As we kick off the first full week of November, get started giving thanks for your family, tune in to Book Lust, and celebrate feminists old and new.
On your kindle
After the release of his novel Freedom in 2010, Jonathan Franzen’s name buzzed on the lips of literary critics and readers alike. But if you haven’t yet been introduced to Franzen’s self-reflective, socially-critical, depressive style, begin with his acclaimed 2002 novel The Corrections.
As the holidays draw nearer, compare your family with the fictional Lamberts, a traditional Midwestern couple longing for one final Christmas with their three children who’ve scattered across the country. Franzen’s chapters offer insights into the lives of each Lambert, revealing characters who are all deeply and distinctly troubled. Read this and feel thankful for your family (however dysfunctional), which will certainly glow in comparison to Franzen’s creations.
On your smartphone
The latest issue of New York Magazine features the history of Ms., a magazine for women by women, created forty years ago. As the original feminists (including Gloria Steinem) relay their nascent beliefs throughout the issue, one article—available without a subscription online—takes on the challenge of describing the modern feminist.
Nussbaum writes from the perspective of a member of “Slutwalk,” a new movement of women furious at the suggestion that victims of sexual assault could have avoided their traumas by dressing more appropriately. This article reveals how modern feminism has evolved, from publications like Ms. to “lady bloggers” to the Slutwalk activists. An excellent read for any modern, empowered woman.
On a podcast
I have a new hero, and her name is Nancy Pearl. Pearlis a grandmother, a contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, a winner of the Women’s National Book Association Award, and a woman who makes librarians cool. Pearl—a former librarian—blogs about books, gives talks about books, and hosts a monthly podcast (available for free on iTunes) called “Book Lust,” in which she holds discussions with popular writers. But the coolest part about Nancy Pearl? Her personal action figure, certainly.
I’ve resisted long enough, but Pride and Prejudice is the quintessential old-school favorite that eventually had to make its way onto this list. I love Pride and Prejudice not because I’m a girl (and Austen may have been the original creator of a distinguished, Victorian type of “chick lit”) and not because Mr. Darcy is so charming (both in the latter half of the novel and in its film adaptation), but because, as a novel, this work is as close to perfection as literature can get. Perfectly timed, perfectly set up—with a false climax (Darcy’s terrible proposal), a change of heart, and finally a true climax—the novel is entertaining from start to finish. And Elizabeth Bennet, who prefers love to money in an age where love was revolutionary, is a true feminist heroine.