January 2014 – Life Round-up

I felt mildly depressed during January. This is not unusual for me, but I think I handled it better this year. I increased my levels of self-care and rested a lot.


I finished three books: Joanna Russ’s On Strike against God (1980), Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (1811) and Anna Akhmatova’s Selected Poems (trans. D.M Thomas). The Russ and the Austen actually complimented one another quite well, what with both being angry, funny books about the lives of women. On Strike against God is astounding. It’s a revelation of a book and has convinced me to give The Female Man another try. Anna Akhmatova’s poems are wonderful and terrifying.

I had a lot of other books on the go in January. I couldn’t decide which of my recently purchased Mammoth Books of Science Fiction to start, so I just started them all at once and am now about halfway through them. I’ve almost finished Elizabeth Bear’s short story collection, Shoggoths in Bloom and Ian Tattersall’s Masters of the Planet: The Search for our Human Origins (2012) (ignore the macho title, this is a quiet, thoughtful book about how we got to be who we are). I’ve also been reading Rodney Smith’s Stepping out of Self-Deception: The Buddha’s Liberating Teaching of No-Self (2010), which I’m finding helpful and alarming in about equal measures.

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This week’s culture round-up

From Feminist SF Blog, the first of a series in honour of Joanna Russ who died recently Remembering Joanna Russ – Part 1 I tried to read The Female Man last year and just couldn’t get on with it, but may give it another go sometime.  The Adventures of Alyx is on my bookshelf and I’m looking forward to that one.

Awful Library Books presents us with some awful science fiction.

Sparky explains why writers should think carefully about the tropes they use when representing marginalised people: Tropes and the Marginalised.

But then again, Maud Newton reminds us that perhaps being a writer isn’t always such a great idea.

The ultimate Alfred Hitchcock Cookbook.

From Final Girl, a review of the slasher movie Cold Prey.  I am wondering where I can find someone to watch this with me.

The next in Jess McCabe’s series about female detectives is about spinster detectives.  I recommend the 1980s BBC adaptations of the Miss Marple books starring Joan Hickson.

Andy does a round-up of the lesbian books she’s been reading recently.  Check out the great cover on the Lesbian Love Stories.

And to finish off, here’s Susan Sontag in a Bear Suit