This April I was given a book token for Easter (how virtuous!) and gobbled up yet more female authors for the blog. You have been warned. Here's what I've read this month...
Everyday Sexism, by Laura Bates
Are you a woman? If not, do you know a woman, have you met a woman, or did a woman give birth to you? If so, you ought to drop everything and read this brilliant book. It’s a collection of many of the accounts which have poured in since Bates set up her Everyday Sexism Project – a blog designed for anyone to record sexist events, from improper advances from a boss to being whistled at on the street.
It’s arranged into topics – from sexism at university or politics, to instances of physical abuse – and collates hard statistics with stories from the public and Bates herself. I appreciate that all sounds a bit dry, but it’s actually very compelling, and will toss you from frothing at the mouth with rage, to laughing at some of the witty Twitter replies that have been sent in from 'The Sisterhood'. All the same – not one for pre-bedtime reading, you’ll wake up punching your pillow at the injustice!
Spare Brides, by Adele Parks
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the date, bookshops are heaving with WWI-inspired novels, so I thought I’d give a suitably woman-centric title a go. Parks’ novel focuses on the war’s aftermath, when around two million women were left without potential partners – and therefore prospects. The book follows the stories of four different women – one widowed, one married, one happily single and the other not-so-happy. More cerebral than your average chick-lit; while there’s a steamy affair and lavish descriptions of clothing and parties, at its heart it’s an examination of one of Britain’s toughest times through the lens of love.
Frog Music, by Emma Donoghue
I haven’t read The Room – Donoghue’s million-selling novel – but after Frog Music I think I need to correct that. Set in steamy (in more ways than one) San Francisco in 1876’s ferocious heatwave, an epidemic of smallpox threatening its mixed up community, and a murder takes place. It’s all told from the point of view of sexy French dancer Blanche, who makes a new friend, the cross-dressing, frog-catcher Jenny Bonnet. Like all good stories, the arrival of this stranger turns everything upside down, with Blanche left questioning her choice of partner, abilities as a mother and, ultimately, just who could have killed her friend. Donoghue’s ability to set a scene is formidable – it’s a great book to read on a cold day, as her descriptions of sweaty ‘Cisco will warm you right up!