Monday, 9 June 2008


The weather continues unabated as though low pressure systems were the new black.

My son is trying to educate me, open my reading to include things other than Sci-fi. It's kind of his job. He's an English teacher, I'm his mother, ergo...

And it's working.
I have always loved poetry, but in the way that one loves mustard or marmite, a little goes a long way, but life is richer for it.

Now I have been shown the work of Carol Ann Duffy, who I believe is a strong possibility for the ten-year position of Poet Laureate, and it is quite addictive. The book I have (been given) is her 'Feminine Gospels'. They are superb, often surreal word paintings and sometimes stories that keep you spellbound and make you read and re-read. I hope she gets the laurels.
But...I won't hold my breath, after all, she is a woman. (And I believe 'Family', Sleepy.)

Another book that took me by surprise was 'Things Fall Apart' by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. Reading was slow at first, in part due to my inability to not hear Omid Djalili's Nigerian accent impersonation in my head, but the book was written at a time when I was living in Nigeria with my parents.
The description of life in rural Nigeria was matter-of-fact, gentle and yet acceptingly brutal at times. And then something happened in the story and it deepened my understanding of some small aspect of the country I once lived in. A fascinating, thought-provoking book.

New Scientist keeps coming at me like the rain, but I am making progress with that too. Dr. James Barry, a renowned medical doctor with the army until his death on the 25th July 1865, oddly, St. James's day, served across the empire and was a reformer who improved the health of civilians and soldiers.
On his death, however, Dr. Barry was discovered to be a woman. Of course, this was discovered by another woman, the one who laid her out, Sophia Bishop, so of course, her testimony was denied and disbelieved. Now, however, new research supports her witness. Imagine, she was taken seriously, allowed to study, her ideas and work informed healthcare reform, and all because everyone believed her to be a man. Even though she had the body and the twiddly bits of a frail and feeble woman.
Oh, whoops, sorry, just mis-quoting Britain's greatest ever monarch.
Ho-hum, 'magine that.

At the age of 14, Hillary Rodham sent a letter to NASA enquiring how she could volunteer with them. A letter came back informing her that women need not apply.

In her senior year at High School, she ran for class president. Her opponent immediately started a mud-slinging campaign, to which Hillary refused to retaliate, and was then told that she was 'stupid if she thought a girl could be president.'

For more, or maybe even ALL about misogyny, I point you to David Gilmore's 'Misogyny : The Male Malady'. Perhaps it should be made compulsory reading in certain school systems. Oh, pardonnez-moi, did I say certain? I meant of course, all.


Anonymous said...

I have reserved, "The Red Tent" from the library. It's apparently about Biblical times from a woman's point of view. I hear it's great.
- Karen

Schneewittchen said...

It sounds intriguing.....