Category Archives: Readings

I Don’t Care About Your Band

I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I’ve Dated by Julie Klausner

Back when we picked this book I posted “Sure, it probably won’t be a core-shaker, but I’m looking forward to a chuckle–and something tells me we can all relate to dating the dud dudes.” And it was just that–a great pool read (I actually did read it by the pool, my copy is now warped from getting wet) and jus  a fun laugh-out-loud time. I couldn’t remember the last time a book made me laugh in public like a crazy person on the subway. Yet…it wasn’t what I expected, and unfortunately leaned far too much on stereotypes as a way to get a laugh. Continue reading

More books to read

You know what time it is! More books to read!

I know, I know, I’ve been caught up in a grad school coma, but I realize it’s been a while since we’ve discussed books!! So we are back with a vengeance and a list of to-reads, not to mention a new bookmark and a pink martini in hand. So saddle in, here’s the next three books:

I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I learned from indie rockers, trust funders, pornographers, felons, faux-sensitive hipsters, and other guys I’ve dated by Julie Klausner

To be honest, this book had me at the subtitle. As a woman who lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and has dated her fair share of faux-sensitive hipsters, the minute I saw a chapter entitled “Did I come to Brooklyn for this?” I knew I just had to read it.  The fact that Klausner is a former Upright Citizens Brigade performer and one of the quotes on the back of the book is from SNL alum Rachel Dratch clinched it as a metro transit must-read. Sure, it probably won’t be a core-shaker, but I’m looking forward to a chuckle–and something tells me we can all relate to dating the dud dudes. Let’s just hope post-read I’m a bit wiser when it comes to choosin ’em.

Flow: The cultural history of menstruation by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim

No, we didn’t pick these because they have similar jacket designs (although, how adorbs!) I’m excited to read this one. I’ve head nothing but good reviews–it seems witty and well-written, two things I admire. And can I get a hells yeah for a book about a topic (GASP?! Aunt Flo?!) that we still for whatever reason don’t talk about with our girlfriends? What’s with that?! It stops here, ladies. PERIOD. Read this, come back, we’ll chat about our firsts.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Another coincidental retro swimsuit, I swear! (But yes, I chose this jacket cover instead of the knobby-knees and saddle shoes one.) I don’t think this book needs an introduction, I’m pretty sure we’re all aware of it. Alas, neither Ems or I have ever read it! It’s been on my to-read list for quite some time, and I look forward to reading what one guy told me was the sexiest book he’s ever read. Something tells me I may have issue with that statement… If you’ve read it before, reread and join in the pedo convo. Or if you’re like me and never got around to it, here’s our chace to read and discuss so we don’t sound dumb at wine and cheese night.

Enjoy!

BTW Reads: Belle de Jour


“That rare and wonderful thing: a fearless and witty revelation of one woman’s sexuality.” –Kate Hickman, author of Courtesans, from the back cover

I read Belle de Jour: the Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl during DC’s Snowverkill and was fully prepared to write a somewhat scathing review of said book.   Having spent the better part of my President’s Day roaming the internet reading more about sex work, the real Belle de Jour, and call girls galore, I’m unable to play the arrogant reviewer card [sorry!].

The book was an enjoyable and intriguing read– even if I hadn’t been snowed in, I have a feeling I would have read it just as quickly.  Belle writes in a familiar and accessible way so that you can understand and empathize with her decisions, in both her personal and professional lives.  The problems I had with the book seem to be common: first and foremost, I thought that she seemed a little too savvy, a little too hardened, a little too something.  She wrote with an almost too cool detachment; while Kate Hickman (above) lauds her work as groundbreaking, I found it to be more pedantic.  While she described and owned her sex work in her writing (although how much you can own your behavior while you remain anonymous is a valid question), she also seemed to make it clear that this was just a job, and she knew that she was fortunate to be educated and that she would eventually have options when she decided, on her own terms, that it was time to leave the business.

A few months back Belle de Jour outed herself to the Sunday Times.  I remember the splash of publicity surrounding the revelation of her identity, but, as I hadn’t yet read the book or watched the series, I didn’t pay close attention.  Today I went back and read India Knight’s article “I’m Belle de Jour“, and follow-up “Belle lays bare the myth that every hooker is a victim“, and am extremely glad I did (and I highly recommend that you take a moment to read one or both, especially if you’ve read the book or seen the show).  Having seen a few episodes of Showtime’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl by now, it’s nice to know what Belle de Jour’s real face looks like (she’s the one on the left) and to learn more about Belle/Brooke. It was increasingly frustrating how few details were provided about her life (education? major? school? field? anything?) in the book.

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“Woman”: I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.

I tried.
I really tried to read our next book Woman: An Intimate Geography— but just TRY and read this sentence with a straight face:

“Even during pregnancy, the event that perhaps epitomizes the notion of woman as a subterranean sorceress, the mother is often not in tune with her great endarkened magic.” (xv)

Could you? Continue reading

Sacred Hearts

It’s that time again! Time to discuss our book of the month: Sarah Dunant’s Sacred Hearts. In case you missed it, check out the book trailer to get an idea of what you’re missing.

Let’s hop to it!

I loved the way the book opened. The first chapter of Book 1 was an excellent introduction to the story and its setting: picturesque and detailed, but not overwrought. It reminded me of the opening sequence in a film, zooming in and out of all the various characters and story lines that would be introduced and fleshed out.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but found it to be slightly dull.  I’m not sure if it’s my modern mentality that strikes a sharp contrast to the slower pace of convent life?  Or is it my aversion to religious “order”/s of all kinds?  I have this strange obsession with Catholic nuns (my sister and I used to play Nuns, should I blame The Sound of Music?)– I’m fascinated by the details of their daily lives and routines, but shudder to think that I’d ever have a life quite so prescribed.  (Devil’s advocate: my life is almost as rigid as the Convent schedule.  Now: get up, go to work, work, come home, eat, sleep; Then: Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, Nones, Vespers, Compline, Matins.  They just get cooler names for their schedules.)
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The Girls Who Went Away: Discuss!

It’s taken me far too long to compose my thoughts about this book. Mayhem has been ever-so-patient and for this I thank her. I apologize, dear readers, I do.

The Girls Who Went Away
by Ann Fessler
the girls who went away book cover

This book has been on BTW’s potential-read list for quite some time (since November 23, 2008, in case you were wondering) but for some reason it kept getting passed over for something or other. This cycle we were having trouble deciding what to read so we finally thought “Why not?” And I am so glad we did.

As you know, reproductive freedom is extremely high on our inalienable human rights list and that sex education in this country needs to move from abstinence-only “education” to comprehensive education. With that mindset, The Girls Who Went Away provided a depth and nuance to my understanding of these issues, supporting and furthering their veracity and necessity in my mind. Jennifer Baumgardner, in reviewing this book for Bitch, explained: “I had always been so drawn to reproductive freedom and justice as a catalyzing issue—but had never understood or really thought about the adoption piece.” I, too, had always thought of adoption as this thrilling and positive experience for all parties involved– The Girls Who Went Away exposed me to multitudes of women for whom this was certainly not the case and forced me to confront this reality. Adoption isn’t such an open and shut case for me anymore. This book was illuminating, heartbreaking, inspiring, enraging, and brilliant in its simplicity and clarity of purpose. E v e r y o n e should read this book. Everyone.

Mayhem: speaking of heartbreaking, have you started “the girls who went away” yet? i’m halfway through and i LOVE It. each new chapter breaks my heart a bit more.
me: yes. and yes. now why couldn’t BOS have been written as well as this one?
Mayhem: MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY!!!  BOS would’ve been so much better if it had been structured like the girls who went away. this book has everything i wish BOS would’ve had.
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Book Club: Frankly, My Dear

The time has come–a review of Frankly, My Dear: Gone With the Wind Revisited by Molly Haskell!

I read Gone With the Wind in my middle school English class because it was, you know, 1000 pages long and so I got more bang for my buck. But I ended up enthralled and in a sobbing rage in my mother’s bedroom after I read the dreaded “frankly, my dear” on those last few pages. Naturally, I went on to watch the four hour film until I had it memorized and worshipped Scarlett as my new heroine. So the fangirl inside of me was excited to revisit Scarlett and crew from Haskell’s feminist lens.

Scarlett challenges you to read on…
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