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Many people will talk about influential feminist works without actually reading them. These books are usually by “uncool” (read: “feminist”) women who are seen as too radical, too strident, and who don’t do enough to make the reader feel comfortable. Scary stuff indeed.

Of course, you can only engage in dialogue and critiques of these works after reading them. These writers caused a stir for a reason, and you do yourself a disservice by relying only on other people’s opinions and summaries.

Before I get to the list, none of these books are perfect, since nothing is. The white authors have crucial problems considering race, and the straight authors barely address LGBTQ* issues. But one of the biggest criticisms I came across for all of them was that the authors took issues personally and included personal anecdotes. I want to head this off right here. One of the most radical things about these works is that the authors gave weight to their own experiences as they understood them. I do not consider this a flaw.

Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt

Image: Amazon

Image: Amazon

Abortion has become something we avoid talking about to keep the peace at family functions. When it comes up, even pro-choice people talk about extreme circumstances and personal tragedies to justify their stance. Pollitt chooses a different path by re-centering women in the discussion of abortion rights and deconstructing the myths that abound. She posits that only by fully embracing abortion for what it is can we successfully defend our right to it.

Now, this book is specifically aimed at those on the fence, meaning it may not go far enough for some and way too far for others. However, I believe a meaningful discussion that incorporates abortion with the topics of gender and class equality and motherhood is both valuable and necessary.

Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts

Image: Amazon

Image: Amazon

Our understanding of reproductive rights is fundamentally flawed when we do not account for the U.S.’s reproductive coercion of black women. Dorothy Roberts does a masterful job of tying together past injustices with the present (as far the 1997 publication date, at least) as she illustrates and analyzes how society’s pathologizing of black womanhood, specifically black motherhood, impacts law, public policy, and even science. Roberts shows how liberty is tangibly limited through institutional racism.

I know many will find the people she writes about insufficiently sympathetic because they are not “perfect” victims. And some people may object to Roberts’s suggested solutions of government action to dismantle racism. However, Roberts makes the case that the policies that would help black women would help everyone. In light of the disintegration of the U.S.’s social safety net, I believe her ideas are well worth considering.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

Image: Amazon

Image: Amazon

Originally published in 1990, Naomi Wolf breaks down the cause and effects of the rise of beauty culture in the U.S. and how it hurts women in both public and private spheres of their lives. Wolf is incisive while also highlighting the emotional toll beauty culture can take. Even today, this book provides useful analytical tools for explaining why we react to beauty expectations the way we do.

Her data regarding eating disorders have been criticized as significantly exaggerated, which could very well be true. But considering her premonition about the rise of Fitbit-like devices and the surge of plastic surgery, she generally has a solid grasp on the situation.

I recommend the latest edition with an introduction by the author reflecting on how the beauty myth has changed since the initial publication.

Right-Wing Women by Andrea Dworkin

Image: Amazon

Image: Amazon

Dworkin’s more (in)famous work is Intercourse, and I recommend that one, too. But considering the current political climate in the U.S., Right-Wing Women is a must read for progressives, and perhaps even for conservatives. Instead of condescending to conservative women and assuming that they’re too dumb to know what they want, Dworkin takes them at their word and analyzes the appeal of the right-wing for women. She illustrates the myriad failures of the left in regards to gender equality that lead to the intense loyalty of certain women to conservative values. Although published in 1983, Dworkin remains unsettlingly accurate.

A typical critique of Dworkin’s work is that she’s an angry (I would say with good reason) feminist. It is true though, that she does not trust men and makes it obvious. She also has a tendency to generalize. However, I suspect that some of the hatred for Dworkin stems from her uncanny ability to be right about ugly things without apology.

Books

It’s okay to hate these classic novels

There are millions of books out there, and you’re allowed to hate some of them, even if they are “ground breaking.” You can even be glad you read them and still hate them.

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There are millions of books out there, and you’re allowed to hate some of them, even if they are “ground breaking.” You can even be glad you read them and still hate them.

While I think reading books you don’t like can be a valuable experience, too often people are told that they are wrong for not liking stuff, especially if it’s a “classic.” I say fuck that noise. Liking or disliking a book depends on the reader, not how many other people have deemed it important.

Here are just a few classic novels that are totally okay to hate (or love.)

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

If you’ve never read Moby Dick, it reads as if a web comic that’s been running daily for five years were novelized with each picture substituted by a thousand words. It is a slog with lengthy asides and tangents, as well as “product of its time” racism with characters like evil Chinese sailors and cannibal natives.

That’s not to say that it’s not worth reading. The plot has the slow burn of obsession and self-destruction, ruminations about life and death, and even the asides are an interesting glimpse into the historical period and culture of whalers. However, you are setting aside a not-insignificant portion of your life to get through this book, and you’re allowed to never want to do that.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Reading a Jane Austen book is kind of like having a witty friend helping you people watch in 19th century England. Pride and Prejudice can be clever and subtle, while the prose is elegant and easy to read.

However, the happy ending often overshadows the constraints and unfairness of the time period that drives the entire novel. The plot is about people in the top 10% striving for the 1%. The “good” characters are bland, uninteresting, and devoid of opinions. And to top it all off, the happy ending involves forcing a charlatan to marry a 15 year-old girl. Said girl is largely looked down on for acting her age.

You can put ruffles and silk on shitty circumstances and people will dream about how nice it would be. This is often the case of Pride and Prejudice’s fans. It’s a book I like quite a bit, but you’re well within your rights to hate it.

 

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Did you know that young people come of age and often have difficult and conflicting feelings about it? Did you know that this book was banned and that makes you a cool renegade if you read it?

The main character, Holden Caulfield, is very human in a deeply irritating way and seems unaware that he’s an asshole. It’s what makes the book interesting, but it’s fine if you don’t want him whining about how hard it is to be a rich, prep school kid in your headspace.

There are many things about Catcher in the Rye that are subtle and moving, but they rarely come up when avid fans act like this book is some kind of Tome of Universal Truth. If Holden doesn’t drive you away, the fans very well might.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


Who doesn’t love reading about irresponsible rich people, amirite? Many people act like this book is aspirational instead of critical, what with their Gatsby-themed parties and weddings. Because even better than reading about irresponsible rich people is being one.

Yes, The Great Gatsby is beautifully written, with clean prose and evocative metaphor. You can easily read it in a day. That said, you’re allowed to hate it. You’re allowed to be irritated at Gatsby’s stupid fake romance with Daisy, the insipid conversations, everyone’s rather breezy view of vehicular homicide, and more. Sure that’s kind of the point of the book, but that doesn’t make it less grating.

 

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe


This book is proof that abolitionists could be totally racist in large and small ways. Stowe’s book also has a kind of treacly, overwrought sentimentality that is more about evoking a reader’s self-indulgent sensitivities rather than understanding the humanity of slaves. If you hate this book, you’re far from alone.

But if Uncle Tom’s Cabin were a different kind of book – advocating true equality, subtler, angrier, incisive – it would have never garnered the history-making 19th century readership it did. The pill within all that literary jam was a blistering critique of America that people actually swallowed.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin continues to be taught in schools because it played a key role in American history, and Stowe’s writing style is astute considering her purpose.

That doesn’t mean you have to like it.

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Almost Like History

Lost Weekend – Is It Worth Watching?

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A lot of people who were only born a couple of decades ago will not be too familiar with The Lost Weekend. Those who have watched it have different things to say about it and if you think that old films should not be watched then you will surely find some that will make you change your mind. You may never know, this may be the movie that you are searching for.

The Lost Weekend Started Out as a Novel

A lot of people are not aware that this was a novel that was published during the World War. There was a publishing company who rejected it saying that no one would care about the woes of the individual because of what was happening back then; but they were wrong. When the book was published, people were hooked. It sold more than 500, 000 copies and it was translated into more than 10 languages. The Lost Weekend was a big success, especially during that time.

It was a bit of a surprise for the author of the book who did not gain recognition for his previous works. Soon after his book became a bestseller, people wanted to know more about him. He was invited by Hollywood weeks later and his life and the life of his family were never the same again. By the time that he transferred to a new home, people knew about him. They all wanted to get a glimpse of the man who created the book that just made them read madly. A lot of people were shocked that he was quite mild-mannered. This surely added to his appeal as an author.

The Lost Weekend as a Film

There were some speculations that the movie will not push through because people may not be too interested in it even if they have read the book. Some people can just appreciate stories better if they read it rather than when they watch it. Yet, people were determined to produce it and release it and after some time, they were able to choose the lead for the movie. It was offered to a lot of actors who turned it down because they felt that they were going to jeopardize their career because of the role. Eventually, Ray Milland took the role and it was the best decision he has ever made.

There were some minor changes to the script here and there but there were some problems with the ending. The first ending of the movie is that the lead character will not be able to recover from being an alcoholic. Instead, he will allow his girlfriend to do his work for him while he slurred his words. The author became mad about it because he felt that it was too close to his personal life. After a few months, the ending was changed a bit. It still was not as sappy as people would have hoped but it would show that the lead character is on his way to recovery.

With all of the changes that have been done, the author has said that he is extremely grateful that the novel, The Lost Weekend was handled with care. Unlike other novels that were butchered by producers in order to look great in movies, the novel was just shown as it is and people have liked it tremendously.

While this may seem to be the case, in the beginning, the movie has become a classic that people have already forgotten that it is based on a best-selling novel. People have forgotten about the author and he just felt a little bit slighted by it especially when he was not thanked for the awards that the movie has received. People also have short memories and they have also forgotten that this used to be a novel turned into a movie.

The Author on His Masterpiece

Jackson has always stated that his masterpiece will never be forgotten. He was able to create and publish 5 more books after but it was not as acclaimed as The Lost Weekend. Since he also struggled with his dependence on alcohol, he found it hard to write without it. His happiness was just to see the movie from time to time from his room. It is when he watched the movie that he remembers the type of treatment he used to have in Hollywood when his book was the best thing. If you have not seen the movie or you have not read the book, perhaps you should look for them. You may like it as much as other people do.

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Have You Ever Read Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk?

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Have you ever read the comic book miniseries, ‘Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk’? If you are a fan of the Marvel Universe comic books, it is very likely that you would have heard about it. Then again, it is entirely possible that it is all new to you; in which case, read on.

As children, we have always been fascinated by comics and their ability to ‘wow’ us with their depictions of an otherwise fantasy world. The genres that we were hooked into were of diverse backgrounds, but the one thing that stood out was that of superheroes.

Ever since the rise of cartoons, superheroes, or in other words, people who were having an utterly extraordinary ability to do things that no ordinary mortal could do, they have always captured our imaginations. In a lot of the cases, it used to be downright cheesy or simply even impossible. But that didn’t really discourage us from reading them. In fact, it can be said that most of us always wanted to become a superhero to one degree or another.

However, the magic soon faded away once we grew up and realized that a lot of it was largely a fantasy world and nothing more. But at the same time, the fantasy world was something that captured our imagination to a great extent and has often kept us hooked for more even after we reached adulthood.

The way that comic books kept us hooked was through one of many ways. One of the most popular ways in which they kept everyone hooked was through the introduction of new characters, be it that of enemies or of superheroes. Another way that they kept things interesting was by bringing together all of the various characters into a single comic and creating something epic from it.

When it comes to the case of Wolverine vs. Hulk, it is the latter which is at play here, for the two happen to be from two completely different comics, although belonging to the same Marvel comic universe. For those who are not familiar with the two characters, the below two paragraphs will certainly help out immensely.

The Wolverine, who uses the name Logan in everyday life, is described as being a mutant with the power to heal rapidly. Taking note of this ability, scientists would have unethically injected him with a near indestructible metal called adamantium into his skeleton in an effort to use him as a human weapon.

The Hulk on the other hand, happens to be a normal human who would have gotten superhuman abilities because of a scientific mishap. This would have given him the ability to turn into a superhuman green beast with massive muscles and a level of anger almost unheard of in the entire world.

Coming to the actual Wolverine vs Hulk comics, also called Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk, the comics are a crossover of two different worlds in the Marvel universe, with the X-men world on one side and the Avengers world on the other.

Published by Marvel Comics, the series was sold as part of the Ultimate Universe edition and written by the last co-creator, Damon Lindelof and illustrated by artists, Leinil Francis and Dave McCaig.

The plot of the comic series is fairly simple and easy to understand. In the series, the main characters are as the title would suggest; the Wolverine and the Hulk.

The characters are said to have faced off after the Wolverine gets contracted by Nick Fury to kill the Hulk, whom it is shown in the comics as living in Tibet. The rest of the series is essentially a cat and mouse game where the two characters chase and hunt each other in an effort to survive and thrive, while at the same time trying very hard to destroy the other.

While the comic is largely related to the two title characters, there are many new entrants in the series as well, such as She-Hulk.

The series were six-part episodes in total and was fairly well received by fans everywhere. There was however a couple of snags along the way, with the publishing of the later parts being delayed for a significant period of time, which proved to be a great disappointment to many fans. One of the interesting things about the series is that it was adapted into an animated cartoon by Marvel Knights and released on DVD by Shout! Factory.

In all, the miniseries Wolverine vs. Hulk is one of the best crossover comics that have ever been created and is something that every comic book enthusiast should take a look at, even if at least once.

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