Book 332: Male Sex Work and Society – Victor Minichiello and John Scott (eds.)

Minichiello, Victor and John Scott - Male Sex Work and Society

This book simultaneously highlights what is good and what is bad about the white tower of academia. It explores a specific topic in depth, while establishing absolutely nothing, other than the need for more research. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest opinion.

I’m going to start with my frustrations with the book (or academia/academics in a broader context) first and then move to what they did well. What frustrated me most about the entire collection were the isolationist tendencies of the authors. In a move to over-compensate for any sort of collective or global identity (and not Western-wash everything) every single paper started out within the first few paragraphs by using the almost exact phrase of, “due to cultural circumstances, male sex workers (MSWs) circumstances in this country cannot be compared to those in any other country.” The reason this was so infuriating is that there were clearly overarching themes, sexual identity (or lack thereof), technology and public health, to name a few, that Manichiello and Scott picked out and even acknowledged. However, rather than encouraging the authors to use them to tie everything together within the papers across borders and identities, they were used to bridge each of the papers between the papers in editorial asides. Seriously, if they would’ve just taken this as a given, at least 50 pages could’ve been cut out of the book due to repetitiveness.

Click here to continue reading.

Book 303: Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence – Doris Pilkington Garimara

Garimara, Doris Pilkington - Follow the Rabbit-Proof FenceI know I say this regularly, but I can’t do justice to this book in my response. The more I think about it (I finished reading it last Wednesday), the more I realize I don’t know how to talk about it.

My local book group decided to do this book and movie, and it was an excellent choice even if I did miss the discussion! It was particularly relevant as Garimara died in April 2014 and is there a better way to honor a writer’s passing than reading their works?

I’m not sure, but if I had to guess I would say there are quite a few books out there about the Stolen Generations, but I’m not sure how many are first hand accounts. And that is where this story truly hits home. Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence is as much Garimara’s story as it is her mother and aunt’s. And to find out at the end that her mother made the journey a second time with one of her children and the incredible journey in the book and movie becomes that much more powerful.

Click here to continue reading.

Book 184: The Madman’s Daughter (The Madman’s Daughter #1)- Megan Shepherd

Shepherd, Megan - The Madman's DaughterA friend from UNC (Go Heels! – it’s a gut reaction :-D), Hi Lizzie!,  recommended The Madman’s Daughter as the author is a family friend (or something along those lines) and I’m glad she recommended it! It was a fast paced and engaging read and although it wasn’t perfect, it was an amazing debut novel and I can’t wait to see where her writing takes her in the future.

It has been a very long time, over 10 years if not closer to 15, since I went through my H.G. Wells obsession and read everything he wrote and from what I remember this mirrors The Island of Doctor Moreau pretty closely. I think at some point in the next few years I will go back and read Wells work again as I really enjoyed The Time Machine and The Invisible Man.

Click here to continue reading.

Book 177: Blessed Isle – Alex Beecroft

Beecroft, Alex - Blessed IsleWhile waiting on another book from the library I decided to request a copy of Blessed Isle from NetGalley. I had luck with the Tucker Springs series and wanted something light and fun to read and I wasn’t disappointed. This is my honest opinion and I received nothing in return.

This is how you write a romance novel! (To me at least.) There’s no rushing into things, there’s no the world is ours after 2-3 months (or shorter) and there’s plenty of conflict and potential heartbreak. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for the Wham Bam style of romance novel, but they’re just not the type of love story I’m generally drawn to. In addition, there’s a subtlety about Beecroft’s writing and her efforts (and total success) at keeping the sex out of the book. In doing so she created a novel that was much less low-brow than you would assume and the focus was shifted to the love story and the time period, which really only adds to the story.

Click here to continue reading.

Book 82: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

I decided with this novel that I would include re-reads in my reviews unless I have reviewed them in the past year. The only exception will be books I read somewhat frequently like At Swim, Two Boys or Harry Potter.

I re-read Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for the book group, Books into Movies, Caroline and I joined at the Somerville Public Library. I’m glad I re-read it, but wish I had time to re-watch the Swedish version of the film and to re-read the other two novels (which I may still re-read).

As I was re-reading the novel, the two things that struck me about it were the timeliness of the subject matter and the sheer bad-ass-ness of Lisbeth Salander. I mentioned in my review of The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest that Salandar is an awesome feminist character and I stand by that. Although we are only introduced to her character and get a hint at her hostility towards those who mistreat women and children, the reader gets a good sense that in fighting the systemized failure she faced (and continues to face) that she has internalized a very particular and clear brand of right and wrong.

Click here to continue reading.