Ladies and gents, nonbinary and gender non-conforming folks: I have made a decision to do something new.
This decision derived from reading two very important texts sent to me by Orca Book Publishers. I read, I researched, I felt educated and angry and ready to fight.
There is something about quality feminist books, whether they are nonfiction or fiction, that really make me feel something. They are important, necessary, and informative. Even reading someone else’s story can teach you things you didn’t realize you needed to know.
And with all of that being said, I’ve decided to do a new series here called The Personal is Political. You’ve probably heard that saying already, but if you haven’t, it’s a term that was coined and used primarily during the second wave of feminism to point out the close connection between personal or private experiences and political stances and structures. You’ve probably run into those people who say, “Not being friends with someone who disagrees with your politics is immature”, but sometimes, your politics are personal. Stances on racism, marginalization, immigration, misogyny, inequality, transphobia & homophobia, Islamphobia, womens’ rights… well that’s pretty personal. You don’t have to be friends with people who don’t support your rights as a human being.
With that being said, I find my own views on politics to be pretty personal. But, while I’ve said in the past on this blog that I didn’t want to get too political, I don’t think talking about feminism should even be controversial.
So, this new series will be pretty simple. I’ll be reading books (most likely nonfiction, but a few fiction novels may come about) about feminism and posting about them various times a month (likely 1-2 posts but possibly more). Not only will I review & discuss the book, but, if possible, I’ll reference any relevancy to our current social climate.
I am fully aware and prepared to have people disagree with the contexts of the books I read and talk about, but I’ll refrain from heavy bias content (on my own behalf) and focus on the facts of the topic and book. If you disagree with anything mentioned in my review or the context of the book, you’re welcome to comment. I’ll heavily monitor comments on this series, so only comment if you’re willing to have a civilized and respectful conversation.
If you aren’t up to checking out this series because feminism isn’t really your thing, I won’t be offended if you decide to unfollow. I know not everyone cares for the hard topics, but I think they are important and I want to be able to recommend worthwhile and educational texts to those looking to learn more.
Note: I struggled a lot when deciding to frame this series with whether or not I wanted to read books about other human rights issues, and just in case you’re wondering about that, here’s where I’m standing at the moment: I am a white, cis, middle-class woman. I can’t (and won’t) pretend to know what other people are going through, and I don’t want to speak for anyone. For that reason, I don’t feel like it’s my place to tell other people’s stories. However… I still would love to feature books in this series that cover other extremely important topics because I think it’s important to bring things like racism, marginalization, transphobia, and much, much more to light. I never want to overstep my boundaries; I’d love to help bring attention and education to said issues, but I don’t want to take that attention away from someone who is speaking on the issue from personal experience. Does that make sense? Hopefully. With all of that being said, I’d love to work with other book lovers on this series. If you have a specific topic or book you’d like featured, please reach out to me! I’m very open to guest bloggers or collaborations. I’m also happy to see others utilize this series on their own blogs with topics that matter & are prevalent to them (just please tag me if you do decide to write your own post with the series name!).
My aim for this series is to find quality, educational reads on important topics and share them with others. All topics (whether it’s just me discussing feminism, or a guest blogger discussing racial injustices or LGBTQ+ hate crimes) will be covered with an immense amount of respect.
The first post will be tomorrow and it will be on the book titled My Body My Choice: The Fight for Abortion Rights by Robin Stevenson.
How I’ll be Reviewing / Rating
I’d like to go ahead and give you an idea of the layout before the first review. I pandered for a long time over how exactly I wanted to review these books, since nonfiction is a completely different experience than fiction novels. I’ve come up with 8 bullet points that I think are worth discussing for each nonfiction book reviewed in this series. Not every book will provide me with a lot to talk about in each category, but I’ll always include even just a sentence or two to make sure I cover all of the bases. Each category will get a star rating (out of five) which will help me present you with a final overall rating! I’ll start with the logistical points first, and gradually move to the more serious stuff. The categories are:
How’s the writing? ★★★★★
Characters & plot lines don’t get brought up in nonfiction reviews. These are real people and real events, so they aren’t always going to be polished and nicely done. They’ll probably be the opposite, most often. So, I won’t be discussing those, but I will be talking about the writing. The way an author communicates with their audience is vital regardless of whether the book is fact or fiction.
Was this educational/informational? ★★★★★
Not all nonfiction books are going to include stats and reference facts, but most will still attempt to teach you something, even if they present the information in an unusual way. Collections of essays, for example, may teach you many things over the course of the novel, but some of the facts may be inferred or explained out to you. Contrarily, some books may be formatted almost like a textbook, presenting you with concrete facts and events.
Was the information credible? ★★★★★
If facts or stats are referenced, was everything cited? Is it possible for a reader to access the same facts themselves?
How personal was this? Did it include any biases? ★★★★★
Biases do not have to be a bad thing! I think it’s so important to write about something that matters to you. Make it personal! Make me feel connected to you through our shared experiences as feminists!
Was this intersectional? ★★★★★
Intersectional feminism is the way to go! I genuinely hope all of the books I talk about in this series are inclusive to all women (including transgender women and men, of course) and non-binary people. If a book does not cover it’s topic with all women in mind, I will make a point to say so.
How relevant is this topic to society as a whole? ★★★★★
Feminism is often looked at as a negative word, so sometimes the problems broached in feminist novels may not be talked about much in our everyday society. Sometimes, however, they are being discussed and debated by everyone of all genders, races, and identities.
How relevant is this topic to the feminist movement? ★★★★★
This one is pretty self explanatory!
My final reaction, as a whole!
This will always be the last category, and I’ll use it to kind of sum up the entire reading experience and give it my final rating.
35 stars = 5 star read!
28 – 34 stars = 4 star read!
21 – 33 stars = 3 star read!
14 – 20 stars = 2 star read!
Anything below 14 stars is a 1 star read!