Jimmy Carter’s Call to Action

Several weeks ago when I read Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman, one of the things that really stuck out for me was that until men get on board with this whole feminism thing, not much is going to change.

I’m not sure that Moran ever thought that her work was going to be linked to former President Jimmy Carter but that’s what I’m about to do. Certainly their perspectives are quite different but their end goal is the same: equality for women.

Jimmy Carter’s latest book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power is essentially trying to show the world the insane amount of disparity suffered by women in all corners of the world. He talks abut rape, education, positions of power, maternal health, genital mutilation and honour killings. Because of his work with The Carter Center, an organization he founded to help propel the human rights movement, he has had a front row seat to some of the heinous things that happen to women because they are women. He’s also in a unique position to be able to do something about some of those situations.

Some would argue that his book is just a chronicle of all the horrible things happening to women in the world. In some respects, that’s true. But before we can get everyone on board with changing the treatment of women, we have to know what’s happening. It’s easy to ignore femicide or child brides when it’s not happening to you. But these are problems that half the world’s population deal with on the regular.

it’s a short book – just 198 pages – and it’s difficult to get into all of the ins and outs of gender discrimination in all it’s various forms in that length of time. But I think that Carter does an admirable job starting the conversation. I personally could have done without all the biblical references but I think his point was that religious men hide behind scripture to justify that behaviour. For the first third of the book it seemed to me that he was calling on religious leaders to be the first to take a stand on gender discrimination. Let women become priests for example. The Catholic Church has actually defrocked priests for encouraging women to become ordained. But those priests preying on young children? Just moved to a different parish.

I admire the fact that Jimmy Carter took a stand for women’s rights and my hope is that this book is widely read enough to spark that conversation that will start addressing the gender inequality.

If you want to get involved, please visit the following links:

And if you have time, you should watch the It’s A Girl documentary. You can find it on Netflix, but here’s a trailer:


I’m in Book Buying Rehab

You know how, in the past, I have imposed book bans on myself in an attempt to stop spending so much money in bookstores and read the books I already own?

Yesterday my other half put me on a book buying ban.

To be fair, in recent weeks my book habit has completely spiraled out of control. I can barely function on a day where I don’t go and throw down some money for my next hit. And it’s not like I have more time to read the ones that I already have. I just can’t stop. There are so many great books out there right now! These poor books were probably so excited to come home with me, looking forward to the moment when I jumped into their stories, eagerly anticipating the chance to share their magic with me.

And what did I do? I pushed them aside in favour of another book that caught my eye. A book that I felt was more important than the others, in that moment.

On my kitchen table there are at least 10 books that I’ve brought home with me in the last two weeks or so. Those are the books that I haven’t even shelved yet. That’s in addition to the stack of 5 on my bedside table and all the others that continue to sit on my bookshelves unloved and unread.

On my birthday, we went to the bookstore (obviously) and I came out with: The Count of Monte Cristo, which is my friend’s favourite book and I’ve always meant to read it; Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight because it mentioned Gone Girl on the cover and if something says it’s like Gone Girl, game over, you’re mine; Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin because this is the second Inspector Rebus book and it was the first time I’d seen it.

Then I got a gift certificate to the bookstore from a friend for my birthday (who knows and loves me so well) and I can’t hold onto that for any period of time so back I went. That time I was good. I only picked up Eva Stachniak’s Empress of the Night because I was going to see her at an event at the library that week; and Frog Music by Emma Donoghue because I took this quiz on Buzzfeed which told me that this was the book I was meant to read this spring.book pile

I don’t even remember when I picked up Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman but it’s been on my list for forever so I’m glad I could read it tomorrow if I wanted to. I’d been waiting for Paris: A Novel by Edward Rutherfurd to show up in paperback and when it did: mine. We’d talked about my frustration at discovering that Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman should have followed The Redeemer, not The Devil’s Star but I hadn’t managed to find it. Until a few days ago.

Then two nights ago we were in Costco and you know what happens there. Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (look at me reading more YA fiction!) and The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell were in my hands before I even realized it. I almost brought home Jimmy Carter’s A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power but I knew I was already pushing my luck.

And all of those are in addition to the books I already had to read at home. Night Film, Claire Tomlin’s Charles Dickens biography, a biography of Princess Louise, War and Peace, Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley and A Winter’s Tale are all still sitting at home waiting for me.

Did I mention that I got my sister to lend me The Bone Season?

I’m out of control. I need some book rehab.