Travel Reading and Housekeeping 

Consider this a late, much needed housekeeping post. As you’ve potentially notices, I haven’t been posting twice a week as I previously decided. Life has caught up with me, and unfortunately posting that regularly isn’t something that I can feasibly do. With grad school coming up in the fall and makeup gigs popping up every so often, I can’t dedicate quite as much time to blogging as I have been. I need to dedicate a great deal of my time to drafting poetry and CNF for the fall in preparation for my workshop classes, and I need to deal with everyday life. 
Instead of nixing the blog altogether, I’ll continue posting book reviews and occasional concept pieces. Book reviews will come roughly once a week, not on any set day. I’ll be reviewing books as I finish them. Having a set day to post reviews has become a bit of a drag, in that I often found myself rushing through the end of books and feeling like reading was more of a task than a pleasure. 
I’m currently headed to Alabama to visit family, and I’ve packed three books for reading on the trip (my Grandmother doesn’t trust my driving, so I’m the designated passenger). I doubt that I’ll finish more than one, if I make enough time to finish one at all, but I like to pack extras just in case.  

  

I’ve packed the book that I’m currently reading, The Bean Trees, as well as two that a friend passed along, The Bridges of Madison County, and Americana. I’m pleased to be reading a Kingsolver novel, and I’m already enjoying her setting and characterization. 

I’ll be back when I’ve finished it up with what I’m sure will be a sparkling review! 
Happy reading,

Scarlett

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Asking the Audience

Hey y’all! I’m here today to ask for some input.

I need book recommendations.

I have a shelf full, and I need to read them all eventually, but I’m looking for more books on identity and self that aren’t self-help oriented – I’m not having a lot of luck with them thus far (I’m the pickiest person I know).

I’m currently working on The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, and I love her (she and Wally Lamb are my tops for fiction). I’d rather not have a ton of fiction recommendations if I can help it, but they’re also welcome.

Becoming more interactive with my audience is one of my blogging goals, so feel free to comment and discuss below!

Here’s what you can do:

  • Recommend a book and I’ll review it
  • Give me some concepts you’d like for me to discuss
  • Ask me for recommendations on specific topics
  • Ask for content that deals with other forms of media

I know that my posting hasn’t been up to par lately, and I sincerely apologize for that. I’m still trying to get back in the swing of things after so many changes, losses, and wins. Life is constantly evolving, and I’m excited for what the future holds, I just have to get past some things (old and new).

I look forward to hearing from y’all!

Book 19: Slounching Toward Nirvana by Charles Bukowski 

I liked what I knew of Bukowski in high school, granted at the time I had no exposure to feminism and no inkling as to what slut-shaming was (I was too busy calling all of the mean girls -who dated the guys who were emotionally and mentally abusing me instead of dating me- whores to realize that it was a gross habit caused by misplaced rage and internalized misogyny). 
I decided to give this book another shot,due mainly to my interest in poetry (obviously). Three poems in I’ve got Bukowski describing bar fights in front of whores, and I’m not sure if I’m down with this book. I picked it up in high school and never got around to reading it, though I frequently stumbled upon Bukowski poems randomly dispersed around the Internet and occasionally liked them. 

I do enjoy his tendency to write poetry on ugly subjects; bullying, violence, other elements of humanity that aren’t often the subject of poetic writings. However, as a goodreads reviewer so adequately put it, Bukowski was “assholish as always,” and it didn’t sit well with me. 

I have to admit, I really didn’t enjoy this book at all. I rarely dread poetry (through reading this book, I can definitely see why some people do). It’s not Bukowski’s best, and I’m not his biggest fan even then. 

I give it a 4/10. 

Poetry Planning

Lately I’ve been working on a little over a dozen poems that I started a few months back. 

Editing is no one’s favorite element of writing a successful piece, and I certainly don’t enjoy editing without peer advice, but I’ve been doing it pretty intently since last week. 

I picked up a habit/tip from my senior sem professor that I didn’t do in college; I print everything and then edit in ink pen before I look at the online document again.  It sounds like (and pretty much is) a total waste of paper and/or a super anti-environmentally friendly move, but it really does help my process. 

There’s about seven drafts of each work (aside from those that have been added along the way), and each one is slightly different than the last, but somehow, I’m still not 100% happy with any of them. I also have yet to title most of them, which my poetry professor would probably not approve of (and I like her stance on titles). 

I guess this is my long round about way of saying keep up the good work fellow writers and/or push through creative droughts because that’s what I’m doing right now. 

Book 18: Raising Confident Girls by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer

I picked this book up for free, after it and a few other feminist books were rejected by the buy-back service at 2nd and Charles (they were really overstocked). I was stoked on it as soon as i saw the title, and even more stoked when I glanced through and saw the formatting. As I mentioned in my post  A Baker’s Dozen Reviews to Look Forward to, this book includes advice for parents AND teachers on raising confident girls. In the world of ‘boys will be boys,’ we need more voices encouraging girls to be confident in their actions and opinions.

Parents and teachers have a huge effect on the way that girls’ personalities are shaped, as well as their confidence. Arming those influential adults with effective methods to foster a healthier atmosphere for girls is key. This book has 100 tips for doing just that.

The beginning of chapter one mentions the changes that our culture has undergone, mentioning the progress that women’s rights have undergone. Seeing as how this book was published in 2001, I expected a bit of misalignment with current feminist issues, and I thoroughly disliked the approach towards men to begin with (“regarded as creating more problems than they are worth” p. 6).I did appreciated the mention of mental health early on, and I was optimistic in part. Then came along the term “female” instead of woman/girl, and my hopes were again dashed in part. Did I mention that this book is problematic? Well, it is.

A few of my favorite tips, bits of advice, etc.
(All direct quotes from the text.)

  • Approve of who she is, even if you dislike what she does.
  • Some children don’t like too much hugging. Don’t force it.
  • Allow her some privacy.
  • Encourage her to care for others, but not to deny her own needs in the process or to define herself solely as a “giver.”
  • Support her when she’s under stress.
  • Offer choices.
  • Accept her friends.
  • Use reasons to explain, not persuade.
  • Punishment without humiliation.
  • Show interest, but don’t be intrusive.
  • Promote self-direction.

*Several of the points about came from the advice columns for parents or teachers on how to act on the broad and general tips.

My biggest take-away from this book is that it truly takes effort to build girls up in a society that constantly works against them.

I give this book a 6/10. Points deducted for the obvious lack of trans-inclusive rhetoric and other weird ideals being promoted.

Raising Confident Girls: 100 Tips For Parents And Teachers