The Bitch in the House by Cathi Hanauer
Published by Harper Collins on September 16th 2003
Genres: Essays, Literary Collections, Social Science, Women's Studies
Virginia Woolf introduced us to the “Angel in the House”, now prepare to meet... The Bitch In the House. Women today have more choices than at any time in history, yet many smart, ambitious, contemporary women are finding themselves angry, dissatisfied, stressed out. Why are they dissatisfied? And what do they really want? These questions form the premise of this passionate, provocative, funny, searingly honest collection of original essays in which twenty-six women writers—ranging in age from twenty-four to sixty-five, single and childless or married with children or four times divorced—invite readers into their lives, minds, and bedrooms to talk about the choices they’ve made, what’s working, and what’s not. With wit and humor, in prose as poetic and powerful as it is blunt and dead-on, these intriguing women offer details of their lives that they’ve never publicly revealed before, candidly sounding off on: • The difficult decisions and compromises of living with lovers, marrying, staying single and having children • The perpetual tug of war between love and work, family and career • The struggle to simultaneously care for ailing parents and a young family • The myth of co-parenting • Dealing with helpless mates and needy toddlers • The constrictions of traditional women’s roles as well as the cliches of feminism • Anger at laid-back live-in lovers content to live off a hardworking woman’s checkbook • Anger at being criticized for one’s weight • Anger directed at their mothers, right and wrong • And–well–more anger... “This book was born out of anger,” begins Cathi Hanauer, but the end result is an intimate sharing of experience that will move, amuse, and enlighten. The Bitch in the House is a perfect companion for your students as they plot a course through the many voices of modern feminism. This is the sound of the collective voice of successful women today-in all their anger, grace, and glory. From The Bitch In the House: “I believed myself to be a feminist, and I vowed never to fall into the same trap of domestic boredom and servitude that I saw my mother as being fully entrenched in; never to settle for a life that was, as I saw it, lacking independence, authority, and respect.” –E.S. Maduro, page 5 “Here are a few things people have said about me at the office: ‘You’re unflappable.’ ‘Are you ever in a bad mood?’ Here are things people—okay, the members of my family—have said about me at home: ‘‘Mommy is always grumpy.’ ‘Why are you so tense?’ ‘You’re too mean to live in this house and I want you to go back to work for the rest of your life!’” –Kristin van Ogtrop, page 161 “I didn’t want to be a bad mother I wanted to be my mother-safe, protective, rational, calm-without giving up all my anger, because my anger fueled me.” – Elissa Schappell, page 195
This is an anthology with 26 well known woman writers who discuss about motherhood and marriage and one was on weight.
Feminist lit has come a long way than when it was still in its infancy. The woman have almost everything feminist has fought for and yet they still seem to be missing something. They fell out of touch with what feminism is today. That is not to say this is a sad book. It is not. Far from it. There are undercurrents of anger spread through out the book. All of us are like that right?
I found it refreshing to see woman talk so honestly and candidly about the “bitch” that often emerges in motherhood. All to often we hold this part hidden because “good” mothers are not supposed to feel this way. Which itself is a ridiculous notion because really, when you have a crying baby and are trying to handle a demanding job who is ever going to feel “good enough”? This book explores that concepts well. I agree with what a lot of the woman say, just cause you have it all, does not mean you feel like you have it all. This is an example of how some woman have come to feel disjointed by today’s feminism.
It also explores how in the coming days of a major event a wedding or a baby the couple believes such things like housework to be split evenly. However once the big day arrives it is usually the woman who gets the brunt of doing housework on top of everything else. This is seems to be a source of pride, sort of like super wife or super mom. Again not every woman will feel this way but it is a recurring theme. I also found it refreshing to hear some of the woman talk about taboo subjects. For example a few of the woman were mistresses. That is not something that media talks about openly.
This book was well written especially since it is an anthology. The woman who put all the stories together did well in making all the different stories flow into one another. It did not read as 26 separate stories but rather as a continuum from one story to the next.
This maybe me digging into the symbolism a little to deep but I also feel that this book encompasses the idea that we all are different with our own unique experience but that we can come together as woman and make a beautiful whole, just like this book.
Many people are writing what books they are thankful for, as for me I am thankful to be able to read.Earlier this year my mind started racing and I couldn’t keep track of a single thought. It was as if words whizzed right by my comprehension. All was corrected in OCT and ever since I have been grateful.
I have decided to post on Mondays. Wensday and Fridays and of course Sunday. I may post more but I feel I need to get into a schedule so maybe this will help.
I decided to sign up for Formspring. Sometimes I run out of Ideas of what to talk about so am hoping you can ask anything and it will jump start my creativity. Click to go to the link.
At the moment I am reading Super Sad true love story and it lives up to its hype. I am loving it. I hope to finish it today.
What are you reading today?
What is the most difficult literary work you’ve ever read? What made it so difficult?
The first book that stands out Is Old Man and the Sea. It stands out because when I read it in high school I had yet to grasp symbolism so it made no sense. Why would a man hold a fish all the way to shore?
My teacher was telling me and the class it was symbolic. Me being as out spoken as i am was telling her it still did not make any sense. As I am deaf and went to a deaf school the teacher tends to show a movie to help us understand better. I thought the movie was dumb too. After a week of explaining step by step the story behind the story so to speak I began to grasp what it was really about.
Once I understood it opened up a whole new world for me in terms of reading and enjoying books.
Next up on my list is Gravity’s Rainbow so am curious how that will go.
Flow by Mihaly Csikszent
Published by Harper Collins on March 13th 1991
Genres: General, Psychology
The world's foremost producer of personal development and motivational audio programs gives you the tools to unleash the secret of peak performance.
Remember the last time that you were so focused, so motivated that you felt at the absolute top of your form -- alert, energized and free of self-consciousness? Chances are you were experiencing flow -- an almost euphoric state of concentration and complete involvement.
Now, esteemed psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi reveals how you can achieve this state of mind at will -- and turn everyday experience into a moment by moment opportunity for joy and self-fulfillment. Drawing on over 30 years of breakthrough research into what makes people satisfied, he explains the key elements of the flow experience
The book’s premise is to explain how to induce happiness. It goes by the theory that there are certain things that people do that can make their life more meaningful. His most important message was how to induce “Flow” which is the art of losing oneself completely in what ever activity one is doing.
He did research by having people wear beepers and when ever they contacted the person they was supposed to stop and record what they was doing and how they felt. From this he figured out what made people the happiest.
I found some very useful information in this book. I am not sure if it is just me but the sentence that stood out the most was the one on how chess players who is supposedly the epitome of flow exercised to better their concentration. I couldn’t help but wonder if it would work for reading also.
The second thing that stood out was that in order to keep gaining satisfaction for our activities we have to keep it interesting and challenging. If something becomes to easy we wont have the same satisfaction as we did when we first started an activity. This makes sense when one thinks about it. How many times have we started something then became bored with it then did not want to do it anymore? I know I have done that many times. We have to find new ways of doing something to keep the excitement.
It also focused on mental activities as ways of warding off boredom in the situations we find ourselves in without any physical activities. I know I could never do this. The very thought of being caught without a book is enough to induce anxiety. There are some people that apparently can do this.
He provides a number case studies so we can see each concept in action. I was somewhat fascinated. He makes his case very well. I came away eager to try some of the concepts in the book.
The writing can be dull at times but i think that is more of his being a scientist than his writing ability. It is well written and understandable so that the lay person can understand how to implement the concepts.
Woman by Natalie Angier
Published by Anchor Books on 1999
Genres: Health & Fitness, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Life Sciences, Science, Social Science, Women's Health, Women's Studies
With the clarity, insight, and sheer exuberance of language that make her one ofThe New York Times's premier stylists, Pulitzer Prize-winner Natalie Angier lifts the veil of secrecy from that most enigmatic of evolutionary masterpieces, the female body. Angier takes readers on a mesmerizing tour of female anatomy and physiology that explores everything from organs to orgasm, and delves into topics such as exercise, menopause, and the mysterious properties of breast milk. A self-proclaimed
First of all I want to comment on Angier writing. It was a cross between a lyrical method and a science no nonsense method. I couldn’t make up my mind if I liked it or not. Sometimes I wish she would stay with one kind of writing. At times it grated on my nerves. At other times I thought it was beautiful way of composing a sensitive and oft misrepresented subject.
The context of the book was well written and informative. She uses science and anecdotes from the animal kingdom to illustrate her topics.
She takes the reader on a journey though the female anatomy. At 30 years of age I wish I read this book when I was 18. It provided advice on what’s normal and what’s not. It also answers questions that you may be to embarrassed to ask. The author is an accomplished biology writer so she knows in depth about what she writes.
I liked that it was written from a feminist point of view. I often feel that there are not enough books that give women a reason to feel good about themselves and their bodies. This is a book that does both.
I have to be honest. This book made me hungry reading it. On every sugar infested page there were mouth watering descriptions of various candies. The way he described them I could almost taste them. I had to make several trips to the store to stock up on candies. Not good for my diet.
The author Steve Almond (his last name is a testament to his love of candy I think ,and yes it is his real last name) is a self professed candy freak who “has eaten a piece of candy every day of his life” and decided to see how the “underbellies” of the candy trade were doing. There are the “big three’’ of the candy trade then there is the small independently owned candy factories.
Almond visits various independent candy factories. He tours the factories and he gives accounts of what it is like. I had to admit at times I was jealous of all the free candy he received. Almond goes into glorious detail of various candy bars. It was almost as good as being there.
Of the various candies I am to young to know of any expect the goo goo clusters since I am from the south.
I loved his humor. It is sprinkled out in appropriate dosage. Even when he was writing about his brief period with depression he still conveyed it in a way that made the reader feel that it was not all that bad and hey he got free candy!
There were even some facts that I did not know before i read this book. For example, candy companies have to pay a shelving fee to have their candies displayed in stores. An independent candy company cant compete against the “big three’ so they have to find alterative avenues like the dollar store. That explains why you see the same candies again and again in almost every store you go to.
There was also a history of candy making that I found fascinating. I now know that my love for milk chocolate is because the big three use milk chocolate so that what you taste most of the time. It is what your taste buds grow accustomed to. If however we were to acquire the taste of real chocolate then according to the “experts” we would have a much more distinguished palate.
This little book provides an entertaining and insightful look at the candy making industry. Just be sure that you have plenty of candy while you are reading this.
First for those who want an update on my read a thon. It was horrible. I kept getting distracted then I fell asleep. I have a plan for the next read a thon though. I am going to lock myself in a hotel room and dare anyone to bother me.
In other news I have checked out a total of 10 books from the Library. I told myself that I will not check out anymore books until I get those ten read but then I remembered that Halloween is coming and I want to do a Halloween themed post. I need to decided on a book and soon if that is to happen. Any Ideas?
I am still reading Women; An intimate geography. I have an excuse for reading so slow though. I was at the Library and I took a wrong turn and found all the periodicals. The book reviews periodicals that I have wanted to read but did not have access too and was to broke to subscribe are all there. The New York Review of books and others. I was like a little kid in a candy store. I sat down and read all of them for hours. I hope that by reading them m own reviews will improve drastically.
I will definitely finish Woman today though then I will start on Flow which was recommended to me from a trusted friend. He has never recommend a book that i did not end up liking so I trust his judgment.
For once in my life I will be reading two books at the same time. I decided on a whim that I was going to learn how to knit so checked out Knitting for Dummies. I usually hate reading more than one book at a time so we shall see how it goes.
Where are you reading from today? I am reading from Kent Ohio
3 facts about me
After living in the south all my life I just moved to the north
This is my second read-a-thon
I love to meet new people
How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours
I have five books.
Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
Not really. I find if I try and set goals and I don’t meet them I feel as if I have failed.
If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?
Change settings often and have plenty of food and caffeine ready