Category Archives: Literature

A Portrait of Jane Austen

I am a serious fan of Jane Austen’s books and of her ironic observers’ take on women and Regency society. She did not describe her characters very much, and was far more interested in their personalities and interactions than their looks. Continue reading

Posted in Guest Blogging, Literature, The Cultural Canon | Tagged , | 55 Comments

Healing the Toxic Intoxication of Fat Hatred

I recently tried once again to read George Orwell’s 1984.

As always, I got a few chapters in and had to stop because it was so depressing that I couldn’t live in Orwell’s evocation of mind-controlled totalitarian world for a minute longer. One thing I did get out of the experience was adding one more time reading the early chapters including the Two Minutes Hate scene. Early in the book the hero, Winston Smith takes part in his office’s mandatory daily group hate ritual, an exercise in bonding and mind control. Continue reading

Posted in Beauty, Body image, Fat, Literature | Tagged | 75 Comments

The Beauty Curse: Help Fund a Graphic Novel

Journalist Eric Pape is raising funds to create the graphic novel The Beauty Curse, about gendered attacks in Cambodia. Details of the project are here. The inspiration for the book:
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A lovely read

This interview with Maurice Sendak is just wonderful, and you should read it. Continue reading

Posted in Art, Literature, The Cultural Canon | 19 Comments

Naomi Wolf and the Sacred Vagina

Oy Naomi Wolf. Why are we all still referring to you as some sort of feminist thought leader? I am very happy for you that you are having wonderful earth-shattering shivering mystical sex. You are correct that the vagina and the brain are, in fact, part of “one whole system” — the same way that the left hand and the brain or the nose and the brain are also part of one whole system (the human body, for the slower to catch on). I even think you’re probably correct that many women (most women?) could be having better sex, and that our own cultural constructions of sex (begins with a boner, ends with ejaculation) are not only centered almost entirely on male sexual experience and desire but also thwart female sexual pleasure and understand a woman’s experience with and desire for heterosexual sex only in relation to a man’s (assumed to be neutral, standard and true) definition and understanding of sex. All of that is bad for women, in and out of the bedroom. But here, as explained by a lovely reviewer in the New York Review of Books, is where you lose me: Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Literature | Tagged , | 132 Comments

Greetings from Western Mass and an offering of Sagan

Hey folks, I’m Brigid. You may remember me from last year. I’m a queer femme writer, sometime environmental researcher, and anthropologist at heart. I recently relocated from Washington, DC to Western Massachusetts, where the beer is crafty and the humor … Continue reading

Posted in Literature | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Maeve Binchy, Childless, Soulless Automaton

Well, this is a lovely and moving tribute to a much-loved writer who’s passed away. Among the obituaries for the much-loved Irish novelist Maeve Binchy, few omitted to mention that she was childless. Once, that was the norm for successful … Continue reading

Posted in Literature | Tagged , , , | 59 Comments

Okay, seriously.

Come on, Peter Jackson. You’re the guy who condensed a thousand-plus-page epic into three briskly-paced films, and now you’re stretching The freakin’ HOBBIT into three movies? Blahblah Erebor blahblah Dol Guldur blahblah Necromancer. Dude. The Hobbit is a simple story, … Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Literature, Movies | Tagged , | 37 Comments

Feministe Book Club: Catching Fire, Chapters 19-27, and Mockingjay open thread

This thread is open for discussion of Part III of Catching FIre and for the entirety of Mockingjay. Why? Because I hated Mockingjay but am sure there are some of you who didn’t and would like to discuss it. Ready, go.

Next up: We’re done with the Hunger Games trilogy. Any suggestions for future reads? Preferences for wait times before launching into the next book (if at all)? It’s summertime, which means a) plenty of opportunities to crack a book, unless b) you have grownup responsibilities, which so frequently multiply during the summer, which isn’t fair. Your suggestions in comments. Continue reading

Posted in Literature | Tagged | 22 Comments

Book You Should Read: Some Of My Best Friends Are Black

Tanner Colby has written a fascinating history of segregation/integration in America, which looks at how and why the racial integration process has utterly failed. He travels across the country to look at four key social pillars: schools, housing, the church, and the advertising industry. What he finds is that black people and white people in America are living parallel but separate lives — and that the white side of things retains a hold on power, money and influence. I will be writing a full review very soon, but in the meantime, you should pick it up. Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Race & Ethnicity | Tagged | 5 Comments

A hymen primer for romance novelists

On the list of psychological dangers presented by poorly written romance novels (e.g., the fetishization of virginity, the romanticization of abusive stalker vampires), the portrayal of the actual devirginification process itself doesn’t necessarily hover right at the top. But as a writer and a pedant, good God do I get cheesed off by anatomical inaccuracy. And while I’m not aware of scores of young women having penetrative sex for the first time and saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa–that is not how it was in Fifty Shades of Grey!” (although they may well be out there), I feel the record should be set straight. Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Sex | Tagged , | 101 Comments

Feministe Book Club: Catching Fire, Chapters 10-18

Ready, go.

Next up: Next Saturday, June 30 (for real, this time), we’re going to finish up the book with Part III, chapters 19-27. Continue reading

Posted in Literature | Tagged | 1 Comment