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
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.
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.
Book 3: bone by Yrsa Daley Ward
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.
Book 4: Zimbabwe by Tapiwa Mugabe
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.
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.
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!