#WomenReadWomen2019 Adult Books Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Nonfiction Reading Themes Reinventing Womanity, Redefining Womanhood

[Monday Reading] Launch of July – September Reading Theme: Reinventing Womanity, Redefining Womanhood

July - September Reading Theme: Reinventing Womanity, Redefining Womanhood.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community. 

The first half of the year is over! This July to September, we are pleased to share with you our reading theme:

Reinventing Womanity, Redefining Womanhood

Thus, we are looking for books written (and/or illustrated) by female creators on the following themes:

  1. Traditional portrayal of females in classic literature: old, vintage, outdated books
  2. Books showing how portrayal of women/ females have evolved through the years in recently published literature
  3. Contemporary faces of womanity as compared to stereotypical representation of femalehood
  4. Redefinition of womanity – including LGBT issues – transgender portrayals
  5. Books depicting female concerns and issues – and the struggle for voice and representation

I have always wanted an excuse to read a few of the classics in literature. It is good to revisit them and see how things may have changed (or have they, really?) over the years.

These books that I am featuring for our launch are a little tongue-in-cheek – but sis, do they celebrate womanity at her finest.

The Trouble With Women

Written and Illustrated by: Jacky Fleming
Published by: Square Peg (2016)
ISBN: 1910931098 (ISBN13: 9781910931097). Borrowed a copy from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Told with biting sarcasm and deadpan humour, this book highlights the absurdity that women are forced to endure since time immemorial, blaming it on the women of course, hence the title: The Trouble With Women. So nasty and so troublesome, these females of the humanoid species.

The typography takes a bit of getting used to, but once the reader recognizes the strokes and the lines and the curves, it becomes fairly easy enough to understand. As can be seen in the image above, it shows how women have always been confined to the domestic sphere – for their own good, naturally, as mandated by well-meaning men who know better.

Hence, it is not surprising that there were no female geniuses studied in school. How could there be when women are too weak and emotional and only good at birthing babies – and yes, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching. All this is scientifically proven and explained, so that there can be absolutely no doubt about it.

No arguing with that size of the female brain. The differences between men and women and the latter’s inferior abilities are likewise manifested physiologically, providing further evidence of men’s superiority:

How could females ever be considered intellectuals or even good at science when they don’t have a genius hair or a “naturally selected beard?” Of course, there are things women are good at: clapping at men’s achievements, or being famous artists’ muse:

Now, if you truly insist in doing science and math, and you are a girl, be prepared to assume the look that is expected of you:

This book transformed that which is tragic into something comic – even more fully capturing its tragic consequences. It enraged me and entertained me and disturbed me to no end. Find this book and give it to all the bright, bold, beautiful women in your lives.

Older, Wiser… Sexier

Written and Illustrated by: Bev Williams
Published by: Summersdale (2012, first published 2010)
ISBN: 1849530203 (ISBN13: 9781849530200). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

This illustrated book is slightly more entertaining and lighthearted, compared to the dark humour depicted in the first book above. Created by cartoonist Bev Williams, originally from New Zealand but a UK resident until she died a few years back, this collection of quotes and drawings shows the gradual evolution of females into a creature older, wiser, sexier as the title indicates.

I love how sassy these women are. While it still pokes fun at very clear societal expectations of women to be fit, thin, and glam (see below):

… there is also a recognition of women’s queenly sensibilities, fully deserving of adulation, obeisance, and chocolates, lots of them.

One of the pages that really made me laugh out loud, having turned a year older myself is this:

This is a perfect book to give to your mothers, mother-in-laws, and fab grandmothers. Here’s to growing wiser and sexier, women of the world!

#WomenReadWomen2019: Both authors are from the United Kingdom.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

7 comments on “[Monday Reading] Launch of July – September Reading Theme: Reinventing Womanity, Redefining Womanhood

  1. Thank you so much for sharing those snippets of both books! The Trouble with Women looks … amazing. Just, wow. I love the idea of your new theme and look forward to hearing where it takes you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Both of these books sound very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have just ordered The Trouble With Women from my library. I think I”ll have to see if they have Older, Wiser… Sexier. I just turned 66. I’m not sure if I feel all of those, but I sure am more comfortable in my own skin and head than I was when I was younger.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lindabaie

    Terrific theme, will look for these two. What you shared is wonderful, Myra.Thanks for both! I just finished Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country On Earth by Sarah Smarsh. She includes a wide range of stories, but focuses on girls and women.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love that setting reading challenges around a certain theme allows us opportunities to sometimes read what we normally wouldn’t have otherwise. That’s happened to me a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope you really enjoy this new theme — it will especially be interesting to see all the titles you turn up that are in children’s literature! The Trouble With Women looks hilarious! I will have to see if we have a copy of this at any of our libraries. Thanks for sharing, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sarah Sammis

    The Trouble with Women looks good. My weekly update

    Liked by 1 person

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