Today was the opening day of the Brisbane Bookfest, where three of the convention centre’s halls are filled with tables and those tables filled with second-hand books, most of which you can buy for $2.50 each. (There’s an expensive section too, but I prefer the cheaper sections with the slightly more worn books. I am a student, after all.
So what else was I to do other than buy a whole pile of books? (Bet you couldn’t see that one coming). And some truly wonderful ones I did find.
Some feminist books:
The Real Matilda by Miriam Dixson – A classic Australian feminist book about women and identity in Australia from 1788 to the present (well, 1976). I’m looking forward to reading this even though I’m not really that interested in Australia’s colonial history, and I am a little troubled about there being no mention of Aboriginal women in the contents. We’ll see where this one goes.
Backlash by Susan Faludi – This one I’ve read a lot about in the last few weeks and have been meaning to find at the library, so I was very happy when I found my own copy at the bookfest! The quote on the back says “What has made women unhappy in the last decade is not their equality – which they don’t have – but the rising pressure to halt, and even reverse, women’s quest for that equality.” I’m really interested in this book particularly because it’s more recent and deals with the post/counter-feminist backlash – the ones who say feminism has achieved its goal and should get over itself now.
Taking it Like a Woman by Ann Oakley – The Biography of British feminist Ann Oakley, as a mother, wife, academic and writer. I haven’t heard much about Ann Oakley, but I’m hoping this one lives up to it’s very cool blurb.
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf – this is another one I’ve earmarked for borrowing from the library and was very happy to find! Beauty is one of those things that so many of us, including myself, still struggle with, be it on a daily basis or every now and then. I particularly like the subtitle: “How images of beauty are used against women.”
Some history books to please my history geek:
Uppity Women of Ancient Times by Vicki Leon – a very fun-looking book for feminist ancient history geeks like me! It talks about 200 awesome women from Ancient History – women I know about and a whole bunch more that I don’t.
Why Weren’t We Told? by Henry Reynolds – One of the seminal texts of the history wars that came to prominence under John Howard’s PM-ship, spurned on by Reynolds and his main opponent, Keith Windschuttle (whose views make me want to vomit). I studied bits of this book in year 12 for extension history; it questions the way that the Australian past is viewed and taught and idealised, ignoring the real effects of colonialism on Australia’s Indigenous peoples.
Is History Fiction? – by Ann Curthoys and John Docker – an amazing book looking at historiography through time with a post-modern slant, literally examining whether history is fiction or something more. I also read bits of this for extension history in year 12, it’s really great.
And four novels:
The Seven Sisters by Margaret Drabble – I have read some other books by Margaret Drabble and I love her writing style, her women characters (so understatedly strong and well-written) and the realism of her novels, so elegant and not at all melodramatic.
Leaning Towards Infinity by Sue Woolfe – I don’t know this author, but the blurb drew me in – it talks of mathematics and discoveries, and going against the grain, and relationships, in the good way. I’m looking forward to reading this one, for some reasons books about maths are always so very good.
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood – I’ve been meaning to read this one for ages as well. I loved Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and this one seems to be a cross of a similar theme with something like Tony Morrison’s Beloved. Sounds amazing.
The Tale of Murasaki by Liza Dalby – This one’s about Murasaki Shikibu, author of the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji. I haven’t read it, but a woman writer in 10th Century Japan? Can’t be anything but awesome.
Lots of reading to look forward to!
On a side note, I am off to Sydney tomorrow, for a week of Latin Summer School at the University of Sydney, and am coincidentally also going to the annual Sydney femblogger’s Coogee beach meetup, where I hope I’ll meet some of the brilliant bloggers I’ve been reading lately! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. As such the blog will probably be dormant for a week or so. Any feminist things I must do while in Sydney?