Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Virgin Search Keywords Encore

I've learned a few things from the keywords that people google to find my blog.

1) I'm very very slowly growing my loyal blog readership. Every single week, the number one keyword search is "Confessions of a Virgin." I'm assuming these come from people who are familiar enough with my blog to remember its title (even if y'all have yet to subscribe to my RSS feed... psst, it's in the top right corner).

2) Y'all love my posts on boobs.

3) A very small number of readers are looking for porn.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Book Club Friday: Feminist Fantasy Fiction

Today's blog post comes from the hot, sunny city of Houston, Texas. The boyfriend volunteered to represent his company at some sort of safety seminar today, and being the loving, thoughtful man that he is, he brought me with him.

Today is Friday, which means I'm linking up with Heather and Katie for Book Club Friday!

Normally I write about the new books I've been reading, but the last two books I read were both rereads of favorites. I've actually already reviewed them both in My Library, but Kristin Cashore's Graceling and Fire are just too damn good not to discuss again.

It's hard for me to describe how amazing Graceling is without giving away any of the major plot points. The protagonist, Katsa, is basically the fantasy fiction pre-cursor to Katniss of The Hunger Games. Except Katsa is more badass. And never wants to get married.

Cashore has created an incredible world without magic and without religion. Instead, the world of Katsa includes some humans Graced with certain talents, and scientific discoveries include herbs to prevent pregnancy.

Katsa is a complicated protagonist, as are her friends and enemies. Even minor characters are fleshed out and given nuanced personalities.

Cashore's second novel, Fire, is a prequel or companion novel to Graceling, taking place in land distant of Katsa's home. A single Graced character is present in both novels. Once again, Cashore has written a strong female protagonist. In a world of monsters, beautiful creatures who manipulate the minds of others, Fire is the last human monster.

As a feminist, I particularly admire Cashore's ability to write strong female characters who are so vastly different. Whereas Katsa mostly exhibits traditionally "masculine" characteristics, Fire is, in many ways, the ideal "feminine" character. She is an accomplished musician, she longs to have children, and she loves animals. But both women make personal sacrifices for the good of their kingdoms, both believe strongly in doing the right thing, and both are fiercely devoted to their friends.

There is so much more I want to say about Fire, but with a plot as intricate as this one, I don't want to give anything away. Just trust me when I suggest you read these two novels.

Cashore's third novel debuted this summer, but I have yet to read it. Clearly I need to visit my local library!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Club Friday: Defiant Women

Even though today's political climate is pretty depressing for feminists, I try to remind myself of how far we've come with gender equality. Life could be a lot worse for a strong independent woman like myself. At least I have rights to my own property, rather than being controlled by my father, or brother, or husband, or son-in-law. At least I never made multiple scientific discoveries, only for men to steal the credit.

Tonight I'm linking up with Heather and Katie for Book Club Friday! If my opening paragraph didn't give it away, I'm reviewing two books of historical fiction featuring strong, female protagonists.

This book has been sitting unread on my bookcase for years. I know. I hang my head in shame. Written by Sally Gunning, The Widow's War reminds me of how bleak life used to be for unmarried women. 

The Widow's War

When Lyddie Berry's husband is lost at sea, she simultaneously loses her husband and all rights to her property. Those rights are transferred to her son-in-law, who stubbornly refuses to compromise with her. Lyddie fights to maintain her home and her independence.


This book was so intriguing. I could not put it down. So many scandals, so many historic references, so much frustration at her spineless daughter, her jerk son-in-law, and the uptight townsfolk.

I love Tracy Chevalier, and her novel Remarkable Creatures does not disappoint. Chevalier tells the story of an unlikely friendship, set against the background of early paleontology and the scientific field's exclusion of women.

Remarkable Creatures

Despite her working-class social status, Mary Anning has a knack for finding fossils, including never-before-seen dinosaur fossils. The spinster Elizabeth Philpot prefers the company of her fossils to people. Despite their age difference and the wide schism of their social classes, Mary and Elizabeth become friends.

Basically, I wanted to punch every single man in this novel. But alas, such was 19th-century England. Men didn't believe women were capable of scientific achievement. And everyone was slightly wary of spinsters. But once I accepted the historic norms, I loved this book.

What's your favorite work of historical fiction?


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