Daughters of Doubt and Eyerolling

Category: Audio Feedback

Wordslut

Wordslut. A feminist guide to taking back the English language by Amanda Montell, published 28 May 2019.

I was made aware of this sociolinguistic book by a friend, who knows that I like to learn about words, their origins, their (current) usage – in short, that I am a hedge-linguist and a wordslut. Said friend and I then did a buddy listen of the book; we both listened to the audiobook and had a Zoom meeting to talk about it. We both liked the narration by the author herself, she is snarky and has a lot of serious things to say about the English language.

Montell talks about how words lost their original meanings and how, instead of being all encompassing or empowering, they are now used against women and marginalised groups, to keep women from power; how gendered insults, like calling someone a ‘sissy’, work and should be overcome; why women should curse more, in which situations women curse and whether we need gender specific curse words – does ‘clitfuck’ work? Apart from concentrating on vocabulary alone, there is also information about grammar, for example how gender neutral pronouns work in other languages and how they might work in English. An entire chapter is dedicated to specific pronunciation and the voice women use when talking, how women can sound more authoritative and whether women should embrace phenomenons like vocal fry and up-talk.

Some of the topics stuck more with me, like the gendered insults, gossiping, women’s voice/pronunciation patterns. Some I hardly remember what Montell was talking about, gay language for example. I am not certain why, I know I listened to this chapter attentively, but my brain might have filed it under “that must be a US thing”.

I recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn about how language is used against women, how women themselves struggle with coming to terms with language, and people fighting for the equality of all people – no matter what assigned gender at birth, skin colour, or cultural background.

4/5 Goodreads stars

Feisty – guilty pleasure

Feisty by Julia Kent is the third book in her “Do-Over” series, published January 28, 2020.

Fiona earned her nickname ‘Feisty’ in seventh grade. She’s hated the name and the accompanying image ever since and did her level best to change into the Fiona people know now. An incident in her classroom not only brings Feisty back into Fiona’s life, but also her nemesis Chris ‘Fletch’ Fletcher. When the waters have calmed and Fletch seems to be interested in her, Fiona needs to ask the universe, this time not with her divining rod, whether the stars might align for the both of them.

Confession time, I read or listen to Julia Kent’s books whenever I need a break from what’s going on around me. You might expect a light, fluffy read with some sizzling sheet action, but Julia’s books also have well-researched depths where you might not expect them. This time one of the ‘extras’ is a woman with Multiple Sclerosis. As a fighter against the MonSter myself (that is not a typo, that’s how I call my MS), I wrote to Julia to let her know that those paragraphs made me cry and that I appreciate her putting real people into her stories, people with flaws, illnesses, problems.

Feisty has all the things I know and love from Julia’s books. There is a feisty (yes, pun intended) heroine, a handsome man who can handle her and her quirky besties (Fluffy and Perky – both have their own books), lots of banter, puns, double ententre, romance, realism, blind dates, and a lovely HAE.

Erin Mallon, the narrator of the audiobooks in this series, does a wonderful job. She managed both Fiona’s and Chris’s part very well. Her voice was the perfect accompaniment to my literal jam session.

Back in Ravka – King of Scars

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo takes place a few years after the end of the civil war; this book is a spin-off from the Grisha Trilogy and contains spoilers for the other books in the fictional universe.

Nikolai has not only brought scars home from the war, some dark magic is growing in him. Also, the war has left Ravka a country with weak borders and empty coffers. Trying to get rid of the dark magic within the king is not easy, so when a possible solution presents itself Nikolai, Zoya and a few others don’t hesitate and set out to try this.

While Nikolai is on his journey to find a cure, at the palace in Os Alta preparations are made for a giant ball to form an alliance between Ravka and the other countries to avoid yet another war.

Meanwhile Nina Zenik is in the heart of Fjerda trying to help the Grisha hiding there. Her royal orders soon turn into another quest to fight her old enemies the Druskelle.

It was good to be back in Ravka, but without Alina Starkov. Yes, I am well-aware I’ll get flak for this, but honestly, I didn’t care much for the Grisha Trilogy. Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom though, that was good entertainment, so good that I think I’ve read the former easily four times so far. Anyway, King of Scars was good. It felt slow moving in the middle, where I thought that both Nikolai’s quest for a cure and Nina’s quest to free Fjerdan Grisha took its sweet time and I was wishing for more action or a quicker pace. The last part was packed with action and events happened one after the other.

My revisit to this world happened via the audiobook, in some parts paired with the book. The narration by Lauren Fortgang was good, she managed to give each of the different POV its own voice well; though I might have pronounced some of the Ravkan names differently.

4/5 Goodreads stars

The Palace of Lost Memories

The Palace of Lost Memories, After the Rift book 1, by C J Archer.

This is the third series by Archer that I am reading. The story follows Josie, a 24 y/o midwife and apothecary, also assistant to her father, the local doctor. She lives in a seaside town on the Fist Peninsula that has recently seen an influx of people due to the new king’s palace near the town that was build within mere weeks.

After having met some of the palace guards, Josie is hoping to get a chance to visit the palace and marvel at its beauty. That chance soon arrives when a female visitor to the palace is poisoned and her father is summoned to help.

Of course, Josie, together with the palace guards, tries to find out who poisoned the lady. She also wants to find out some of the other mysteries (no spoilers) that surround the palace and its inhabitants.

Worldbuilding: The Fist Peninsula is a fictional place that sounds very much like Britain in the 18th or 19th century; Josie has learned a lot about medicine as her father’s assistant, but is not allowed to go to university, no woman is. The possible magic that is hiding in the palace is not further explained, but Josie and her friends hint at magic at play.

Characters: Josie is a young woman who knows what she wants. She can stand her ground, has brains to use and isn’t easily intimidated; still, she has to obey the written and unwritten rules of her time, but she pushes the boundaries whenever it seems in order. Hammer, the handsome captain of the guards, is the possible love interest. We don’t know much about Hammer, for a reason (spoiler), but he seems to be a trustworthy fellow, even if he keeps telling Josie she shouldn’t trust him. The secondary characters are fleshed out convincingly and round up the narrative.

Overall: I listened to the audiobook narrated by Marian Hussy. It was a good narration and I enjoyed my time spent at the Palace of Lost Memories. CJ Archer’s books are my brain candy, if you want.

3.89 stars out of 5.0 (Glass and Steele will always be my favourite, sorry-not-sorry)

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