Margaret the First
The Descent of Man
Please Note – Both books reviewed in this blog were kindly given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
So, we begin a new year. It’s time to clear up the loose ends of 2016. Then, I can move on to 2017. I will begin with my goals; I failed them all. I planned an ambitious reading goal of 180 books. While I easily achieved this goal in 2015/16, last year I read only 119 books. In addition, I signed up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge (#awwc2016). I only read one book from this challenge. As for my read the awards challenge, as predicted, I started well but then my enthusiasm flagged.
So, am I going to set any goals for 2017? Yes, I am gambling on a peaceful year and hoping that I can focus on my reading and writing. So, I have set my Good Reads reading challenge at 120. In addition, I have signed up to read 10 books that are over 400 pages long. Once again, I have signed up for the AWWWC, setting my goal at 24 books. As for awards, I plan to read along with a few but not as many as last year. I think I’ll see what happens throughout the year.
Now for the reviews.
I must apologise for how long it has taken me to write these reviews. I read these books before Christmas but, due to family and political traumas, didn’t feel like sitting down at my computer. I found it hard just to do basic work. Firstly, I will begin with Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton. This has a glorious cover and is a beautiful artefact. The book takes on the story of the historic figure Margaret Cavendish. Cavendish lived during an eventful period of English history. She was part of Charles I court, before having to flee England at the end of the civil war. This book outlines; her childhood, time in court, time in exile and her decision to begin her life as a writer. This experimentally written book explores what it was like to be a minor aristocrat during turbulent times. It explores what it was like to be a woman during a period where men reigned. It is an exciting read
Secondly, I turn my attention to Greyson Perry’s the Descent of Man. If Margaret the First looked at a woman in a man’s world, this book turns its attention to the male of the species. Using; their own experience, knowledge gained through conversations, and existing academic research, Perry explores how are current ideas of masculinity can be toxic to men. This book would make an excellent introduction to the topics and issues surrounding masculinity and is written in an enjoyably accessible way.
Both books are well worth a read. Both, look at different aspects of the gender divide. Whether a female living in a man’s world or a man living in a man’s world, it comes to the same thing. Both mem and women; cis and trans, must learn to navigate this toxic environment