Book Haul (2019 So Far)

Listen, I have an excuse for buying all these books.. kind of. I started working at a bookstore in December and I’ve been exposed to more books than ever. I finally have a steady paycheck, so, of course I’m buying more and more books. I’m not only buying them, though. Some of these books were kindly sent to me, I got ARCs from work, etc. Either way, let’s not judge, okay? Instead, let’s talk about all the books I’ve received and bought since January of 2019!

January

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama

It only makes sense to start from the beginning of this year so in January, I received Becoming by Michelle Obama by my mom. She knew how well the book had been selling at work and how badly I wanted to read it but didn’t want to spend money on it yet. I felt guilty for going to Amazon for cheaper prices and it was expensive at work so I just waited. But, my lovely mom surprised me with it one day and I’m so thankful. I’ve already read this book and wrote a little review on it.

To read my review, click here.

  • Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

I picked this up because it was discounted at my local bookstore that’s closing soon. It hurts to say that I didn’t shop here often but I would occasionally come in and buy books here whenever I was feeling like going out. Whenever I was upset and having a bad day, I would force myself to come out here. I also love Roxane Gay’s books and I know this is one of her earlier ones so I can’t wait to get into it!

  • Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan

I requested this book from Bloomsbury shortly before February without realizing how close the release date was. I planned to read this for Feminist February but if you saw my reading challenge in February, I didn’t read much. I was going through a lot and ended up not getting to this book which sucks but I’m currently reading this and will be posting a review soon! To let you know what it’s about, here’s the description: “Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post everything online—poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine’s response to the racial macroaggressions she experiences—and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard.”

 

February

  • This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins

Onto February! It was #FeministFebruary so I went a little ham on the feminist reads. I bought three books at the beginning of the month all at once. The first one was This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins. I already listened to this on audiobook and I ended up giving it five stars. It was delightful! If you want to read my review, I have one here.

  • The Independent Woman by Simone De Beauvoir

Listen, I love small new editions of older books. I saw this one in the social science section and just had to buy it. I thought it would make for a great, light read before bed. I love short books and couldn’t say no. I also haven’t read Simone De Beauvoir yet which is surprising but now, whenever I want to, I have this!

  • How to Date Men When You Hate Men by Blythe Roberson

This cover just kind of spoke to me. It’s supposed to be a witty and humorous take on dating. It was recently released and I thought it would make for another great short read but unfortunately, I haven’t read it yet!

  • The Bold World by Jodie Patterson

I didn’t know we could take home the ARCs from work until they were taking about it in the break room so I decided to take this one since no one else had. From the Bold World‘s Goodreads page, “Inspired by her transgender son, activist Jodie Patterson explores identity, gender, race, and authenticity to tell the real-life story of a family’s history and transformation.” I can’t wait to get to this one. I would’ve reviewed it in advance but it was already released by the time I picked it up.

  • Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

This was an ARC I also received from work. I’ve yet to pick it up but the blurbs and description made me want to take it home. To quote Goodreads, “Calling to mind the best works of Paul Beatty and Junot Díaz, this collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era.” It sounds so lovely and I can’t wait to read it! I plan to do it soon and post a review.

March

  • A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Deluxe Edition)

So, I saw this and had to buy it. A Darker Shade of Magic has become one of my favorite books and trilogies of all time. I plan to collect V.E. Schwab’s books because I love her so much. I, unfortunately, didn’t write reviews for these books when I read them last year. But, let it be known: I loved these books so much, maybe even too much.

  • Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Whenever I saw this ARC at work, I kind of had to have it. I’ve been seeing reviews here and there. The hype on Bookstagram is so real and I love a good fantasy so I grabbed it. I’ve started it but I put it down for some reason. I’m going to try and review it before the release date (April something) so look forward to that if I get around to it!

  • Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This could’ve been an ARC I got from work but unfortunately, I let it stay because I felt I already had too many. I eventually bought the book whenever it came out because so many people were talking about it. I haven’t even Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid but I finished Daisy Jones in three days (I just finished today) and I loved it so much. There’s nothing like a story set in the 70s about a rock band. Also, the best feminism content I could’ve asked for. I’ll have a mini review for it soon and once I do, I’ll link it here.

  • Water Runs Red by Jenna Clare

I’ve been following Jenna on social media for so long. I started watching her Youtube videos back when I first got into Booktube and I’m so thankful. Since I follow her on most social media, I’ve been seeing her updates about her writing this poetry book. I was so excited for the paperback to finally be released that I bought it the day it was. I’ve read some of the poems and they’re absolutely beautiful. You can tell the amount of hard work Jenna put into this and I have to say, this book is definitely worth more than the price on Amazon. So well done!

  • The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I read this book last year on Audiobook and loved it. I did the Kon Mari method before and it worked wonderfully. I found this book in a thrift store recently and just had to pick it up for like $1. If I ever need to refer back to it, I can.

  • All the Light That We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This book has been on my TBR for so long and I was lucky enough to find a hardcopy in the thrift store the other day. If you don’t know what it’s about, here’s a short description:

“From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.”

 

 

 

Alright, I know. This was a lot of books. But, I’m so excited to talk about all of them with you and have truly enjoyed the ones I’ve already read. Not to mention, I recently did a pretty big unhaul that I forgot to report to you all. I can’t even remember half the books I got rid of but so glad these wonderful books have taken the spots!

I’ve also received and read some lovely ARCs through NetGalley and have reviews for those up as well so check them out!

 

 

If you want to buy any of these books, buy them at your local bookstore or at Barnes & Noble!

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired [MINI REVIEW]

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired is a feminist manifesto that denounces the discrimination against and unfairness felt by women from childhood to adulthood. The graphic novel, illustrated in a strikingly minimalist style with images of girls with varied body types and personalities, invites teenagers to question the sexism that surrounds us, in ways that are obvious and hidden, simple and complex.

The book’s beginnings as a fanzine shine through in its honesty and directness, confronting the inequalities faced by young women, everyday. And it ends with a line of hope, that with solidarity, girls will hurt less, as they hold each other up with support and encouragement.”

Edition: Paperback / ARC

Release Date: March 18th, 2019

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Second Story Press

My Rating: 4/5 stars ★★★★

I was sent an e-book by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I immediately requested this book on NetGalley after reading the description and seeing that it’s a shorter book. I mean, who doesn’t like short books about feminism?

It did not take me long to finish this book because I was reading an e-copy of this book and of course, it’s only 48 pages long. This book is literally the title — it’s what makes girls sick and tired. It’s an ongoing list of the things we deal with for just being women. All women face some kind of sexism daily and it’s not any easier for women of color, women in the LGBT+ community, disabled women, etc. This book covers that it’s not only white women who deal with this, but all women and it’s important to recognize that.

I can’t say much for the art because I, unfortunately, was reading this on an older kindle that only displays in black and white. I’m sure the art is amazing based on the illustrations I saw and the cover. The entire time I was reading this book, I could only imagine how nice the reading experience probably is with a physical copy. I can’t say it’s great to read all the bad things women, including myself, have gone through but it is empowering to say, this is what makes us sick and tired. Here’s an entire list of the things people do to us and we’re TIRED.

I ended up giving this book four out of five stars. It was an enjoyable, quick read and I would recommend to someone who likes reading empowering feminist books. This definitely was added to my feminism list on Goodreads!

This book is currently out today so buy this book for yourself at your local bookstore or at Barnes & Noble!

Find my Instagram post about it: @uponthepages

 

 

 

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Saga Vol. 9 [MINI REVIEW]

“The multiple Eisner Award-winning series returns with a spacefaring adventure about fake news and genuine terror. Get ready for the most shocking, most impactful SAGA storyline yet.”

Edition: Paperback, #49-54
Page Count: 152 pages
Published: October 2nd 2018
Publisher: Image Comics

NO SPOILERS!

Well, I decided on whim to finally pick up the latest Saga while I was on my lunch break at work. Then, I got embarrassed because there’s definitely nudity within two pages. It feels good to be reading Saga again, but God, why wasn’t I expecting that? I left the Cafe to the back corner of the bookstore to read. I read it all during my lunch break, probably coming back later than I was supposed to.
I love Saga for so many different reasons but one of them is that it never leaves you unsatisfied. There’s always something going on and it’s never boring. It’s far from boring, actually. I usually leave Saga comics feeling kindly overwhelmed and waiting for what’s next.
While I finished this one, it definitely gave me a heavy feeling in my chest. This comic covered layers and layers of emotion and showed character development in the most heartbreaking way. I hate that I have to wait after Brian K. Vaughan’s year long planned hiatus. It sucked having to wait so long for this volume to come out but I don’t know what I’m going to do while I wait an entire year. I guess I’ll just pick up his other comics for now.
As always, the art in Saga is stunning. This one was no let down. The coloring is beautifully done and makes the story feel so much more lively. I loved all the cliff hangers at the end of every chapter but this ending didn’t seem to feel like one in a good way. I can’t wait for whatever’s next but I’m definitely hoping for some serious magic.
If you’ve recently read Saga Vol. 9, PLEASE let me know. I totally need someone to cry to.

Buy this book for yourself at your local bookstore or at Barnes & Noble!

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6 Feminist Children Books to Educate Your Little One

After working at a bookstore and finding myself shelving in the children’s section a lot, i’ve found some incredibly cute feminist children’s books. I obviously haven’t read these but I see others picking them up often so I thought I might recommend them to you! If you want to know more about how people feel about the inside content of the books, check out Goodreads for reviews!

So, here’s a little of empowering children’s books. Happy International Women’s Day!

1. Feminist Baby by Loryn Brantz

51E9v4UsYuL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ “Feminist Baby likes pink and blue.
Sometimes she’ll throw up on you!

Feminist Baby chooses what to wear
and if you don’t like it she doesn’t care!

Meet the irrepressible Feminist Baby in this refreshing, clever board book about a girl who’s not afraid to do her own thing, and wants to make as much noise as possible along the way!”

 

Edition: Board Book

Page Count: 22

Published: Disney Hyperion

 

2. Dress Like a Girl by Patricia Toht

y648.jpg“What’s the right way to dress like a girl? In this timely picture book in the vein of Princesses Wear Pants, a slumber party full of girls enacts their own playful, empowering twists on several stuffy, old-timey rules of fashion.

What does it mean to dress like a girl?

Many will tell you in this big wide world

that there are strict rules that must be addressed,

rules you will need when looking your best.

But when you are given these rules to obey,

the secret is heeding them—in your own way.

In these beautifully illustrated pages, a diverse cast of slumber-party participants considers the most time-honored traditions for how to dress. If a lady should wear white in summertime, then how about donning a space suit? If team colors are apropos at sporting events, why not wear the helmets and play ball?

Empowering and resonant and with a variety of interests ranging from sports to science to politics, this gorgeous book is sure to inspire any young girl, instilling the idea that the best way to dress like a girl is the way that makes you feel most like YOU!”

Edition: Hardcover Picture Book

Page Count: 32

Published: Harper Collins

 

3. She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

51fvJJB-9XL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what’s right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted.

She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small.

With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn’t give up on their dreams. Persistence is power.

This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor—and one special cameo.”

Edition: Hardcover Picture Book

Page Count: 32

Published: Philomel Books

 

4. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

35231671 “Featuring forty trailblazing black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash. Among these biographies, readers will find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things – bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come. Whether they were putting pen to paper, soaring through the air or speaking up for the rights of others, the women profiled in these pages were all taking a stand against a world that didn’t always accept them. The leaders in this book may be little, but they all did something big and amazing, inspiring generations to come.”

Edition: Hardcover Picture Book

Page Count: 88

Published: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

5. A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

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A is for Activist is an ABC board book for the next generation of progressives: Families that want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and so on.

Edition: Board Book

Page Count: 32

Published: Kupu Kupu Press

 

6. I Am Enough by Grace Byers

51AbnWTJ5nL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_“I Am Enough is the picture book everyone needs

This is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another—from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

This is the perfect gift for mothers and daughters, baby showers, and graduation.

We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.”

Edition: Hardcover Picture Book

Page Count: 32

Published: Balzer + Bray

 

 

Buy these books for yourself at your local bookstore or at Barnes & Noble!

 

 

Becoming [MINI REVIEW]

“In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments.

Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.”

Edition: Hardcover

Release Date: November 13th, 2018

Page Count: 426

Publisher: Crown (Imprint of Penguin)

My Rating: 5/5 stars ★★★★★

Mini Review

I was only 9 years old whenever Obama was sworn in as President of the United States. I don’t remember the election at all and unfortunately, didn’t start truly learning about him and his family until I was about fifteen. But, I did know about Michelle Obama. I watched her speak out about children’s health on TV and I saw her changes whenever it came to school lunches. She worked hard to improve the health of children across America and as a child, I could tell.

I picked up this book out of pure admiration for the former first lady. I loved seeing how laid back, independent and strong she was. She was unapologetic and always herself — that’s why I loved her. In her book, she goes through her life in chronological order from when she was younger growing up in Chicago to her position as first lady. Hearing her talk about living is Chicago was humbling. It was so nice to hear someone so influential talk about the hard things they had to overcome in order to get to where they are. I loved hearing about her experiences in college too. As a college student myself, I saw bits and pieces of myself in her. Her ambition was mutual and I wish I worked as hard as she did.

I think the most interesting part about this book for me was listening to her speak about whenever Barack Obama was getting into government work. She was already working for Chicago’s government at the time as an assistant to Richard Daley. Quick note, I had no idea she worked in the government at the time of Daley’s career. I read a book about him once and can’t believe the things he did. Anyways, back to what I was saying! I loved hearing about how Barack Obama took off so much time to finish writing his book, taking it as far as leaving the country to isolate himself for work. I loved how Michelle decided that corporate law wasn’t for her and went into something that’s more community oriented like city government work. Hearing her speak about her intentions as the First Lady and what she wanted for our country was so heart warming. I can’t believe the things people said about her and her family. It broke my heart whenever she talked about how it made her feel.

Overall, I gave this book five out of five stars because I was never bored. I listened to her talk about growing up in the space above her aunts, going to Princeton and Harvard Law, her family, and her time as First Lady. I would recommend this to anyone, honestly. I think anyone could learn from this book while also learning about Michelle Obama’s life as well.

I apologize if this review isn’t too in-depth. I was reading this book for pure enjoyment and ended up finishing it all in one night so my thoughts are completely scattered. I just thought I’d let you know some of my thoughts anyway!

 

Buy this book for yourself at your local bookstore or at Barnes & Noble!

This Will Be My Undoing [REVIEW]

 

“From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins’ highly-anticipated collection of linked essays interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today—perfect for fans of Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, and Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists.

Morgan Jerkins is only in her twenties, but she has already established herself as an insightful, brutally honest writer who isn’t afraid of tackling tough, controversial subjects. In This Will Be My Undoing, she takes on perhaps one of the most provocative contemporary topics: What does it mean to “be”—to live as, to exist as—a black woman today? This is a book about black women, but it’s necessary reading for all Americans.”

Edition: Paperback

Release Date: January 30th, 2019

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Harper Perenial

My Rating: 5/5 stars ★★★★★

Mini Review

I originally picked This Will Be My Undoing at work on a whim. I hadn’t heard of it but I often scan the social sciences section for new feminist non-fiction because it’s my favorite. I want to embrace reading more diversely, especially in terms of feminist lit, because it’s incredibly important to me to learn, read and share these stories with you. I bought this book because Roxane blurbs it and states Morgan Jerkins is, “a writer to be reckoned with.” So, of course, I bought this book immediately.

I think this might be one of the first feminist non-fiction books I’ve read that focused solely on life as a black woman. I ended up listening to this on audiobook and couldn’t stop. I love the way Morgan Jerkins writes. She’s incredibly talented and lyrical when it comes to writing. Her way of describing situations and memories is so captivating.  Her writing is definitely the first thing I noticed whenever I started this book and it’s why I ended up giving it five stars.

Her story was beyond interesting, emotional, and deeply personal. She’s able to tell her story throughout separate essays that still relate to each other. This book has so much depth to it and I would only hope that people are able to listen to her write and to learn. It hurt knowing the things she goes through daily just because she is both black and a woman. One of the parts that truly got me was listening to her speak about elementary/middle school. I believe this part is in the very beginning but everything she said just resonated with me.

I’m looking forward to reading more of her work because I truly loved this book. I ended up giving it five stars because none of it was ever boring, the writing was brilliant, and her story was so, so, important. I would highly recommend you pick this up if you’re into this genre of feminist non-fiction or are looking for more diverse reads!

 

Buy this book for yourself at your local bookstore or at Barnes & Noble!

 

6 Non-Profits to Donate to This Valentine’s Day

As I grow older, the more I start to dislike Valentine’s Day. I can’t say I don’t mind the discounted candy, though. But, I have my anniversary, holidays, and birthdays all at once and I hate spending extra money on useless little gifts like stuffed animals. I know my boyfriend doesn’t care about these anymore than the little gifts I give him throughout the year. Usually, I make him a cute card for Valentine’s Day and write him a cute note. This year, I decided it would be better to donate to a non-profit instead. We both chose the ones we wanted to donate to and did this instead of giving into the corporate holiday (lol). It’s a great way to spread love to those who truly need it. 🙂

To quickly share, you can also send a Valentine’s Day card to children in St. Judes! Just click the link here. It’s free!

 

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1. Girls Write Now

Girls Write Now is a program that mentors diverse groups of girls and undeserved young women to find their voices within writing and the community. Here’s their mission statement: “Girls Write Now mentors underserved young women to find their voices through the power of writing and community.”

By pairing young women with professional ones, they’re giving girls lifelong mentors that’ll help guide them and get them closer to their future goals. To quote their website, “Girls Write Now serves a culturally and educationally diverse community of mentees — 90% girls of color, 70% immigrant or first generation, 25% LGBT/non-conforming; and 90% high need.”

If you live nearby, consider becoming a mentor! If not, you can always donate HERE.

Learn more: https://www.girlswritenow.org/

Image result for the trevor project

2. The Trevor Project: Saving Young LGBTQ+ Lives

I have a deep love for the Trevor Project because I know how hard their volunteers work and how incredibly important this project is. The Trevor Project was created shortly after the short film, TREVOR, was released in 1998. Their mission is to “…end suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning young people.” They provide 24/7 support to those in need, crisis counseling, offer resources, advocate for laws and policies to reduce the suicide rate of LGBT+ and educate those on how to prevent suicide and the signs. They have lifelines, chat rooms, and spaces for LGBT+ people dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.

To truly see the importance of the Trevor Project, here’s a super entertaining video by the Try Guys about what it takes to work there.

You can volunteer or donate here.

download3. Girls Inc.

Girls Inc. is a program that strives to make every girl’s life better by mentoring, supporting, and guiding girls in a pro-girl environment. Girls can learn leadership skills, gain confidence, and discover their strengths through Girls Inc. Girls Inc. is so, so much more than a volunteer program. They have endless resources on Girls’ issues, they advocate for policies to support girls. They speak out about sexual violence and girls who’ve experienced trauma. They do so much for women and it’s so inspiring.

This Valentine’s day, I’ll be donating to Girls inc. You can join me here. You can also volunteer!

Learn more: https://girlsinc.org

 

Image result for action against hunger4. Action Against Hunger

“About 821 million people go to bed hungry every night, and one in three children in low- and middle-income countries suffers from chronic undernutrition.” Action Against Hunger was created in order to fix that. They strive to end world hunger and malnutrition.

Here’s a statement from their website: “We save the lives of children and their families. We are there for them before and after disaster strikes. We enable people to provide for themselves, see their children grow up strong, and for whole communities to prosper. We constantly search for more effective solutions, while sharing our knowledge and expertise with the world. We push for long-term change. We will never give up. Until the world is free from hunger.”

You can click here to donate.

To learn more: https://www.actionagainsthunger.org/

 

Image result for aclu5. ACLU

ACLU stands for the American Civil Liberties Union. You might’ve seen them in the news or heard about them in conversation, especially this past year. “For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.”

Through law, the ACLU protects those in need whether it’s the LGBT+ community or immigrants facing unjustified treatment.

To donate, click here.

To learn more, click here!

 

hHeKiLwY_400x400.jpg

6. Room to Read

Let’s keep things literary. Room to Read is an organization that prioritizing education in low-income communities. Of course, this starts with literacy! From their website, “Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.”

You can learn more about it here.

To donate or volunteer, click here.

 

If you don’t see an organization that you truly want to donate to, you can always find more by subject online like this. Make this Valentine’s day gift count. 

 

 

 

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Feminist Literature Recommendations

For #FeministFebruary, I thought I’d share with you some of the most popular Feminist Literature read today. You might see something that are blatantly obvious like the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, for example. But, I wanted to share with you some newer novels that you might’ve not read yet. Nevertheless, these are extremely popular and tagged under Feminism on Goodreads so you’ve might’ve seen these before. Let’s get to listing, shall we?

182092681. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.”

 

354805182. The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

“Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer–madly in love with her boyfriend, Cory, but still full of longing for an ambition that she can’t quite place–feels her inner world light up. Then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of that sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting path of her life as it winds toward and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory and the future she’d always imagined.”

 

 

 

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3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…”

377968664. Vox by Christina Dalcher

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.


On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.”

362223635. The Power by Naomi Alderman

“In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.”

 

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6. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

“Mrs. Dalloway chronicles a June day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway –a day that is taken up with running minor errands in preparation for a party and that is punctuated, toward the end, by the suicide of a young man she has never met. In giving an apparently ordinary day such immense resonance and significance–infusing it with the elemental conflict between death and life–Virginia Woolf triumphantly discovers her distinctive style as a novelist. Originally published in 1925, Mrs. Dalloway is Woolf’s first complete rendering of what she described as the “luminous envelope” of consciousness: a dazzling display of the mind’s inside as it plays over the brilliant surface and darker depths of reality.

This edition uses the text of the original British publication of Mrs. Dalloway, which includes changes Woolf made that never appeared in the first or subsequent American editions.”

1280297. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding—that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them.

Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heart-wrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love—a stunning accomplishment.”

114868. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple is a classic. With over a million copies sold in the UK alone, it is hailed as one of the all-time ‘greats’ of literature, inspiring generations of readers.

Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.”

 

3950409. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath’s shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity. 

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.”




Pick these up at your local book store or Book Depository | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble!

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Books to Read after Watching Dumplin’ on Netflix

I recently watched Dumplin’ on Netflix because I love to support YA adaptations as much as I can and boy — I cried. I haven’t yet read the book (If you didn’t know, there’s a book and I’ve heard it’s great) and now, I think I just might have to pick it up! Here’s a little description from Goodreads about Dumplin’:

“Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.”

It was recently made into a movie by Netflix so if you have a subscription, you can watch it! I highly recommend it. Definitely a tear jerker but are they sad or happy tears? I couldn’t tell.
I decided I’d conjure up a little list of recommendations of books you can read after watching the movie because I knew there’s tons of us out there who’ve just watched it and loved it.

1. Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

“It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.”

If you didn’t know Dumplin’ had a sort-of sequel, now you know! Puddin’ came out this year and it’s a companion novel to Dumplin’. You better get reading!

2. Little White Lies (Debutantes #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“Eighteen-year-old auto mechanic Sawyer Taft did not expect her estranged grandmother to show up at her apartment door and offer her a six-figure contract to participate in debutante season. And she definitely never imagined she would accept. But when she realizes that immersing herself in her grandmother’s “society” might mean discovering the answer to the biggest mystery of her life-her father’s identity-she signs on the dotted line and braces herself for a year of makeovers, big dresses, bigger egos, and a whole lot of bless your heart. The one thing she doesn’t expect to find is friendship, but as she’s drawn into a group of debutantes with scandalous, dangerous secrets of their own, Sawyer quickly discovers that her family isn’t the only mainstay of high society with skeletons in their closet. There are people in her grandmother’s glittering world who are not what they appear, and no one wants Sawyer poking her nose into the past. As she navigates the twisted relationships between her new friends and their powerful parents, Sawyer’s search for the truth about her own origins is just the beginning.


Set in the world of debutante balls, grand estates and rolling green hills, Little White Lies combines a charming setting, a classic fish-out-of-water story, and the sort of layered mystery only author Jennifer Lynn Barnes can pull off.”

If you’re looking for a book set in the south full of debutantes, here you go!

3. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

“Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?”

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli is another body positive story about a fat girl and her journey finding love and self acceptance.

4. I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil

“Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She’s starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.

So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend Jesse dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it’s time to use The Formula for herself. She’ll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win Jesse back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.

Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity and fix everything she’s messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?”

5. The Sky is Everywhere

“Lennie’s family life is far from conventional. Her mother left when she was just an infant, and her eccentric grandmother raised Lennie and her big sister, Bailey, with some help from their uncle Big (who also happens to be the town lothario). But when Bailey dies suddenly, Lennie is completely lost; she’s never lived without her attention-grabbing big sister, and now she has to learn how. She isn’t prepared for her feelings about the perfect boy who just showed up at school, and she’s even less prepared for the sudden pull she feels toward Bailey’s fiancé, who seems like the only person with whom she can truly share her grief. Suddenly, she’s giving more thought to the mother who abandoned her, and Gram’s explanation of the “restless gene” that runs in their family just isn’t enough to explain her mother’s absence. The Sky is Everywhere is a beautiful reminder that family ties don’t always break for those who are left behind.”
If you’re looking for a book with a strong focus on family and relationships, here’s a perfect fit.

6. Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

“Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.


Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.
But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.

As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?

Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.”

If you didn’t know, Julie Murphy also has other YA books as well! I’ve actually read her book Ramona Blue and really enjoyed it. 🙂
If you read any of these after watching Dumplin’, let me know! I’d love to hear what you thought.
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*the little graphic of Dumplin’ isn’t mine. It’s from the cover of the book*

How to Be Eco-Friendly in 2019

It seems to be trendy to be eco-friendly but is it really that hard? It’s only right for us to treat our planet with respect. We’re given this beautiful world to live in but we do things so carelessly without thinking of it’s future affect on our planet. The idea of being completely waste-free or eco-friendly may seem daunting — but, it’s truly not that hard. You can start in small easy steps and the difference will matter. I decided to share with you some of the ways you can slowly start to become more eco-friendly and love our planet. If you already do some of these, congrats! The Earth appreciates you. If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’re hopeful and the Earth appreciates you too.

1. Get a Reusable Water Bottle

The amount of waste you make when buying a flat of plastic water bottles is insane and it’s so easy to combat. Buy yourself a reusable water bottle. Whenever you have a reusable water bottle, it’s more likely you’ll even drink more water. You won’t have plastic water bottles laying all over your car or bedroom floor. Trust me, I’ve been there. I bought aKlean Kanteen last year and it comes with me everywhere. It literally goes everywhere with me and you can tell by the way it floats in the background of my photos.

Similarly, you should think about getting a reusable coffee cup to cut your morning waste down. You might buy coffee everyday and you’re throwing away a plastic or paper cup into the garbage creating more waste. How about you just get a reusable cup? It’s easier and you can sometimes get a discount at coffee places for doing so. For example, Starbucks!

2. Bring Your Own Grocery Bags

I know you’ve come across a plastic bag stuck in a tree, floating across the street, or simply in another plastic bag hanging on a door in your kitchen. I’m aware that you can re-use these bags around your home but they always end up in the trash and then eventually, the ocean. “…plastic shopping bags kill large numbers of wildlife each year. In the water, plastic bags can be mistaken for jellyfish by wildlife. This makes plastic bag pollution in marine environments particularly dangerous, as birds, whales, seals and turtles ingest the bags then die from intestinal blockages.”1 Another large problem that comes with plastic bags, they don’t decompose quickly at all. In fact, there’s estimates that state it could take a plastic bag 20-1,000 years to decompose.2 Instead, I recommend using your own grocery bags. You can even purchase insulated grocery bags to help keep specific items cold. This also goes for produce bags. You can invest or even make your own. For the non-crafty, here’s a link to some affordable re-usable grocery bags. For others, here’s a little DIY on how to make your own.

As for produce bags, you can make them but also here’s a link to shop. 

3. Use Rechargeable Batteries

Batteries are extremely harmful to the environment and it only makes it worse whenever they’re not thrown away correctly. If you didn’t know, there is a proper way to dispose of batteries. Hint: Most Ikea stores have a bin to recycle batteries. It’s better to use rechargeable batteries because you’re not buying new product and throwing old out. Rechargeable batteries consume less non-renewable resources and make for an easier solution to batteries. Whenever you throw out old batteries, you’re allowing toxic waste into the environment. It’s also way more convenient to always have batteries instead of constantly searching your house whenever the batteries in your remote die.

Here’s a link.

4. Use Cloth Instead of Paper Towels

I feel like this is pretty self explanatory but there’s so many things in your daily life that create so much waste. It’s frustrating because there’s almost always an alternative but we tend to use more wasteful products. Paper towels are one of these things. You use so many in a day and you seem to add them often to your grocery lists. You can use old towels and cut them instead pieces to use for cleaning. (You do have your own DIY cleaning products right?) It’s so much less wasteful to just use fabric and cloths instead of paper towels. Not to mention, it’s not that hard to replace them either.

5. Buy in Bulk

This one might seem a little advanced for those who are just now dedicating their lives to being eco-friendly but don’t worry, I got you. Whenever you buy in bulk, you’re getting more for your money and you’re not creating wasteful packaging. You can buy or even thrift things like reusable glass jars and buy things like quinoa, coffee, or rice in bulk. It makes things so much easier and it’s not that hard. Whenever you go into the store, you subtract the weight of your jar from the weight of the product. That’s it! Here’s a list of a few stores that allow things in bulk:

– Whole Foods
– The Fresh Market
– Bulk Nation
– Lucky’s
– Earth Fare

Here’s a list showing you places specific to your state.

6. Recycle 

I’ve been learning this phrase since I was in kindergarten but just to remind you: Reduce, Reusable, Recycle. Recycling has gotten a bad rep recently and I still truly believe that you should still recycle. In terms of plastic bottles and paper, of course you should recycle these things. But, there’s other ways to recycle like recycling your favorite pair of jeans into shorts and making the old into new.

7. Step Away from Fast Fashion

In 2018, I became conscious of the fashion industry and how harmful it can be to people and the environment. I began investing in pieces I felt would truly last and my main source of clothes shopping became thrifting. Fast fashion allows for exploitation of people in foreign countries (mostly women and children), creates more waste, and proves to be low quality clothing. Whenever this quality is so low, you’re forced to throw it away (I HIGHLY recommend donating) or continuously buy more. You should watch the documentary called The True Cost to truly see the horror that is fast fashion. To avoid supporting such an industry, thrift your clothing. It’s cheaper and you can find great quality items at half the cost. You’re also reusing clothing instead of constantly allowing for more manufactured clothing.

8. Buy Reusable Straws

I’m so glad that this was brought up in 2018 because it makes more people aware of how wasteful some simple things in our lives are. Plastic straws are plastic and are harmful to the environment but there’s always an alternative. You can use paper straws or metal straws instead. You can easily buy these things on Amazon and even some sets that include a spoon, knife and fork as well.

9. Try a Bamboo Tooth Brush

I think you’re seeing a pattern now, right? Tooth Brushes are made out of plastic and you should be throwing it out and replacing it every few months or so. This is incredibly wasteful and there’s always a better way to go about brushing your teeth. Bamboo toothbrushes are better for the environment and barely feel any different. They last longer and are better for the environment. What more could you ask for?

10. Cut Wasteful Makeup Remover

Whenever you remove makeup, you’re using things like cotton pads, cotton swabs, makeup wipes, etc. that you just throw out after one use. It’s better if you just use something like Micellar water and a reusable rag to remove your makeup. I actually use cold cream because it genuinely removes makeup so much more than a wipe and you’re not tugging down on your skin. Isn’t that a win?

11. Get a Plant Friend

Save the environment, plant some trees! But also, plants in your home are incredibly beneficial as well. There’s so many different species of plants that can improve your home life by clearing the air of toxins and even helping you sleep better. They’re stress relievers that also reduce carbon dioxide levels! Not to mention, having green foliage in your home is a staple if you want to feel like you’re an interior designer. If you’re not great with plants, I plan on making a post soon on the best plants to start with. Keep up with my blog if you’re interested in that! Also, did you know you can grow a Lemon tree indoors? Talk about multi-tasking.

13. Don’t Take the Paper Receipt 

It really is that simple. When asked for an emailed or paper receipt, go for the digital receipt. You’re not creating waste but you’ll have the receipt just in case. You can just ask for no receipt at all as well! This way, you’re not taking home extra paper that you know will just end up in the trash.

14. Become Mindful

Easy, right? These are the small steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and live an eco-friendly lifestyle. Once you start doing small things like use a reusable water bottle and get rid of plastic straws, you’ll become more aware of the things in your life that are wasteful and find alternatives yourself. You won’t need an online guide on what to look out for — it’ll become an instinct. That’s the goal you should be looking forward to. You’ll go grocery shopping and chose the less wasteful option and maybe you’ll have your reusable grocery bags on hand. You’ll find yourself thrifting more whether it be online or at your local Goodwill. Whatever small step you’re taking, the Earth is thanking you!

Let me know how you plan to start your eco-friendly journey and tag me in any posts relating to this one! I’d love to see it.

How do you live an eco-friendly life?