Sunday, November 19, 2017

In the Body of the World

In the Body of the World: A Memoir  by Eve Ensler
2013
Weight:8.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Lending Library


I first read The Vagina Monologues in high school, and I loved it.  I walked around reciting "My Angry Vagina" to anyone willing to listen.  In college, I had the chance to meet Eve Ensler and Jane Fonda in one of many Vagina Monologue productions I would go to see.  Attending an all women;s private school, I also began to see some of the more problematic sides of the Monologues and white western feminism.  I would speak to these too and would be guilty of my own mistakes throughout the years.

It did not stop me from going to Charis, our local feminist bookstore, to buy Necessary Targets and have it signed by her at a reading.  I was never again enthralled like I was in high school, but I also never completely lost touch. 

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this book at the Dollar Store of all places.  I thought maybe it would be terrible and had been banished to the dollar bin for a reason.  I was wrong.  I enjoyed it and thought Eve did what she does best.  She shows truth no matter how disgusting, vile, negative, hateful, wonderful, idiotic, perfect, exciting, personal it is.  She has been accused of being self-involved, but this is exactly what allows her to dig deep.  Self-involved walks a fine line with self-aware and is often misidentified.  People who attend to themselves, speak powerfully from their own experience, watch their own back, love themselves, care for themselves--particularly women--will be called selfish.  Taught that selfish is wrong.  Even when discussing their own battle with a very scary, very dirty disease like cancer.

I appreciate watching Eve Ensler grow and change in the world.  I may not idolize her in the way I did as a teenager, but I do not really idolize people like that anymore (unless you are Gillian Anderson--kidding, kidding) or think that they must get "it" right all the time and every time.  That they are not fallible.  Eve shows us she is imperfect and allows us to look closely at our imperfect selves too, but she always asks us to do more and to be more aware.  There is nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles

Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles: The Authorized Adaptation by Ray Bradbury and Dennis Calero
2011
Weight: 11.2 oz
Method of Disposal: Kelly Cofer Park Lending Library


I bought this for a $1.00 from the Dollar Tree.  I had read The Martian Chronicles years before I stumbled across this graphic novel, and I thought it might be neat.  I like graphic novels and Ray Bradbury.  Why not? 

I did enjoy it.  It was a nice reminder and an easy read.  It makes me want to read the book again since the comic did not include a lot.


Monday, October 30, 2017

Afterglow

Afterglow ( a dog memoir) by Eileen Myles
2017
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Giving Away


This was a gift from a dear friend, and it should have been right on point.  The author is a poet who uses pronouns them/they, and she loved a pit bull named Rosie who she gave a long life and, presumably, a good one. 

I just could not submerge myself in it.  It was written in an experimental, rambling fashion, and I got lost it in.  I tried to just ride out the waves and enjoy where I landed, but I couldn't.  My favorite parts were when the writing became more direct for very brief periods of time.  I felt like I got to know Eileen more than Rosie, and I would not say I know Eileen much more now than I did before I started. I know even less about Rosie.  I know Rosie was the pit bull my brain kept wanting to make a poodle despite pit bulls being my favorite and that she had a long, drawn out death.  That she became incontinent at the end.  I know the author loved her and tried to mate her at some point, and that it was horrible.

I wish I had enjoyed this more.  I really wanted to.

The Heroic Path:In Search of the Masculine Heart

The Heroic Path:In Search of the Masculine Heart by John Sowers
2014
Weight: 12 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating


I did not expect much out of this book, but it surprised me in that in underwhelmed me in totally unexpected ways.  It was not sexist or offensive in any way--except for one paragraph that touches just slightly and yet painfully on being transgendered.  The author seemed to respect and appreciate women.  He was willing to lay his thoughts, feelings, and emotions out there--sometimes in stereo-typically "un-masculine" ways which I really did respect him for.

In the end, I did not like it because of the writing style, the unexpected dig at being transgendered, and the way god looms so heavy over the last few chapters.    He writes, "Culture says manhood is not trustworthy or is irrelevant.  Gender is a choice--men may become women and vice versa, based on whim or feeling.  Children take hormone therapy based on if they feel like a 'boy' or a 'girl' trapped inside.  We are tragically lost."  This was a completely unnecessary segue and one, I would argue, he knows nothing about. Is it tragic that gender is fluid?  Do people really choose gender on a WHIM?  Since when?  If it COULD be changed on a whim then maybe we would be in a much better world than we are now--not a tragically lost one.

The author repeats himself constantly.  This book may have made for a good essay, but it was like he took a 5 page essay and tried to turn it into a book.  It was painful.  I now have more analogies for masculinity than I have books in my library.  I could have lived without that.  I felt like I got a small insight into what it might feel like for a man to feel like he was not living up to BEING A MAN.  That, in and of itself, is kinda interesting, unexpectedly.  But then it just got smothered by words being piled upon words upon words until all meaning was lost.

In other news, Kelly Clarkson recommends it so...


Monday, October 23, 2017

The Education of Will: : A Mutual Memoir of a Woman and Her Dog

The Education of Will: : A Mutual Memoir of a Woman and Her Dog by Patricia B. McConnell
2017
Weight: 15.5 oz
Method of Disposal: Give Back to Charlotte


One of the volunteers at the shelter gave me this book awhile back, and I read it but I have not returned it yet.  Mostly because I did not think she wanted it back, but I started to second guess that for some reason today.  This is a book about a border collie named Will that is purchased by her as a puppy and has both serious mental and physical challenges that push her to her wit's end.  Luckily, she is a world-renowned animal behaviorist but, even with background and many years of experience, she often finds herself frustrated and second-guessing herself.  She makes mistakes like anyone else would and is open and honest about them. 

This book is also about her own life and experiences.  The reader grows closer to her through stories of her past that are intertwined with stories from her clients and her life with Will.  The book was well done, and I enjoyed it.

As I type this, Whiskey comes flying through the room and through the air, slamming into the side table and breaking a lamp, knocking a mug of coffee onto the carpet, sending my expensive camera flying, and causing an overall ruckus with quite a bit of noise.  Whiskey is my Will.  After 10 years in animal rescue, she challenges me every day.  Or, rather, our foster, Wisconsin, who is always on the verge of mental collapse and who has stumped one vet after another.  The dog who was chasing behind Whiskey when they ran into the room.  The dog that is a "foster" only because there is truly nowhere else for him to go...

Dogs are wonderful, but they can be exhausting!