April 22, 2012

The Reading Files - From feminism to the end of the world

What a weird selection of books I read this week. I'm sure this tells you something about my inner workings, but I have no clue what that might be. Without further ado, here's what's been on this week's reading menu.

It Looked Different On The Model (Laurie Notaro)
Source: bought new
Genre: Non Fiction / Memoir / Humor

Everyone’s favorite Idiot Girl, Laurie Notaro, is just trying to find the right fit, whether it’s in the adorable blouse that looks charming on the mannequin but leaves her in a literal bind or in her neighborhood after she’s shamefully exposed at a holiday party by delivering a low-quality rendition of “Jingle Bells.” Notaro makes misstep after riotous misstep as she shares tales of marriage and family, including stories about the dog-bark translator that deciphers Notaro’s and her husband’s own “woofs” a little too accurately, the emails from her mother with “FWD” in the subject line (“which in email code means Forecasting World Destruction”), and the dead-of-night shopping sprees and Devil Dog–devouring monkeyshines of a creature known as “Ambien Laurie.” At every turn, Notaro’s pluck and irresistible candor set the New York Times bestselling author on a journey that’s laugh-out-loud funny and utterly unforgettable.

Title & Cover: Ha, love it!
Story: Laurie's real life adventures from the hazards of buying stamps to letters to iPhone thieves.
Narrative: Sometimes funny, sometimes bordering on annoying!
Characters: Laurie Circa 1994, Ambien Laurie, etc.
Thoughts: This book isn't as hilarious as some people (or the praise on the back cover) claims. Her "epic tales" are sometimes wonderful and really make you laugh, then they are just blah. Then again, that's what you often get with story collections.

How To Be A Woman (Caitlin Moran)
Source: bought new
Genre: Non Fiction / Memoir / Feminism

1913 – Suffragette throws herself under the King’s horse.
1969 – Feminists storm Miss World.
NOW – Caitlin Moran rewrites The Female Eunuch from a bar stool and demands to know why pants are getting smaller.
There’s never been a better time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain…
Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should you get Botox? Do men secretly hate us? What should you call your vagina? Why does your bra hurt? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby?
Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin Moran answers these questions and more in How To Be A Woman – following her from her terrible 13th birthday (‘I am 13 stone, have no friends, and boys throw gravel at me when they see me’) through adolescence, the workplace, strip-clubs, love, fat, abortion, TopShop, motherhood and beyond.

Title & Cover: This is what a feminist looks like! Neat cover!
Story: Caitlin tells her candid tale of "becoming a woman" - from growing pubic hair to having children.
Narrative: The writing is poignant in places, then it borders on mediocre.
Characters: Caitlin, and women in general.
Thoughts: This book came sooo close to getting a five star rating if it hadn't been for the writing which really fluctuated in quality. On the bright side, the brutally honest insights into topics that all women deal with but never really speak about openly, is a revelation.

The Fate Of The Species (Fred Guterl)
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Non Fiction / Science

The sixth "mass extinction event" in the history of planet Earth is currently under way, with over two hundred species dying off every day. The cause of this seismic event is also the source of the single biggest threat to human life: our own inventions.
But for all our talk about sea levels and biotechnology, do we really know what our future will actually look like? Will our immune systems be attacked by so-called super bugs, always evolving, and more easily spread than ever? Will the disappearance of numerous species cripple the biosphere? And if it does, what happens then? In this provocative, gripping book, Scientific American editor Fred Guterl explores these and other looming scenarios in vivid detail—the way they might really happen—and then proffers the means to avoid them.
We find ourselves in a trap: Technology got us into this mess, and it’s also the only thing that can help us survive it. Guterl’s riveting book is a grand and necessary thought experiment, not merely a scary story, but a fresh perspective on the world we’re remaking, and a route to safe harbor.

Title & Cover: I dunno. Too whitish. It does convey the idea of the book though. Sort of.
Story: What may be the likeliest causes of the end of (most) life? A broad spectrum with a heavy emphasis on technology as a reason.
Narrative: Colloquial, down to earth, with amusing undertones.
Characters: Humanity.
Thoughts: For once a book on how it may all end one day which is not flashy and filled of apocalyptic foreboding. Yet the content, while interesting and provocative, isn't all that well balanced.


  1. I have Moran's book here, I can't wait to read it this summer, or maybe sooner, now that you have read it as well and find it a revelation :)

    1. I think you're going to like it. I know many people would not and might even be offended by some of the content, but personally I love the downright open and honest narration.