I was super deep into my Civil War studies at Columbia and volunteering for Midterm elections, so I didn’t get much extra reading done this month. These are the books I enjoyed in October:
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Crossing Press Feminist Series) by Audre Lorde – Somewhere earlier this year, I’d read a criticism that to be a better feminist, middle-aged white women should read more works by minorities. I’ve since read and enjoyed a few this year, including Hunger by Roxane Gay and Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper. This one was recommended by one of the teachers at QED and is written by the black lesbian feminist poet Audre Lorde. It is a complication of her essays and speeches which means there is a little crossover / redundancy like similar collections but the writing is powerful and important. I’m so glad I took that criticism to heart and took corrective action. I’m not certain I would have chosen these books had that criticism not found it’s way to me and burrowed its way into my conscious.
I had not heard of Audre Lorde until now and I am really angry about that. Same is true of James Baldwin who I just discovered this past year. If you’d asked me after I finished this book, I would have sworn she was a living, present day writer. I was shocked to learn that she had passed and that this book was published in 1972! Her writing is so damned relevant to today which fuels my already frustrated rage. How can this be written so long ago and be true still? Maddening. Anyway, I’m grateful to the woman who recommended it and will likely read it again now that I know more about Lorde and that it was written 4 decades ago and not last year. #%!&@. And if you have any books to recommend by WOC please do let me know!
The Library Book by Susan Orlean – This is one of my favorite books of the year. It’s all the things I love: investigative journalism meets history lesson meets true crime all set in a library. It’s really great. It covers the 1986 catastrophic fire at the Los Angeles Public Library which destroyed hundreds of thousands of books. Was the fire the work of an arsonist? Orlean digs in deep. I loved it.
All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister – You definitely don’t have to be single to read and enjoy this. Yes, it’s about single women, but it’s also covers the changing roles of women since the 1800s. While I am married to Christian since ’06 and was married before that from ’89 – ’94, there were 12 years between I was single and living alone without family support. I also moved to new cities alone, knowing no one. And being married is no guarantee. Lots of women find themselves single after divorce or death and it presents its own set of challenges. I appreciated the statistics and research presented from the 1800s to today. The number of single and/or never married women has increased over the decades, of course, as societal pressures and norms have evolved but I learned so much more. Traister is prolific and I’ve enjoyed all of her writing. I’m glad to have gotten to know her work.
Click here to read my September Booklist
Click here to read my August Booklist
Click here to read my July Booklist
Click here to read my June Booklist
Click here to read my May Booklist
Click here to read my April Booklist
Click here to read my March Booklist
Click here to read my February Booklist
Click here to read my January Booklist