Update 2.25.18– I’ve updated the list! And I apologize if anyone was having trouble commenting earlier 😦 I think I’ve fixed the problem, but if you still have issues, you can drop me a message on my Facebook page with your info and I will get you added as quickly as possible!
International Women’s Day is March 8th, 2018, and I have something very special in the works. For the week of March 4th- March 10th, I thought it would be cool to celebrate all the amazing women authors out there in the world!
“We need more books that feature strong, loving, nurturing female protagonists…”
I consider myself a feminist. It took me a while to come to that conclusion, because I have a different viewpoint on feminism than most “traditional” feminists, in that I believe feminism not only means the right to choose to buck traditional gender roles, but also the freedom to choose to embrace those gender roles. My mother is a stay-at-home mom who raised two kids on a farm (one of them home-schooled), and she is one of the most kick-a$$ women I know, despite never having actually kicked anyone’s a$$. She has lived the life that made her happiest, despite the world and “feminists” constantly berating people and labeling her life as the “weak” choice. I can tell you, for a fact, that I don’t have the courage and strength to do what she has done.
We (and by “we” I mostly mean women, though this can apply to anyone that feels forced into a box) are constantly bombarded with the expectation that we must do everything a man does, and if we don’t then we have failed as feminists. I don’t think this is true. I believe we have a duty to live the life that is going to make us happiest. If what makes you happy is kicking the bad guy’s butt and being physically stronger than the average bear, than go for it! You deserve that life! But if your idea of happiness more closely resembles a Jane Austen novel, complete with a handsome man to sweep you off your feet and a beautiful home with tons of little ones running around, then that has just as much value, and it certainly doesn’t make you a bad feminist.
I completely agree that we need more books that don’t portray feminity as the kryptonite of feminism, and I, personally, am looking forward to this series. There is so much more to strength than physical power. Just ask my mom.
Thanks to my friend, Elissa, for standing by her convictions and beliefs! You go, girl! I’m always rooting for you 🙂
Wow… What to say about this book? Because I really do feel as if I should say something. I feel profoundly impacted by what I’ve read, and yet at the same time woefully unprepared to put what I’ve experienced into words. I’m very glad I own this book, because it is one that deserves to be read again. It makes you question yourself, question your reasoning, question morality (both personal and societal), and question where you got any of those ideas in the first place. In fact, it asks far more questions than it answers.
Can there be any good without bad?
Can there be any bad without good?
Who ultimately decides what is good or bad?
How much of what we consider “moral” or “immoral” comes from our own conditioning?
Are we actually capable of independent thought? Or is it all conditioning and genetics?
On the surface, those questions seem pretty depressing, I guess. And none of those questions feel like they were ultimately answered in the story. Which I don’t think is a bad thing. I think it’s good that the reader is asked to draw their own conclusions, that the author is not trying to force his own thoughts down our throats. And it made the story very relatable for me. I found so many parallels between Huxley’s utopia and our own society, not just “feelies” and the banning of books and religion in favor of industry and progress, but even the concepts of sexual independence and loneliness that are addressed. To see things that I had thought of (and still do, to an extent) as good things, steps that the world should take toward peace and understanding, to read about them as extremes was jarring and eye-opening.
As far as the story was concerned, I was annoyed by most of the characters, especially Bernard, who I considered to by the “main” character. But I think that was part of the point, so I’m willing to allow it to slide, and also my intense love of Helmholtz Watson helped make the story more than bearable. As a writer myself, I connected with Helmholtz, empathized with his desire to put out meaning into a world that couldn’t possibly understand, that even he could not fully understand himself. Helmholtz makes me want to write Brave New World fanfiction, that’s how awesome he is 🙂 And the end… well, I think that might be one of the most poetic and beautiful endings I’ve ever read, (view spoiler)[especially considering what we know about how this civilization treats death. The fate of John the Savage is perhaps one of the most tragic things I’ve ever read, not least of which because no one who knew him will even understand enough about his sacrifice to mourn him the way he would have wanted and, I feel, deserved (hide spoiler)]. That’s all I’m going to say about it.
In short, I feel like this book is a masterpiece, and if you have a couple of weeks to set aside, I strongly suggest you at least give it a try. The first four chapters are so terribly uncomfortable and jarring that you can’t possibly look away and really, once you’ve gotten that far, you might as well finish the rest 🙂
So, yesterday was the Lunar New Year, also more commonly known as the Chinese New Year (but apparently that is no longer politically correct. Who knew?), and to celebrate I got the BRILLIANT idea to cook myself something special. Because that’s what you do for holidays when your boyfriend is out of town for work. Even obscure holidays that have nothing to do with your location or cultural heritage. Everybody knows that.
Here in the Southern U.S. of A, we generally tend to eat cabbage (for money) and black-eyed peas (for luck) on New Year’s Day. These are actually new traditions for me, that I didn’t discover until my first New Year’s in Texas in ’08, when I woke up hungover at a friend’s house and she proceeded to shuffle me off to her grandmother’s and shovel these weird things onto my plate, with little to no explanation. And thus was I introduced to the concept of food as symbol (after I sobered up enough to have someone to explain it to me, that is).
Apparently, the Chinese have a similarly weird tradition of associating their food with symbolic superstition, to an insane degree. Here’s a list of foods and their meanings that I was able to find. Seriously, just take a look. Go on, I’ll wait…
See what I mean? So, rather than trying to dig through all the symbolism, I decided to go with something that several sources seemed to think were fairly agreed upon Lunar New Year staples. The first is Buddha’s Delight, a pretty fantastic vegetarian smorgasbord that is actually meant to be eaten by an entire family and symbolizes the Buddhist tradition of cleansing your body by abstaining from meat (I substituted the carrots for shitake mushrooms). The other, was a whole, steamed fish, which apparently is a homonym for prosperity in Chinese. There is a saying, apparently, that literally translates as both “let every year be plentiful” and “let every year have fish”!
I’m not gonna lie, the Buddha’s Delight was great. The tofu kind of fell apart on me and it was WAY more than I thought it would be, but it tasted good. But honestly, the highlight of this entire culinary escapade was indisputably the fish. I have never in my life cooked a complete whole fish before. I was super excited. I may have Facebooked about it a little. And so now, I present to you, the tale of my New Year’s fish, told in pictures and Facebook statuses:
So there you have it! My Lunar New Year dinner! Never mind that it took me nearly three hours to put together (and that doesn’t count shopping time and the two extra trips to the store I had to make because I forgot something :P), it was glorious and I would do it again in a heartbeat! Preferably with friends and some paper lanterns next time… 🙂