Why is it that every time I request multiple books through my library's ILL system, they all come in at once? I can't possibly read everything before they are due back. Oh well - I will try my hardest. Feel like I am in a fog today, so this will be a short post, but wanted to share some of my recent acquisitions and "borrows."
During a trip to Barnes and Noble on my lunch yesterday I picked up Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons (see description from Amazon.com below).
There is little sugar but lots of spice in journalist Rachel Simmons's brave and brilliant book that skewers the stereotype of girls as the kinder, gentler gender. Odd Girl Out begins with the premise that girls are socialized to be sweet with a double bind: they must value friendships; but they must not express the anger that might destroy them. Lacking cultural permission to acknowledge conflict, girls develop what Simmons calls "a hidden culture of silent and indirect aggression."
The author, who visited 30 schools and talked to 300 girls, catalogues chilling and heartbreaking acts of aggression, including the silent treatment, note-passing, glaring, gossiping, ganging up, fashion police, and being nice in private/mean in public. She decodes the vocabulary of these sneak attacks, explaining, for example, three ways to parse the meaning of "I'm fat."
Simmons is a gifted writer who is skilled at describing destructive patterns and prescribing clear-cut strategies for parents, teachers, and girls to resist them. "The heart of resistance is truth telling," advises Simmons. She guides readers to nurture emotional honesty in girls and to discover a language for public discussions of bullying. She offers innovative ideas for changing the dynamics of the classroom, sample dialogues for talking to daughters, and exercises for girls and their friends to explore and resolve messy feelings and conflicts head-on.
One intriguing chapter contrasts truth telling in white middle class, African-American, Latino, and working-class communities. Odd Girl Out is that rare book with the power to touch individual lives and transform the culture that constrains girls--and boys--from speaking the truth.
I also picked up The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak (really looking forward to this one). From Booklist:
The new Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk has faced charges for making anti-Turkish remarks regarding the long denied mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Acclaimed Turkish writer Shafak has also been hauled into court for "insulting Turkishness." The case was dropped, and her bold and penetrating tale of the tragic repercussions of the Armenian genocide will live on. In her second novel in English following The Saint of Incipient Insanities (2004), Shafak tells a many-faceted, mischievously witty, and daringly dramatic story that is at once a study in compassion, a shrewd novel of ideas, a love song to Istanbul, and a sensuous and whirling satire. The novel's ruling force is gorgeous Zeliha, the unapologetically sexy proprietor of an Istanbul tattoo parlor. An unwed mother at 19, she has raised her daughter, Asya (now 19 herself and obsessed with Johnny Cash), in a chaotic, food-centric household that includes her mother, grandmother, and three sisters: Banu, the pious clairvoyant; Cevriye, the high-strung history teacher; and Feride, the neurotic. The sisters haven't seen their Americanized brother, Mustafa, for almost 20 years, and are stunned when his 19-year-old stepdaughter, Armanoush, whose mother is from Kentucky and whose father is Armenian, arrives in Istanbul to search for her Armenian roots. As Asya and Armanoush forge a tentative friendship unaware of all that they actually share, others panic over the looming revelation of shocking secrets. Shafak weaves an intricate and vibrant saga of repression and freedom, cultural clashes and convergences, pragmatism and mysticism, and crimes and retribution, subtly revealing just how inextricably entwined we all are, whatever our heritage or beliefs.
My library stack includes Alan Brennert's Moloka'i, A Venetian Affair by Andrea Di Robilant, The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro, and Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes, among others.
And last but not least Vienna Prelude by Bodie Thoene. This was one of those books I read when I was maybe 13 or 14 and loved the story and cover art. Of course as an adult, I couldn't remember the title or the author and have always sort of been searching for it wherever I go. Well, after reading another blogger's post where Vienna Prelude was recommended, I reserved it at the library not realizing this was the book I had been searching for all of these years! Imagine my surprise when it was waiting for me!
I've decided to resign from the From the Stacks Challenge. With time running out and my library pile growing, it's just not going to happen. I don't know why I insist on signing up for these challenges (ok, maybe I do - they always sound like fun) - I never finish them. I admire all those of you that do!
Maybe this wasn't such a short post after all :) I leave you with this:
Tom Cruise hailed as 'Christ' of Scientology
What the ???? All I can do is laugh. He he he HA HA HA HA!