What I’m Reading and Writing: Nonfiction and Nostalgia

This post contains some Amazon Affiliate links. As always, my opinions (many and strong as they are) are my own. All mine–not unlike my coffee. DO NOT TOUCH MY COFFEE.

It’s been a long time since I did one of these bad boys. But I’ve missed taking part in The Modern Mrs. Darcy’s monthly Quick Lit, so I’m baaack. Check up the main link up on Anne’s blog for loads more short & sweet book reviews.

What I'v Been Reading

So I’ve been really into nonfiction for quite a while now. And that trend has continued–with one exception at the end of this list.

  1. Sex Object: A Memoir, by Jessica Valenti – The title of this one, sitting on the new book shelf at my library, was what initially caught my eye, and as soon as I opened the book and saw the question on the inside flap “Who would I be if I lived in a world that didn’t hate women?” I was sold. This book does have some mildly graphic descriptions of sex and sexual harassment (including a particularly disturbing incident on the New York subway involving male ejaculate), but I think it’s important that Valenti does not shy away from these. I would recommend this book to anyone, male or female. I was so into this book that it led me to pick up Valenti’s first book…
  2. Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters, also by Jessica Valenti – Published back in 2007, this book is basically a primer on feminism. Feminism 101 and 102. It was mostly things and ideas that I was already familiar with, but it was nice to read them all in a concise format with Valenti’s wit and humor woven throughout. Written as it was almost a decade ago, it was nice to see how some things have changed for the better for women and society in general, but it was also chilling to see how things haven’t changed–or have worsened. The book is straight out of the Bush administration, and it is clear that, at the time, Valenti though Bush was the worst president a modern woman could have. But reading this only a couple weeks after this year’s election, where a man accused of sexual assault was elected, I was longing for days of such naivete.
  3. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero – Ugh, guys, I really wanted to like this book. So many people liked this book. But I couldn’t even get through it. It wasn’t even that it was just bad–because it wasn’t! It just didn’t quite align with my worldviews in a way that I could jive with. I was pretty much done after she started quoting Louise Hay, author of the 1984 self-help bible You Can Heal Your LifeI sadly own this book because it was required reading for an American Studies class I took that was about health and illness in American culture. In it, Hay pretty much says that somehow we “choose” what families we are born into–born into a poor, abusive family? You chose to “incarnate” to that time and place!–and that our actions, thoughts, and personalities cause our health problems and can therefore heal them. AKA, you have cancer? Just learn to love yourself, dummy! Sooo Sincero’s quoting of Hay did not sit well with me, and on top of the eye-rolling reaction I was already having to some of the stuff she’d already written, I decided to cut my losses and close the book. For a much better “inspirational” sort of book with only a mild amount of spiritual woo-woo, I would heartily recommend Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.
  4. And now, for my non-nonfiction book(s), I have been rereading the entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I’m currently on the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and I am taking my time with this one because it’s one of my favorites in the series. I bought the entire series, used, on Amazon about 2 months ago during a period of self-pity, nostalgia, and homesickness. Since I’ve already read all of these books (some more than once) and seen the movies approximately 557 times, these are the books I’m picking up when I need a bit of comfort and can then set down for a few days or weeks when I’m in the mood to read something else. Re-reading these books as an adult, I’ve got to say damn J.K., you put a lot of metaphors and symbolism and heavy stuff into those books that I did not totally catch as a 12 year old. Like, Azkaban and the dementors are scary enough on their own, but when you realize that they are stand-ins for our real-life criminal justice system? Dammmnnn.

What I've Been Writing

If you read my post from a few days ago, you know that I’ve been doing very little writing lately. I hadn’t blogged since October. And I haven’t done any “just for fun” writing since…August? July? I don’t even know. I thought I was going to do NaNoWriMo for a hot second, since I finally had a November with no schoolwork ahead of me, but it turns out that the real world and jobs suck too, so that dream died. It wasn’t even that I didn’t have time to write in November, it’s just that I could not summon the energy and willpower to do it.

I did write a post on Truity about how not to use your personality type as an excuse for bad behavior.

But other than that? Nothing longer than an Instagram caption from me.

I’ve talked before on the blog about how my fiction writing has really fallen off in the last year or so. It had been declining since starting college, except for the times when I was in fiction creative writing classes, but I thought I would be doing more of it since graduation. Part of it might be that in my college creative writing classes, everyone wrote short stories about death and despair and lost love rooted very strongly in our real world, and I have always gravitated towards longer works set in fantasy worlds or at least a fantastical version of ours. While I don’t believe that fantasy and capital-L Literature are incompatible, I find that it is harder for me to suspend my disbelief these days.

I’m becoming more cynical in a way that I never wanted to.

Ok, so now that I have you all nice and bummed out, go back over to Anne’s blog to cheer yourself up with other people’s reads!


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3 thoughts on “What I’m Reading and Writing: Nonfiction and Nostalgia

  1. I had so much fun rereading the whole Harry Potter series last fall, my first time rereading since Deathly Hallows came out. I think I need to do that every other year or so!

    1. This is my first rereading ever! I read the first 5 shortly after the 5th book came out, and then read 6 and 7 as soon as they were out, but even though I’ve seen all the movies approximately 222.7 times (thanks ABC Family!) I haven’t reread the books until now!

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