Image of the book Everyday Sexism, Girl Up, The Equality Illusion and Strong Woman

I have accumulated a lot of really inspiring and interesting books by feminists in the past three years and today’s post I share my favourites.

Feminist Fight Club – Jessica Bennett

I heard about this book in Cosmo magazine. Feminist Fight details situations in which women find themselves struggling in, in their working lives and how to work though them. Feminist Fight Club details situations such as the good old mansplaining, saying yes to everything and feeling overburdened and the wage gap. The book came about because the author was part of a club where women in professional roles would meet up and speak about what they would struggle with in the workplace. The book doesn’t come across as preachy, it is an easy read, the advice is useful and realistic. The only thing I disliked about the book was that it try’s too hard at times to be ‘cool’ by using words such as ‘femulate’ having rules and a starter kit for the fight club. It really isn’t needed and doesn’t make sense.

What I told my daughter – Nina Tassler

This book contains mini life stories from successful women and what they would pass to their daughters. It covers topics as diverse as the glass ceiling, resilience and courage. This book is easy to read and you can dip in and out of it at any point.

Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates

Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism project. In her first books writes about the everyday sexism that exists in everyday situations, including education, media, motherhood, politics and more. A very informative book full of facts and real life experiences from the Everyday Sexism site.

Girl Up – Laura Bates

What I would describe as the the younger sister to Everyday Sexism. Girl Up is meant to be a guide aimed at teenager women. This no bullsh**t book tackles issues head on that the majority of teen women unfortunately may encounter such as dealing with social media, cat calling and mental health.

Although a good read – I am out of the target audience this book is aimed at so I didn’t get anything out of it myself but I would recommend any teenage girl to read.

The Equality Illusion – Kat Banyard

The Equality Illusion is where Kat Banyard explodes the myths that women have never been in a more equal society. Like Everyday Sexism and Girl Up each chapter is covers a topic from education to reproduction to the sex industry. To be honest I found this book to be very similar to Everyday Sexism and Everyday Sexism was more thorougher.

Strong Woman – Karren Brady

I had to include this book because this autobiography covers the career of Karren Brady from starting out at Saatchi and Saatchi at 18, being managing director at Birmingham City football club at 23 and her opinions on working hard and how she balances being a working mother. Karren comes across as a really lovely person that isn’t afraid of hard work and gives some really good advice.

We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Last but certainly not least! We should all be feminists is based on the famous Tedx talk of the same name. Chimamanda explores what it is like to be a woman today from her own experience. The book is far, far too short and powerfully explores the importance of equality without it becoming preachy. I recieved this book at an NUS Woman in Leadership conference

What are your favourite feminist books? Have you read on the list and if so what did you think?

Image of the book

Recently I brought a load of books to keep me occupied over the Christmas period. One of them was this beauty of a book by Adelle Stripe. Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile tells the story of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar. Andrea Dunbar grew up in extreme poverty on the Buttershaw Estate an estate in Bradford, Yorkshire. The book is interesting because it is a fictional story based on Andrea’s life events. I had to admit after reading the book I googled to find out more information as it wasn’t clear to me if Andrea had been a real writer or not. Looking back at the book for writing this review it does say that it is a work of fiction and ‘an alternative version of historic events’.

The story is gritty, Andrea had gone through some real hardship, falling pregnant young and then miscarrying, living with an abusive partner and then moving to a safe house, her unhealthy relationship with alcohol and poverty. her playwriting comes in when her teacher at school picks up the fact that she has a talent for writing. This leads to her writing The Arbor which was performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1980. Rita, Sue and Bob too is the play which is she is well known for, debuted in 1982 tells the story of two women who have an affair with a married man. Her final play Shirley is about Shirley and her family and friends in an working class estate in Bradford in the 1980’s.

The book keeps you gripped throughout, at times the book makes you want to throttle Andrea as it seems that she is passing over opportunities at almost an act of self-sabotage.

I hadn’t heard of Andrea Dunbar before the book and I hadn’t heard of her screenplays before (it was in the 1980’s so before my time!) but I certainly want to read them. An extraordinary story about an extraordinary woman who managed to achieve her dream against every worse scenario possible.

 

Image of the Paulina and Fran book

 

Paulina and Fran, where do I start with this book? Well if you are a fan of GIRLS (last series on Sky Atlantic FYI) then you will love Paulina and Fran. The plot is typical Paulina is studying Art History (well studying is pushing it since she seems to seduce the staff members so she passes) and spends her time being up her own backside, using people for her own benefit, pondering life and having lots of sex. Cue Fran – studying half, rubbish at technology and has a glittering career in front of her. Paulina bumps into Fran at a party and then go on University trip together to Iceland. The story goes through their relationship between them both through finishing University and beyond.

I was originally attracted to this book by the front cover. The blurb sounded even better – a story of twenty somethings trying to figure out what they are doing in life – those stories are right up my street. I just didn’t enjoy the book however, I found the plot muddled, Paulina is just unbearable as a main character and Fran isn’t much better either and the ending was so disappointing. The book was a typical book about students at University spending their time getting high, having sex and hoping that they will become the next best thing in whatever area they are specialising in . It is a quick read but not the best.

What did you think of the book? Let me know below.

 

 

 

Sweet Valley High Book

Young Adult books are such an important part of growing up. Considering there is so much media and other activities it is great that Young Adult books are still thriving and that bloggers such as the Mile Long Bookshelf covers these so eloquently. Here are four books by three authors that are so good that I want to share with you today.

Sweet Valley High – Francine Pascal

Ok I cheated a little, it is a series rather than a book. Originally penned in the 80’s (ebay have hundreds of these books going for next to nothing) compared to the rest of what I have written here Sweet Valley High is not hard hitting at all. The reason why I have included this series is because it played such an important part of my childhood. Sweet Valley High is about two 16 year old twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, who live in Sweet Valley – a suburb in California. The series charters their perfect life and what they get up in their escapades. I think everyone who read the books had such high hopes (and unrealistic) expectations about high school. High school for them was one big party with guys, cheerleading and hanging out in the Dairi Burger. When I started high school in the early 2000’s the closest to cheerleading was cross country (which I loved ironically) and the closest to the Dairi Burger was a Maccy D’s every Saturday with my parents.

I watched the TV series on SMTV (remember that?!) It is well worth buying a copy just to have a trip down memory lane or have a laugh at how stupid the plot lines were.

Photograph showing the books Student and Junk

Junk – Melvin Burgess

The book that got Melvin a lot of drama and the Carnegie Medal. Two teenagers, Gemma and Tar, both from very different backgrounds. Tar with two alcoholic parents and Gemma who feels suffocated by hers move to Bristol and get involved with the drug scene. Gemma ends up having to sell her body to fund her habit but wants desperately to quit and Tar steals. The story has different protagonists, gritty and does not shy away from the reality of drug using and living on the streets. As I said above, the book was heavily criticised because Young Adult fiction didn’t contain those themes in the 90’s.

Student – David Belbin

This book I bought a few years ago just after I had left University and I wish I had read it at the time. It tells the story of Alison, who moves away from her small village near merseyside to live the University life in Nottingham. The story explores many aspects of University life such as sex, dropping out, abuse and drugs as Alison navigates from her first to final year. It really is worth a read.

Love Lessons Book on a table

Love Lessons – David Belbin

Last but certainly not least, Love Lessons by David Belbin. I bought this back when I was a teen second hand. The story follows Rachel who develops a crush on a teacher Mike. The crush develops into something more and the story details their romance over Rachel’s GCSE year from both sides.

What are your favourite Young Adult books? Let me know in the comments below.

Image of Brooklyn Girls Pia by Gemma Burgess on a white table

The deets:

Author: Gemma Burgess
Pages: 292
Publish Date: 2013
Publisher: Quercus
Genre: Fiction
Brooklyn Girls tells the story of Pia living in a Brownstone ( yes I had to google it, it looks like Carries flat in SATC) with three other girls in Brooklyn (Julia, Coco and Angie). They have all finished their education and so trying to find their way in life. The book attracted me to it because I wanted something a bit light hearted, I also really want to visit New York someday so therefore any literature going about New York is good for me.
Pia is a trouble maker, her parents bale her out time after time again. When she gets fired from her latest job that her father managed to get her. Her parents give her six weeks, if Pia does not have a job then she will have to fly back and live with them in Zurich.
After a series of failed interviews, Pia manages to get a job at a restaurant but then after a confrontation because a customer was making racist remarks at her she gets sacked. Pia finds herself wondering around a food fair and guess what- she gets the idea of running her own food business. After visiting a loan shark and getting $10,000 she gets a clapped out food truck and starts earning a living selling healthy food to busy New Yorkers.
To add to all this, Pia keeps bumping into this guy with a London accent. She fancies him but as he is always with a woman she thinks he is single. Until the woman turns out to be his sister, Pia goes on a disastrous date so we are left wondering will she finally get together with him?
I thought the book was good. A bit unrealistic ( I can’t give away too much but put it this way it does have a fairy tale ending). It was a Young Adult book so I am just a little old to be able to relate to the girls and their experiences as I am settled now. If you are in university or just finished it is more relatable. The realisation of (‘oh shit, I have this degree and now I need to do something with it!). As Brooklyn Girls is a series  from reading this book that you get a glimpse into all of the girls lives. This does make you want to read the other books I see what you are doing here Gemma! So now I want to read the rest of the books because I am invested now. To round up if you want some humour, a quick read and somebody that is really trying but struggling to sort there life out then this is the book for you!

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