The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – 5/5
“I wish this story were different. I wish it were more civilized. I wish it showed me in a better light, if not happier, then at least more active, less hesitant, less distracted by trivia. I wish it had more shape. I wish it were about love, or about sudden realizations important to one’s life, or even about sunsets, birds, rainstorms, or snow.”
This is a unique and compelling read that is rare to find in a book. I knew very little about the story and plot before reading this so I had little expectation. The dystopian elements mixed with flashes of the past keeps things relative and engaging for the reader.
It’s interesting because the characters were all flawed and the ones that aren’t very likeable still hooked me in. I felt sympathy for them in different ways and that comes down to Atwood’s craft. The dystopian world where women have different levels of power under a heavily suppressed environment creates you to relate to them in unexpected ways. The women are vulnerable but also fighting every day to survive.
I don’t want to reveal too much of what happens because I think knowing less is better with this book – I highly recommend this one.
You Can Relax and Overcome Stress by Mike George – 3.5/5
First off, I’m baffled this was written in the lates 90s because the examples, techniques and advice given are still relative to today’s society. I applaud Mike George for this – far too many ‘self help’ books become outdated and irrelevant. While written academically, I enjoyed this book. It gives helpful tips and exercises for the reader to practice, helping them manage stress and anxiety. As someone who experiences anxiety often (sometimes daily), I found comfort and reassurance in this book. You Can Relax and Overcome Stress focuses heavily on meditation, which for me is a whole new world. This book isn’t overly ground-breaking but it still has helpful advice that can be used and is a text you can refer back to when feeling overwhelmed. I recommend this book – it would be perfect as a gift to yourself or someone close.
Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou – 4/5
This was a random choice when I was combing through an op shop a little while ago. I’ve always heard good things about Maya Angelou’s work and I see why. She has a pleasant way with words that draws you in from the first words on the page. Mom & Me & Mom is Angelou’s seventh memoir instalment focusing on the relationship with her mum. It is a sweet, inspiring and heartfelt read I highly recommend.
Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies curated by Scarlett Curtis – 3/5
“But, honestly, it’s not just the fear of not getting it right. I can handle that. It’s deeper than that. It’s the fear of being visible, of expressing my point of view and exposing who I actually am, what I actually feel, to a world that is not particularly gentle.”
“We see those years of negative treatment by men, by institutions, by the patriarchy, by society at large. We see it. We challenge it, we stand up to it, and we change it.”
I had heard a lot about this book through the YouTube and Instagram community so knew at some point I’d read it. This book was my first major entry point into a book specifically focusing on feminism so it was a whole new journey for me. I do feel it is targeted primarily to inspire and encourage a younger audience but on a whole this was a pleasant read.
Scarlett Curtis curates the book by writing and including “extra” chapters throughout, to help the reader better understand the context of what each essay focuses on. This could be anything from the history of feminism to a personal recount by Curtis herself. The women included in Feminists Don’t Wear Pink are brilliant and creates such depth to their character. Look forward to reading work from Keira Knightly, Jameela Jamil, Dolly Alderton and Emma Watson.