Posts Tagged ‘Women’

I recently found a list of books which every girl should read before she turns 25, compiled by Rachel Grate on Hellogiggles.com. (For the article, see http://hellogiggles.com/25-books-for-every-girl)

There are some good titles in this list, some of which I have read, some which I have never heard of, and some which I’m interested in reading in the future.

The books listed are:

1. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

2. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

3. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

4. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

5. Matilda by Roald Dahl

6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

7 The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

8. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

9. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

11. Bossypants by Tina Fey

12. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

13. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

14. Forever . . . by Judy Blume

15. Feminism is For Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks

16. The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank

17. The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

18. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

19 A Wrinkle in Time by Madelein L’Engle

20. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

21. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

22 Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

23. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

24. Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

26 “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel

 

I may be 26 now, but I did read 5 of these books by the time I was 25:

3: I read this classic a while ago, and (so far) think it is the best Austen novel.

5: I love Matilda and her magic powers because she is so strong-willed and independent for her age.

6: I discovered the film adaptation of this dystopian book first and decided to read the book to learn more about the story and was fascinated and terrified by the possibilities imagined in it!

20: I read this as a teenager and loved the quirky character of Stargirl and the story.

21: I finally got around to reading this not long ago, and thought it was quite good.

 

I’m not sure but I may have read Anne Frank’s diary back in primary school. I certainly need to read it properly!

I would like to read “To Kill a Mockingbird” as it’s been on my list for a while.

I’m interested in reading “Bossypants” as well, just because I love Tina Fey in “Mean Girls”!

I’d like to try “Inkheart” and “Forever” as well!

 

This is quite a list to keep me going, especially as I love a bit of feminist literature! I intend to read some of these in the new year!

This post is related to my trip to the London Book Fair 2014 (see my earlier blog post), and covers my notes and though from when I attended the seminar:

Where are the Women in Translation?

I thought this was a really interesting discussion between a 4 woman panel, watched by a mainly female audience! Important points were made:

  • Gatekeeping seems to be keeping female translators from getting into the market.
  • Only 2 women were on the longlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize last year and 1 got to the shortlist.
  • No female authors have won the IFFP but 9 female translators have shared the prize with their male authors.
  • Apparently some women are sexist against women in translation (?)
  • Women are not as assertive as men – female translators have more things to do (day jobs, raising a family, etc) and have less time to pitch books.
  • Some people think it’s OK to not publish women’s books, but if they were gay, black, etc, there would be a riot!
  • There’s a “chicken and egg” situation: women are not being published because they don’t pitch books, and there’s an anecdotal belief that women don’t sell, so they don’t do it.
  • Men only read men’s books, but women will read anything.
  • Women might be of high regard in their home country, but they’re struggling to get into foreign book markets, even though the men have no problem anywhere!
  • Men’s books are still being studied more in universities, and there’s few women’s books on academic booklists.
  • Good books may be coming out but they disappear immediately because there are no reviews of them, whether good or bad!

There was a discussion about the situation in Korea, and Krys Lee pointed out:

  • A few decades ago it was all male translators, and now there are lots of women.
  • More women are winning prizes.
  • The staff in the Korean publishers may be women, but the big decisions are still being made by men.
  • Korean literature is supported by the government, with translators being funded from a young age.

The panel suggested ways to solve the problem with the lack of women in translation:

  • Boycott the London Review of Books because they don’t feature enough books in translation by women.
  • Start a manifesto.
  • Demand diversity.
  • Vote with your feet: people need to read more books by women in translation.
  • Raise awareness.

There was also an interesting bit about covers on books by women, with them being given stereotypical covers with naked women on them and marketed as “chick lit” when they are not that genre. It was felt that people should “let books be books” (like in the recent campaign against gender-biased covers in Children’s books suggests -see the Guardian for more info), and get rid of the naked women on the covers because they are not like lad’s magazines, but maybe such covers should be covered up so people only judge them by their title not their cover! (After all, there have been campaigns to put blank covers over the fronts of lad’s magazines in shops to hide the photos of naked women on them because they are inappropriate.)

I really enjoyed the seminar, and learnt a lot from it! I’m determined to find some of these great female authors and translators and get their books the attention they deserve!

I have recently re-read “Herland” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Herland – Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Via Amazon)

I read it, when i was at university, as one of my research texts for my dissertation on Utopia. I’m really fascinated by the ideas created around Utopia and this is one of the more interesting texts exploring the subject.

Herland, as it is dubbed by three male explorers, is a hidden country where a series of unfortunate events rendered the country devoid of men. The women and girls struggled to keep themselves alive and worried about having children without men. However, a miracle occurred which meant a woman could have a baby through a virgin birth.

The male explorers find it difficult to believe that Parthenogenesis exists within this human population but are forced to admit that it must be true after learning more about the country and its history.

The men learn all about the country, and in return try to teach the women of Herland about the world outside. It is interesting to see how each side is challenged in their beliefs and morals and so when confronted with such a different way of life.

The men are fairly different characters: Terry is the typical man’s man, is tough and likes his women feminine and submissive; Jeff is possibly the most accepting of the men and is convinced by the wonderful life the women has created for themselves; and Van is the narrator who seems to have a good connection with the women, being more popular because he seems to understand them more. Terry’s behaviour becomes more unacceptable as time goes on because he believes that all women like to be “mastered” sexually, but the women of Herland are having none of it. The other two men have no problems with the women, only that they feel ashamed to admit how awful their world is in comparison to Herland.

I give this book 9/10 because it is original, fascinating and descriptive. The book is brilliantly written, and the struggles to communicate and teach each other about their worlds is totally believable. The ideas surrounding this utopia are well-explored, yet there are always more questions to ask about this country. It makes you question a lot of things which we take for granted in life. Worth reading!