Books I’ve read since the end of January

I love books, I love reading. The thrill of entering a different reality, the turning of the pages, a beautifully published book, well, simply books. I love them and am always interested in what others are reading so in case anybody would be interested in what I have recently read, here is a list put together in no particular order and without full bibliographical data but hey, there’s google. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to ask me about any of the belowmentioned as many of the books have just recently appeared on the market. I am certain I have forgotten some books because I do not keep a list and am relying on my memory. I will also make sure to post brief comments about them, hopefully soon. I have bought many of  the books after meeting the authors at the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore in Paris so if you’re here, do stop by on any Monday at 7 p.m. It’s worth it.

So there, the list:

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Albert Camus, L’Etranger

Irene Vilar, Impossible Motherhood, Testimony of an Abortion Addict,

Polar Bear, Path of the Creator (available in pdf on

Janet Skeslien Charles, Moonlight in Odessa

Dom Gabrielli, Parallel Body (Poetry, and a link to his MySpace page:

Chloe Aridjis, Book of Clouds (here, a link to the first chapter )

William Cliff, U.S.A. 1976 (in French)

Cynthia McEnloe, Bananas, Beaches, and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics

currently reading:

Naomi Klein, Doktryna Szoku (Shock Therapy)

Margo Berdeshevsky, Beautiful Soon Enough

Betty Friedan, the Feminine Mystique

Joseph Conrad, Typhon (French version translated from English by Gide)

Unfeminism in Poland

Feminism hasn’t yet reached Poland. Or at least the elites, the ones who should be setting the standards and providing guidelines of behavior to others.

Situation 1:

Backstage of a very popular political tv show. Half of the debating politicians (not usual for the show) were women. Economy was the topic. One of the male guests is asked about how he found the show. The answer: It was very nice, very enjoyable. Question 2: why? Answer: because such charming and nice ladies were there and debates are always more pleasant when ladies participate. One of the women who participated in the show just smiles vaguely with visible uneasiness but doesn’t respond.

Situation 2:

Naomi Klein – the guru of the alterglobalist movement comes to Warsaw to promote her new book and give a lecture at the University of Warsaw. How is she being introduced by a high-up representative of the university? As a very charming lady with charming ideas. Some members of the audience boo here. Others don’t seem to notice nor care. Naomi Klein, as the guest, kindly smiles. The studies of the failure of the War on Terror, thousands of deaths in Chile after the coup d’etat, hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami and how liberal capitalism is being introduced when people are in a state of shock – charming ideas indeed.

Situation 3 (I did not observe this one first hand):

A PhD candidate comes to a PhD (a man of about 70), an expert in interpreting and says that she will be conducting a research on the differences in translations done by women and men and asks whether he could help. The answer: ‘you better grow yourself a penis first’. (This is an extreme example, from what I’ve seen it doesn’t happen too often)

It seems that the ideas of valuing women for the merit of what they are saying and for their knowledge hasn’t yet reached some groups, perhaps most of the population. It is encouraging that it is visible among the younger generation, but why aren’t politicians and professors up to date? It personally disgusts me but I also blame the women. Why don’t they respond? Why don’t they kiss the man’s hand back. Why, after being called charming or pretty (in the context of a lecture or a political debate), don’t they thank ‘the charming or handsome gentleman’? They never do. They seem to notice and seem to feel uneasy and just hide it behind a smile. But what if it’s time to react? It is time to react. To stop being nice and just fight back with the same weapon. Why don’t female politicians start talking about how handsome their co-debaters were or how the conversation was nice, because there were some charming gentleman in it? Perhaps this will show the males who still live with the ideas of the past in their brains, realize that women are their equals and should be judged and treated the way they treat their male colleagues.

I am not calling for physical equality of the sexes or for gender evenness, but it is about time that people start being treated as equal human beings, not as men, who know things, and women who should be the background and smile.