Brag Book

bragWhat a delightful surprise it was to spark up the old computer this morning, check my email for this blog and find out the one and only Ms. Katha Pollitt had left me a comment praising my review of her book Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights.

Ms. Pollitt also gave my blog and my review a shout-out on her Twitter feed:

I am truly thrilled to be recognized by this talented writer and brave woman!




Book Review: Pro-Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt

proI’ve been a Katha Pollitt fan ever since I discovered her columns in The Nation magazine several years ago. I always found her take on feminism, politics and assorted social issues to be eye-opening and thought-provoking. And I always appreciated her smart, down-to-earth and humorous writing style. Now she’s bringing all of this (and more) with her latest book Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know abortion is one of the most controversial issues in our country, especially since Roe v. Wade was made into law 1973. Those who call themselves pro-life are doing everything in their power to overturn Roe v. Wade.  Even some people who call themselves pro-choice consider abortion to be a tragic choice and one that should only be used as a last resort.

In Pro: Reclaiming Abortion rights, Pollitt claims that if women want to be able to control their lives in the ways they see fit, then they must fully be able to control their reproductive rights. Women must be able to make decisions of when and if they become mothers. Access to abortion and various forms of birth control are a part of making sure women are fully-actualized human beings.

Pro is divided into several well-written and sharply focused chapters. These chapters include reclaiming abortion, finding out what Americans think of abortion, asking “what is a person” and “are women people.” In one chapter Pollitt delves into the six myths of abortion, which include the crazy ideas that women are coerced into having abortions and opponents of abortion would never punish women. In another chapter, Pollitt tells us when it comes to abortion, it’s not necessarily abortion the pro-lifers oppose (spoiler alert: it’s women living their lives by their own standards, ideas, dreams and ambitions). In another chapter Pollitt asks if there can be a compromise on abortion and on another chapter behooves us to reframe motherhood.

Abortion has always been around, long before Roe V Wade. Since the beginning of time women have sought ways to control their fertility. And abortion won’t go away if Roe V. Wade is overturned. However, anti-abortion zealots have done a very good job in stripping away women’s reproductive rights from the closing of clinics to calling women seeking out reproductive control options “sluts” and “prostitutes” to abstinence-only sex education.

Needless, to say, a lot of reproductive rights activists and supporters are disgusted by the pro-life zealots framing the abortion debate. But Pollitt also calls out the pro-choice movement for not standing up to these zealots as effectively as they should. Fortunately, Pro lays out ways the pro-choice crowd can drown out these zealots and ensure women maintain their reproductive rights by focusing on what can happen when women can’t decide when and if they will give birth. These ramifications can affect a women’s whole life, personally and professionally.

Pro is filled with detailed information, and Pollitt includes a list of over 20 books for additional reading on women’s reproductive rights. She also provides interesting personal stories that help frame her ideas and opinions on the abortion debate that are definitely food for thought. Granted Pro might not change any minds when it comes to those on the extreme right when it comes to reproductive rights. And when it comes to the pro-choice crowd, Pro is definitely preaching to the choir, Perhaps, Pro is best to be read by those in the middle who always want to frame abortion as an option that should remain legal but is always one that is clouded in shame and an agonizing choice for most women, when in reality, it may be the easiest choice.


Book Marks

cropped-reading_is_coolEntertainment Weekly shows its appreciation for the late Terry Pratchett.

Book Con is May 30th and 31st in NYC. It will be kicked off by Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak, and Mindy will discuss her upcoming second book. Book Con will also feature such notables as Sherman Alexie, Meg Cabot, James Patterson, Taye Diggs, Julianne Moore, John Hodgman and David Levithan.

Japanese library restoring books that were nearly destroyed by the tsunami.

Want to write a book that people will actually want to read? Then you need these 10 elements.

Is this the ultimate book bag or what?
book bagGuess what, Sheryl Sandberg? Not all of us can afford to “Lean-in.”

Graphic and Novel

Hello, I’m starting a new series called, you guessed it, “Graphic and Novel.” Graphic and Novel combines the visual (the graphic) with a fun play on words (the novel). You could also call it, “Damn it, Bookish Jen is too freakin’ lazy to write a more thorough post. Stupid heifer!”

Here is my first Graphic and Novel post. Enjoy as you do all my witty and profound thoughts.

career buy books

Book Review: Rosa Parks-A Life by Douglas Brinkley

Rosa ParksOn December 1st, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama a black seamstress named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in to a white patron and was arrested. What seemed like a small act by a quiet, unassuming woman who just wanted to sit down and relax after a long day of work, inspired a year-long boycott of Montgomery’s bus system. The boycott lead to the rise of the civil rights movement, many changes to laws and the Jim Crow-era of the South and the activism of various civil rights icons like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And it was all due to an unassuming little seamstress.

Sure, Rosa Parks was unassuming and she did work as a seamstress. But she was so much more, which historian and author Douglas Brinkley writes about in his biography of Mrs. Parks called Rosa Parks: A Life.

Rosa McCauley was born on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her mother, Leona, was a school teacher, and her father, James, was a carpenter. They separated when Rosa was a toddler. A smart, studious and quiet girl, Rosa excelled in school and studied at Alabama State College for Negroes for a while. But do to family issues, she had to drop out. She soon met and married Raymond Parks, who worked as a barber.

To those who didn’t fully know Ms. Parks, it would seem she would be the type to live a low-key life. She was not to make a fuss, and December 1st, 1955 was just anomaly for this shy woman.

But we would be wrong. Ms. Parks spent a majority of her adulthood involved in civil rights and other social causes. She fought for her right to register to vote, finally succeeding in 1943. She worked as a secretary for the NAACP. After facing death threats in Alabama, she and her husband moved north to Detroit where she continued her involvement in the civil rights movement. She networked with other notable figures in the movement including Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Congressman John Conyers, working as Representative Congressman’s Detroit office. Her comrades were involved in all races, creeds, genders and included people of all ages. Brinkley’s books exhaustively researches all the notable hard work and achievements Ms. Parks did on behalf of the civil rights movement, and I found myself in more in awe of this amazing woman.

Mrs. Parks later wrote her autobiography and a book inspirational ideas and essays called Quiet Strength. She also got involved in women’s causes and acted as a mentor to young people, many of them finding her a truly inspirational force for them to also make positive changes in their lives and the lives around them.

A life-long devoted Christian, Mrs. Parks was also interested in Buddhism and meditation.

Mrs. Parks also chronicled her life and activism in her autobiography and wrote a book of inspirational ideas and essays called Quiet Strength. And throughout her life she received countless awards for her tireless work on behalf of the civil rights movement and other accomplishments.

Rosa Parks: A Life was published before she died in 2005. But it truly conveys how courageous, hard-working and generous she was in a very turbulent time. I’ve long admired Mrs. Parks and Mr. Brinkley’s slim, yet incredibly thorough and illuminating biography is one very enlightening read that should be a must-read for everyone committed to justice for all.


Book Marks

redheadAll little girls should read these books.

The top 30 books to read during Women’s History Month.

More wonderful books written by women. How many of these have you read?

Just for fun. Some good (and not so good books) written by female celebrities (or their ghost writers). In other words, put down that shitstain of a book of Kim K’s selfies, and dive into a tome by Tina, Betty, Dolly or Dame Judy.

Nobody could throw shade better than Dorothy Parker. Here are some of her best insults.



Writer’s Block-Special Birthday Edition

untitledBecause my readers are very astute they know today is my birthday. I usually don’t like having my birthday on Mondays (or Mondays in general), but I’m feeling really joyous today. I had a brilliant week-end celebrating my special day with some out-of-town friends (I got books for my birthday-no wonder I’m grinning ear to ear), and can’t wait to celebrate my birthday with other loved ones as March marches along.

But so sorry about not updating this blog. As John Lennon once sang, “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I’m working on an outline for a review that should be up by the end of the week (yes, famous last words of Bookish Jen), and I have more books to dive into. Thanks for your patience.

And because it’s my birthday I’m going to take Donna and Tom’s advice. After a crazy week-end I’m going to just chill at home (it is Monday) with some Chinese take-out and a marathon of “Criminal Minds” episodes on the ION network.