Posted in arc, Uncategorized

Fighting Hislam

Fighting Hislam

Susan Carland

Melbourne University Press

Publication Date – 1st May 2017

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I was given this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review,  This book was written to quash to (un)truisms about Muslim women:  the first, that women are always oppressed by their religion; and, secondly, that women’s liberation can only come through the rejection of Islam.  The writer, a western convert to the faith, speaks of people’s reactions to her research, outlining how they would inevitably think that, when she told them that she would be researching women and Islam, she would be talking of victimisation and oppression.  They would assume that any activism would take the shape of a rejection of Islam. In the face of this, the author has interviewed Muslim women from; Australia, North America, and Egypt who fight oppression from the inside of their faith, using Islam and Islamic scriptures as a tool in their struggle.  

Her interviewees speak of; their relationship to their religion, use of Islamic scripture  within their fight for equality, the attitudes of other Muslims,   their treatment  at the hands  of  Islamic leaders, their feeling towards the west, their attitudes concerning feminism, and how modern day western thought and apprehensions about Islam  affect their lives. These interviews give a challenging, but inspirational, view of the lives of those women fighting to gain a footing in their faith, showing that women can, and have, played a role in Islam, challenging, both; the western ideas concerning their faith and the believes, of some of the adherents of Islam, concerning the role of women.  This is an academic work but is accessible to an interested non-academic reader.  The writing is clear and there is an absence of academic lingo.  If you have an interest in; Islam, faith, gender, activism, scripture, colonialism and/or feminism, you should read this text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in arc, Uncategorized

Double reviev

Beyond Trans

Heath Fogg Davis

NYU Press

Publication Date 06th June 2017

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This book was given me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.    This book challenges our understanding of gender and sexual identity.  The author asks the question ‘why are so many spheres of life dependent on a rigid sexualised/gendered segregation.  Utilising the case studies of; Transport passes requiring gender identifiers, public toilets, sex segregated colleges and sports, they question the necessity of the sexual/gendered divisions utilised by the institutions that create and govern these artefacts/spaces.  This is an interesting and thought provoking work.

 

Post Truth; the new war on truth and how to fight back

Matthew D’ancona

Penguin Random House

Publication Date 18th May 2017

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This book looks at the rise of fake news in modern society and seeks to analyse the rise of this phenomena   The book explores the ways how the concept of truth and truth telling have been belittled in modern society.  The author bemoans the ways in which scientific knowledge and expertise have been discredited by powerful political and business interests. He uses; the Brexit campaign, the Trump campaign, Global warming sceptics, holocaust deniers and those spreading fear over vaccinations to build his case.  He argues that these campaigns have been based on a disregarding of truth, and scientific fact, and an exploitation of emotional rhetoric.  The author argues that these stories have gained wings with the advent of social media.    This is an interesting and topical work that needs to be read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in #amreading, advance copy, Book review, Uncategorized

Odds and Ends. Wrap up

 

9781925228830

 

Margaret the First

Danielle Dutton

Scribe Books

 

The Descent of Man

Grayson Perry

Penguin

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book review, Booker prize 2011, books, Uncategorized

Janet Mock Realising Realnes

 

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A young boy is born to a poor disjointed, displaced black American family. Charles/Janet was moved around, living with different family members at different times of their lives. Janet outlines; their childhood, the abuse that they suffered at the hands of a trusted adult, and the effects of feeling alienated from their own body; its bodily gender and the roles that society ascribes to that male body.  The book explores the effects of several interconnecting, socially defined, identities on a young body.  Mock explores the intersecting effects of; racism, poverty, family breakup/abuse, rigidly prescribed gender norms, and a disconnection between biological and actual gender identity on a person’s body and their understanding of that body. This book explores the life of a troubled child through the mature, experienced eyes of a woman, containing both; the pained innocence of childhood, and the critical understanding of an adult; with neither lens diluting the power of the other.  The childhood trauma/pain is tempered by an adult understanding; without ever being diminished by it.   Even in it’s painful moments, this book is infused with a sort of warmth.  Well worth a read.