Saturday, January 27, 2018

Bipolar #1

Bipolar #1 by Tomar Hanuka, Asaf Hanuka, Etgar Keret
Weight: 5 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

Three very short comics.  They were interesting and sad.  This is the second book I have re-read today that somehow included Kurt Cobain, quite by coincidence.  I would be interested in experiencing books 2, 3, and 4.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Story of Jane

The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service by Laura Kaplan
Weight: 1.4 lbs
Method of Disposal: Lending Library

This was a great book.  I want everyone to read it.  This group was started in 1969, and the brave and passionate women who organized and ran it are true heroines.  I remember reading this as a teenager and feeling tremendously inspired.  I took it with me to college, and I have told the story of Jane to many many people since.  I thought about them at every March For Women's Lives, every time we stood outside the abortion clinic trying to block the pro-life protesters from harassing the women walking in, every time I turned on the news and heard some new twist or turn in the great abortion debate.

They set up an underground abortion referral group without the internet or computers.  News of Jane was spread by word of mouth, and it was in the phone book under Jane.  They performed over 11, 000 abortions in the 4 years they operated until Roe V. Wade.  They provided counseling and would do the abortions for around $100, though they would work with women who could not afford the fee.  They attempted to check in on the women after they returned home and the women's mental and physical health were of utmost importance.  No patient was ever arrested, but 7 of the women working within the organization were.

This book is written by one of the members in the group and offers a lot of insight into the illegal activities of a very important and life-changing organization that saved the lives of countless women in Illinois.  Did I mention it is amazing?   It is not only the story, though that would be enough.  The writing keeps you turning pages too.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Pet Food Nation

Pet Food Nation: The Smart, Easy, and Healthy Way to Feed Your Pet Now by Joan Weiskopf
Weight: 8 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

This is an accessible, easy-to-read book exposing the truth about the pet food industry, and there is a lot to be ashamed of.  It is not the Bible of animal health, but it will get someone started thinking about what their pets are eating.  It is written so that you do not have to be a dog enthusiast to read it, though it would be a challenge to get someone else to pick it up.  The author sure tries, and I appreciate that.  I have seen other reviewers state that some of the information is inaccurate but, overall, I think it is a useful and good book to have a look through.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
Weight: 6 oz
Method of Disposal: Lending Library

I remember reading this book as a child with my then best friend.  We would read it over and over during Halloween, and we enjoyed it.  It seems a little scary to me now as an adult thinking about a child, but I clearly handled it well as an actual child and isn't that what the book is really all about?  Taking your fear and transforming it?

The Camera My Mother Gave Me

The Camera My Mother Gave Me by Susanna Kaysen
Weight: 12 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I was a big Angelina Jolie fan when I was a teenager, and I had been battling my fair share of depression, so when Girl, Interrupted came out as a movie I was excited.  I also loved Winona Ryder.  From the movie, I went to the book and read it.  I was reading a lot of Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Elizabeth Wurtzel then.  I was also reading The Vagina Monologues, The Clitoral Truth, Clit Notes, The V Book,  and Cunt.  From there, I stumbled upon this book which seemed to be about Susanna Kaysen and Vaginas! I purchased it, and I read it, but I did not like it as a teenager.  

I was going to pass it on without reading it again, but I vaguely remembered being introduced to some kind of new disease or disorder.  I decided to give it another go, and I thought it was much better this time around, though I can see why I was frustrated back then.  I did not think it was genius even now.  It echoed Girl, Interrupted in its self-obsessed way, though how do you write a book like this without sounding that way?  I guess I am not sure.  

It seems like people who have vulvadynia are the biggest fans.  I have many a review thanking Susanna for making them feel less alone and that, alone, makes it a worthwhile book for reading.  I thought it was good for medical professionals to see what it might feel like to be a patient in that situations.  Though, it seems like the woman who was kindest to her and might have had something to offer at the biofeedback center was one of the "hated" medical professionals.  I thought she seemed great, but Susanna did not.  Of course, after all the sexual assault offered up by her boyfriend over the year she was trying to figure out her vagina, the resemblance of the building to the mental institution she spent 2 years of her life in, and the pain she experienced daily, I suppose she was allowed to be a little cranky.  

The boyfriend.  I hope he read this and wept.  He was terrible and all the times he pressured her into having sex, did not go to the doctor with her, tried to force her to use things like the Novocaine that she kept telling him hurt her worse than if she had sex without it made me so angry.  Susanna still seemed to be grappling with why it felt like rape, though she was scared to label it anything like that.  She likely knew what all women know--that the public would tear her to shreds.  I won't label anything for her, but what he did to her was wrong and it was painful.  He needs to know that.  Any man or woman in a similar position needs to know that.  If it not consent if she does not want to say yes.