I first found out about this book because of Instagram. I’d been following Harriet Young (thesenovelthoughts) for a while so I had been aware that she was writing her first novel. When she was looking for funding on Unbound, it didn’t take a lot of persuasion for me to preorder it. I was fascinated by the story and the history of the Pendle witch trials. I’ve been waiting to read this one for a long time and, when it arrived last moth, I couldn’t wait to start reading it. Of course, it was just a huge coincidence that it also crossed off one more letter on my Spell the Month Challenge.
This Monday was International Women’s Day. A day that is dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is a day to highlight and challenge the disparity between the genders. A time to call for equality. As people in the book community, it is also a time to celebrate and champion female writers. As such, those of you on Instagram will no doubt have noticed plenty of amazing female centric content cropping up in your feed. There was one post that really caught my eye and prompted me to write this post. The caption started with the age-old question:
Do you preferentially read books by women or men?
I, obviously, responded in my normal pretentious and, probably, obnoxious way, which I won’t go into yet because it would negate the need to write this post. Instead, I want to focus on most replies. They consisted of a sentiment that went along the lines of “I don’t care about the gender of the writer. It’s all about the story.” There’s nothing wrong with this idea in theory but it’s an attitude that I do think we need to change. And I’ll tell you why.
I think this week is going to be a busy book week so I considered not doing a Tuesday Review again. However, I knew that if I avoided it today then I’d set a precedent that would allow me to miss it whenever I wanted. Considering that I’ve gone from reviewing 2 films a week, it wouldn’t be long until I was only posting book reviews. I’m reading more now than I ever have but I’d still only be reading enough for 2 reviews a week. It’s quite a step down from doing 5 a week in 2020. So, I decided to stop complaining and watch a damn film this weekend. This is one I was interested in watching as soon as I watched the trailer. I like Rose Matafeo and Matthew Lewis is obviously pretty cool. Then there’s the fact that it has Taika Waititi’s seal of approval. Surely it had to be worth a watch?
Disney+ didn’t start streaming in the UK until March this year but it debut in the certain countries last November. One of the first original films to be released on the service was this Anna Kendrick Christmas film. For the subscribers like myself who didn’t have access to Disney+ last year, the film was released last month. I can’t say that I was exactly relishing the idea of watching Disney’s answer to Fred Claus and it was only partly because I find Kendrick’s quirky schtick a bit tiring. However, I need to start making the most of my subscription at some point. The only things that I’ve watched on it so far are The Simpsons, The Lizzie McGuire Show, and Recess. I have plans to watch a load of Star Wars and Marvel stuff over Christmas but, until then, I’m always looking for opportunities to watch.
I finished this book fairly late on Friday night so was feeling pretty smug that I wouldn’t have to rush to get anything finished today. I was going to have a relaxed day and try to get ahead with my next read. Did I? No chance. So, I’m hoping that I can get this written in super quick time and get a fair chunk done before bed. Will I? Well, considering I’m still get my head around my latest read, it doesn’t bode well. I was really looking forward to reading this one because I’d really enjoyed Convenience Store Woman. Although, I know that it’s an incredibly divisive novel. One of my friends absolutely hated it when she read it and I get it. It was the weird story of an outsider trying to find away to fit it. There wasn’t a great deal of plot and it did cross the quirky line quite dramatically. I assumed that Earthlings would also fall into this divisive realm of literature.
This was one of the most hotly anticipated debuts of 2020 and I was definitely intrigued by it. It took me a while to get a copy though because I was still under the illusion that I could keep my promise to be more restrained about buying books. Once I had the copy in my possession, it still took me a while to get round to it, which is the reason I’m trying to be restrained about my book buying. I buy books thinking that I need to read them immediately but find my desire wanes when the time comes. Still, after my month of cosy crime, I was looking for something a little different and this seemed like a great thing to get my teeth into. I love a character study with little or no plot. From the sound of it, Pizza Girl would be right up my street.
On Saturday 19th September, I woke up to the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. I know that when a well-known figure dies there is always an outpouring of grief on social media but everything I read about Ginsburg felt different. This was a woman who had done so much and was such a beacon of hope. The collective sadness of so many, particularly women, was clear and this was a loss that would be felt for a long time to come. Ginsburg leaves behind her an amazing legacy and her fight for gender equality has changed the course of American politics. She was so much more than a feminist icon. In recent years, she became a cultural icon thanks to her nickname Notorious RBG. What else could I do this week but look back on her great career?
I’ve wanted to watch this film for ages now. I’d heard it was good. It sounded good. I know that I was going to love it. So, why did it take so long? My poor attention span. I’ve been watching films at home since March because of the pandemic which means I’m generally doing multiple things when I’m watching films. I might be writing another blog pot, tempted by my phone, or editing photos. It depends how much I have to do that day. It’s not that I mean to let my mind wander but it happens. I’m not like it in a cinema. Don’t go thinking that I’m one of those people who gets their phone out every few minutes. I concentrate in a cinema. Not at home. It’s difficult to find a two hour slot when I’m not also trying to do something else. So, a subtitled film isn’t exactly a good mix. So, when I found a window on Sunday, I knew what I had to do.
I’m pleased to announce that I’m currently on book 3 of Jacqueline Wilson’s Girls series. Unfortunately, that is a little bit longer than the rest and I’m quite busy with work stuff at the moment. So, I’m not actually getting as much reading done. I’d been finishing the other books in two nights but this is proving a bit trickier. Still, I’ll get there. I’d actually finished Girls Under Pressure at the weekend but I couldn’t post my review until today. Not that I mind. I loved being one of the stop’s on the Inside the Sun Virtual Book Tour. Although, the time between finishing the book and writing this might explain why it’s proving a bit difficult. Of course, it might also be the fact that this book means a lot to me. It’s something I’ve already addressed here on the blog and it does make me rather biased.
In my bookish post last Wednesday, I had a bit of a rant about people judging books on their unsavoury topics over their literary merit. This is something that has always bothered me about Lolita and bothered me about My Dark Vanessa. Despite being one of the most hyped debuts this year, I have still seen plenty of readers respond negatively to the book. Even as they praise the writing, they just can’t believe anyone would dare to write about that topic. When did we, as a society, decide that we should sweep things like this under the rug? As if even saying the word paedophile was promoting it. It’s insane. Yet do they care about all of the psychological thrillers that play fast and loose with serial killers to titillate their audience. The kind of books that get off on terrorising broken woman because the men in their lives are fucked up for no real reason. No, everyone loves those fucking books. Girl on a Train and those like it are universally praised by readers despite the content and despite the fact they have less literary worth than Nabokov’s most famous novel. What the fuck is wrong with people?