Author: Rebecca Solnit
Genre: Nonfiction/ Essay Collection
Publication Date: 2014
Page Count: 130
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Short Reads February. I don't usually read essays, so I thought it would be best to start with a short collection on a topic that I am really interested in.
Overall, I liked this collection. As usual with collections, some essays were more interesting to me than others, but I didn't dislike any of them. Some of the essays began to feel a little repetitive as each essay seemed to have the same statistics or case studies, which wasn't too bad because they were important stats.
I liked the title essay. The idea of men explaining things to women that already understand is not new to any woman. I'm sure this has happened to the majority of women out there, as I know it has happened to me, even though I work in a field that is majority female. I thought the essay was the perfect balance of fact, personal antidote, and expression. Unfortunately, when women write/speak about sexist traditions or experiences, they are often dismissed as whiny or preachy when they make an emotional appeal, but Solnit is careful to avoid that and stick to the facts.
I enjoyed the few essays in this collection on rape and rape culture, and found they were treated with the same care as the title essay; rape statistics and figures are really stunning on their own, but Solnit's writing works to place them into context and offer reasons behind those numbers. I found her ideas about masculinity and violence interesting and agreed with them wholly. I think the way we view and define masculinity is harmful to everyone, both male and female.
I'll be picking up more essay collections in the future, particularly ones on feminism. Leave me your favorites!