|laceblade (laceblade) wrote,|
@ 2013-03-20 07:59 am UTC
|Entry tags:||a: russ joanna, a: tolstoy leo, book clubs, books, feminism|
I'm returning to Anna Karenina because the book group discussing it meets again on Sunday. I am woefully behind, & also now freaking out about the cult of domesticity surrounding "reading books in the home of an all-woman group" b/c it seems like this entails "make a dish/appetizer to pass, & it better taste good & be a good idea!" Maybe I'll post extensively on this in its own post -__- (CAN BOOK CLUBS JUST BE ABOUT BOOKS?! I guess food prep/content doesn't make others so anxious.)
I've started carrying around my e-reader. Although I don't care for the translation nearly so much as the Pevear/Volokhonsky one, it's much easier on my back.
I finished up the rest of Part 2, & I still really like Kitty. I wish I had finished it before the last book discussion, because I would have defended her a little better, I think. Especially being surrounded by sick people in Germany, it's like she finds these female mentors & starts to consider NOT getting married & is focused on HERSELF/her desires/etc. Then her dad shows up & everything's out the window.
Regardless, I'm excited to see how her arc progresses.
• What did you recently finish reading?
The Female Man by Joanna Russ. Or, as much of it as I'm going to read, anyway.
It's hard to articulate the way I feel about this book. It's good but not good?! I spent a lot of time flailing around because I couldn't figure out who the fuck was narrating. And sometimes JR would get to the end of a passage & there would be a single sentence that would make the entire previous passage make sense (by identifying the narrator, etc.), and I would be all, "WELL I'M NOT FUCKING REREADING IT NOW!"
I really liked how sometimes Russ would get into a good rhythm, but then she'd generally beat that rhythm to death.
Example of the build-up-and-crush that I liked:
I found Jeannine on the clubhouse porch that evening, looking at the moon. She had run away from her family.
"They only want what's good for you," I said.
She made a face.
"They love you," I said.
A low, strangled sound. She was prodding the porch-rail with her hand.
"I think you ought to go and rejoin them, Jeannine," I said. "Your mother's a wonderful woman who has never raised her voice in anger all the time you've known her. And she brought all of you up and got you all through high school, even though she had to work. Your brother's a firm, steady man who makes a good living for his wife and children, and Eileen wants nothing more in the world than her husband and her little boy and girl. You ought to appreciate them more, Jeannine."
"I know," said Jeannine softly and precisely. Or perhaps she said Oh no.
But then there are two passages following it that do the same thing - "Don't care," said she. Or was it Not fair?" "Not Cal." Ah, hell."
Just one, please!
I don't think that the feminism in this book is "outdated" or etc. There is still anger that resonates with me.
[And some that doesn't. It makes me lol to think of wearing makeup FOR my boyfriend.]
But it is very much a white middle class woman's feminism. The book was critiqued for this when it came out in 1975.
I would very much like to read, "When It Changed," the short story that focuses on the possible Earth-future, Whileaway, where there are no men.
When discussing it in beer_marmalade, someone noted that this book is sort of less accessible than feminist theory.
Someone else said that the book sort of disorients you & angers you (in the way it is somewhat confusingly written), which is sort of like life - it's how the protagonist(s) felt.
I think jesse_the_k mentioned Samuel Delany's response, which I can't find online unless it's this:
What does one do with an SF novel like The Female Man, which demands its politics be taken seriously, and presents those politics without naivete or bombast, but rather through a whole host of distancing devices that make it an "epic novel" in almost exactly the way Brecht used the term "epic theater"?
Related link: Review by a member of my book club.
So yeah. I'm glad I read it. I probably won't read it again. I still really liked How to Suppress Women's Writing, though, & wouldn't mind trying her other stuff.
• What do you think you’ll read next?
I'm pretty focused on these right now!
However, I haven't read any Glee fic in a while & I'd really like to.
I also need to get through the first part of Cyteen for April, for beer_marmalade. For now, though: All of the Anna Karenina!