Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Two (Very Different) Books I've Been Reading

I've been reading a lot of books since the last time, but these two I heartily recommend.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

I found the first chapter boring (and weirdly fatphobic, with Sandberg repeatedly referring to her pregnant self as a whale), but the book seemed to change dramatically a little way in. I loved it and finished it over two days, and it read as easy as good fiction.

What I was surprised at is how feminist the book is. Sandberg has received flak for not being feminist enough, for implying women have only to work harder and be ambitious to break the glass ceiling. But in this book, she quotes study after study about how women are consistently short-changed.

Whether you're a woman or a man, read it to feel angry at the patriarchy, and for some motivation to bring to work.

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

I'm jumping from contemporary feminism-and-work non-fiction to regency fiction, but this book is at a discount at Amazon right now, so buy it if you want to.

I think this is my favorite Heyer book so far. Heyer is mostly wonderfully escapist, but her politics leave much to be desired. The misogyny in many of these books is galling. So often, the heroine is the "exceptional female": the only competent, capable woman in the story (though of course, less capable than the hero) who doesn't faint when faced with danger, and there is much made of the fact that she isn't like other women. In fact, she even understands that men have affairs, while of course being a pure virgin herself.

Cotillion though, isn't quite like that. Of course the heroine is a pure young virgin, but it's the hero who's... oh, so likeable. Funny, and warm, and polite, and popular, and not in the least arrogant. In fact, he's commonly thought a bit stupid, and his father open mocks him -- affectionately, though.

I've read this book four times so far, I think, and I liked it each time.

Have you been reading anything fun lately? 

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