Calendar Girl (kirilaw) wrote,
Calendar Girl
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Books for 2006

1) Freud's Women (Lisa L. Appignanesi)
This is an odd book -- half biography, half psychoanalytic theory. It approaches Freud's life and work through the women he was close to -- his family, friends, students, and analysands. It's an interesting book, but I sometimes found it a bit too dense psychoanalytically for a layperson -- it assumed a greater knowledge of Freud and his works than I, at least, have. As a result, I'm sure I missed some of what it was saying. The biographical element (by which I mean the biographies of the women in question, more than Freud himself) was much richer and more interesting for me. Some of the women are really fascinating people. ***

2) Practical Magic (Alice Hoffman)
This is an excellent book, and it absorbed me utterly. The writing is clear but evocative, and the story is (relatively) simple but captivating. It was nice, too, to read a book in which the heroines aren't adolescents. *****

3) What the Body Remembers (Shauna Singh Baldwin)
This was also quite a good book -- lovely writing, interesting story. It was a little disappointing, though -- it started with the viewpoint of a middle-aged first wife, Satya, only to end up telling more of the story of the young, naive second wife, Roop. I would really have liked to stay with Satya more; after all, the young, naive girl has been done many times before. The third viewpoint in the story is that of their husband. There was no regular pattern to the viewpoint-switching, and it ended up tilting rather heavily in Roop's direction, which was a shame. However, still a good read, and a convincing evocation of time and place. ****

4) Serenity: Those Left Behind (Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews et al)
I was introduced to the Firefly universe when I went to see the movie, and was utterly blown away. I'm something of a fan now. The original TV series is, in my opinion, even better than Buffy and Angel. This graphic novel is a sort of bridge between the series and the movie, effectively explaining some of the things that changed in the time between the two. It's a good, competent story, competently drawn, but not stand-out wonderful in the way the series and the movie are. There are some really good bits, but some of it was rather contrived and rushed. It's better as part of its universe than it is as a standalone story. ***

5) Y: the Last Man, vol. 6 -- Girl on Girl (Brian K. Vaughan, et al.)
Wow. Very eventful, this volume. Pirates and lesbians and Australians... oh my? An awful lot happened very quickly in this book, and I wasn't entirely convinced by much of it. 355 gets captured? By an amateur? Unlikely. Yorick "falls in love" with yet another girl? Getting a little tired, that device -- if I were his Beth, and I found out about all the girls he's been kissing...? And speaking of ill-advised romantic encounters... well, not to give anything away, but... Anyway, to summarize, not the best of the series: too much going on with too little space for thought or breath. ***

6) In Her Own Time: A Class Reunion Inspires a Cultural History of Women (Maggie Siggins)
This book is interesting as much as a concept as it is in its execution. The biographies of the author's high-school classmates are juxtaposed with a broad-strokes history of women, organized according to themes related to the biographies. The writing is so clear that it's virtually transparent, and the biographies are really quite interesting. The "social history" part is a bit iffier. For starters, it's entirely a european/north american white-person history, a fact which isn't even directly acknowledged -- an inexcusable sin in this day and age. The history isn't very deep, either, although it's not pretending to be a great scholarly document. It's almost more of a meditation than a true history. Treated as such, it's a pleasant, enjoyable read. But it's nothing deeper than that, in the end. ***
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