A History of the Wife
A look at what it meant to be a wife from ancient times to modern day.
I had an inkling of how this was going to go because I started it just as I finished The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World. To save everyone a lot of time, the summary is that women’s lives were basically the same (ie, not great) until basically 30 minutes ago. And because we didn’t routinely teach women to read and write until the 19th century, most of what we know about their lives before then isn’t even gleaned from their own words and personal experiences.
I’d love to see an updated edition from the author, since it feels like the pace of change has accelerated in the 21 years since the book was originally published.
The Revolutionary Samuel Adams
A combination biography and history lesson about the guy who may have started it all.
I read this for this semester of the SharonSaysSo book club and loved it. Thanks to public school education and more recently Hamilton, most Americans are familiar with names like George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. But before those gentlemen led and won the rebellion, Samuel Adams was the one who fomented it.
Schiff’s book is a wonderful investigation into the years before the Revolution, as well as a man who avoided notoriety — partly because he didn’t want to be arrested or killed, and partly because he believed that the ultimate judge of whether he was right or wrong was not the people or history books, but his God.
The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
A lovely memoir about how stuff affects your life, and life affects your stuff.
My minimalism journey is well-documented around the web, and at this point is just a normal part of my life. I find most “experts” a little extreme or obnoxious, but loved Flanders’ perspective as a minimalism newbie. I was excited to read about her discoveries because they reminded me of my own, and rooted for her as she grew through the experiences she encountered during the year her book documents.
A novel about a small town trying to recapture its glory days and having to deal with the consequences of a “win at any cost” mentality.
We’ve read several of Backman’s books in my book club, and this is the second one I’ve DNF’d (nothing is as good as A Man Called Ove). My problem with it was the pacing — chapter 1 starts with “the big game is happening!” and I gave up in chapter 10 when it was still “the big game is happening!”
Beyond that, though, I really didn’t like where the story was heading. A small town in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do but obsess over the high school kids who are in the position to bring them back to their glory days no matter the cost is a recipe for terrible behavior and consequences. Which, based on the summary I read, is exactly what happens. What happens makes sense from a plot perspective, but that doesn’t mean I have to stick around for the fallout.
Unwell Women: Misdiagnosis and Myth in a Man-Made World
A look at the treatment of women by the medical industry throughout history. It’s as infuriating as you’re thinking it is.
While we’ve come a long way from wandering wombs and hysteria, most women can come up with at least one instance where they were gaslighted by their doctor or told their issues were related purely to the number on the scale.
This book was published in 2021, and I believe is a reflection of the changes and activism led by women in recent years. We’ve learned the hard way how to advocate for ourselves and push back on the outdated and dangerous myths and practices that impact our mental, physical, and reproductive health.