The Women’s Prize for Fiction winners, ranked (10-1)

Last week I wrote about 14 of the 24 Women’s Prize for Fiction winners. Today the 25th winner is announced, I can’t wait! See HERE for details about the prize. And here is my top 10 ranking of previous winners.

Bonus: I’m not going to try to predict this year’s winner because I’ve only read three of the six shortlisted titles, but my favourite of the ones I’ve read is Dominicana by Angie Cruz (although Girl Women Other by Bernardine Evaristo and Weather by Jenny Offill were also both wonderful). I look forward to reading the other nominees soon.

Bonus #2: My favourite previously shortlisted nominees that didn’t win the big prize are Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Circe by Madeline Miller, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and one of my favourite books of all time, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. 

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The Women’s Prize for Fiction winners, ranked (24-11)

There are so many book awards out there, and they all have different characters. By this, I mean that there are some whose winners I generally find aren’t to my personal taste (the Booker), there are some whose winners are a real mixed bag (the Pulitzer), and there are some whose winners I, with only a few exceptions, absolutely love (the Women’s Prize). The Women’s Prize was formerly known as the Orange Prize, the Bailey’s Prize and, as the current name would suggest, it is awarded to a woman (for the best original full-length novel published in English in the UK).

I’ve read all of the 24 Women’s Prize winners and at least 20 other shortlisted titles, and there’s only one I can pick out as being a book I really didn’t enjoy (hint: it only made the Women’s Prize shortlist, but it did win the Booker a few years ago). Most of the winners I’ve liked, really liked, or absolutely loved, but there were some I loved more than others. In anticipation for the 25th award being announced next week, I’ve ranked all the winners and split it up into two posts. Catch my top 10 on the day of the prize announcement next Wednesday, and here are my choices for 24 to 11 (but even these books on the “bottom” half of the list are still well worth a read!).

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My Queen in the North

If you haven’t been living under a (Casterly) rock you know that the final season of Game of Thrones was… divisive isn’t quite the right word, unless it refers to the divide between the showrunners and good storytelling. While we may see more of Westeros if George R. R. Martin ever finishes the series, for now its watch has ended and most of us who have followed it for so many years are reflecting on it.

I certainly have a lot of criticisms about the series finale, the final season, and the show (and book series) as a whole, but there’s one moment in the last episode that completes a storyline I have cared so deeply about throughout, and it’s the one I keep coming back to when I think about Game of Thrones’ place in the canon of fantasy. Spoilers for all of Game of Thrones from here on out: Continue reading “My Queen in the North”

Heartbeats, holidays, hopefulness, helplessness

When I was in grad school in Ireland, my friends and I made an agreement that if one of us should find ourselves with an unwanted pregnancy, we would rearrange our schedules for an immediate “girls’ holiday” to the UK—cocktails, spa visits, shopping, all that fun, female stuff. And an abortion.

It’s something that I had never had to think about in the United States. Roe v. Wade had been settled by the Supreme Court almost two decades before I was born, and while another Supreme Court ruling from my own home state, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, allowed for more restrictions and guidelines, abortion would have been generally accessible to me had I needed it.

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Girl, Accept Your Constructive Criticism

Being a woman in a patriarchal society is hard, but it doesn’t make you a feminist.

Let me say it louder for the people in the back.

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BEING A WOMAN IN A PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY IS HARD, BUT IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU A FEMINIST.

Feminism is about beliefs and actions aimed at dismantling the patriarchy, the systematic inequality that inhibits people of all genders. Feminism doesn’t mean that everything a woman does is good or feminist, that women can’t be called out (including by other women), that any criticism of a woman is an act of misogyny, that all women must lift up all other women all the time.

I would say it louder for the people in the back but I don’t want you to have to read a whole paragraph of capslock.

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What voice should a brand have?

Corporations, despite continuing to not be people, have a lot of opinions. Usually that opinion is “buy our stuff,” but sometimes they try to sell us something deeper, something better. Gilette’s Super Bowl ad is the latest example of this, with a #MeToo era-themed comment on toxic masculinity and the harmful nature of the “boys will be boys” mindset.

The ad begins with men catcalling women, laughing at sexist jokes, and being forced to “toughen up” in response to bullying, while the actions, both those that harm others and those that cause them harm, are brushed off as “typical” male behaviour, locker room talk. Then the focus shifts, to strong fathers guiding their sons (and daughters) to resolve conflict, promote self-esteem, and learn how to “be a man,” in the best sense.

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