Monthly Archives: February 2014

Caitlin Moran – How To Be A Woman (2011)

Caitlin Moran
Moran’s memoirs have often been compared to Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and while I do see the similarities they are not at all the same. Moran’s book is less absurd than Fey’s and while I love Tina Fey and everything she does, Caitlin Moran’s book for some reason just seems more real. Moran writes with humour and wit but makes important points about what it means to be a woman today. Every one of her chapters ends with a lesson of sorts about why feminism is important and relevant.

Moran also does something that very few women would do, that is write openly about her abortion. She is honest and candid with the reader and felt that she needed to write about her abortion because it was one of the biggest life decisions she ever had to make. While its not necessary for women to speak out and be quite as vocal about their abortions, what Caitlin Moran does takes a lot of courage to do.

I highly recommend this book. Moran is smart and while her book is peppered with advice and lessons she does not preach. Plus she’s had a pretty entertaining life.

Rating: 4/5

Azar Nafisi – Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003)

This book was enjoyable, although it was not what I was originally expecting. While the book is admittedly a memoir of Nafisi, an author and English Professor who returned to teach at The University of Tehran during the Iranian Revolution, I was hoping that she would focus more on the “forbidden” book club she started with her select students.

Still I found myself drawn into Nafisi’s work as she does look at an interesting time in Iran’s history from unique perspective. How does a female professor of Classical English literature find a place in Post-Revolutionary Iran? Nafisi has faced a great amount of criticism for misrepresenting Iranian society, but I personally feel as though it’s unwarranted. While there may be some truth to the idea that this book has become so popular in the United States because Nafisi appears critical of Islamic Fundamentalism, she is simply writing her memoirs from her personal experiences. Considering herself belonging to both “East” and “West,” Nafisi’s crisis of identity and belonging is a reoccurring theme in her memoirs.

Nafisi writes with the eloquence that would be expected from a Professor of English Literature, and references a number of seminal works in her writing. While I would have loved more focus to be put on the meetings Nafisi held in her home, I still enjoyed the read and the unique look at Post-Revolutionary Iran that this memoir provides.

Rating: 3.5/5

Thomas King – The Inconvenient Indian (2012)

Written with dry wit and humour, King tells the history of Native People in North America from the time of first contact up to the present day. Even while writing with a sense of humour and the popular audience in mind, King manages to craft an incredibly powerful narrative of the years of suffering endured by First Nations at the hands of White people. The earlier chapters in which King makes light of the way Natives have been portrayed in pop culture give way to narratives that detail some of the most painful moments in Native American history, ( The series of Indian Wars in the United States, the Red River Rebellion in Canada, and the Residential School system to name a few.) King does not deny that current day Aboriginals in Canada and Indians in the United States have a lot of problems, but he goes to great pains to show that these problems have been caused by hundreds of years of settler colonialism and broken promises.

King’s goal is to provide an account of Native People in North America, and while stories about First Nations are often depressing, King manages to keep his sense of humour while also causing the reader to stop and think. King is sharp, intelligent, and most importantly, honest in his writing. A though provoking read and highly recommended.

Rating: 5/5

Welcome to My Blog

Yes, I have finally decided to do just about the nerdiest thing I could thing of and start a blog to review all the books that I read. As a grad student I have way too much time on my hands so, what better way to spend it than reading and blogging about it. Also I read an article that said if you’re blog gets enough visitors publishing houses will start sending you books for free hoping that you’ll review them. So with that being said, yeah I’m in it for the (supposedly) free books.