The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler

If you saw on a goodreads last week, I recently read The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.

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The book kept popping up on my goodreads feed. People were commenting how much it impacted them, how fantastic it is and the like.

Before this, I heard about The Vagina Monologues, in an almost mythical way, as one of the key artistic pieces of feminism. It sounded powerful. It sounded intense. It sounded intimidating.

I dedicated this year to reading more feminist books to learn about issues talked about all the time, issues never talked about and subjects that society has told us to be uncomfortable about. I wanted to hear opinions that align with my own and opinions that differ.

I wanted to understand feminism, women’s rights and what it means to be a woman today in the most wholistic sense possible.

The Vagina Monologues, or what I’ve heard of it at least, made me uncomfortable.

It was exactly what I was looking for.

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I started the book on a lazy Sunday. Lounging around the house, elastic waistband clothes on, no makeup, smoothie in hand, sun streaming through the windows.

I finished it that day.

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I. Loved. It.

Yes, it can be intense. Yes, it can be intimidating. Yes, it certainly is powerful.

The monologues range from funny to heart breaking. From young girls to older women. From women of sexual assault to women giving birth.

I think the mythical feature that I talked about earlier comes from the fact that the play (Ensler toured around the country performing the play and it soon became a massive political movement) uses the word “vagina” on every page, multiple times. Not to mention it’s printed in large bold letters on the cover.

Vagina is a word that people don’t use. It almost feels taboo. Even more, people don’t talk about vaginas. It can be seen as shameful to do so. In response, Enlser began interviewing women about theirs and it soon became a revolution.

The monologues then went on to inspire the V-Day Movement to stop violence against women. If you get a newer copy of the play, there’s tons of information about it in the back.

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Honestly, I loved the Vagina Monologues. It’s a book that I think is so incredibly important and I would highly recommend it to everyone – both men and women.

I’m a big believer that discussing topics like this is the first step in bringing about change and, believe me, there’s no shortage of topics to discuss in The Vagina Monologues.

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Have you read TVM yet? What did you think and what was your favorite Monologue?

Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari

My favorite part of the day is the morning. I wake up early, make breakfast and settle in at the table, reading, eating and enjoying a big mug of coffee. Everything’s quiet, the house is still and whatever craziness is in store for the day hasn’t happened yet.

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The past few weeks have been crazy so last week, I picked up Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance thinking I could use a little humor to start my days. As I’m sure you can tell, I’m a huge Parks and Rec fan. I think Aziz is hysterical in the show and I couldn’t wait to read his book.

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I’ll admit, I didn’t read anything about the book before I bought it so you can imagine my surprise when I started reading it and quickly found out it was not a comedy book or hysterical memoir. It’s a sociological look at romance in the 21st century.

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Aziz teamed up with a sociologist from NYU and interviewed people from all over the world about their romantic lives and takes a look at statistical information from online dating sites and apps.

He talks about everything from the changes in dating from our grandparent’s generation where geographical proximity was key to today when dating apps open up the world to us to find our soulmates.

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He goes in depth about texting conversations, the history of online dating, what people look for in profiles and how picky we are and quick to judge others by the limited of information we initially share.

The most interesting chapter, I thought, was when he interviews people in other countries. The differences in dating in the U.S., Japan, Paris and Argentina are extreme.

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While it’s not the laugh until your belly hurts book I thought I was getting (don’t get me wrong, there are definitely funny parts – come on, it’s Aziz Ansari, you know there had to be) I still really enjoyed the book.

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I thought it was completely fascinating and well worth a read.

Tell me, have you read it? What did you think?

A Man Called Ove

There are some things in life that can’t be explained. No matter how hard you search for the right words, there are none. It’s one of the most frustrating feelings in the world.

It wasn’t until recently that someone said to me, those are things that aren’t meant to be explained, they’re meant to be felt. How true is that? One of the things I think are really meant to be felt is the feeling you get when a book touches your soul.

When you finish a book that has made you think, consumes you completely and you know life will never be the same again.

I just finished a book that did that for me: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

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The description on the back of the book is pretty vague so I don’t want to give you even the slightest spoiler. It’s a book about love, friendship, death and living. A book of unexpected relationships and the people who change your life .

I loved Ove. I loved Sonja. I loved Parvaneh. I loved the cat. I loved the daughters. I loved the silly Saab.

I would wake up early to get an extra chapter in, stretch my lunch breaks to the maximum, carry it around in my coat pocket so I didn’t miss any spare moments where I could dive back into Ove’s life.

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Remember when I wrote about the Little Paris Bookshelf and the literary apothecary who would prescribe the books people need?

Anyone who has ever felt alone, lost someone, counted on someone, formed unexpected friendships, loved animals, loved black coffee, felt a connection to a car. For anyone who has ever loved, lost, cried, laughed, cared for someone. Read this book. It starts a little slow but it’s worth it in the end.

I prescribe this book to you. Read it, come back and let me know what you think.

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How to Be a Woman

One of my goals for 2017 was to read more feminist literature.

I think it’s a common misconception when people talk about feminism to say “this is what it is”  and “this is what a feminist looks like” but it’s not true. Feminism is made up of so many parts and each part is made of further parts. A person can be a feminist but have different opinions about varying details.

That’s why I think it’s important to read feminist books, to understand where other’s are coming from who have beliefs similar or different from yours. I love that moment when you believe something and have a difficult time articulating it, then read something that perfectly encompasses your thoughts!

Even more important, I enjoy reading the thoughts of people with different opinions of mine. To use that as an opportunity to question why you believe what you do and to strengthen your worldview by better understanding where other people are coming from.

A long intro to lead up to this: I read my first feminist book of the year and I loved it!

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If you haven’t read “How to be a Woman” by Caitlin Moran, I can’t recommend it enough!

Moran doesn’t shy away from controversial topics. In fact, she tackles them head on with a tongue in cheek humor that will make you continue reading until you come back to reality and realize you thought you’ve only been reading for 10 minutes but have actually been gone gone for double your allotted lunch break time.

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There were chapters that made my laugh out loud, chapters that I continued thinking about well after I put the book down and chapters I cringed when reading.

I agreed with many of the topics she wrote about and disagreed with some as well but used that disagreement to think through why I disagree and where my opinion came from.

I put some of my favorite quotes up on Goodreads but I’ll leave you with my favorite:

“It really is important you say these words out loud. “I AM A FEMINIST.” If you feel you cannot say it—not even standing on the ground—I would be alarmed. It’s probably one of the most important things a woman will ever say: the equal of “I love you,” Is it a boy or a girl?” or “No! I’ve changed my mind! I don’t want bangs!” – Caitlin Moran

If you haven’t read it, give it a try and let me know what you think!

My Dear Lucy . . .

 

In an effort to focus on and post about the little things this month, I thought I’d tell you about my saving grace last night.

You know there are some days when you get home from work and the last thing you want to do is talk to people. You’re not mad at anyone but you just have nothing to say and want to be left in peace for a few hours?

That was me yesterday.

As you can probably tell, I’m a bit of a bookworm and nothing makes me happier than a book that lets me escape the world for a few hours.

There’s something so calming about diving into a favorite, dog-eared book that you’ve read so many times, you could practically recite it from memory. It has the same feeling as coming home after being away for a long time.

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For me, one of my very favorite escapes is to Narnia.

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From the first page, I’m sucked into a world of far-away lands, talking animals, battles and evil witches. All the things a good story needs.

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I have a nice copy on my bookshelf but when I need a good adventure, I always go for my beat up copy that’s perfect for curling up with, big mug of tea in hand (don’t worry I don’t treat all my books like this).

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If you’ve never read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, you’re sorely missing out.

A book written for a little girl but perfect for any age. It’s reads like a story being said out loud and gives you an incredible adventure where you don’t even have to leave the couch.

Only about 100 pages, it’s the perfect place to go to to escape your daily life for a short period of time.

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Even if you’re not into adventure stories, you should get a copy just for the inscription.

I’s by far the best I’ve ever seen.

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Tell me, what are your favorite, dog-eared books? Your go-to reads that you’ll never get sick of?

The Little Paris Bookshop

Albus Dumbledore (one of my very favorite literary characters) said, “words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic”. In all honesty, I don’t know if I’ve read something that resonated with me more. In fact, I have an amazing print that I found on Etsy of this quote that I framed and hung above my reading chair in my old apartment.

Ever since I can remember books have been my home. No matter how bad I felt things were at any given time, I could open a book and escape into a different world if only for a few moments.

You can imagine my uncontrollable excitement then when I stumbled across Blogging for Books. I nearly broke my computer in my haste to register and scroll through the endless possibilities of choices to make my first selection.

My choice: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George.

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Now, I’ll be completely honest with you: I knew nothing about this book when I selected it.

I’m a sucker for anything set in Paris (but come on, who isn’t?) and the phrase “literary apothecary” jumped out at me from the description. I was sold.

I’ve been purposely (and agonizingly) holding off reading it until I started my new job. I figured, the first few weeks are always stressful but what better way to unwind at the end of the night than a trip to Paris.

I envisioned a story full of quirky characters, cats, literary quotes and Parisian streets in the rain.

The book had all that but not in the way I was expecting.

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The plot revolves around Jean Perdu, a literary apothecary (can you think of a better career title for you business card because I sure as hell can’t). A man going through the motions of his life but not living.

He owns a bookshop on a barge floating in the Siene where he recommends books like medicine for people to help them with where they are in life. Can’t sleep? Going through a divorce? Feel like life is boring? He’ll find the book you need. The book that will speak to you.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so all I’ll say is that Jean has a rude awakening one day and impulsively sets off on an adventure through France with his quirky sidekick, books and cats. See – it did have those few things I was hoping for.

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Now, what’s the book about you may ask (the plot of a book and what it’s about are completely different things)? It’s about love and loss. Picking up the pieces of yourself when you feel like your world has been torn apart piece by piece and the importance of living your life – not going through the motions but living each and every day.

What did I think? I loved it. Ironically, I think if I were to meet Perdu in real life, this is the book he would tell me to read for where I am in my timeline. I laughed. I cried. I reread passages because it felt like they spoke to my soul.

If you’ve ever lost anyone – a friendship that’s drifted apart, a bad ending to a relationship or losing someone to death, you must read this.

If you want a book that makes you think about your life and the path you’re on, you must read this too.

If you need inspiration to break out of your comfort zone and do something for yourself, get this book immediately.

It’s beautifully written and if you appreciate the beauty of a thought-provoking sentence, you’ll love this.

As a lover of words, let me leave you with one of my favorites:

” We are loved if we love, another truth we always seem to forget. Have you noticed that most people prefer to be loved, and will do anything it takes? . . . If only they loved with the same energy; hallelujah, the world would be so wonderful”

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