Read, Reading and to Read...

by Sophie Brown


Books and the act of reading them have always been a great friend to me, I was a wee book worm when I was young, but with the increasingly exciting and visually stimulating world of ze Internet always in my hands I admit that my friend must often take a backseat. I am sure everyone can relate to this issue, where you plan to be productive and enlighten your mind once you get back in from a tough day of 'making it' in work but in reality you just sit on the sofa and start swiping. Instagram swiping for me for I am a married lady but I'm sure Grinder and Tinder swiping provide the same kind of frustratingly addictive distraction. So with this said, I decided to get a grip and start on a journey of rediscovering my love for reading.  Below I am going to talk about what I have read, what I am reading and what book I cannot wait to get my filthy Internet addicted hands on. 

 

Read....

For Christmas, my hubbie surprised me with two great books including 'I Call Myself a Feminist' which is a collection of short essays written by twenty five feminists under the age of 30.  I was really excited to get started on this book because as I get older and more interested in the intricacies of life and politics and experiences that are outside of my own personal  experience, books like this for me really are a pathway to becoming the person I want to be. A more enlightened, understanding, passionate person. From start to finish this book really spoke to me and had me totally engaged, there were so many eureka moments reading it in bed where I shouted out 'I feel the same way!'.  It puts to bed the condescending theory that all feminists are man haters and talks to women in a way that we can all relate to. We have all had moments I'm sure were being a woman has made us think we have to act in a certain way that is not natural to us, where we have felt that we had to conform to a certain standard or look a certain way and it is liberating to hear these women talk about breaking out of these stereotypes and acting exactly how they want to. It made me want to question everything I have ever been told about being a woman.  The book contains essays from a wide variety of women also, from a mix of backgrounds, religions and sexual orientations which just adds to the rich tapestry of the text.  I recommend it highly to both women and men as we all need to be feminists to create a society of true equality between the sexes. 

"Now and in the future patriarchal attitudes will benefit no one, least of all the men."

Eva Figes, Patriarchal Attitudes

 

Reading.....

I am currently in the middle of reading "Reading Lolita in Tehran". A book about reading, how apt! I bought this book in a brilliant bookshop in Liverpool 'News from Nowhere'. It grabbed my attention as it is a memoir focused around the transformative power of books set in a place that I am fascinated by.  I really love the book so far, it is often a sad read as it clearly depicts the painful lack of freedom and self expression suffered by the central characters in Tehran but it is insightful and often hopeful simultaneously, using the imagery and central ideas used in the western literature they study.   One line I love  is " I remember Nabokov's claim that "readers were born free and ought to remain free". No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, you will always have the freedom of your mind. Through these banned pieces of literature, the book group are finding ways to be free using their imagination even though they are physically bound by the act of covering themselves up and not acting in ways that may upset the authorities.  The book also acts as an account of the Iranian revolution in the 70's, Azar talks of how the country went from being a increasingly westernized country run by a Shah to an Islamic Republic. It is so interesting as I am from a generation who only remembers Iran as a deeply religious country troubled by War. My mum's generation remember it's beauty and freedom and progressive attitudes towards women and education so to see this woman's freedom erode so quickly aswell as the freedom of her colleagues and friends is really sad. I think it will be a book that I will re-read and re-read again over the years as there is so much to take from it, you are immersed in their world once you open up the pages and it is a hard world to forget once it is closed.

To Read............

So next on my list to read is 'The Lonely City, Adventures in the Art of Being Alone' by Olivia Laing, I bought this on a day where I was feeling particularly morose and kind of fed up with the weather and my surroundings and so this quite mysterious book about being alone in New York really appealed to me. It feels like it is going to be one of those books where not much happens but everything happens if you catch my drift, like one of those episodes of 'Girls' where Hannah wanders off into the countryside and skulks around in a floral tea dress and boots to the soundtrack of some hipster folk band from Williamsburg. It's cover talks about the resisting and redeeming of loneliness and how it is all bound up into a discussion of the magic possibilities of art which sounds just wonderful. I can't wait to dive in.