Tuesday, 9 August 2016

What I'm Reading (2)

I'm in a self-loving, girl power mood as of late, and the books that I'm currently reading echo that sentiment. There's something so empowering about reading fiction and non-fiction that focus on women and are written by women. My inner feminist conscious is finally brave enough to reveal itself. In the wise words of Britney Spears:

source: peggyxbundy

(I'm writing this whilst listening to Jagged Little Pill; that in itself sums up my frame of mind right now)

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - A lot of my friends on Tumblr had been raving about this book, so whilst I was out shopping months ago I bought it on a whim. Then came the announcement of the film adaptation which is slowly creeping up on us all, which gave me the opportunity to delve right into it before watching the film (I wish I did that before I saw Gone Girl). 

I don't know how to sum this book up; other than a depiction of my reaction when I finished it: 

It's the fastest I've ever read a book for sure, but when I got towards the end I just couldn't put the thing down. Not only that, the protagonist (Rachel) isn't really that likable either; I've never come across that in a book before. 

In this instance, reading the book before watching the film may have been a mistake. Watching the trailer after reading it, it occurred to me that the location was different to what it was in the book. Turns out instead of being set in London, it's now set in Westchester, New York. Normally this doesn't particularly bother me, but the book relies so heavily on imagery of not only London, but the quintessential British aesthetic. Seeing the stereotypical American suburban houses with the white picket fences as opposed to the traditional cramped townhouses with the railway sandwiched in between rubs me the wrong way. 

But maybe I'm wrong, it's only a trailer. That being said, the Suicide Squad trailer gave completely the wrong impression of the reality of that film so who knows.  

The Girls by Emma Cline - I started reading this book after I finished Duchovny's Bucky Fucking Dent. Then Girl on the Train came along and I abandoned this book completely for two weeks. I didn't even get past page 3, which is a common theme when it comes to me trying to read one book at once rather than four. 

I came across this book initially on Facebook through Entertainment Weekly. They'd published a list of books by women authors to read this summer, and the cover of this book immediately jumped out at me. Slap a film burn and an 35mm photograph on the front cover and I'll read it. It wasn't until I actually read the description that me falling for this book was fate, since the subject of the narrative is based around a cult that resembles the Manson family in 1960s America. 

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay - I am a feminist. I rarely call myself one, but I sure as hell identify with feminism. It's the stigma surrounding it that dissuades me from ever announcing to people that I am a feminist, especially since I'm not at all verse with the literature surrounding it.

Certain people can be extremely belittling when you aren't as verse with the ideology as they are, but for me feminism isn't about reading the literature and knowing the intricate details of the cause. It's the girl power, the camaraderie of women standing together and trying to make the world equal and safer. 

Reading Roxane Gay's essays; she stood out to me because she has a similar stance to being a feminist as me. I listen to songs that contain lyrics that degrade women, but I still dance along to it. I watch films and television that have weak female characters, but I still watch and enjoy them. I am a bad feminist, and I would say I'm willing to learn but I probably won't. We're not all the perfect idealization of a feminist, and we probably never will be. As much I strive to be like Kat Stratford.

The Curse of Lovely: How to Break Free from the Demands of Others and Learn How to Say No by Jacqui Marson - I have a problem with not being able to say no. It's like the reverse of Yes Man; instead of wanting the ability to say yes to everything, I'm slowly losing my mind at my inability to say no to people. To combat this problem, I turned to the most reliable thing on the internet - Google. Although in this case, it actually did turn out to be reliable as it lead me to Jacqui Marson.

From the introduction alone, I immediately knew this book was for me. I do suffer with the Curse of Lovely. With me, its more that I don't want to hurt people's feelings by saying no combined with not wanting to let them down. I need to get out of this funk. It's got me in emotionally uncomfortable situations which don't help with my anxiety at all. Again, this is a point in my life where I need to be like Kat and not give a fuck. I need to give myself the ability to be a cold hearted bitch once in a while, for my own sanity.

The Riot Grrrl Collection by Lisa Darms and Johanna Fateman - I have been looking for this book forever. It's on Amazon but every time I went to order it, it was unavailable. Instead, I found this book in the most random place. Whilst I was in holiday in York, me and my brother came across a small comic book store where I wanted to buy some plushes of the cats from Sailor Moon and this book was sat in the window. 

I haven't got the chance to read it yet, but I've flicked through half of it and it's all I hoped for. It's a majority of zines from the riot grrrl scene of the 1990s photocopied to form a historic collection of a feminist movement within the alternative scene. That period of the 90s is a time that I wish I could have lived through, so this is the closest I'm going to get to be able to be a part of it.

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