It was love at first sight for me and this newly translated collection of short stories by Nikolai Leskov, I walked around cradling it and crying to myself until I had enough money to buy it.
"The most persistent charge against Flynn’s books concerns their sexual politics. (Be warned that some readers may interpret the following as a spoiler.) Gone Girl’s plot turns partly on one female character fabricating a charge of rape – “a trope that exists because it’s powerful,” Eva Wiseman wrote in the Observer, but that “perpetuates an idea that rape can be complicated”; others have accused her of peddling “misogynist caricatures”, and of “a deep animosity towards women”. More generally, it’s true of all Flynn’s novels that her women can be reliably predicted to outdo the men in their capacity for moral depravity. Flynn identifies herself as a feminist, but does she worry that she’s damaging that cause in the quest for narrative shocks?
#yeah i really enjoy this about her books
#writing bad/morally reprehensible female villains demonstrates that women don't have to be good all the time
#women can be bad too
#women are well-rounded
#women are people
“To me, that puts a very, very small window on what feminism is,” she responds. “Is it really only girl power, and you-go-girl, and empower yourself, and be the best you can be? For me, it’s also the ability to have women who are bad characters … the one thing that really frustrates me is this idea that women are innately good, innately nurturing. In literature, they can be dismissably bad – trampy, vampy, bitchy types – but there’s still a big pushback against the idea that women can be just pragmatically evil, bad and selfish … I don’t write psycho bitches. The psycho bitch is just crazy – she has no motive, and so she’s a dismissible person because of her psycho-bitchiness.”
Writing on her website, she concedes that hers is “not a particularly flattering portrait of women, [but that’s] fine by me. Isn’t it time to acknowledge the ugly side? I’ve grown quite weary of the spunky heroines, brave rape victims, soul-searching fashionistas that stock so many books. I particularly mourn the lack of female villains.” It should probably be added that her lurid plots make no claim to social realism: to interpret her evil female characters as somehow representative of their real-life gender, you must willfully overlook hundreds of pages of other people and events that you’d almost certainly never encounter in reality, either."
"How strange it is. We have these deep terrible lingering fears about ourselves and the people we love. Yet we walk around, talk to people, eat and drink. We manage to function. The feelings are deep and real. Shouldn’t they paralyze us? How is it we can survive them, at least for a while? We drive a car, we teach a class. How is it no one sees how deeply afraid we were, last night, this morning? Is it something we all hide from each other, by mutual consent? Or do we share the same secret without knowing it? Wear the same disguise."
Don DeLillo, White Noise
During the act of reading engaging fiction, we can lose all sense of time. By the final chapter of the right book, we feel changed in our own lives, even if what we’ve read is entirely made up.
Research says that’s because while you’re engaged in fiction—unlike nonfiction—you’re given a safe arena to experience emotions without the need for self-protection. Since the events you’re reading about do not follow you into your own life, you can feel strong emotions freely.
The key metric the researchers used is “emotionally transported,” or how deeply connected we are to the story. Previous research has shown that when we read stories about people experiencing specific emotions or events it triggers activity in our brains as if we were right there in the thick of the action.
"On Christmas Day 1915, looking back at his diary, [Kafka] realized that over the past three or four years he could have made thousands of entries all more or less identical with the last one, all complaining ineffectually. But, at thirty-two, he could no longer believe, as he had ten years earlier, that it was within his powers to solve the problems that made life so difficult for him."
John Keats, from a letter to Fanny Brawne in which he writes: “I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion - I have shuddered at it. I shudder no more - I could be martyred for my religion - Love is my religion - I could die for that.”
(Source: violentwavesofemotion, via noseinabook)
[image description: a blue banner reading “queer books for ravenclaw” is surrounded by six book covers of the titles listed below]
This is the second of four recommended reading lists of queer and queer-ish books, organized by Hogwarts houses! Gryffindor can be found here. ENJOY.
Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
This collection of short works on identity, community and authenticity covers a lot of territory - “passing” as related to gender, race, disability, work, nationality, sexuality, and more. Pick it up if you’re itching for more complex perspectives on social justice.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Besides being an absolute masterpiece of the comics format, Bechdel’s memoir about her cold and inscrutable father earns major Ravenclaw appeal with its highbrow literary allusions. If psychology is more your thing, try her other memoir, Are You My Mother?
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This book tells the story of two Mexican-American teens - Ari, an angry loner, and Dante, a quirky intellectual - who form a transformative bond and ponder over poetry, philosophy and life’s many mysteries. I haven’t gotten my hands on this one yet, but I’ve been told it’s one of those rare transcendent young adult books, emotionally resonant and masterfully crafted.
Israel/Palestine and the Queer International by Sarah Schulman
This latest work from the prolific author and longtime activist chronicles her travels through Tel Aviv and the West Bank and her growing consciousness of the occupation of Palestine. Read it for a knowledgeable queer perspective on a divisive topic.
Adaptation by Malinda Lo
There’s not much on this list for science aficionados, but hopefully some science fiction will suit you. Did you know Malinda Lo did graduate work on The X-Files? This novel, the first in a forthcoming series, has flavors of the 90s TV show and should delight fans of Mulder and Scully, creepy conspiracies, and queer representation in sci-fi lit.
Transgender History by Susan Stryker
For the history buffs - this concise text on transgender people in America between the mid twentieth century and early twenty-first puts trans communities and movements in historical context and offers a compact but comprehensive chronicle of our stories.
"Time was passing like a hand waving from a train I wanted to be on.
I hope you never have to think about anything as much as I think about you."
"Why can’t he understand, even to this day, just how much I can bear for him? Why, why doesn’t he know me yet? How dare he not know me after all that has happened between us? I want to save him once and for all."
#what is this????