Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Colonel Fitzwilliam

The interesting thing about Colonel Fitzwilliam in Pride and Prejudice is he is in pretty much the same position in life as the Bennet sisters.

Colonel Fitzwilliam is charming, but he isn't an eligible suitor for Elizabeth because, as a second son, he has little fortune of his own and therefore has to marry an heiress to continue living in the style to which he is accustomed. This is why he has to be charming - all he has to offer the as-yet-theoretical heiress he needs to marry is his charms, and perhaps connections to an earldom if he finds a new-money heiress who doesn't yet have connections with nobility.

Similarly, the Bennet sisters have little fortune of their own and need to marry someone with money to continue living in the style to which they are accustomed. And they have to be charming, because all they have to offer a prospective husband is their charms, and perhaps connections with gentry if they find new-money husbands who don't yet have connections with gentry.

Now, Colonel Fitzwilliam does have his career in the military, which earns him some money. Indeed, it is more money than many people of that era have. But he still feels the need to marry an heiress because he would suffer a significant decline in quality of life if he were limited to living on his military salary.

Similarly, the Bennet sisters do have their dowries, which are more money than many people of that era have. But they still feel the need to marry well, because they would suffer a significant decline in quality of  of life if they were limited to living off their dowries after their father dies.

So despite the fact that, on the surface, a colonel has far more freedom and options than an unmarried young lady in this era, Colonel Fitzwilliam faces essentially the same challenges as the Bennet sisters if he doesn't want his quality of life to decline, and he has to perform the same emotional labour to have any hope of maintaining his quality of life.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Books read in October 2017

New:

1. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
2. Toronto Public Etiquette Guide by Dylan Reid
3. Why Won't You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts by Harriet Lerner
4. Dangerous Women (anthology) ed. George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
5. Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada by Chelsea Vowel 
6. Glass Houses by Louise Penny
7.  I Am Woman: A Native Perspective On Sociology And Feminism by Lee Maracle

Reread:

1. Strangers in Death
2. Salvation in Death
3. Ritual in Death

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel

Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel is a fantastic primer for those of us who are reading for reconciliation from an ignorant settler starting point.

In an easy and approachable style, it gives an overview that helped me get a better idea of where I am and am not ignorant - I now know far more about what I don't know, and about what else there might be to know.  It has spared me the embarrassment of several blog posts that I was vaguely considering but now know to be ignorant, and has led me to consider that various ideas I had in other areas of life might be ignorant as well.

I don't normally review books because I'm not particularly good at doing so, but this one had such a clear positive impact that I just had to share.  And I don't normally buy books, preferring instead to read from the library, but I will be buying this one so I can refer back to it as needed.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Books read in September 2017

New:

1. The Break by Katherena Vermette
2. Better Now: Six Big Ideas To Improve Health Care For All Canadians by Dr. Danielle Martin 

Reread:

1. Innocent in Death
2. Creation in Death

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Books read in August 2017

New:

1. Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer edited by John Lorinc, Jane Farrow, Stephanie Chambers, Maureen FitzGerald, Tim McCaskell, Rebecka Sheffield, Tatum Taylor, Rahim Thawer & Ed Jackson
2. Nipê Wânîn by Mika Lafond

Reread:

1. Memory in Death
2. Haunted in Death
3. Believe Me
4. Born in Death

Monday, July 31, 2017

Books read in July 2017

New:

1. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
2. Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton
3. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin
4. Red: A Haida Manga by by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
5. Akilak's Adventure by by Deborah Kigjugalik Webster
6. Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill
7. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder


Reread:

1. Survivor in Death
2. Origin in Death

Friday, June 30, 2017

Books read in June 2017

New:

1. Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard
2. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Reread:

1. Divided in Death
2. Visions in Death

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Books read in May 2017

New:

1. The Bonjour Effect: The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed by Julie Barlow & Jean-Benoît Nadeau
2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed
3. The Debs of Bletchley Park and Other Stories by Michael Smith
4. What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear by Danielle Ofri, MD

Reread:

1. Remember When

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Books read in April 2017

New:

1. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
2. Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb
3. Frontier City: Toronto on the Verge of Greatness by Shawn Micallef
4. Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb
5. A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

Reread:

1. Imitation in Death

Friday, March 31, 2017

Books read in March 2017

New:

1. We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp
2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
3. Northern Lights against POPs: Combatting Toxic Threats in the Arctic edited by David Leonard Downie and Terry Fenge
4. Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
5. Wenjack by Joseph Boyden

Reread:

1. Portrait in Death

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Books read in February 2017

 New:

1. Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel
2. The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King
3. Lightfinder by Aaron Paquette

Reread:

1. Reunion in Death
2. Purity in Death
3. Brotherhood in Death

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Books read in January 2017

New:

1. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin
2. Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
3. A Burglar's Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh
4. The Secret Path by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire
5. Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson and David Shannon 
6. A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin 
7. Missing Nimâmâ by Melanie Florence
 

Reread:

1. Witness in Death
2. Judgment in Death
3. Betrayal in Death
4. Interlude in Death
5. Seduction in Death

Monday, January 02, 2017

Girl colours and boy colours

I currently have four baby cousins: three boys and one girl. (They aren't all so much babies - the oldest one is 3 - but old nomenclature dies hard.  And it's not like they can read this blog to complain that I'm referring to them as babies.) I bought xmas gifts for all of them (I don't celebrate xmas myself, but my family does and it's an awesome excuse to look through all the adorable children's books at Mabel's Fables), and since all the gifts would be going under the same tree I put gift tags on them.

I managed to find a package of non-xmas-themed gift tags in all different colours, one of which is pink.  So I put the pink tag on the girl's gift.  Because pink is for girls.

Of course, I myself don't actually think pink is exclusively for girls and not for boys at all.  If any of my male baby cousins expressed interest in pink things or things that are culturally marked as for girls, I'd be the first to make sure he had all the girly things he wanted. 

But, because on a broader cultural level pink has connotations as "for girls", some boys might not like it.  Some boys might find it insulting to be given the pink thing. It might be problematic to give one brother pink and the other brother a colour without gender connotations. (The inverse is true too - I remember once feeling very humiliated and insecure in my femininity when my sister got a Judy Jetson toy and I was given smelly old George Jetson.)

If I had multiple pink tags, I wouldn't hesitate to give every child a pink tag. But I only had the one, and I only ever use gift tags for the baby cousins, so the one pink gift tag went to the one girl.

And so, out of consideration for connotations that these small children may or may not have yet picked up from the prevailing culture, gender stereotypes of colours are perpetuated for another generation.

***

Another similar issue is that I'm very mindful of making sure the boys get books with male protagonists (insofar as the books have protagonists and the protagonists have gender - with children this young, sometimes the books are about animals or shapes or colours, and sometimes they don't have enough of a plot to have a protagonist), but I don't put the same thought into making sure the girl gets books with female protagonists.  This is because I have the idea, absorbed from the ether, that boy are more likely to be reluctant readers, and that boys are more likely to be disinclined to read books with female protagonists. 

In real life, none of these kids are reluctant readers, simply because they're too young for anyone to make that determination.  In real life, I'm not even sure to what extent children that age do or don't perceive gender.  But, nevertheless, I've decided to pre-emptively address this Thing That People On The Internet Say Might Happen, and, as a result, might be perpetuating the stereotype that books about girls aren't for boys.

Part of it is the fact that I can testify from my own first-hand experience that even a girly girl whose gender identity and expression is wholly feminine can totally enjoy books about a male protagonist, and therefore would feel confident in getting a girl a book with a male protagonist.  But I have heard anecdotes of boys being disinclined to read female protagonists, and I only have a self righteous "Well, it shouldn't make any difference!" to counter that.  (I don't actually know whether my male baby cousins as individuals care about the genders of their protagonists - I'm never able to have as comprehensive a conversation with their parents as I'd like because we keep getting interrupted by the presence of babies and toddlers.)

But ultimately, I think it's more important (in terms of both gift-giving and child development) to maximize the likelihood that the kidlets will enjoy the books put in front of them. And so I resort to gender stereotypes unless I have further specific information.

I kind of wish I could switch off that portion of my knowledge of self and culture, and choose books cheerfully unaware of what gender (and other) stereotypes might exist and need to be addressed.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Books read in December 2016

New:

1. Birdie by Tracie Lindberg
2. A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
3. The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
4. Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection edited by Hope Nicholson
5. The Idiot Brain: A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head Is Really Up To by Dean Burnett
6. Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Reread:

1. Midnight in Death
2. Conspiracy in Death
3. Loyalty in Death

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Books read in November 2016

New:

1. The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture by Glen Weldon
2. Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

Reread:

1. Holiday in Death 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Books read in October 2016

New:

1. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
2. Down The Rabbit Hole (anthology) by Robb, Blayney, Fox, McComas and Ryan
3. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

Reread:

1. Ceremony in Death
2. Vengeance in Death

Friday, September 30, 2016

Books read in September 2016

New:

1. The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet's Pride and Prejudice by Jennifer Paynter
2. Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film by Glenn Kurtz
3. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

Reread:

1. Glory in Death
2. Immortal in Death
3. Rapture in Death

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Books read in August 2016

New:

1. Devoted in Death
2. Wonderment in Death
3. Brotherhood in Death
4. For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts' Advice to Women by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English
5. The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín
6. Citizen: Am American Lyric by Claudia Rankine 

Reread:

1. Obsession in Death
2. Naked in Death

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Books read in July 2016

New:

1. Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman
2. The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father, One Day at a Time by Jonathan Kozol
3. Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey
4. Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee--A Look Inside North Korea by Jang Jin-sung, translated by Shirley Lee


Reread:

1. Calculated in Death
2. Thankless in Death
3. Taken in Death
4. Concealed in Death
5. Festive in Death

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Books read in June 2016

New:

1. In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park with Maryanne Vollers
2. Not in Front of the Corgis: Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains by Brian Hoey
3. Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War by Brockmole, Gaynor, Holland, Jefferson, Kerrigan, Robson, Williams, Willig and Webb
4. Le Capital au XXIe siècle by Thomas Piketty


Reread:

1. New York to Dallas
2. Chaos in Death
3. Celebrity in Death
4. Delusion in Death