forgiveness when the unimaginable occurs. (Ms. Shattuck used to live nearby and shop at the Norwich Bookstore so we love this chance to highlight her work.)~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie

The Trials of Apollo, Book Two: The Dark Prophecy Cover ImageThe Dark Prophecy: Book Two of the Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan (2017) -Why are we including a children’s book in a Mother’s Day gift post? Well, this latest Rick Riordan adventure novel, when given to the children in your life, will buy you hours of peace and quiet as they consume yet another page-turning novel about demi-gods. In this second installment of the Trials of Apollo series, Apollo remains trapped in an acne infested, muscle-lacking teenage body, and my son’s favorite Riordan character – Leo – is back, making him very happy. You are welcome; and, enjoy the peace! Be sure to give this to a busy mom to offload on her brood, allowing her to enjoy some peace too. ~ Lisa Christie

We Should All Be Feminists Cover ImageWe Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2014) – Yes, we have recommended this multiple times (and be warned will probably recommend it again for Father’s Day), but this brief treatise of why men and women should be proud to be feminists remains important. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie

Porn for New Moms Cover ImagePorn for New Moms by Susan Anderson (2008) – An oldie, but humorous goodie. For moms (new and experienced) who just need some laughs. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie

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