mini reviews #2: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s nonfiction & various classics

Still making my way through my backlog of Goodreads mini reviews to transfer over to WordPress – if you missed my first installment of mini reviews you can check that out here!  Here’s the next round:

22738563WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
★★★☆☆
date read: April 5, 2018
Vintage, 2014

A really great introduction to feminism which would have been very valuable to me a decade ago. As it stands, I didn’t take a whole lot away from this, or even see familiar points articulated in novel ways… but I’m not the target audience. This is an important book to gift to your friends and relatives who still think ‘feminist’ is a dirty word.

33585392DEAR IJEAWELE, OR A FEMINIST MANIFESTO IN FIFTEEN SUGGESTIONS by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
★★★☆☆
date read: April 28, 2018
Knopf, 2017

Between this and We Should All Be Feminists I don’t think Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s nonfiction is for me, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t have merit. I just didn’t get anything out of either of these essays that I haven’t already seen articulated by others in more thorough and nuanced ways. And once again, as with We Should All Be Feminists, I was disappointed with the lack of inclusion toward the LGBT community. But I did enjoy the particular insights into Nigerian and Igbo culture, and there’s a lot to be said about the brevity with which she is able to articulate her points, which makes this an accessible starting point for anyone unfamiliar with feminist theory.

6473195THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE by Agatha Christie
★★★★☆
date read: March 30, 2018
William Morrow, 2009, originally published in 1930

Yet again Christie manages to craft a mystery so intricate it’s all you can do to keep up, never mind get ahead of her. 4 stars instead of 5 as it took me ages to get invested in these characters for whatever reason, and because I got tired of Clement remarking upon how clever Miss Marple is (we get it). But the resolution was fantastic and I thought the humor in this one in particular was great.

92517THE GLASS MENAGERIE by Tennessee Williams
★★★★★
date read: January 21, 2018
originally published in 1945

Thoughtful, entrancing, achingly sad. Worth reading the script even if you’ve already seen the play live (I have not) because the detail in Williams’ stage directions is so vivid.

 

 

50398NORTHANGER ABBEY by Jane Austen
★★☆☆☆
date read: December 29, 2017
originally published in 1818

This was the single most inoffensive reading experience of my life. I didn’t like this book. I didn’t dislike this book. I have no opinion on this book and I have absolutely nothing else to say.

Side note: this was my first Jane Austen (not counting the first couple of chapters of Pride and Prejudice that I tried reading when I was 13 before getting bored), and I’m aware that it’s widely regarded as one of her weaker novels, so I’m not letting it put me off Austen for good.  The one that appeals to me the most is Mansfield Park so I’ll probably read that next, though I have no idea when that will be.

Feel free to comment if you’d like to talk about any of these in more detail!

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13 thoughts on “mini reviews #2: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s nonfiction & various classics

  1. re: Jane Austen, I have also been meaning to read more of her work! I read Pride & Prejudice in high school and I remember I actually liked it, which was weird because back then was my I-Hate-All-Classics phase. I’ve been meaning to re-read Pride & Prejudice for a while (and the 2005 film with Keira Knightley is literally my fave film of all time lmao) and also to read Sense & Sensibility.

    Mansfield Park sounds interesting but at 560 pages it’s also intimidating…like what if it’s as insufferable as Northanger Abbey??

    Anyway I need to freaking finish Jane Eyre first djlakjfla

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve heard Mansfield Park is a bit different and less… idk, whimsical? romantic? in tone than the main ones, so that obviously appeals to me. Plus I saw a film adaptation I liked a while ago. I do want to read all of Austen’s novels but this is a VERY long term goal lmao like I am not going to pretend I feel like accomplishing this within the next year. But maybe within the next year I’ll finally do Mansfield Park!

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  2. Good to know about We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele. I’ve been wondering if I should read those but was avoiding for exactly that reason, any excerpts I’d come across didn’t tell me anything new. I like your idea of gifting it to anyone who still thinks feminist is a dirty word, I think of that so often in the nonfiction I read, but unfortunately it seems like those who need it are the least likely to pick it up. We can dream.

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    • I feel like that’s such an unfortunate and inevitable catch-22 with these ‘feminism 101’ books – the people who need to read them won’t reach for them, and the people who will reach for them won’t get much out of them. I mean, I guess there are plenty of feminist readers who love the way Ngozi Adichie articulates her ideas, but it was all a bit basic and binary for my tastes (she’s very into heterosexuality being the norm and not exploring beyond that, and VERY interested in the biological differences between men and women). I guess they’re worth reading as they’re both so short and I listened to each on audio in about an hour, but yeah, not exactly revolutionary stuff. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts if and when you do read them!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m always interested in how others articulate their beliefs, or how they came to them, subjects like that, but I didn’t realize it had that emphasis on heterosexuality as the norm and biological differences…that doesn’t sound like what I want to hear. Hmm. Interesting though. Might have a look since they’re brief but sounds like there’s better material out there if you’re already familiar with the concepts!

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  3. You make some good points about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s non-fiction. I had the same take-away. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the Jane Austen book. I loved Northanger Abbey, but I’m a big Jane Austen fan–and enjoy that particular work for it’s part in the gothic literature trend of the time. I think Jane Austen may come across as “tame” to a lot of modern readers, which to me is a sign of just how much we’ve absorbed her manner of story-telling as normal.

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    • I’m glad I’m not alone re: the Ngozi Adichie. And that’s a really good point about Jane Austen’s influence – it’s interesting because I do read quite a lot of classics, but I’ve never been particularly drawn to Austen for reasons I can’t quite explain. But I really want to give her a fair try because, as you said, she’s such an important literary pioneer. I’m hoping Northanger Abbey was just a case of the wrong book for the wrong reader and I end up enjoying the rest of her novels.

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  4. I totally second your thoughts on Adichie’s non-fiction. It absolutely has its merit, but it’s so entry level that I find it somewhat frustrating how often she seems to be held up as the ‘poster girl’ for modern feminism – for want of a better phrase.

    It’s not too dissimilar to the whole Handmaid’s Tale thing actually; it’s a great means to get into feminism, but there’s so much out there to explore, so why should it be seen as a definitive, one-stop look at the issue?

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    • YES I agree completely. Her nonfiction reminds me of those posts that are like ‘feminism is the radical concept that women are people’ where it’s like…. well, actually, no, feminism is a BIT more involved than that?? Especially intersectional feminism??

      And I totally agree with your comparison to The Handmaid’s Tale, both are kind of ‘baby’s first feminism’ situations which absolutely have their merit but it’s frustrating that they’re held up above more nuanced texts. We really need to move the conversation past ‘women are people.’

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  5. Have you read any of Adichie’s novels? I read Americanah earlier this year and I feel like you’d like it (coincidentally my review is going up tomorrow lol). I totally agree with what you said about her nonfiction though! I loved We Should All Be Feminists but it’s definitely more of a starter book on feminism rather than an actual feminist text, if that makes sense? It’s totally perfect though for the people who are like “but WHY do we need feminism, women can vote!”

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    • No, I haven’t! I’ve been curious about it though. I’ll definitely check out your review of Americanah. And yeah that’s exactly how I feel about her nonfiction – it’s a very basic intro that serves its purpose for a certain type of reader. Not exactly what I was looking for, but definitely has its merit!

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  6. I love your mini-reviews!
    And this reminded me that I really need to pick up some Agatha Christie books soon. I do like them a whole lot and have never read them in English.

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