Housekeeping

Hello all,

I’m making my second housekeeping post to let you all know that I will be posting bi-weekly from now on. Expect posts on Tuesdays and Fridays, though through human error they might be late every once in awhile. I will also be posting housekeeping posts, bonus posts, Amazon deals, and anything else that I feel strongly compelled to share with you all.

There will likely be one book review and one concept piece, listicle, or author spotlight per week. I will be posting the reviews after a book is finished, so it will range in terms of order, but you can expect the reviews either Tuesday or Friday with the other post on the alternative day.

Posts will also be thoroughly categorized and tagged from now on. I have taken the time to add categories and tags to all previous posts in order to stay consistent from here on.

Categories you can expect include but are not limited to:

  • Housekeeping
  • Book Reviews
  • Author Spotlights
  • Listicles
  • Concept Pieces
  • Personal
  • Bonus Posts

Tags will include author names, book titles, genres, and other concepts like feminism and mental illness.

Best,
Scarlett Peterson

PS: I can’t wait to share my next review with you all, it’s a book that I’m loving so far with Ecofeminist themes.

E-Readers and Discount Codes

As a reader, it’s hard to ignore the shift to virtual texts over the traditional paper format; there are boundless pros and cons to both reading methods, though ultimately it comes down to preference and privilege.

Sometimes it’s simple; those who prefer the instant downloads and frequent discounts on intangible books opt for e-readers and apps, those who revel in the smell of old books and the sound of a crisp page turning might opt for discount or used book stores to find their own discounts.

Sometimes it isn’t as simple; e-readers aren’t free, they cost significantly more than a used paperback, and some people can’t afford that. That’s where privilege comes into play. Though in the long run it might be cheaper to buy a kindle for $100 and get e-books at a 25% discount compared to the physical copy, but not all people have the funds to make better long-term purchases like those.

Personally, I use both. As a college student, I bought a used kindle fire to download textbooks at lower prices, saving me money over time. As an English major, that definitely softened the blow for classes with seven or eight assigned books. Though that kindle fire has bitten the dust, I still use the Kindle app on my phone and tablet when I want to access books from anywhere. Provided you have an internet connection, you can also use your browser to open kindle readers

I’ll be reviewing books that I read through both platforms, and in the interest of providing a few discounted options through Amazon. In order to do this, I have become an Amazon affiliate. from this point forward, all links to Amazon will be affiliate links.
Should you use my affiliate links, a small percentage of the money from your purchase will go to me for recommending the books; as an affiliate I’ll also be able to provide click-through links to deals for anyone who follows my blog. In the interest of being honest from the start, this is my formal disclaimer. If you do not feel comfortable with that set-up, please feel free to find the books or products that I recommend through Amazon without using the affiliate links.

Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

Shop Amazon – Used Textbooks – Save up to 90%

Shop Amazon – Kindle Book Deals

Book 6: Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why

A note on my reading of YA fiction; I have decided to include these reviews for the sake of educators, parents, and potential younger readers of this blog’s benefit. It is also for the benefit of educators looking to incorporate more socially-rounded literature in their classrooms, or for parents who would like to pre-read or pre-review a book their child is reading in order to foster a positive environment for dialogue. With YA novels, like any other book I review here, you can expect a lot of spoilers. 

I was an English Education major before I was an English major, so I took a few classes dealing with YA fiction.  One of my favorite classes had this book on a list of options for a presentation. When watching these presentations, I made a note to pick up this book and read on my own time.

The cover states “an important community read,” and that rings true after finishing the book.

TW: suicide, rape, underage drinking, mention of blood and death, mention of car accidents and related death, drunk driving, violence.

We meet Clay Jensen, a high school student who recently lost a friend, Hannah Baker, to suicide. The opening chapter tells us briefly that he is shipping a box full of tapes to someone, mentioning that their contents will make a large negative impression on her life. As it turns out, the tapes that he is mailing off were originally sent to him, a box of chain-mail that tells Hannah’s story, and ultimately why she ended her life. Thirteen stories, thirteen people, thirteen sides of seven tapes (the final side of tape seven is unrecorded).

In order to avoid too many spoilers, I won’t tell many characters’ stories, instead I’ll focus on feminist elements in the story.

  • On the first side of the first tape, we see that Hannah was slut-shamed and the repercussions of rumors. (boyfriend who lied about their sexual encounters).
  • On the back of the same tape, we hear discuss feminist themes such as the commodification of women’s body parts after she ‘wins’ best ass in the freshman class on classmate’s list. Later, another classmate grabs her ass and further physically assault her before he tells her to ‘calm down,’ because he was ‘joking,’ which she thoroughly discusses.
  • We see mention of victim-blaming when Hannah brings up a peeping tom.
  • Keeping in relatability for the audience, we see girl on girl hate with Courtney and the drawer rumor, which also tied back into slut-shaming.
  • TW: Rape of drunken/unconscious student occurs while Hannah hides in the closet.
  • Following the rape scene, Hannah flees the party with another classmate who was drinking, later we hear about a fatal car accident that resulted from Hannah’s friend hitting a stop sign.
  • The final side of the final tape is recorded during a failed counseling meeting with a beloved teacher who did not properly respond to Hannah’s suicidal comments.

In the closing chapter of the book we see Clay realize that had he and his classmates seen the tell-tale signs of a suicidal person in Hannah, she could have been helped. Skye, an ‘outsider’ who we met in a previous chapter is wandering the halls when Clay sees her and realizes that she displays similar signs. The closing statement in the book is Clay saying her name, ready to help make a difference in her life.

Asher’s book is intensely emotional, as it should be, but at times unrealistically emotional. The protagonist experiences a snowball effect of his own while listening to the tapes, even staying the night at a local playground instead of going home after finishing the tapes. Though the emotion seems too intense for adult readers, it keeps in typical themes and voice with many other YA novels.

Asher’s book has a heavy feminist undertone, specifically through Hannah’s voice. In her recordings, she mentions several instances in a very gender-related way that allows the reader to grasp feminist ideology without the word being dropped into the text, something that definitely puts young minds in the right mindset to begin understanding those concepts without approaching them with bias. For this reason, I would recommend it to younger audiences. As far as age groups go, I would recommend high school students over middle school students, specifically for the heavy scenes, though more mature students in middle school could benefit from the reading. 

If you’d like to listen to the tapes, they are available here. Though they cover the majority of the story, you would be lacking Clay’s stream of consciousness and his input by listening to these instead of reading the book in totality. 

The national suicide hotline number: 1 (800) 273-8255

Crisis text-line: text “go” to 741-741

Link to buy on Amazon

I give this book a 7/10.

Five Modern Poets of Color to Read and Reread

This list is in no particular order. 

The quotes listed in closing for each description will come from the beginning of the author’s book; for authors with two publications, I will be sure to indicate which text.

Nayyirah Waheed

Waheed is excellent;  salt. was her first book, if I’m not mistaken, and it was my favorite of the two. Her description of race and her pride are poignant. She writes of love, loss, ethnicity, race, and community just to name a few. Both books are full of stunning works, and her generosity is how I was able to download nejma, bone, and Zimbabwe for free on salt.’s one year anniversary.

I would definitely suggest following all five of these authors on twitter and instagram. That’s where the news was for free downloads, and all of these stunning artists share work on social media fairly regularly. That’s probably the best way to get a good sampling of their works and see their personality before investing in their books, if you’re feeling thrifty.

“it was only ever love.” -salt.

Twitter

Instagram

salt. on Amazon

nejma on Amazon

Yrsa Daley Ward

Ward writes in a way that compels the reader to turn each page for fear of missing the next glint of pure light that she pours into the page. She is Jamaican and Nigerian, raised in England. Her writing blends those cultures beautifull, providing some perspective on her life and the way that each influence affected her.

bone contains some prose, which can be quite refreshing when breezing through a book as compelling as hers is. Taking a break, reading a slower page like that truly does show the versatility of her writing style. The title of the book is fitting for the nature of her writing; we are looking at the bones of who she is.

“because writing is a soft and a hard place, all at once.”

Twitter

Instagram

bone of Amazon

Rupi Kaur

I remember waiting for Milk and Honey to be released. I downloaded the preview on kindle long before I bought the book itself, and I followed her Instagram page religiously. Kaur truly captivates her audience through passionate and powerful writing, and through her gorgeous artwork. The sketches that some of her poems live inside of or are adorned with set her apart, and I honestly wouldn’t mind having my body covered in her artwork.

The four chapters that Kaur separates her poetry into are each like concentrated forms of the chapter title. The hurting deals with intense topics such as child-molestation, rape, loss, and pain. Reading it is like a swift punch that lasts for nearly forty pages. The loving is stunning; I remember quite frankly what an emotional relief it was to be pulled out of the dark place that the hurting put me in and to read those beautiful poems full of joy and love. The breaking was again, quite honestly hurts. We feel her loss, we are pulled through the rut of being left and feeling the ache that the loss leaves behind. The healing ends the book on a soft, sweet, inspirational note that never comes across as sappy. I thoroughly enjoyed every emotion that Kaur pulled me through, and I couldn’t put the book down until I’d felt it all.

Kaur writes about her Sikh heritage quite frequently, and even informs readers on how being bilingual shaped the way that she punctuates her work. She is based in Toronto, Canada. Her Instagram is often loaded with poetry, conversation, and other artwork.

Twitter

Instagram

Milk and Honey on Amazon

Tapiwa Mugabe

As the only man on my list, Mugabe stands out as an extraordinary writer on gender and family structure. He frequently writes on being similar to his mother, someone he loves dearly, and on how he doesn’t understand the way that his father and other men disaprove of his feminine qualities.

I selected him because his writing offers a different perspective, and one that is refreshing. A challenge to masculinity is so valuable, especially in such male-centric societies, and his willingness to write so openly about it is astounding.

“Ndinotenda Nayirrah and Yrsa for seeing this book in me when I was full of doubt, for sharing this wonderful journey with me.”

Twitter

Instagram

Zimbabwe

Warsan Shire

Shire is Somali-British, and she definitely writes with emotion. I can’t begin to convey how breath-taking her work is. She was the first poet on this list that I read; her title jumped out at me, and I could reread her work a million times.

She includes notes in the back of the book to help readers understand the terms and references she sprinkled throughout, a thoughtful touch. Her frequent references to Islam show her strength in faith and help to beautifully illustrate the intricacies of her personality.

Shire doesn’t provide much biographical information in her book, though she managed to write an entire book that is so raw it might as well have been carved into flesh.

“I have my mother’s mouth and my father’s eyes; on my face they are still together.” -Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

Twitter

Instagram

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth on Amazon

Her Blue Body on Amazon

Her Blue Body is the only work on this list that I don’t personally own. I have read all other works on this list and would recommend them to anyone who admires poetry, modern poetry, African poetry, millennial poetry, stories from People of Color, feminist poetry, and writing on race. All are available in print or via ebook.

As a writer myself, I can also deeply appreciate their poems which deal with the subject of writing. Most, if not all, of these writers discuss the act of writing and the nature of poetry through their own poems. Such a task can often come across as cliche or trope-y, but their work reads organically even in those cases.

Books 1-5

As I’m starting this blog late in the year, I’ll go ahead and lump my first five books of the year into one long post. Bear with me, it crosses multiple genres and it will be lengthy.

Book 1: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy by Tao Lin

Genre: Poetry

Lin’s poetry was very different from anything I’d read before. I was definitelly surprised by the choices he made as far as personification and imagery. This book was good in that it was unique, but it was also a little hard to follow in some parts.

The harder to follow poems often flowed through multiple pages, without clear titles aside from in the table of contents. Though the resource was available, it was inconvenient at best.

Lin’s writing definitely does speak on mental illness, something that I can appreciate due to having been diagnosed recently with three illnesses of my own. His title alone deals specifically with a type of therapy that has recently grown in popularity.

I’d give this book a 6/10.

Link to buy through Amazon

Book 2: Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov 

Genre: Self-Help / Relationships

I’ll admit, I was fairly skeptical when I picked this up. It had been on my Amazon wishlist for over a year and I finally purchased it a few weeks ago.

Argov definitely over-simplifies gender roles and reinforces the ideas of masculinity and femininity to an annoying point. Her comparison of men to various animals and women to various animals was quite ridiculous, and undeniably this entire book was heteronormative.

There were some points about relationship behavior and not being too giving of oneself that might stick with me. I’ve always had a tendency to be a ‘doormat,’ as Argov would say. Her idea that every relationship would work the same way is also flawed.

Overall, though I learned from this book, itwas a reminder that no self-help book will teach me a whole concept that works for everyone;.

I’d give it a 4/10.

Link to buy through Amazon

Book 3: bone by Yrsa Daley Ward

Genre: Poetry

It’s kind of cheating because I’d already started this beauty, but I finished up bone as my third book this year. Ward is one of a slew of African poets that have captivated my attention lately.

I have the ebook and was lucky to download it during one of the free downloads that she did in collaboration with a few peers in celebration of one of their book’s first anniversary.

10/10 would definitely recommend.

Link to buy through Amazon

Book 4: Zimbabwe by Tapiwa Mugabe

Genre: Poetry

Clearly I’m on an African millennial poetry kick. I hadn’t read Mugabe’s work before, but he and a few of my favorites are a close-knit group so I had high hopes that were definitely met and exceeded. #4 was a quick read, but certainly a beautiful collection of poetry.

The way that he writes about gender and masculinity is stunning. His relationship with his mother and sisters was beautifully written, and his poems about growing up in Zimbabwe were packed with imagery.

10/10 would definitely recommend.

Link to buy through Amazon

Book 5: Strong Looks Better Naked by Khloe Kardashian

Genre: Self-Help / Personal Growth

Brace yourselves, I have lots of thoughts here…

First off, TW for misgendering and deadnaming of trans people, specifically Caitlyn Jenner (this book even includes a brief chapter on her transition which includes the aforementioned issues). I was highly disappointed in that entire situation, and I don’t think is excusable.

Khloé spends a good chunk of the book discussing the gym and getting in shape, something that I don’t necessarily relate well to, but she also discusses healthy eating, which I definitely have been more interested in lately. I especially enjoyed the recipes she shared, and the fact that she doesn’t suggest a clear- cut zero tolerance for indulgence lifestyle. Her choices are definitely relatable diet-wise and I have made some small lifestyle goals related to food based on her writing. However, I seriously doubt I’ll be joining a gym any time soon. For some reason, I thought this book was more pointed towards body positivity, which is what peaked my interest in it, but it wasn’t.

I will say one thing about her writing that I think might leave a lasting impression on mine: she speaks about avoiding negativity and whining, though in many places her writing is laced with it. Khloé mentions dozens of friends and family members, some by name, in a negative light. She doesn’t spare them; as a writer I don’t necessarily believe that she should spare them, but I don’t think every slam was totally necessary either. I don’t want my writing to come across that way.

My overall thoughts are that it wasn’t an entire waste of time/money, and I will keep it for the recipes if nothing else, but most of that is because of my writing observations.

It’s definitely not considerably feminist due to the serious issues with deadnaming and misgendering, and I didn’t appreciate the gossipy girl-on-girl hate vibe I got.

I’d give it a 3/10.

Link to buy through Amazon

In conclusion: I’ll be updating the blog with more books as I finish them, as well as posting frequently about other feminist and literary topics. I have two posts in the making and I’m starting a new book tomorrow! 

Hello All!

Good Evening Friends,

I just wanted to make an initial post explaining this blog and my intentions.

My name is Scarlett, and I’m an intersectional feminist who greatly enjoys reading, even if the materials aren’t always in line with my personal views. I’m starting this blog in order to create a safe place for other feminist readers and their peers to discuss books that cross multiple genres. I will be posting as I finish each book, leaving my personal commentary and my favorite or least favorite elements of the books in question. I will also rate the books on a scale of 1-10.

As this is a blog run by one person, it’s unlikely that everyone will agree with my opinions. Keep in mind as you read that I am sharing my honest opinions, not writing an unbiased review.

Genres that you can expect include but are not limited to: poetry, plays, fiction, nonfiction (including memoirs and self-help books as well as instructionals), and occasionally some Y. A. fiction.

I began the year 2016 with the intention of reading 52 books in 52 weeks, a challenge that I was invited to participate in with a friend. I would like to invite you all (though I’m a bit late) to join me as well.

Happy reading!

Best,
Scarlett

p.s. Any and all outright hateful comments will be removed, repeat offenders will be blocked. I do not mind other viewpoints, but as mentioned above, this blog is a safe place and will remain such.