Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay Review

RC_Bad_Feminist
In June, I read Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. I’ve been wanting to read Gay’s work for a long time, but I never had the chance before. I have seen her books at bookstores for a while, but there was always other books that caught my attention more. However, the last time I stepped into a bookstore, I bought a little Olive Edition of Bad Feminist, and I didn’t even wait to read it. I own a number of books I haven’t read yet, but this book I couldn’t wait for.

Bad Feminist centres around Gay’s personal and political views and experiences within feminism. It explores many topics from gender roles, reproductive freedom, occupation; the list goes on. Within the array of topics, there are many instances of humour and sarcasm. Gay doesn’t shy away from sarcasm, and it creates hilarious moments, even when the topic can be quite grim. I think these moments are essential in writing about the problems that women, and people who identify as women, face daily. Yes, I want to laugh 50 Shades of Grey because the story of a controlling egomaniac is uncomfortable. I want to laugh at the silliness of some of the problems in our society because being angry and sad all the time can be overwhelming. I think her humour is sprinkled throughout her essays as forms of punctuation. Every humorous bit is presented at the right moment, never feeling out of place, or unwanted. It provides a breathing, or relaxation. point that is well needed in the many issues mentioned.

Although I am knowledgeable of feminism, and many of the problems that plague feminists, there were still many things that I learned in this collection of essays. There were despicable things that have occurred that I never knew even happened. Some things that I needed a moment to close the book, and reevaluate the world that I live in. How can an 11-year-old suffer such atrocities when the men who did it to her are being pitied? It made me sick to my stomach, but it opened my eyes to the many evil acts that occur everyday. Even little facts and tidbits were shocking to me. I don’t live in America, so many American politicians I have never heard of. So, after reading these essays, I know exactly a lot of the things they have said, or think were okay to say to the public. Bad Feminist provided me insight to a topic that I already know a lot about. It’s always great to learn something new, and help better shape your perspective.

Gay’s perspective on feminism was very personal, but it never lacked substance. All of her essays provide evidence with her personal views. If she mentioned her hatred from The Help, she gave really damning examples as to how awful that movie really is. All of her essays intertwine personal opinions and facts that I felt like I was learning so much from a friend. I haven’t read any of Gay’s other work, so I don’t know if this is how she typically writes. But, I love it. I love this connection between the personal and factual because it provides a portrait of the human experience. We all have our biases, and our own personal opinions on varying topics. We all have this, and we have evidence, and examples as to why we think this way. Her essays read no different than talking to someone about why they hate a certain television show, and given you really good reasons why to avoid it.

I think what I loved most about Bad Feminist is the fact that Gay never claims to be the model of feminism. She shows how people can have contradictions, and how they can like things that can be grossly problematic. She likes the colour pink, and listens to rap music that degrades women. But that doesn’t make her less of a feminist. It felt like a weight lifting off my shoulders because I love listening to music, and watching movies, that are not 100% unproblematic. I understand the problems of the things I love, but I how can I cancel everything in my life? There’s hardly anything in this world thats completely perfect in any ideology.

If you have been interested in reading Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, I would highly recommend it. No, I would ask you to run to your nearest bookstore and buy it. (Or, library too). I think it’s an important collection of essays for people who are new to feminism, or someone who wants to further their learning in the subject. It’s a funny, informative, and challenging read. It’s worth every minute of reading, and I hope many people do.

I gave Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay a 5/5 on Goodreads.

What are your thoughts on the book? Let me know in the comments!

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What I Read in May and June 2018

what i read in may/june 2018
Since I didn’t share what I read last month, I thought I would include it into my June wrap up. May was an alright reading month compared to June. After reading Mexico in May, I lost all motivation to read. The book was awful to say the least, so I just wanted to avoid reading another terrible book. I was definitely able to read more books in June because I had more time to focus on reading. And thank goodness I did. I read some amazing books this month, some of which are now favourites of mine.

Here is what I read in May:
Mexico by Josh Barkan: 1/5
I am Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout: 4/5
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster: 3/5

Out of all the books I read in May, Mexico by Josh Barkan was the worst. It characterizes Mexican people in a derogatory way, and heavily relies on hurtful stereotypes. I literally threw my book down after only two stories in. I didn’t finish it, and I never will. The other two books I read were actually really pleasant reads, but they weren’t the best books I have ever read, and I think that’s why my reading slumped continued for the rest of the month of May.

Here is what I read in June:
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan: 5/5
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay: 5/5
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki: 5/5
The Widow by Fiona Barton: 3/5

June was a fantastic reading month for me, and I read some amazing books. My favourites were definitely Brain on Fire, Bad Feminist, and A Tale for the Time Being. I really hope I can continue this motivation, and eagerness, to read for the rest of the year. I hate being in reading slumps, but they do happen. If I do end up hating a book in the future, I hope it doesn’t turn me away from reading for a long time.

What did you read in May and June? Let me know in the comments!

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Turtles All the Way Down by John Green Review

Turtles_All_The_Way_Down_Review
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green was not a book I thought I’d be reading. I am not a YA reader anymore, and I haven’t been since I was 18. I have grown out of that phase many years ago, but I know this genre is still very popular among people my age and younger. I decided to read this book for a bit of nostalgia, but also a bit of curiosity as to what I’m missing in the YA world. The following review will have spoilers, so if you want to avoid them, I’d advise you to stop reading now. Continue reading

Three Mini Book Reviews: March 2018

3 mini book reviews march 2018
Although I haven’t posted much this month, I’ll be posting everyday this week up until Friday! So to start off this week of blog posts, I thought I would do a few mini reviews of books I’ve read this year. I have made a few blog posts at the beginning of my blog all about mini book reviews. It allows me to write what I want to say about these books without writing an essay about it. Sometimes my views on a book are not long enough to warrant a long single review, so this is what these posts are for! They’re short, and they’re to the point.

Love and Freindship by Jane Austen
The version of Love and Freindship that I read is a collection of short stories and novellas written by Austen when she was still a teenager. (I didn’t just read the story in which the collection is named after). The anthology is a really great collection of work, with added content from editors about Austen’s life, and her beginnings as a writer. I felt that the collection gave a great insight into how Austen wrote, and where her inspiration for story telling came from. None of the stories are edited to today’s standard of editing, so a lot of the time, things were choppy and awkward. Sometimes her stories felt incomplete. However, since this is a collection of her first writings, it makes a lot of sense that they aren’t her best work. I gave this anthology a 4/5 because I thought it was an excellent collection of Austen’s early work, but not all of the stories impressed me.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I can confidently say that this novel was the biggest let down of the year (so far). The story isn’t necessarily bad, but it lacks a lot of things that I find important in a novel. For example, there’s this huge mystery about why this bookstore exists, and why it appeals to certain customers. Once the reason is revealed, it seemed like the plot was going to become suspenseful, and adventerous. However, the twist at the end of the novel is extremely anticlimatic. So anticlimatic that I literally felt like Sloan wasted an opportunity to shock his readers. I’m sure to some, the plot twist is great the way it is, but for such a fun book, it should have had a better ending.

Another thing I was disappointed about was the love story in the novel. The relationship between Clay and Kate lacks chemistry. They seem to have a pretty normal relationship considering what the book is about, but nothing they do seems naturally human. I know that sounds strange but imagine if a robot was trying to express its feelings toward someone. That’s how their dialogue and relationship felt. It was cute, but didn’t feel natural at all. Whenever Clay and Kate had dialogue, or when Clay was thinking about her, I always wanted to skip those pages. That is when I know that the book might become a miss for me.

Although I was very disappointed with this novel, I still gave it a 3.5/5 because I thought the novel was funny and unpredictable. I never read a book like this, and the good parts about this book were good. So, if you like books about books, or books that are not predictable, definitely check this one out.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
I originally read the first half of this book in university, but I never gotten around to finishing it. You know how it is. During school, how often do you have time to finish a book completely? I usually was able to, but not all the time, especially when it was my final year in school. The book was assigned in my class where literautre and pyschology intersect. It was a really amazing course, and definitely gave me a different perspective on this book.

H is for Hawk is, to put it simply, a memoir about Macdonald training a goshawk. However the memoir is more than that. It is structured around the goshawk, but delves into how she coped with her father’s death, her childhood, and her struggles with depression. The way Macdonald weaves these stories together allows the reader to see how she copes with things, and how it has an effect on the mind. She also relates a lot of her training and coping with the author T. H. White. He wrote the King Arthur books, but also wrote about goshawks. She acts like a psychologist and tries to understand White through his writing in fiction, and his diaries. It’s such an interesting read to see all of these things connect when you’re reading about one person training a hawk. I feel like if you have background knowledge of psychology, you might enjoy this book more than the average reader. I think you need to have that bit of base knowledge to truly appreciate what is going on in her memoir. I also think a love of the literary tradition will be a bonus too.  I gave this memoir a 4/5.

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them? Let me know if I should do more of these mini reviews.

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This is Happy by Camilla Gibb Review

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetMy first read of 2018 was This is Happy by Camilla Gibb. I had this book on my first day as an intern at Penguin Random House Canada a year ago, and only got around to reading it now. Prior to working at PRHC, I never heard of Camilla Gibb, but her memoir set on my work desk asking to be read. After thinking about what books I wanted to read in 2018, I decided I wanted to read Gibb’s book first.
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My Favourite Books of 2017

My Favourite Books of 2017
The year is finally over, and with that, I accumulated a lot of new favourite books. In 2017, I intended to read 60 books, but that didn’t happen. For many months, I felt like I was rushing through books, and picking books I didn’t want to read, just to meet my goal. It was frustrating reading books only to get to a large number of books read. That’s why I changed it to 52 books closer to the end of the year. Although I did feel rushed with a lot of the books I read, I still found many books that I loved. Here are my 10 favourite books of 2017:

1. The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
I loved this collection of poems. It felt very personal, and intelligently thought out. Every poem was meaningful, and moved me greatly. If you want a more in depth review of this book, I have a review here.
2. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
When I first started reading this book, I didn’t think I would love it as much as I did. The book really develops the world, and science, behind the plot brilliantly. Its plot was captivating, which kept me glued to my book for hours. I didn’t want to put it down. Every part of the book was amazing, and I know for sure I’ll reread this book many times in the future.
3. Books For Living by Will Schwelbe
I love to read, and what’s better than reading a book about reading? The whole premise of the book centres around the lessons we learn from reading. Every chapter is about a book that changed the life of Schwelbe, and just how important reading is in someone’s everyday life. As an avid reader, I felt this book really demonstrated the power books can have on people’s lives.
4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer
I haven’t read many historical fiction books in my life, but this one wants me to read more. This books was amazing from start to finish. I became attached to the two main characters, and loved following their story develop throughout the years. Although the story takes place in WWII, it showed the resilience of people during this horrific time.
5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
I think this was one of the more creative books I’ve read this year. The story weaved together Dominican culture, magical realism, and nerd culture. It was hilarious to read, and just an overall delightful read. I really want to read more books by Díaz, because the way he writes is so unique and fresh.
6. Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson
I would probably say this was my favourite book of 2017. I loved Mara Wilson growing up, and once I discovered she had a book, and a twitter, I was super excited. While reading the book, I felt like I was talking to a friend describing their life story to me. There were also parts of the book I related to a lot, and made me feel less alone in the world. This book has a special place in my heart, and will stick with me forever.
7. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
I love Mindy Kaling in general, so reading one of her books is almost instantly going to become a favourite. I found this book a bit more enjoyable compared to her first book. I felt she was a lot more personal and relaxed while writing this book. I also laughed a lot more with this book.
8. Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
Although it didn’t end up winning the Scotiabank Giller Prize, it’s still one of my favourites of the year. I would say this story is closely similar to Oscar Wao, but centres around First Nations people in Canada. The novel is absolutely hilarious, yet also brings important topics about the treatment of First Nations people to the forefront.
9. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I think Atwood created a dystopian world that can really strike fear into anyone. The novel left me shocked and fearful of the society she created with Gilead. Atwood writes many classic Canadian literature, and I feel like I need to read more of her work in the upcoming years. Her writing is enviable, and creative.
10. Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen 
I follow Sarah Anderson on Instagram, so naturally I was going to love this book. Her comics are very relatable, and really funny. I laughed a lot with this book. I love having this book to look back on some of my favourite comics when I feel like having a good laugh.

Those are all of my favourite books of 2017. Although this year felt like a rushed reading year, I definitely found a lot of new favourite authors and books. I know that 2018 will probably bring me a lot of other books that I’ll love, and rave about. What were some of your favourite books in 2017?

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November 2017 Favourites

November 2017 Favourites
November is gone, and with it, I accumulated a bunch of favourites. I thought to myself, why not make posts about my new favourite things? People on YouTube do them all the time, and I love watching them. They’re quite addicting. So from now on, I’m thinking of doing monthly favourites, or seasonal favourites based on what I really enjoyed.
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