I have been suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch a slacker blogger this week. I kept meaning to put some posts together but I’ve been so busy and then so tired from being busy that when I do get some time I just really want to watch 10 episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia because, I mean, it’s the best.
And to be totally honest, I’m still not 100% on my game. So instead of the quality reviews and posts that you’ve obviously come to expect, here are a couple of mini-reviews. Less effort but you know that I’m not dead so everyone wins.
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. Pearl and May are a pair of beautiful sisters, daughters of a wealthy business man in Shanghai. It’s 1937 and they spend their evenings in the “Paris of Asia”, modelling for calendars and hobnobbing with all the right people in exclusive nightclubs. But when their father loses all their money, he arranges marriages for both of them with the sons of a man who has gone to California to find his fortune. Soon after, their entire world literally collapses as the Japanese fly in and bomb Shanghai. With nothing left, the girls travel to Los Angeles to join their husbands but nothing in their new life is what they expected.
Why did no one tell me that this isn’t a complete story?! I read the whole thing and then it ends and I was like “WHAT’S THE REST OF THE STORY!?”Apparently there’s a sequel (Dreams of Joy) that needs reading? But I don’t even mind because it just means I get to spend more time in Lisa See’s world. I find that See does an incredible job creating a real sense of place. Ultimately this is a classic sister story, where two very different women have to live together because of their sisterhood and it was wonderful.
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. I’ve been meaning to read this book all year. Every time I saw it at a bookstore, I would stop and read a few pages. Turns out I’d read a lot more of it than I realized because almost the entire time I was actually reading it, I had an intense déjà vu feeling. I expected it for the first chapter, and I knew I had read the Justine Sacco (the woman who sent that tweet about how she wouldn’t get AIDS in South Africa because she’s white?) chapter online but I had definitely already read about 60% of the book and I have no idea how that happened. Still this is the kind of book that I want to highlight and underline. Ronson’s look at shame in this social media age, where we share everything about ourselves, good and bad, so publicly was amazing.
But there were also parts of it that I read that made me so angry. Not because of anything he wrote but because of what he realized. Namely that if you are a woman and you f*ck up publicly, be prepared for your life to be over. Whether you’ve sent an ill advised tweet, become involved in a sex scandal or even called out men for sexist jokes, you will be hooped. But if you’re a man, it will probably blow over. I’d definitely recommend it, especially if you work with media in any capacity.
Murder After Hours by Agatha Christie. Do you ever think that I will read an Agatha Christie novel and come away going “that was terrible”? Me neither. A whole bunch of people are invited up to an English country house. Unusually for Christie’s novels, a lot of the story takes place before anyone ever gets murdered. You meet the victim and get an idea of how they are related to all the other people invited for the weekend. When the murder occurs, Hercule Poirot has just shown up for lunch. I will never know how Christie constantly manages to trick me. Every time I’m like “I got it this time, I’ve finally figured these out!” and every time I end up like “WHAT?! HOW?!” Agatha Christie, I will always bow down to you, you are superior to all of us.
How about you? What have you read recently?