BookRiot, Popsugar and Modern Mrs. Darcy have really helped me shape my summer reading. And it needs shape, because with all the books that are released in the summer, not to mention a hefty box of books from my birthday, prioritizing and finding ways to shape my reading into compelling blog posts would be more challenging without them.
This blog was scheduled ahead of time as yesterday I competed in my first triathlon. It is just a sprint and I just want to finish to say that I am a triathlete. By the time this posts I will be 24 hours into on the other side of the crippling anxiety that has been making its home in my stomach for weeks.
I digress. I could digress so much. Training has been almost as much a focus of my life as parenting, work, and, of course, reading for the past two months. So shorts to get through my challenges have been ideal. All three lists this year featured short books (although I am counting the short books toward other categories than merely that they are short), and I agree that they definitely have their place among the more hefty tones considered classics.
A Nonfiction Book about Feminism/Feminist Themes (BookRiot):
A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf
Many sources have recommended this series of lectures that she gave on women and writing in October 1928. I was slow to pick it up because of it’s most famous quote about a woman needing money and a room of her own to write, which somehow I found annoying at the outset but less so as this statement was more thoroughly justified.
As a modern woman with money of my own and a room to write in, I agree with these on the surface. But what was more interesting to me as the lectures continued was that she argues in the end for androgyny in writing. She wants female and male writers to be both and explore all relationships between people, not just the world of straight men and their relationships or even only the heterosexual relationships between women.
This is particularly ahead of its’ time. I am aware that the 1920’s in the United States were a time when women were able to do things previously only allotted to men, so in that sense the work is timely, but really the push for androgyny in Psychology was not made popular until the 1970’s with Sandra Bem. I read Bem’s works because I explored sex role and its relation to depression in my dissertation. Woolf was ahead of her time in suggesting that writing should come from both gender perspectives and not only that women need more independence, flexibility in sex role and liberation to be able to represent their lives and concerns in literature. I liked this a lot more than I expected to. I spent a Sunday afternoon/evening listening and reading it and ate it alive.
A Science Fiction book (Popsugar):
The Time Machine, HG Wells
I like HG Wells for a short dose of culture founding, oft referenced classic literature. This story hurtled HG Wells into science fiction fame. And for my own writing he might be good for a spinoff. This book also makes commentary on social strata and idyllic societies. Being only a four hour listen and about 112 pages long, it gives a window into the time and world of HG Wells as well as being typical of the science fiction writing of the day. It’s one of those reads that does not take much of your time but makes many more references make sense.
A Book Under 100 Pages (BookRiot):
The Art of War, Sun Tzu
This was harder to find than one would think. Every time I thought I had a short lined up, I would find that most editions were really a little over 100 pages (like The Time Machine, or Julie Otsuka’s Buddha in the Attic which was discounted recently and I have been jonesin for an excuse to read) or then I was like, does this really count as more of a short story instead? I love how audible has a channel of short classics now. I feel like they don’t count as books.
But what a good time to get through The Art of War. At 72 pages, this is all pretty common sense stuff about war, but what we know about common sense stuff is it is not always as common as it may seem. It’s about how to win war with the least possible strain to the victor, like waging war for short periods of time and understanding your enemy. I am really excited that I did not marry the guy who told me that it was a helpful guide to successful relationships. I am fine if my husband knows my weaknesses but clearly I don’t need them exploited. I listened to this during a morning walk.
Next week will be my stats for the first two thirds of my 2016 reading! And then it is time to resist the inevitability of Fall. More reading challenge progress also on the way.
Comments/questions/shares are always appreciated.