This past weekend, I participated in my first 24in48 Reading Challenge. The challenge asked book nerds (like me) to dedicate 24 hours over the course of 48 hours to reading. Because I haven’t been able to spend much time reading these past few months (and also because my TBR shelf will outlast my life expectancy), I decided to turn my phone off and cuddle up on my couch with a few books that have been languishing on my nightstand since October while also making good on my promise to read more feminist or feminist-adjacent books in 2019.
Without further ado, here are the sad results from my “weekend” of reading:
I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson
Starting Page: 212/311
Hours Read: 1:30
Hot-take: I started this shortly after the new year to try getting back into reading during a time that was super stressful for me. There are pretty powerful insights here, none of which I expected, and I feel like a better person for having read it. If nothing else, Abbi Jacobson almost single-handedly pulled me out of a three-month-long slump. To prove my point, here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“It’s okay to not see all the art and not meet all the locals and not walk all the famous walks or hear all the indie bands in the coolest venues in town. It’s okay to go to sleep early and spend too long finding the good coffee spot but not seeing the historical sites. It’s okay. It’s okay to not figure it all out. It’s okay to feel broken and alone and scared sometimes. It’s okay to not know everything. It’s okay to not eat where everyone tells you to, or not take a selfie in front of everything you’ve seen or done and post on the internet for friends and strangers to see. It’s okay to go away and come back. It’s okay. It’s okay if it’s not all amazing or incredible or spectacular. It’s okay. It’s okay to leave earlier than you expected, to drink too much or not drink at all. It’s okay to replay stupid moments you regret in your mind and it’s okay to not have moved on completely. It’s okay to be fucking pissed. Everyone is on their own timeline when it comes to love, so it’s okay. It’s okay to think it’s not okay. It’s okay to go off the grid and not be in touch. It’s okay to take a second and to breathe and to cry. It’s okay to be tender. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to change, to grow, to be confused. It’s okay to fight for something and to want to give up. It’s okay to want someone. It’s okay to need someone. It’s okay to learn and to get better and to know you’re still not quite there yet. It’s okay to suck at drawing hands. It’s okay to be nervous and excited at the same time, to be unsure of what’s ahead. It’s okay to just go and try to feel whatever you have to feel and to follow your gut. It’s okay, because that’s all you really have.”
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Hours Read: 1
Hot-take: This essay-turned-book is exactly what I needed and I’m not sure I can translate my feelings into words (but God knows I’ll try and I’m sorry). It was interesting to read how it’s easier to discuss issues concerning race than it is gender – it’s not something I’ve thought about before but it’s true. We live under the misguided assumption that racial and gender discrimination are things of the past but they’re not – they were just whitewashed in the 80s.
And then there was this painfully true advice that spoke to me: “Teach her that she is not merely an object to be liked or disliked, she is also a subject who can like or dislike.” I’ve spent most of my life being told I’m too critical about people or situations I don’t like and have therefore spent too much time garnering favor from people (mostly men) I couldn’t give two shits about in the long run. What a waste.
Finally, one of my favorite excerpts:
“Our culture celebrates the idea of women who are able to ‘do it all’ but does not question the premise of that praise. I have no interest in the debate about women ‘doing it all’ because it is a debate that assumes that caregiving and domestic work are singularly female domains, an idea that I strongly reject. Domestic work and caregiving should be gender-neutral, and we should be asking not whether a woman can ‘do it all’ but how best to support parents in their dual duties at work and at home.”
Looks like a full blog post to discuss this essay is in order.
Stranger With My Face by Lois Duncan
Starting Page: 157/287
Hours Read: 2
Hot-take: LoDunc is a treasure amongst YA pulp fiction and, in fact, the only reason I picked this book to read is that I started listening to the Teen Creeps podcast and they had an episode about it. Yup, I read a book specifically for listening to a podcast. There are some ridiculous things going on with this plot but it was pretty creepy for a teen novel and well-written, which is 100% expected from one of our revered writer heroes.
Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister
Pages Read: 75
Hours Read: 3:45
Hot-take: This book is going to be a slow-ish burn because I find myself pausing to underline phrases that spoke to me, research names, and most importantly, reflecting on how I feel. I’m not sure I knew that I’ve spent the past two years floating through various degrees of anger. Women have been told to internalize anger because it’s more socially acceptable to suppress how we feel and, if we don’t, we’re “crazy” or “emotional”. I’m nowhere near done with this book but I’m glad to have a word to describe my emotions and to know it’s okay to not give a fuck what people think about it.
Total Hours Read: 8:15
Total Pages Read: 367
Okay, so my relaxing weekend at home turned out into going out three times with friends but I’m still pretty pleased with what I accomplished. Going from not reading at all to finishing three books and starting another is okay progress considering I haven’t touched a book since mid-December.
The next 24in48 readathon is in July so I’m planning to be more prepared and maybe actually turn my phone off.