Review: Herland

Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I saw this on a list of “early sci-fi books written by women” and DAMN.  DAMN.  It was written as a serial and then published as a book in 1915.  Women got the right to vote in 1919.  Just FYI – that means this woman-written-science-fiction-utopian-novel about a society of women-only (literally, parthenogenesis – virgin birth no men society).

It was short and sweet and fun to listen to (via Librivox). The premise is three American men discover/get to this little land which has been protected by mountains & cliffs for two-thousand years.  With no men. Because the men killed each other.

I did get a little tired of the word “motherhood” because the over arching philsophy of these women is motherhood.  And so everything he (the imaginary male protagonist writer) “explores” about this utopia deals with this core concept.

It is fascinating.  I finished it on my way home and immediately wanted to write my thoughts, but that’s actually really hard. I’m going to have to chew on it for awhile. Was she making fun of “motherhood” in some places or did she really think that “motherhood” was the ultimate ideal for humanity. She definitely thinks men are the only reason humanity has wars or fights.

And, I was warned so it didn’t catch me off guard, the author had a thing for eugenics – which granted was a thing in the early twentieth century.  She was not saying one race over others (apparently these women looked like all the races) but breeding out “defects” such as needing glasses or behavioral problems…. yeah, so that’s a thing I don’t want anyone surprised by.

Ok, so without being spoilery; this book is reminescent of books like The Island of Doctor Moreau and The Call of the Wild in tone and pacing.  Low “action” and high “thoughts” but it isn’t boring by any means.  Gilman definitely keeps coming back to certain actions so the reader isn’t JUST reading a treatise.  And there is a mystery that gets hinted at and hinted at and the reveal feels natural.  And not surprising.  And still a hair shocking simply because the narrator was so surprised by it.

My Review: go read it to expand your horizons, but keep it in the context of its own time.

Politicis: Gun Control

I wrote this in Oct 2015 – and it is still true today. I don’t like turning on the news to hear about ANOTHER shooting. I am tired of hearing the GOP wringing their “thoughts and prayers” BS line like a lady’s handkerchief. And I am tried of being told there is “nothing” we could/should do. Pick one of more of these options. Pick another option. But doing NOTHING…. that isn’t working. I would rather we do something WRONG than nothing at all. ’cause nothing ain’t working.

Dream by Day

I am pretty far left on most social issues. This is the one exception. I’m not far to the right, but I am definitely more-right than many of my friends (and family).  And everyone I talk to about this will hear me remind them that I think cars are a more dangerous problem which I want addressed first.

My Facebook has been full of posts the past several days. About half of them are “TAKE AWAY THE GUNS!” and half of them are “STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY GUN.”

It is tragic when someone is killed. There is no remedy for that pain. And yes, guns are terrible weapons which can kill many people very quickly, multiplying that pain.

I also know that my friends who own guns are very responsible. They can drone on and on with each other about various lock-box options, why they like the ones they…

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Life Memories: The Dime Theory

This is still a theory I use regularly – and if anything the more I use it over the years, the more I love it!

Dream by Day

As a trainer, the most-dreaded question is “why do I need this.”  Especially if the person signed up to take my class. I can tell you then and there, they are going to be obnoxious from here to next week.  Everyone remembers in school the question “why do I have to learn _______” whether it was math, history, a foreign language, or Shakespeare.  How many teachers had good answers?

My mother is the one who always gave me the best answers to this.  “Why do I need to learn Shakespeare, it’s sooo boring.”

“You’re learning how people interact. Shakespeare lived hundreds of years ago, but people still behave like idiots and make these types of crazy choices and look what happens.”

As the youngest of three, I had already learned the lesson that I could avoid making the same mistakes my siblings made… so the idea that even “old” books…

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Review: Struggle Reading

I am struggling.  I am struggling soooo hard with this book right now.  In general, I like Brandon Sanderson’s books, but I picked up Way of Kings from the library and…. I am slogging.

I blame his editor.  His editor needed to look him in the face and say “Dude. You don’t need to say everything six times.  It’s one book.  and four main characters? FOUR?  You need to work up to that kind of multi-protagonist shit.”  Seriously, that doesn’t count the like 8 times there have been little aside-sort of things.

I can tell this book was written post-Wheel of Time… I think he picked up some of Jordan’s bad habits.

It’s an interesting world and the protagonists are well-written (it is still Sanderson and he does write interesting characters).  The magic is kind of fascinating and I will drag myself through it, but LAWD, I am struggling with it.

Manners: Why we need Feminism for Men

I still think this is a topic we need to be having. Like constantly tell men they don’t have to have sex to be vulnerable shouldn’t be shocking.

Dream by Day

Yes, I think this is a topic on manners as much as politics.  There has recently been a kerfuffle about “Nice guys” and feminists and how the two shall never meet!

In case you missed it, this one started with a “Nice Guy” named Scott Aaronson blogging on the difficulty Nice Guys have with feminism. The responses (#1 and #2) I have read both are neither bashing nor justifying but trying to re-frame the questions, and both link to even further responses which are either trying to “teach” Mr. Aaronson how to “get over it” or why he IS still priviledged or…. the rabbit hole is deep my friends.

I could easily talk about Nice Guys, but this guy does a good job of it.  I’ll have to write up my explanation of Schrödinger’s Rapist another day because I don’t like that imagery (although there is something important about…

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Reading Challenge!

Goodreads does an annual reading challenge (if you aren’t on Goodreads yet – GET THERE)

Last year I set myself 52 books – a book a week.   I ended up with 57 according to Goodreads.  So this year I said 60.  That’s 5 books a month.   Whew, I better get cracking!

Now, last year I pretty much only tracked books I read “for the first time” – there were a few books I picked up as an “afternoon read” (books I know so well I brush over the details and jump to the juicy parts).  Wheel of Time is the only one I think I made an exception because I tracked all 14 – but I was working my way through the whole series and I hadn’t gotten past book 9 previously….

So this year I am going to try to track every book I read – even the little “I only read my favorite parts but cover-to-cover” books I go back to over and over (I still feel like I “read” the whole book, I just know I graze over the lulls in the plot).

So expect to see more reviews this year!