LGBTQIA Challenge

The LGBTQIA Reading Challenge

Books I read this year with LGBTQIA main characters:

  1. Crush – Richard Siken
  2. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
  3. Maurice – E.M Forster
  4. Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
  5. The Thing Around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  6. I read 11 essays in August on the topic of Gender for the Summer School I’m taking at the Radboud University in Nijmegen.
  7. Swing Time – Zadie Smith
  8. Edit: before the end of the year but after this post was published I also read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

I was aiming for level Yellow, which means I wanted to read between 13 and 20 LGBTQIA books. As you can see, I never got that far. I read eight, which means I made it to level orange. Furthermore, part of the challenge was to write a review for each book, so I’m doing that now and making it into a game. There is only one rule: each review must be exactly ten words long. Here goes nothing. Continue reading

Feminism Reading Challenge

This year I participated in the Feminism Reading Challenge, organized by Femividual, who has since taken her blog offline. The idea was to read as many books as possible from her list of feminist titles, as well as any other books that deal with feminist themes or topics.

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My favorite feminist book of the year, perhaps my favorite book of the year full stop, was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I know few novels that are simultaneously as rich and as light as this one.

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Calling The Beast By Its Name

I was recently inspired to do a series of posts on my personal brand of feminism, and here is the first one, the cornerstone of my feminist beliefs: I think feminists should call themselves feminists, I think all women should call themselves feminists, I think everyone should be proud to call themselves a feminist. If you’re not, I think you’re either misunderstanding the meaning of the word or being very rude.

For whatever reason, the word ‘feminism’ has gotten a bad rep over the past years. Feminists are often viewed as irrational or silly, and the word ‘feminazis’ is used to describe the craziest of all. I was disgusted to find that there is now a movement that proudly calls itself: ‘Feminism Is Cancer.’ Apart from the fact that the word ‘feminazi’ is very disrespectful to survivors of the Second World War and their families, and that equating a deadly disease with a political opinion is very harmful to victims and survivors of this disease, I also think the rhetoric used to vilify feminists is despicable in its own right. As usual, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has phrased it more eloquently than I ever could, saying:

“Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (We Should All Be Feminists)

Just as the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ recognizes that black people have been oppressed throughout history and ‘All Lives Matter’ glosses over the painful history of racism, so does ‘feminism’ indicate the problems society is facing and ‘equalism’ deny their seriousness.

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Coffee, Anyone?

“If you could have a cup of coffee and a chat with anyone in the world, who would you pick?”

Somehow this is a standard icebreaking question that I hear a lot. So, for those of you not yet tired of my ramblings, I have compiled a list to answer that question, and I will post about one of the people on the list every now and then.

1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I love Chimamanda. Let me say that again because it bears repeating; I love Chimamanda. Her book Americanah is amongst my favorite books ever. The Thing Around Your Neck was equally spellbinding, and her essay We Should All Be Feminists, based on the TED Talk below, voices many of my thoughts on feminism. I’m saving her other two novels, Half Of A Yellow Sun and The Purple Hibiscus, for when I need to lift myself out of a reading slump. Yeah, she really is that good.  Continue reading