This post features some review copies (marked with *) and affiliate links
Time for another bookish update, this time featuring comic book heroes and villains, activism non-fiction, young adult, a classic, and self-help. And they all come highly recommended.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Last year I borrowed a copy of Frankenstein from the library, determined to tick it off my literary bucket list in time for Halloween. I renewed it several times before eventually returning it unread and vowed to finally tick it off this year. I read it in the run-up to Halloween and was somewhat surprised; it wasn’t at all what I expected.
Growing up, I wrongly assumed that Frankenstein was the name of the monster. Later, I came to find that it was actually Frankenstein’s monster. I never saw an adaptation in all my years studying film but the clips I saw indicated that the actual creation of the monster was a big deal and that it was quite ‘moany’ and zombie-like. Turns out not so much.
Despite it not meeting my expectations, I still found it a really interesting read, especially given its status in literary history. And it’s still quite topical, despite being published nearly 200 years ago. A definite must-read for bookworms.
What Magic is This? by Holly Bourne
I adore Holly Bourne. I used to be quite snobbish about reading young adult as an adult, then I won a copy of Soulmates in a giveaway and was immediately converted. I’ve read everything she’s written, with the exception of the recently released The Places I’ve Cried in Public (it’s on my birthday/Christmas list) and I keep meaning to pre-order her second adult novel.
What Magic is This? is very reminiscent of the Spinster Trilogy, with a central group of female friends tackling some tough topics in an accessible and relatable way. A common theme in Bourne’s recent titles is educating girls on healthy relationships and she manages to do it without talking down to her readers. She’s one of my favourite contemporary writers.
Be the Change by Gina Martin
In case you didn’t know, Gina Martin is the absolute queen who worked her butt off to make upskirting (taking photos up someone’s skirt) illegal after a rather shocking experience at a festival.
This fantastic book talks activists through the different stages to work through in order to make change, including reaching the right people with your campaign, creating an elevator pitch, and writing a press release, as well as how you can make small everyday changes to make the world a better and kinder place.
“Self-education is the single most important thing you can do to challenge society.”
I want to give a copy of this to every student I work with.
Fair Play by Eve Rodsky*
Subtitled ‘Share the mental load, rebalance your relationship and transform your life’, as soon as I saw this featured in Reese Witherspoon’s book club, I knew I needed it in my life. I’m forever bitching about how I do so much more than Luke but I never do anything to really address it – it’s not worth the argument as (the book confirms it) he’s better than most.
Although Luke cooks all of our meals and does the school runs four days a week, this book acknowledges everything the ‘she-fault parent’ does, which often goes unnoticed/unappreciated. Things like the mental load, the emotional labour, and the second shift.
Rodsky says ‘resentment grows out of perceived unfairness’ and I feel all kinds of resentful and frustrated. Fortunately there’s a ‘game’ you can play together to address this. Her research culminated in a list of up to 100 tasks which any family could have to juggle. The objective of the game is to rebalance your home life and reclaim your “Unicorn Space” (as in, the space to develop or rediscover the skills and passions that define you beyond your role of partner and parent). It has been tested by families all over the world, from all walks of life, with input from psychologists, sociologists and economists.
Each of the tasks is a ‘card’ and you start by looking at who is currently holding/responsible for these cards, then redistribute fairly. Rodsky suggests trialling the game for a week and then reassessing. I’ll let you know how we get on.
DC: Women of Action by Shea Fontana*
My knowledge of DC comics started with Adam West’s Batman, and Lois and Clark (Luke is disgusted), before moving on to the Chris Nolan films and then delving into the Batman comics. In recent years, I dipped in and out of Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl, plus the usual cinematic releases (Superman, Wonder Woman, Justice League, etc).
I really enjoyed Shea Fontana’s collection of female heroes and villains (I was familiar with around two thirds of them) and particularly liked that the artwork was created by female and non-binary artists. The book also included a short history of women working in comics. So much girl power.
What have you been reading lately?