The week two event of Nonfiction November is to pair a fiction book with a nonfiction one on a similar subject. Kind of fun for those of us who use our reading as a springboard to learn more about people or events that catch our eye. For me, it is almost always a great novel that makes me want to learn more about its subject. I’m switching it up a bit with books and movies, serious and light-hearted, and backlist books (because I’m loving them these days!).
Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline
Published by Portfolio Hardcover
Publication date: June 14th 2012
Love clothes? Me, too. If you remember only going clothes shopping three or four times a year because that’s when new styles came out, then you’re old like me. Now, stores like H&M have new clothing collections every month—and the whole fashion world has followed suit. And we’re trained to believe we need something different that often. Which has led to cheaper clothes manufactured at a terrible cost to large numbers of workers around the globe and to the environment. Elizabeth Cline covers the problem from fiber to finished product in her fascinating, thoroughly researched book, Overdressed. It is to fashion what Supersize Me was to fast food. Critical reading for any and all women who want to be fashionable, but responsible. p.s. Once you’ve finished Overdressed take a look at Lessons from Madame Chic, a lovely book on dressing the French way, with a focus on quality not quantity.Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic, #1) by Sophie Kinsella
Published by Dell Publishing Company
Publication date: November 4th 2003
Once you’re thoroughly depressed about the state of the clothing industry and determined not to shop again, you’re going to need something to pick you up so why not read about a woman who can’t stop? The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella is frothy, fun about a character who, surprise!, is addicted to shopping. You’ll get your fill of over-the-top spending with heroine Becky Bloomwood, but you’ll also get laugh out loud humor and plots that delight from beginning to end. Kinsella is my go-to chick-lit author.
The Ireland You May Not Know
Whoredom In Kimmage: The Private Lives of Irish Women by Rosemary Mahoney
Published by Anchor
Publication date: August 1st 1994
As a lifelong feminist I was mainly focused on the rights of women in America until a friend recommended Whoredom in Kimmage back in 1994. To say it was an eye-opener is not strong enough. I had no idea of the extent to which the Catholic Church controlled the country and the toll its vicious and repressive teachings took on the women of Ireland. Yes, things may be better now, but as equality is a goal that has yet to be reached anywhere in the world this is still relevant reading .
The Heart’s Invisible Furies: You already know what I think about this powerhouse of a novel. LOVED. IT. John Boyne doesn’t hold back about the Church’s control of Ireland and how it resulted in demonizing of women and other vulnerable communities, like homosexuals. That he could do this with humor and grace is why this novel is a must read. My review
The Cult of the Male Athlete
I finished Beartown last week and have a review planned for next week so won’t say too much. The gist? A small town where hockey rules, where the town’s survival depends on a team of high school students winning a championship. The town’s hopes are settled on the shoulders of one phenomenal player who seems destined for the NHL. Add in an unsupervised party, lots of booze, and things get very bad very quickly. Backman does an outstanding job representing all sides of the issue.
The Hunting Ground is about the incidence of rape on college campuses and should be mandatory viewing for everyone. It is an epidemic: 1 in every 5 women in college will be raped this year. A large part of the problem is the untouchable nature of male athletes and fraternities. Both bring in large sums of money to universities and as such are often treated as demi-gods. While a highly emotional subject the documentary is packed with readily available statistics, interviews with campus personnel and those in the criminal justice system. Available on Netflix.
Staying in Shape
Because my last two pairings were serious I thought I’d wrap up with a lighter trifecta of “if you liked that, you’ll love this” nonfiction fiction. I’ve gotten into working out this year and as a former librarian I am always going to do research before I try anything new. Roar is an interesting book that looks at working out from the perspective of the female body, because, guess what: what works for men may not work for women. The other half of the equation is diet. Eat Clean Stay Lean had a number of interesting recipes, but what I liked most about it was, for many food groups, it provided a sliding scale of worst to best so you could see where your choices fell and what would be a healthier alternative. My reviewFitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes
Published by Doubleday
Publication date: July 11th 2017
Once you’ve finished the serious reading and are ready to hit the gym you need to grab Fitness Junkie to listen to while you’re there. Or you can curl up on the couch and read it while promising to hit the gym tomorrow. It is a hilarious satire about how the fitness industry has gone overboard with regimens, foods, potions and anything else they can make money on while promising to make us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually transcendent. My review