17 April 2017

Taking Stock

Ahh bank holidays.  Can every weekend be four days long please?  I'm serious, the extra two days of time to do my own thing have got me feeling the calmest about going back to work that I have for a few weekends now.  I think I take a little more time to recalibrate after a week at work than some!


15 April 2017

Easter Saturday

I'll be honest, I like mini eggs for their pastel colours almost as much as I do for the chocolate.  I've also realised while looking for the above photo that I do not have any in the house at the moment - I really need to change that before tomorrow!


5 April 2017

The Power

It doesn't matter that she shouldn't, that she never would. What matters is that she could, if she wanted. The power to hurt is a kind of wealth.

The Power was a very interesting one to read so soon after reading The Handmaid's Tale. While Margaret Atwood imagines a future of subjugation for women, Naomi Alderman completely turns this on its head. Instead, she asks what would happen if women had physical power over men.

It starts in the distant future with a letter from a male author to Naomi Alderman introducing his work. This then forms the majority of the book. He has written a book looking back at our time now, which has become known as the cataclysm era. Women have begun to be born with the ability to produce electric shocks from their bodies. Young women can awaken the power in older women, and the world starts to change as women begin to fight back and assert their physical dominance.  Now it's men who are afraid for their safety, advised not to walk alone at night.

This is already a powerful idea, but the main theme of the book is that power corrupts, no matter who it belongs to.  Alderman hammers this point home throughout the book, with many scenes that are nothing short of disturbing. We see many women abusing their new status in society and men having their rights stripped away. Travel is restricted, with curfews and enforced female supervision; on the other end of the spectrum there is rape and male gential mutilation.  It's not easy reading, but very powerful. 

The story is told through the experience of four different people. Each one has a different perspective, together creating the big picture of a world run by women.  Some parts were more engaging than others and not all the plot developments were great. In general, it was more the concept of the novel that made this such a great read.

The conversation between the two authors was a very clever framing device. The novel ends with more correspondence between them. He comments on the horrific events he has written about, and states his disbelief that it would be this way if men were more dominant. Men would never inflict these kinds of horrors on women, would they?  In fact, he has written his historical account to argue for the dismantling of the current power structure, to create a more equal society. This is, of course, exactly what feminism has been fighting for all along.

The Power has made the shortlist for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction 2017. It stands a great chance of winning! By imagining a world run by women, Naomi Alderman shines a light on the many inequalities women face today, from gender-based violence to sexism in the workplace. Great eye-opening speculative fiction, definitely not easy to forget.

2 April 2017

March Silver Linings

This time last year I would have commented on how fast the year is going, but I think I'm getting used to the fact that adult life just moves at this pace.  The routine of a work week just seems to make time fly - not because I'm having fun, but before you know it you've done another week and then the weekends just whizz by too!

Here are some good things that happened in March:

International Women's Day. I've always identified as a feminist but this is something I've become much more passionate about over the the past couple of years. I suppose I can thank Donald Trump for that? It made so happy to see everyone's posts on social media on March 8th celebrating the women in their lives and all our collective achievements. Women are brave, strong, independent, feisty, funny, loving and I'm so proud to be one.

Emily's wedding. My best friend got married this month and it was such a beautiful day! Everything looked amazing and we all had so much fun dancing, singing, playing in the photobooth, crying at speeches (me) and just generally being part of the day.

Birthdays! It was Paul's birthday and my sister Rowan's birthday in March and both were lovely.  For Paul's we went to Showcase cinema in Birstall, Leeds to watch Lego Batman and to try their new reclining seats! So good, even if the film wasn't particularly. For Rowan's I spent the day hanging out at mum's house, just chatting.  I love spending time with my family, we always laugh a lot and my heart always feel so full afterwards.

Moves like Grandma. My sister was looking through the Facebook page for my Grandma's care home when she found a video they had posted of the residents having a dance and sing-along to old songs.  My Grandma features quite heavily in it and she looks like she was having so much fun dancing, with some fancy footwork to match!  We're all missing her a lot so it was lovely to see.

Annual leave. Paul and I both had a week off work around his birthday and I'm sure I won't need to tell you how nice it is to not have to get up!  I hadn't had any time off since Christmas so it was much needed.  We just pottered around, I did a lot of reading and just generally relaxing.

Beauty and the Beast.  I finally got to see Beauty and the Beast on the 31st and I absolutely loved it.  I think will write a separate post on my thoughts in full but I was so happy!

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