Two brief reviews

Today’s post is going to be short because I’m in the middle of a great book (The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud, yay grown-up books!) and I have to write a post for the HUB for Friday. I haven’t started that yet and I only have a vague idea of what I want to write about. Yikes.

Anyway, here’s two books to put on your to-read list:

halfHalf the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn: If you haven’t already read this book and you care about women you should read this book. If you don’t care about women, what’s your problem. Anyway, it talks about many of the issues women face in countries all around the world. It’s not, at first glance, a happy book. There are bride burnings, acid attacks, gang rape, sex slavery, genital mutilation, lack of care for pregnant women, child marriage. The list, sadly, goes on. But amidst all the stories of the true and truly terrible things that happen far too often to women about the world, there are little sparks of hope. The writers try to present stories of women who have been able to receive help or help themselves into roles of a entrepreneurs or advocates for women. It’s a hard, hard read but very worthwhile. It’s one of those books that stick with you and you annoy your friends by telling them all the horrible facts you’ve learned. It’s important, so go read it.

mermaidIf you’re looking for something a bit more light-hearted but also beautifully written and charming, read Mermaid in Chelsea Creek by Michele Tea. It features Sophie, the granddaughter of Polish immigrants living in run-down Chelsea, Massachusetts. While playing the “pass-out game” one afternoon with her friend, she meets Syrena, a Polish mermaid sent to find her swimming in the dirty water of Chelsea Creek. Syrena tells Sophie she has a destiny to save the world from all it’s hurts and pains but has to overcome her evil grandmother first. Along the way, she meets her grandfather, turned into a dog by her grandmother, befriends a flock of pigeons (this was seriously my favorite part of the book, I want pigeon friends to talk to me!), and learns Polish magic. This is the first in a proposed trilogy published by McSweeneys’ McMullens press. It’s a delight and I can’t wait for the next books to come out. (I was also weirdly happy to see that I’m the only one in my consortium to own it. It may be a bit of a push for some teens, but I can think of a few who would really like it.)

Check those out. I’m going to go read.

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