Monday 22 August 2011

Welcome to book week!

This week we'll be talking about books. We then also decided to hold a book swap on Saturday 24 September 3pm at Nectar cafe, 16 Onley Street, NR2 2EB. We'll also start an Official Bookcrossing Zone, so from then on you can come and take and bring books there. For free, there aren't even penalties for returning your books late.

To provide the context for what I'm reading at the moment (4.), let me go back a few years, when I found a feminist book in a second hand bookshop: Gyn/Ecology (no, it doesn't actually talk about ecology, which somewhat blunts the pun, but it's a powerful book anyway). In it, Mary Daly laments the lack of historical sense amongst feminist students of literature, and recommends some classics that span 3 centuries.

1. Some reflections upon marriage, Mary Astell (1700)
2. A vindication of the rights of woman, Mary Wollstonecraft (1792)
3. A room of one's own, Virginia Woolf (1929)
4. The second sex, Simone de Beauvoir (1949)
5. The feminine mystique, Betty Friedan (1963)
I thought the sixth book that she recommends isn't as good as the others, which I mostly blame on the fact that not enough time had passed to distinguish what was presumably at the cutting edge at the time, but that has now lost much of its expressive power. (Sisterhood is powerful, various (1970)) I would therefore recommend:
6. Gyn/Ecology: metaethics of radical feminism, Mary Daly (1975)

In 1995 the women's conference in Beijing calculated that it would take until the year 2745 for women's emancipation to be completed. Reading these books that span 275 years, and that must have been part of the basis for this calculation, really brought home to me what we've let ourselves in for, in transition as well, as I've argued when talking of rebalancing the carbon cycle, and also what I was thinking of when I proposed a new pattern: the Moral yardstick.

P.S. Bonus track for anyone who reads Dutch: Er is een land waar vrouwen willen wonen, Joke Smit (1984)

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