The Last Books of April

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This post is going to be a little different to my usual set up because I read quite a few books in April (yay!) and thought I would sum up the remaining few in one post. Simple!

Name: Illuminae 

Rating: 1/5

Review: I fully expect to be hunted down for this review but, in all honesty, I just couldn’t connect with this book. The amount of people who love and adore it is incredible and, I have to admit, I am jealous because I honestly wanted to fall for this book. I found the protagonists to be incredibly childish, I mean I get their teenagers but they grated on me with their childish natures, especially Ezra. The opening of this book was really good, I was hooked on the story until it changed format from an interview to a report and then to IM messages then to diary entries; my interest just couldn’t hang on. I can see why people love it, it is such a unique way to tell a story but, for me, it really didn’t work.

Name: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Rating: 4/5

Review: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a wonderful writer; I’ll admit I have yet to branch into her fiction but the feminist books that I have read have been fantastic. The concept of this book is beautiful; a friend has asked Chimamanda’s advice on how to raise her daughter a feminist and, due to her ever growing fame as a strong, powerful feminist, she lists 15 ways that her friend could implement feminism into her daughter’s life. It is a brilliant book that is straight to the point and has many obvious suggestions such as ensuring she is offered every opportunity and that there is no telling her she can’t do something because she is a girl, and ones that I thought were great lessons for everyone such as ensuring your child reads to broaden their mind, imagination and learning. However, there were a few points that she focused on that I didn’t agree with, not because I am not a feminist because I am but because it was a case of tradition. Chimamanda states that women should take charge and propose to men, after all it is their lives that are going to dramatically change by them changing their last names and effectively becoming the ‘property’ of their husband. I didn’t agree with this because it should be a choice either way; many women will see it as tradition that a man proposes to a woman rather than oppression and shouldn’t be made to feel they’re not feminists by thinking that way. That said, this is what I love about Chimamanda’s writing, it will always get you thinking and conversing. I encourage everyone, men and women, to read this book.

Name: A History of Britain in 21 Women

Rating: 4.5/5

Review: I’m boosting the rating of this book from a 4 to a 4.5 simply because I have found myself constantly thinking about this book since I finished it. If you’re interested in feminism, history and women’s place in it then I couldn’t recommend this book to you any more. It is a wonderful collection of women who have helped to shape the course of Britain; from Boudica to Elizabeth I, from Margaret Thatcher to Emmeline Pankhurst, there are a wide selection of women from all different sectors that have fought to pave the way for the women of today. My favourite women from the book were Fanny Burney (author and first woman to document a successful mastectomy without pain relief), Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (first female doctor), Aphra Behn (first female paid playwright and spy); Mary Wollonstonecraft (complete rebel), Queen Elizabeth I (tactical, logical, successful monarch), Mary Quant (changed fashion), Millicient Garrett Fawcett (peaceful women’s activist), Nancy Astor (quick-witted first female MP) and Emmeline Pankhurst (rebellious, women’s rights anarchist). Some of these I knew, some I didn’t but all of them I felt a huge amount of respect for what they achieved. There were some who I felt shouldn’t have been included because, even though their deeds were amazing, they just didn’t fit quite right for several reasons, for example, Constance Markievicz fought for Irish independence and was a key figure in the Easter Rising so I highly doubt she would have appreciated being included in this book. Overall, this was one of my favourite books of the month and one that I have been recommending non-stop so, if you want a great feminist read, get this book!

So that sums up the last books of April and, all in all, April was a great month for reading! What were your best books of the month? Let me know below!

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