How to be a Heroine 

How to be a Heroine: Or what I’ve learned from reading too much By Samantha Ellis
☆☆☆☆/5

THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016

Genre: Memior

Yet I feel that more heroines now are Scarlets than Melanies. Melanie’s quieter virtues have gone a bit lost, and many heroines now seemed defined mainly by their strength…They’re Warriors not Worriers.

Though I’m begining to think all readings are provisional, and that maybe we read heroines for what we need from them at the time.

This is a memior where an author looks back on her favorite books where a Heroine was a standout. And how it shaped her growing up and what she took from them. And she rereads these books to see how they may have changed over the decades. 

The author herself is muslim/Jewish and is raised in England. It plays alot on how she goes  through things and how she defines herself and what she wants from life outside of tradition. She explores Anne Shirley, Charlotte and Emily Brönte, Pride and Prejudice, Sylvia Plath (etc) and talks about what makes the MC’S heroines. 
This book was fascinating and very well written. Alot of her heroines are ones that I myself have turned to in times of need. Her adventures are relatable and it makes her very human. I didn’t agree with all of her opinions but it did make me think of what I may have pulled from my own reading to define my sense of self.

I recommend this to the ladies and pose a question: who’s your favorite literature based heroine and why?

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A Sense of the Infinite 

A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith
☆☆☆/5

THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016

Genre: YA Fiction 

I wondered what it would be like to be a person who felt strong and even, everyday, who didn’t fall into these craters where everything was too bright.

This is a YA book with some heavy issues. 

Annabeth and Noe are best friends forever. They have their future planned to a T. Annabeth is shy, quiet and depends on Noe to help her drift along though life. Until senior year. When Noe starts dating Steven (who is absolutely fantastic) and drifting away from Annabeth. During a hot and heavy home coming dance, Annabeth does the unthinkable and sleeps with a man on a one night stand.  And finds herself pregnant. At 17, she does what her mother was unable to do at 19 and gets an abortion. She starts battling within herself for not knowing her father, her mother’s depression and her fraying friendship with Noe, which quickly turns ugly. With Steven to lean on, Annabeth learns what life is after Noe. 

For such a heavy handed book (with all sorts of hot button topics) I felt like this book could have better described the heavy topics. (Teen depression/suicide/teen pregnacy/abortion/anorexia/etc). And it was broken up into way too many chapters, from which I was unable to discern what the author hoped to accomplish. It was a quiet book and filled with heavy thoughts which left me thinking. And pondering. 

I suppose it would be a gateway book for parents to talk to their children about the issues presented. 

Overall, it was a good book and it was beautifully written. I recommend this to fans of YA.

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Courage for Beginners

Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington

☆☆☆☆☆/5
THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016
Genre: YA Fiction

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Now that I am in bed, safe under my soft and warm comforter, I do not want to ever leave. Here is a space where there are no problems. Only the crack in my cealing. That is the only problem. A crack that widens because maybe the house wants to change, too. So there are no problems. Except for the problems you carry in your mind. They creep into your safe space without an invitation. The problem is so stupid there is not even a name for it. Because what do you call that irritating feeling that tells you you’re going to change whether you want to or not? What do you call these invisible things that seem like they are marching towards you and you better get ready?

This was a book about a 12 year old girl. Who became an adult too soon.

Misti likes to talk in narratives and believes that stories will save her.

Misti is your average recently turned 12 year. She’s entering the 7th grade and loses her best (and only) friend to a hipster social experiement. Her dad also suffers from a horrible accident while washing his car (he falls from a tree trying to collect his wash rag) and is hospitalized ‘indefinitely’. And her mother never leaves the house. So Misti takes upon adult responsibilities so that they might survive. She begins to take care of her younger sister, cooking meals, and even going as far as to walk to the grocery store once food begins to get dangerously low. Because her mother suffers from agoraphobia. The only thing that keeps her grounded is hope that her dad will recover. Her stories. And growing up.

Here is a girl in love with the idea that her outside should match her inside. If a guy can change his world with a hat, a girl can change hers with a haircut.

This one struck a cord with me because I was forced to grow up. My little sister is 10 years younger than I and there came a point where my mom stopped leaving her bedroom. For about 3 to 4 years. I had to raise my little sister while the hoarding got out of control. I was responsible for meals, bath times, going to school and getting home to take care of Nik. And this continued well until I managed to escape the hell hole my mother created, which coincidentally, was 7 years ago yesterday. My dad worked so much to ensure that we even had food and amenities. We were poor and we managed. School and reading essentially saved me, but I related alot to Misti and her predicament. And learning to courage to change.

Here is a girl who will learn get to where she needs to go on her own two feet.

I highly recommend this book.

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Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume

Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume by Jennifer O’Connell

☆☆☆/5
THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016
Short Stories Book Bingo
Genre: Short Story/Non Fiction

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Who am I? I am not my disease, nor my weight, nor even my children. I am not my clothing labels, my bank, my car…I am not the ugly words spoken to me by a man who wanted to hurt me. I’m not my books or even my beautiful marriage. It’s all illusionary. I am, instead, the essence inside. I am the courage to fight back after near death. I am the dignity to love my inner self…I am part of the ever elegant and evolving Universe. I am peace. I am serenity. I am blessed with compassion because of my suffering. I am grace through pain. I am kindness. I am laughter. I am all of these things. I am me.

~Erica Orloff

What young girl HASN’T been touched by the unbannable Judy Blume? For me it was Margaret. Deenie. Kathrine. (Yes, I read Forever early and no I didn’t have to hide it). It helped me to understand I wasn’t alone. It helped me to understand the topics that weren’t always up for discussion. Luckily for me, things like sex and periods were open discussion. Sadly, I grew up akward, shy, and under the ban hammer of my mother. Oh, I was allowed to read whatever I wanted. I just couldn’t be ME. At 28, I’m still trying to figure out who I am.

That aside, this is a collection from prominent women writers (such as Meg Cabot, Jennifer O’Connell, etc etc) and their personal stories on how Judy Blume shaped their akward adolescent years. Bras. Periods. The forbidden copies of Forever handed off underneath desks, and how Judy made them feel not so alone in the crazy thing we call life.

To this day, Judy Blume remains a staple and continues to be banned world wide. Of course, more contraband ends up on the list every year but Judy has been pissing off parents for decades.

Reading this made me think about my own Judy Blume experience. And how “We Must….We must…We must increase our busts!” was something to be giggled at and So Long as We’re Together made me realize some friendships aren’t forever and that’s okay. 🙂

I recommend this to the ladies of the group.

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