Category Archives: Opinion

August Round Up

…but what happened to July?

It’s been a long while since I posted (June 19th, in fact), and for that, I apologise for being so lazy. Thing is, I didn’t really have any blog-able news, and I haven’t read anything particularly note-worthy (for shame!).

Some review news:

-Today, my review of Girl Trouble: Panic and Progress in the History of Young Women (Carol Dyhouse) was published by LSE Review of Books. Check it out by following the ‘review’ link.

-Sept/Oct will be positively brimming with review work; I will be submitting two reviews to LSE, Feminist Activism, Women’s Rights, and Legal Reform (ed. Mulki Al-Sharmani), and A Feminist Voyage Through International Relations (Ann Tickner).

-I shall also be submitting a review of Gender, War and Conflict (Laura Sjoberg) to FWSA, after a long hiatus (unintentionally long I must add!).

Hopefully that should give me a kick-start into the new academic year, and I should feel some kind of enthusiasm regarding my MA dissertation.

In terms of fiction reading, I’ve found myself at a bit of a loss, if I’m honest. It’s quite possibly that all my sub-conscious really wants to read is Revival by Stephen King… (when it comes out in November…). Oh lordy…is there anything out there that can sate me for the time being?!

I am sure I’ll survive…right? RIGHT?!

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I’m taking a proverbial holiday

I’ve decided to take a little holiday away from my blog. There, there, don’t cry…

I have got a couple of things on the go at the moment so it’s kinda impossible for me to give this blog the attention it deserves.

So, in the meantime, be good. And don’t steal any copy from my posts. Whilst the likelihood of me hunting you down in person is a big, fat zero, know that I will chase you in spirit. Until the end of time.

Anyway, thanks for reading my stuff so far and I hope to be back soon; bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

 

My review for FWSA is now live!

My review of Julia Long’s ‘Anti-Porn: The Resurgence of Anti-Porn Feminism‘ is now live on the FWSA blog. You can read it here.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in my review, then feel free to comment. If our opinions differ, that’s fine, but refrain from using derogatory or abusive language. Cos it’s just not cool.

I hope you enjoy my review, folks!

Halloween Reading List 2013!

It’s nearly that time of year again!

Man, I love Halloween. I don’t engage with the whole ‘let’s go out dressed as a sexy witch/nun/mouse/bumblebee’ thing, but for me, the true pleasure of Halloween lies in the compilation of my annual Halloween reading list. Last year, I focused on ‘classic’ horror (Shirley Jackson, old Stephen King stuff, HP Lovecraft, etc).

This year, I would like to take some time to celebrate the women who have contributed to the horror genre. 

Here is my short-list:

-Caitlin R. Kiernan-Silk 

-Poppy Z. Brite-Exquisite Corpse

-Toni Morrison-Beloved 

-Daphne du Maurier-Don’t Look Now

-Jewelle Gomez-The Gilda Stories

-Elizabeth Massie-Abed

What do you think? I wanted to cover a couple of different sub-genre within horror (classic ghost stories, zombie, vampire, gore, short story etc) so I think there’s quite an eclectic and inclusive range. 

I intend to start reading at the end of September with an eye to finish at the end of October. Format wise, I intend to write a brief summary of each title, rather than an essay on each one like last year.

I can’t wait! 

 

 

 

That day I met Margaret Atwood…

…well, I say ‘met’, but I really mean ‘went to her talk in Bristol and got signed copy of MaddAddam for my troubles afterwards’. Still, it was totally amazing. See?!

Fangirl level 10 for awesomeness...

Fangirl level 10 for awesomeness…

And MaddAddam itself has not disappointed so far. I will write a proper review when I’ve finished it. If you are not familiar with the Oryx and CrakeYear of the Flood-MaddAddam trilogy, and like feminist, future concept, environmentalist, anti-capitalist mash-ups, then I suggest you check it out.

Some other news:

-I entered a contest ran by Hodder and Stoughton to be the first person in the UK to read Stephen King’s upcoming Doctor Sleep (incl. night in a luxury hotel). Unfortunately, I didn’t win the top prize, but I won an official poster. Better than a punch in the face, eh?

-I wrote a review for FWSA (Feminist and Women’s Studies Association) of Anti-Porn Feminism: The Resurgance of Anti-Porn Feminism by Julia Long. So watch this space, yo.

-I am currently reviewing Female Suicide Bombers by Rosemarie Skaine, also for FWSA.

-I wrote a review for The F-Word a while ago. You can read it here.

Spill the Zines favourably reviewed my Stephen King fanzine ‘Death is When the Monsters Get You #1’. Thanks, Cath

Some choices titles from my TBR pile and my lovely pug mug

Some choices titles from my TBR pile and my lovely pug mug

 

Recent Reads

I haven’t written anything for a while, eh? Man, I’ve been busy.

I’ve not really been feeling much enthusiasm in regards to reading or indeed, writing, as my blog silence would indicate; I guess I just hadn’t been feeling it, y’know?

But as it was my birthday last week, I treated myself to some choice, and not to mention controversial, titles…

Tampa by Alissa Nutting:

You may or may not have heard about Tampa. The Daily Mail recently labelled it ‘THE SICKEST BOOK OF THE SUMMER’…so naturally, I had to see what the fuss is about. 17846944

Celeste is a beautiful, rich and affluent 26 year old teacher. She is married to an all-American boy, Ford, who is a police officer. Celeste has one all-consuming desire in her life; that is, to have sex with 14 year old boys. She is soon revealed to be obsessive, manipulative and calculating and soon begins a relationship with a pupil, Jack, at her new school, with, arguably. devastating consequences.

Basically, the controversy surrounding Tampa has been its exploration of the desires and experiences of a female paedophile (albeit, a fictional one, but based loosely on the real-life story of Debra Lafave). That’s not to say that the author, Alissa Nutting, condones or endorses the actions of her character. Nutting has been vocal in the press about the double standards that exist in regards to the treatment of male and female sex offenders; Lafave was described as being too pretty to go to jail by her lawyer, despite being a convicted child abuser.

I found the description of the sexual acts between Celeste and Jack to be nauseatingly over-descriptive. Though, as a reader, we are privy to Celeste’s innermost fantasies, so it is expected that as an audience we see her inner psyche laid bare, as it were. And with sociopathic detail, Celeste does not disappoint.

Overall, I found it an interesting and complex read. I would recommend it, if you can stomach it.

The Never List by Koethi Zan:

I was pretty excited about this one; I’d heard from a variety of sources that it was excellent and had a compelling, unexpected twist. I love twists, me… 16158525

Sarah and Jessica are best friends. After surviving a car crash in their teens that kills Jessica’s mum, they become even closer. Arguably psychologically scarred, they begin compiling a list, The Never List, of things they should avoid if they don’t want to die. Things like, never go anywhere alone after dark, and…never get into a strange car.

But lo, they do get into a strange car and so their nightmare begins. Locked up and tortured in a cellar for five years, for seemingly no apparent reason, their nightmare has just begun…

…unfortunately, the reality was that I was kinda disappointed, and being some kind of spoiler ninja, I guessed the twist halfway through the book. Sigh.

It’s all a bit of a mash-up of cults, survivor’s guilt, S&M bars, ice queen academics, philosophy and gung-ho action.

I appreciate what it tried to do, but often, strands of themes just ended up nowhere and for me, this was extremely unsatisfying.

The End of Alice by A.M Homes:

The End of Alice tears the tissue thin line between the evil and the everyday. It details the correspondence between two paedophiles; one, a middle-aged male (and our narrator), is incarcerated in an institution, and the other, a 19 year old girl, is his admirer and seeks advice on seducing a 12 year old neighbourhood boy. {72903DF8-EEC8-4EE8-A7A3-78C65B46AB64}Img100

Slowly, through this correspondence, the narrator’s true nature reveals itself.

Our narrator is an unreliable one; the text flits back and forth between the past, present and what the narrator imagines is happening in the girls life. He bemoans the lack of sophistication in her letters (using too many exclamation marks, for one) whilst celebrating his own with titillatingly tongue-twisting tirades and sharp sibilance.

The narrator uses the girl’s letters as an excuse to revisit some of the motivations behind his own crimes, and specifically, those committed against a girl named Alice.

Hiding behind the thin veneer of civilisation is truly a psychopath. A complicated, manipulative and obsessive psychopath.

I thought The End of Alice was excellent, complex and thought-provoking. Be warned though, there are some pretty nasty prison rape scenes and vivid descriptions of abuse.

Apparently, when it came out, libraries in the US and the NSPCC (Nat. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Children) in the UK tried to ban it. Double sigh.

I don’t believe in banning books, myself. I believe in reading them and making up my own mind. I hope you will too.