Book Review – Nasty Women by 404 Ink

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Title: Nasty Women
Authors: Numerous
Publisher: 404 Ink
Genre: Non-fiction, essay, feminism, politics

*This ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I have been looking forward to reading Nasty Women, a collection of essays put together by 404 Ink, since I first heard about the Kickstarter campaign from Margaret Atwood’s Twitter feed earlier this year.

Most of the authors you may not have heard of, but together they represent what it is to be a woman today, and the compilation is strong on being intersectional. When I spotted Nasty Women on Netgalley last month, I jumped at the opportunity to review it.

Book Blurb

With intolerance and inequality increasingly normalised by the day, it’s more important than ever for women to share their experiences. We must hold the truth to account in the midst of sensationalism and international political turmoil. Nasty Women is a collection of essays, interviews and accounts on what it is to be a woman in the 21st century.

People, politics, pressure, punk – From working class experience to racial divides in Trump’s America, being a child of immigrants, to sexual assault, Brexit, pregnancy, contraception, identity, family, finding a voice online, role models and more, Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, Zeba Talkhani, Chitra Ramaswamy are just a few of the incredible women who share their experience here.

Keep telling your stories, and tell them loud.

The stories encompass a wide variety of speakers: women of color, queer women, Muslim women, female immigrants, and female survivors of sexual assault, just to name a few. The group of authors are diverse and each story is unique.

The collection of stories are all raw and personal, deeply emotional, and powerful. It is women writing about their everyday experiences in today’s world. Many of the essays left me feeling enraged, angry…nasty. Angry at the amount of crap women that women continue to face. The increasing normalization – again – of misogyny and intolerance. The continuance of inequality.

It was a naive part of me that saw Trump do and say such horrible things, witnessed his complete lack of capability and worthiness to lead, and thought that even the most reprehensible people in my country would, at the last second, understand that allowing this would not ‘Make America Great Again’. It would merely reveal the masty, rotting heart of America that I daresay it has always had since it built a throne on stolen land and tried to crown itself king of the world.

~ “Independence Day” by Katie Muriel

The first essay, Independence Day by Katie Muriel, is one of my favorites. I believe many of us can identify with the guilt that Katie speaks to following the 2016 election.

I learned the hard way that I can’t take oestrogen. The pill and the patch made me crazy – not in the catatonic, depressive way that I’d dealt with all my life, but in a way that felt really dangerous. I was constantly angry, bordering on violent, and I began to fear that I would hurt someone…

~ “Lament: Living with the Consequences of Contraception” by Jen McGregor

Jen McGregor’s essay was another one I could relate to, as I have also struggled with some horrible side effects from birth control, which I have taken regularly since my teen years in an attempt to help relieve my endometriosis symptoms.

But the essays I appreciated the most as a reader were by authors who come from a different life experience from my own. Such as Sim Bajwa’s essay on the immigrant experience, or Joelle Owusu’s essay, The Dark Girl’s Enlightenment.

They want our things – our food, our labour, our money – but they don’t want us.

It’s infuriating and saddening. Underneath it all though, I’m weary. I’m tired of the dehumanization of immigrants and the erasure of their experiences. I’m tired of knowing that when people mean ‘immigrants’ in the West, they don’t mean white migrants from North America or Australia. I’m tired of feeling like I need to justify why my parents aer here.

~ Go Home by Sim Bajwa

This inspirational anthology is a must read for anyone who is looking to understand why intersectionality is vital to the advancement of women’s equality. As Owusu succintly states, “without all women being included in the wide and varied spectrum, the fight for equality is useless.” 

Rating: 4/5 stars.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I’ve added to my TBR List Lately

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme was Top Ten Books that have recently been added to my TBR List.

Additionally, in America it’s ELECTION DAY!! Oh boy, I can’t wait until November 9. In honor of Election Day, and the crazy amount of time I have spent volunteering at the polls, I am going to change things up a bit for this week’s TTT. All of my TTT books this week will fall into the political non-fiction category. The first five will be books I have recently added to my TBR; the second group of five will be books that I have already read, and which I think you should add to your TBR!

I rarely get political on my blog, but today I am. You can tell by my selections below, I am a progressive individual, and despite my light-hearted tone, I care very much about elections…and most especially this year’s general election. This will obviously be reflected in my reading choices!

5 Political Non-fiction Books I Recently Added to My TBR

Notorious RBG: The Life And Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik.

RBG is my idol. Here are just a few reasons why I love her:

  • She’s Notorious. And she knows it.
  • You can’t spell truth without Ruth.
  • She’s 83, and does 20 push-ups a day, followed by 30-second planks.
  • Her scathing Hobby Lobby dissent.
  • All of her scathing dissents. When she is hot, she burns!!
  • Her friendship with the late Antonin Scalia. She is a living example of how to get along with people who hold wildly different opinions from yourself.

I WILL read this book in 2017. And then I will buy the coloring book! Because I can’t imagine anything more delightful than RBG riding a unicorn over a rainbow and into the sunset. Yes, it is in the coloring book!

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

The book that inspired THE musical. The amazing, miraculous musical that has me randomly breaking out in musical outbursts ALL.THE.TIME. Did I mention how much I love Hamilton: The Musical? And Lin-Manuel Miranda? Be still my heart, the man is pure genius. So, therefore it goes unsaid…despite the fact that I am clearly saying it now…that I should read the book.

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Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In by Bernie Sanders

When I’m not fangirling over Lin-Manuel Miranda, I’m fangirling over Bernie Sanders. I fully admit I am extremely liberal…and in the past 18 months, Bernie has made it cool to be a democratic socialist. I agree with Bernie on so many issues, and it has been wonderful to see more awareness brought to this way of viewing the world. I went to one of his rallies with my daughter when he came to North Carolina, and oh, do I wish I could have given him a big bear hug. But I don’t think the Secret Service would have liked it. Instead, I opted for a few great pics.

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Look at that grin!

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My little pro-Hillary girl got a kick out of seeing Bernie speak, but she was definitely still all in for Hillary afterwards!

His book comes out on the 15th of November, and I can’t wait to read it.

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer

Technically not a political book, but it tackles the issue of a crime that is prevalent throughout the nation, and that needs to be taken more seriously by politicians.

As a survivor of a campus rape 15 years ago, I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to read this or not. Recently, after watching the Hunting Ground documentary, I have decided that yes. Yes, I will read it.

First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower

I liked her other book, The Residence, (although, at times it felt more gossipy than biographical), so I added her latest look at the White House to my TBR list.

5 Political Non-Fiction Books I Recommend to You!

Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

On the left, you will see the memoir by Hillary Clinton that details her tenure as Secretary of State. It is an in-depth read. For me, it was fascinating, but I am an international relations and policy wonk. I COMPLETELY understand that you might not feel the same way. Which is why I recommend starting out by reading one chapter. The Benghazi one. It is her most complete account (other than the 11-hour marathon testimony in the Congressional Benghazi hearing) that she has given on  the Benghazi attack and its aftermath. Another great one is Chapter 6: BURMA: The Lady and the Generals, which details her visit to the great Lady herself, Aung San Suu Kyi. Clinton was the first US Secretary of State to visit Burma since the military dictatorship came into power in 1962.

On the right, you will see a Snapchat photo. From the OFFICIAL Hillary Clinton snapchat account. Why is this here, you may ask? Because the kitty-eared child is MY child, featured on Hillary’s actual Snapchat account!!! FREAK OUT MOMENT!! We were incredibly lucky to receive tickets to be front and center at the Charlotte rally with President Obama and Hillary Clinton a few months ago…two of my daughter’s idols…and we got to shake hands and speak to both of them afterwards! It was amazeballs. I mean, amazing. Truly amazing.

We met a sitting President. An incredible President. And, hopefully, the first Female President of the United States. My life is now complete.

We were THIS CLOSE!! I LOVE that smile. Life was good that day.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

We need more honest conversations in America, and Between the World and Me is a great stopping point along the way. I definitely recommend picking up this short book.

“It is so easy to look away, to live with the fruits of our history and to ignore the great evil done in all of our names.”

A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren.

I did not know very much about Elizabeth Warren before reading her book. She is a pretty amazing woman, who has fought the hard fight over the years. I am glad we have her in the Senate.

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt.

This is an incredible memoir and true story of a transgender girl, Nicole, and her family. I live in North Carolina, the state that passed the incredibly discriminatory legislation known as HB2, the “bathroom bill”, earlier this year. Transgender rights has become front and center of both local and statewide races this year. I hope, amongst the negativity of bad legislation comes an increased awareness and social push towards equality for all. I have participated in many a protest advocating for LGBT rights this year, and I hope to see change come to this state in 2017.

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower.

It’s like Downtown Abbey, only at the White House! At times crossing into tabloid territory, it is still an interesting glimpse into what it is like to work at the White House. Many of the White House staff are actually multi-generational employees; children follow in their parent’s footsteps to work at the great house.

What is on your TTT list this week? If you live in America, HAPPY ELECTION DAY!! Aren’t you glad the crazy political ads will be over soon?