Sunday, May 18, 2008
Weekly Geek v. 1

I couldn't pass up this blogger challenge over at The Hidden Side of a Leaf:

Choose a political or social issue that matters to you. Find several books addressing that issue; they don’t have to books you’ve read, just books you might like to read. Using images (of the book covers or whatever you feel illustrates your topic) present these books in your blog.

Not surprisingly, I immediately started gathering feminist books that I think every feminist and feminist reader should have in her/his library. BUT! I know that isn't that much of a stretch for this blog so I tagged on a bonus--Political Speechwriting! Feminism! Politics! And books! All in one post!

Maternal Thinking (Sara Ruddick): Fantastic book for feminists and peace activists. A new way to conceptualize motherhood and femininity. A must read.
Gender Trouble (Judith Butler): An academic book that has been accused of being too dense. But the book was fundamental to my understanding of the gender system and all that it encompasses.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Carson McCullers): A book about isolation, loneliness and labor politics. While not explicitly feminist, I'm not the first to view it as such. McCullers is magical and this book is her best.
The Color Purple (Alice Walker): Duh. Alice Walker. A heartbreaking book that exposes the true depths of patriarchy and misogyny. Walker's contribution to the feminist movement cannot be overstated.

And now for the bonus! Speechwriting. I am obsessed with political speechwriters. I love to imagine the intimate relationship they have with the President and words. So romantic. I haven't read either of these books but I plan to this summer.

White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters (Robert Schlesinger): Veteran Washington reporter Robert Schlesinger opens a fresh and revealing window on the modern presidency from FDR to George W. Bush. This is the first book to examine a crucial and often hidden role played by the men and women who help presidents find the words they hope will define their places in history.

Counselor: A Life At the Edge of History (Ted Sorenson): John F. Kennedy's closest advisor recounts in full for the first time his experience counseling Kennedy through the most dramatic moments in American history.

Let me know if you've read any of these--or plan to read any of these!

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Blogger Andi said...

White House Ghosts sounds surprisingly intriguing! Thanks for the tip.

Blogger Nymeth said...

The only one I've read is The Color Purple (such a powerful book) but the others definitely sound interesting.

Blogger Bonnie Jacobs said...

Why Women Should Rule the World hits both of your Weekly Geek aspects: feminism and politics. Dee Dee Myers, former White House press secretary, says everything could change if women ruled the world. Politics would be more collegial, businesses would be more productive, and communities would be healthier.

I gave this book to my best friend for her birthday, knowing I'll get to read it next. I can't tell you much about the book yet because she's still reading it (her birthday was just over a week ago), but I can share chapter titles:

1. Between a Political Rock and a Promise
2. Why Can't a Woman (Be More Like a Man)
3. Biology, Ideology, and Difference
4. If the Three Wise Men Had Been Women
5. The Nature of Violence
6. Getting to Win-Win
7. Plugging the Leaky Pipeline
8. Closing the Confidence Gap
9. Seeing Is Believing
10. Reaching Critical Mass

This sounds like fun reading to me, and my feminist days go back to the 1960s and 1970s ... when women were ALWAYS asked, "Can you type?" Which reminds me ... I wrote about "Can you type?" here:

Blogger kristen said...

Bonnie! You are so right. I cannot believe I left that book off the list. Thanks for the reminder and all the info!

Can't wait to check out your blog!

Blogger pussreboots said...

I recommend "Bachelor Girl" by Betsy Israel. Happy WG.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to link to this post for my REC list! I have The Color Purple but have yet to start. Thank you.

Blogger cj said...

It's always been funny to me that some of the most strident femminists do very little more than complain about things.

I don't mean you or anyone in the blogosphere specifically.

I'm simply speaking from my point of view and that is as a female police officer who was the first woman officer in three counties. I've actually fought the fight in a realistic way and I still do - without being strident about any of it.

And, with all due respect to DeeDee, women are not that much better than men when it comes to ruling the world. History shows us that.


Blogger alisonwonderland said...

The Color Purple is a favorite of mine. i haven't read any of the other books you've listed, but they all sound interesting. i'm not sure i'm up for Gender Trouble - my reading at this point needs to be more escape than work - but the others are going on my to-read list.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did my Weekly Geeks on feminism also -- I enjoy how people doing different topics can come up with entirely different lists! Maternal Thinking sounds fascinating, so it's going on my to read list.


Blogger simplyducky said...

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is one of my favorites. I haven't read it in years, but now I kind of want to pick it up again. She's a brilliant, sparse kind of writer. Did you know both her and her husband (also a writer, but I'm blanking on the name) were bisexual?


Blogger kristen said...


NO! I didn't know that and I LOVE that fact. Awesome.

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