I’m a little late to the game but finally got around to reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, the first installment of J.K. Rowling’s detective mystery series published under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. The novel follows detective Cormoran Strike and his temp secretary Robin Ellacott as they investigate the suspicious suicide of supermodel Lula Landry. One of the major themes of the book is exploring different experiences of being black in England, engaging in race relations with a nuance often lacking in the Harry Potter universe. Rowling also steps up her disability representation by featuring a protagonist with a prosthetic leg but at the same time seems to make backward progress in her portrayal of women.
I’ve mentioned the Shannara Chronicles by Terry Brooks several times before, and now with season two of the TV show tentatively predicted for Summer 2017, I decided it was time for a re-read. I chose to start with book 2 of the series, The Elfstones of Shannara, because that is where the TV show starts from. Published in the 1980s, Elfstones stands apart from many high fantasy epics by featuring two prominent female characters. Amberle and Eretria, while both involved in a love triangle with protagonist Wil Ohmsford, present two very different notions of femininity in a genre that often lacks any representation at all. But can they be said to be feminist characters? Continue reading Women of Shannara: A Feminist Look at Amberle and Eretria
If you’ve read some of my previous literary analysis posts, you know there is always that feminist voice in the back of my mind while I read, critiquing the novel’s treatment of women. While this may dampen my enjoyment of some works, it helps me to be a more engaged and aware member of society. So how do you train yourself to start analyzing the feminist merit of a book? It comes from asking a series of questions while you read. You can also adapt these questions to check for representation of other minority groups as well, such as LGBTQ, people of color, people with disabilities, etc. Continue reading Feminist Questions to Ask Yourself While Reading
The new epic fantasy on everybody’s lips is the Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss, not least because of its recent association with musical genius Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda will act as creative producer of Liongate’s new film, TV, and video game franchise based on the books. This fact and the recommendation of a dear friend was all the convincing I needed to start book one, The Name of the Wind. Yet while the writing is beautiful and the plot is enticing, I am disappointed to say this book had a distinctly un-feminist tone. Continue reading Feminist Literary Analysis: The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
As the only book in my Sci-fi classics post that I hadn’t actually read, Dune by Frank Herbert was at the top of my reading pile as I embarked on Sci-fi summer. While I cannot deny that the world-building is excellent and that it helped establish many tropes of its genre, I remained highly conscious of the complex and problematic depiction of women throughout my reading.