Before we get into the bookish stuff, let’s just take a moment to look at what I did today.
What is this? This happened at like 2pm today. What was I thinking?
I was with my friend, who almost never drinks, and she decided she wanted cocktails. So I was a bit surprised but was like, ‘Yeah, sure!’ And we had two cocktails each and then she was like, ‘You can get 6 shots for £12. Shall we just do that? It’ll be cheaper than another round of cocktails.’ And I was like:
And she was like, completely serious, ‘So shots, yeah?’ And I was like, ‘Oh… OK!’ And then I had 3 shots in the daytime and I felt so ashamed.
But anyway, I just wanted to share that story because I’m ashamed and proud all at once. On to the books I bought with my Christmas vouchers!
Levenson’s book can be summed up in three words: simple, opinionated, choice. She discusses lots of areas in which gender discrimination is still a problem in modern society, but the be-all and end-all of her argument is this: women can do whatever they like, provided it’s their own choice.
In that respect, I agree. No woman should be forced into doing anything or being anything against her will. If she wants to work and never get married, that’s her business and no one else’s. If she wants to stay at home and look after the kids, that’s also completely up to her. If she wants to be somewhere between the two, I’m not going to argue with her, and neither should anyone else.
However, Levenson contradicts herself. She waxes lyrical about how important it is for women to make their own choices, and how no one should judge them for it. But she slates women who wear white wedding gowns and want their boyfriends to ask their father’s permission before proposing:
Hold it there! I’m not saying I don’t love reading, or that I stopped loving reading at any point. I’ve been a book-lover for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I heard the phrase ‘She’s always got her nose stuck in a book’ at least once a day, and that’s not even an exaggeration.
However, in 2016, I put too much pressure on reading. It became all about how many books I could finish each month, regardless of whether I was actually enjoying them. What’s worse, I became overly critical of those I did finish.
Partly responsible for this was the Goodreads reading challenge, which I don’t think I’ll ever do again. I’ve never counted the books I’ve read each year before – I just read them, and didn’t really think much about it. Reading was sort of like second nature to me; I just did it, because I wanted to.
I’ve decided to stop rating books out of 5. I think it’s making me over-think books and is actually encouraging me to have more negative opinions, because if a book that I loved doesn’t have all the right components then it’s not a 5-star read and it’s therefore not as good as I thought it was. But then, if I thought it was good then it was good, so I’m going to stop doing it. Does that make sense?
Well, it does to me, even if it doesn’t to Tennant, so here are the books I read in December.
1. The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin.
I really enjoyed this one. It’s a science-fiction novel about men who, disconcerted by their wives’ independent thinking, have systematically replaced all the women of the town with robots who look exactly like them but want to do nothing except domestic duties. Our main character, Joanna, moves to Stepford and is immediately disgusted by the lack of feminism in the place. She makes friends with two women who think like she does, but then, overnight, they change and want to stay in and clean the house all day like the rest of the Stepford wives.
I watched the film version of this years ago and the book was very different. I enjoyed the film too, but it was more of a comedy and had a happy ending, whereas the book is, although funny in places, much more bleak and makes a stronger comment on society and sexism.
I love writing posts where I can have a good moan.
The below is just my opinions – these are books I personally didn’t like for reasons which I will explain below. These are also books that I read in 2016, not books that were published for the first time in 2016.
The Worst Book I Read in January.
Us by David Nicholls. Read more about my disappointment here.
First and foremost, I should mention that this is a list of the best books that I read in 2016, rather than books published in 2016. This is purely based on my enjoyment of them and whether or not I would recommend them.
The Best Book I Read in January.
2016 started out really, really well and I discovered several books that quickly took their place on my favourites list. Specifically, these were:
Room by Emma Donoghue
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Honorary mention: I also loved The Martian by Andy Weir that month, but I wouldn’t call that one a favourite.
Even though I loved all of these so much, I think Room is probably my best book from Jan as it’s the one I’ve enjoyed re-reading the most.