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Posts tagged ‘writing’

(Mostly) #ReadWomen2014

Earlier this year, the excellent Joanna Walsh inadvertently started a campaign to encourage wider and more extensive reading of women writers. What began life as New Year’s cards featuring a collection of women writers soon transformed into a Twitter hashtag—#ReadWomen2014—and then into book clubs, discussions, and a campaign which seeks, simply, to ‘create a little extra space … in which more women can be heard more loudly, both by women and men.’

Joanna Walsh's bookmarks for #ReadWomen2014. To order: They cost £10/$16/€13 for a sheet, including postage anywhere in the world. If you'd like more than one sheet, any number of subsequent sheets posted together cost £5/$8/€7 each.  To buy a set, go to Paypal, and send your payment to readwomen2014@gmail.com. Please leave a message with your payment confirming the number of sheets you'd like, and the address you'd like them sent to.

Joanna Walsh’s bookmarks for #ReadWomen2014. To order:
They cost £10/$16/€13 for a sheet, including postage anywhere in the world. If you’d like more than one sheet, any number of subsequent sheets posted together cost £5/$8/€7 each.
To buy a set, go to Paypal, and send your payment to readwomen2014@gmail.com. Please leave a message with your payment confirming the number of sheets you’d like, and the address you’d like them sent to.

I think, often, that the key to being happy as an academic is to realise how strange an occupation it is. In my case, it is doubly odd because I work in a research institute and have minimal teaching duties. I am paid to think, to write, to travel, and to read. I spend most of my time reading, and yet am constantly on the edge of panic that I’m not reading enough. Academia is a conversation with other writers. Everything is historiography. Not to read is intellectual failure.

But I need to read beyond work—mostly novels, memoirs, essays, and occasionally short stories. I read to feel the world more intensely; to feel myself in the world more intensely. I read to remind myself that what I feel is felt and shared—and has been felt and shared—by so many others. To some extent, to distinguish between academic and non-academic books is arbitrary. The most moving, thought provoking, and beautifully written book I’ve read this year was published by a university press. But for the sake of categories, and because I read fiction differently, here is a list of all of 2014’s non-academic books. I’ve not been particularly careful about only reading women writers this year, despite supporting Joanna’s campaign. And out of twenty books read and being read, twelve were by women. Reading two novels and a memoir by Michael Ondaatje—who, for some reason, I think would be a fan of #ReadWomen2014—rather increased things in favour of male writers.

I like this comment by Alexander Chee in his article about #ReadWomen2014:

I think women writers appealed to me because they acknowledged the struggles of women as well as those of men; as writers, they simply provided a fuller picture of the world.

I think so too. I think this is why I tend to reach, instinctively, for women writers.

Read in 2014: Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird; Bill Buford, Heat; Geoff Dyer, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; Anne Patchett, Bel Canto; Francesca Marciano, Casa Rossa; Monique Truong, The Book of Salt; Hannah Kent, Burial Rites; Michael Ondaatje, Running in the Family, In the Skin of a Lion, and The Cat’s Table; Robertson Davies, The Rebel Angels; Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah; Michael Paterniti, The Telling Room; Joanna Rakoff, My Salinger Year; Jane Bowles, Two Serious Ladies; Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me; Jane Smiley, The Greenlanders.

Can’t/won’t finish: Michel Houllebecq, Platform.

Still reading: Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries; Marilynn Robinson, Lila.

To read next: Karen Russell, Vampires in the Lemon Grove; Dana Goodyear, Anything That Moves; WG Sebald, The Emigrants, and Austerlitz.

Creative Commons License Tangerine and Cinnamon by Sarah Duff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Food Links, 08.02.2012

The World Food Programme spends £50 million on wheat from Glencore – a business which admits that it engages in food speculation, and despite the WFP’s commitment to buying its supplies from small farmers. But was Glencore the best option?

Mali faces a food crisis.

The future of food production – in Antarctica.

A new way for drug cartels to launder money: the fruit and vegetable trade.

An account of recent Egyptian history, from the point of view of Cairo’s Cafe Riche.

Commodities futures trading and market volatility – and the impact on food prices.

The link between political instability and food prices in Egypt.

Was the global food crisis really a crisis?

Early twentieth-century corsetry ads.

How to cook without a recipe.

The rise and rise of Belgian beer.

The strange appetites of Steve Jobs.

Jennifer Rubell’s food art.

Rethinking butter.

Iconic album covers recreated as pizzas.

The relative usefulness of poisonous food.

What do food writers eat when they write about food?

This is fantastic: They Draw and Cook is a collection of recipes illustrated by artists from around the world.

Last meals on death row.

The science of pickles.

An Ode to Pepper Vinegar.

Vegan foie gras. (Just non on so many levels.)

Pablo Neruda on soup.

So what exactly is Mexican street food?

Urban farming essentials.

Obesity soap.