The Wrong Sort of Writer – Writing as a Woman in the Current Year

What do authors Enid Blyton, Muriel Barbery, J.K Rowling, K.A Applegate, Suzanne Collins, Kim Harrison, Christine Harris, Aimee Friedman, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Eleanor H. Porter, Daphne DuMaurier, Fiona Barton, Harper Lee, Sue Townsend, Anne Frank, Louisa May Alcott and Natalie Babbitt, have in common? Other than being among the authors that hugely inspired my own writing, they have one thing in common. They’re women.

But there’s a problem. These women are white women. Despite being writers with diverse life situations—with situations as varied as Anne Frank, a Dutch-German journal-writer who died of typhus in a concentration camp in 1945, to timeless children’s authors like Blyton, Montgomery and Porter, to writers of riveting suspense fiction like duMaurier and satirists like Townsend. There are more than just these authors. You’ve got the classics like Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and Mary Shelley. You’ve got contemporary lit that my mum enjoys, like Sheila O’Flanagan, Maeve Binchy, and Rachael Johns. You’ve got so many successful women throughout modern literature, but that’s not enough for those who reside in social justice circles.

I have nothing against equality and diversity. I’m libertarian/centre-left on the political scale, and support most left-leaning causes, with a tiny fraction of right-leaning ones. My problem, as I’ve blogged before, are the radical communists and anarchofeminists on my side of politics—more commonly known as intersectional feminists. I love to read books by all sorts of different authors—as long as they have an intriguing plot—and enjoy books by the likes of authors like my current #amreading, Marie Kondo, and if you have any book recommendations, please leave me some in the comments. I’m always looking to increase my TBR List!

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The Unnamed Review

For the few years I have wanted to write thrillers, most writers of said genre have recommended reading Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca as the epitome of thriller and suspense fiction, and a classic in the era of Gothic fiction. Every time I saw this advice, I went “Yeah, but I’ll read it some day” and proceeded to forget. Not so recently—i.e. December last year—I picked up a copy from my local library with every intention of reading it. I started it slowly across January to March, only reading approximately 100 pages, but ultimately finding it far too slow-paced for my liking. Come last week, I had a bout of insomnia that coincided with the month of April and all that happens in the so-called “cruellest month”, as T.S Elliott and others have dubbed it (Easter, ANZAC Day, school holidays, etc). With that sudden case of insomnia, I thought to myself; “Why am I wasting time on the internet. Why not read?” Preferably, as the ad goes, I thought por qué no los dos, but I managed to read the remaining 280 pages of Rebecca in under a week, so it all worked out in the end! It didn’t help that, despite the initial slow-pace, Rebecca was so damn interesting, as Maxim de Winter would likely say.

Rebecca is the 1938 novel by English author Daphne DuMaurier, which was turned into a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940. While I haven’t watched the film, I have watched The Birds, another DuMaurier story-turned-film, and didn’t like it. I mean, I love Hitchcock’s Psycho, but The Birds just didn’t do it for me, mainly the ending. Maybe DuMaurier’s short story is much better than the film, but it left me a little worried when I started reading. Never mind! Despite starting off relatively slowly, and being very long (my edition was 380 words of short text—lucky I’m short-sighted, not long sighted!) As said before, I read the first 100 pages in three months, but the remainder of the book took me about 4 or 5 days. This is amazing for a slow reader! The basic premise of Rebecca is this: When the shy, unnamed narrator meets charming recluse gentleman Maxim de Winter in Monte Carlo, they immediately fall in love and get married. However, their wedded bliss is short when they return to Manderley, Maxim de Winter’s lavish estate in the Cornish coast in England. The problem: the reason Maxim escaped to Monte Carlo in the first place was he had lost his first wife, the charming and amazing titular Rebecca, a year earlier, and when the second Mrs. de Winter arrives at Manderley, she lives in the shadow of the perfect previous Mrs. de Winter, and many of the residents of Manderley—including head maid Mrs. Danvers, among others—won’t let her forget that. There’s a lot of secrets at Manderley!

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This is Not a Barbaric Book Review

Just last week, the beginning of autumn (Fall, for the Americans reading this) brought about a sudden change from 35°C days—which was barely tolerable as is—to under 20°C, with barely a flip of the hat, excuse the bad cliche. Naturally, my body reacted by getting a cold. Instead of picking up the copy of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier I’ve been slowly trawling through since January, I decided to pick up another book. I did this back in March when I reviewed The Girl Before by J.P Delaney. I was about a hundred pages into Rebecca when I realised The Girl Before was due back at the library in less than a week. This time around, I just wanted a quick read, something to distract me from the dreary banalities of lying, snuggled up in a dressing gown with an overly warm Bengal cat by the my side. Lucky for me, Barbarians: How The Baby Boomers, Immigration, and Islam Screwed my Generation by Lauren Southern was a quick and easy read, and helped pass the time.

I first discovered Lauren Southern last year when she was mostly responsible for initiating #TheTriggering, a hashtag event on Twitter with a simple point: to annoy and ridicule the politically correct “social justice warriors”, or SJWs. I thought it was an interesting concept, but other than that,  I believed Southern, while noble in her cause, was too right-wing. A few months later, Southern reappeared in the limelight with two events: 1. having urine thrown on her by a social justice loony, and 2.when a transwoman punched Southern, leading to a college feminist dubbed Smugglypuff badly feigning ignorance to what happened. These events put ex-The Rebel reporter and Canadian millennial Lauren Southern, on my radar, and when her first non-fiction Barbarians was released in December, it was definitely something I knew I would read.

Barbarians: How The Baby Boomers, Immigration, and Islam Screwed my Generation was released in December of 2016, which is apt, considering most of what she talks about in the early chapters help provide a framework for the events of 2016, namely Donald Trump’s United States Presidential win. Being only 82 Kindle pages, it was an amazingly quick read, which I completed in under a day. Its synopsis is this: Southern, with a chapter dedicated to each, explains how the Baby Boomers, think tanks, immigration, Islam and Millennials (previously known as Generation Y) destroyed the millennials  and created a generation of what she perceives as whiny entitled brats and is essentially leading to the downfall of Western civilisation. Basically, after the end of World War II, the children of the Silent Generation became arrogant about their easy lives in a Post-War world and believed they were entitled to more than they were, infiltrating universities in the 1960s as “tenured hippies”. These Baby Boomers then raised the next two generations—Generation X and the Millennials—and these Boomers, both Left- and Right-wing, created the issues in the world today, and has led to a generation of entitled, whiny snowflake millennials.

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You have pending blog posts scammer: An Introductory Guide to Spam Emails

Just click here. Or at least type “Click here” into Google Images, like I did.

You can’t go a second on the internet these days without coming across scammers, spammers, clickbait and malvertisements. If you haven’t discovered browser plugins like Adblocker, or you simply just accidentally clicked on an ad on the sidebar of the website you’re perusing—you may have seen this side of the ‘net. Liking and reacting to meme and celebrity pages on Facebook leads to the same insidiousness. However, the most insidious of these are those that appear in your email’s Junk folder. You may just think it’s full of Nigerian scammers asking for you to wire them money or “pharmacists” as fake as YourMexicanDoctor.com from Grand Theft Auto, but the junk folder is a minefield of entertainment. Granted you don’t click on any of their links!

A few years ago, I used to visit a site called SlushpileHell that critiqued terrible query letters to literary agents. The anonymous literary agent made snarky analyses and comments about the various aspiring authors and their entertaining, cringeworthy manuscripts. While the site has been inactive for a few years, I thought I would emulate the style of SlushpileHell by critiquing a few of the—what else can I say?—humorous junk emails that I receive.

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The Girl Before and The Book Review After

In December, when I was reviewing The One Who Got Away by Caroline Overington, I told myself “No more! No more reading Gone Girl knock-offs!” But, you know what, I was lying to myself. Because I’m going to read The Child by Fiona Barton and Paula Hawkins’s second book later this year. However, for The Girl Before, this month’s book, I wasn’t interested in it for a long while. You can blame my mother. My mum likes tagging me in stuff on Facebook, and she kept tagging me in stuff about this book, and telling me about it whenever she could. In the end, I caved in and requested it from the library. Last week, I discovered I only had two weeks to read it because of the monstrous queue at the library waiting to get their hands on this Girl on the Train-meets-Fifty Shades of Grey mix-up by the pseudonymous JP Delaney. Much like the other Gone Girl knock-offs, this book was a breeze to read, and I finished it in roughly a week, so lo and behold my review:

The Girl Before by JP Delaney was released in January of this year, and according to the book’s About the Author, there’s already a movie directed by Ron Howard in the works. The quick synopsis is this: two women, one in the present (Jane Cavendish) and the girl before (Emma Matthews), tell of their life in One Folgate Street, a cheap rental property with unique rules created by a perfectionist landlord they must abide by. Both women move into the house after dealing with their own traumas (Jane’s still reeling with the loss of Isabel, her stillborn baby, and Emma had a traumatic break-in in her last home) when they both embark on a relationship with the standoffish, perfectionist minimalist that is their landlord Edward Monkford. When Jane discovers that Emma, The Girl Before, died in One Folgate Street, she sets out to find out who killed Emma, which leads to her wondering if she can even trust the ultra-minimalist house at all?

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The Downfall of the Modern Media

I was scrolling down my WordPress reader recently when I came across this YouTube video that appeared in The Conversation Room‘s blog post and it got me thinking about the state of the modern media, especially in the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration last month. Of course, Trump’s election win wasn’t the beginning, not even the catalyst, but it definitely awakened the truth to many people about the modern media. Far from the days of the eccentric, mostly honest, trenchcoat-wearing journalists of old, chewing on tobacco, and waiting for that early-morning call of “Extra, extra, read all about it!” from some overeager young boy—21st century media is a shadow of its former self, excuse the cliche.

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Fight Like a Self-Help Book With Feminism: An Analysis

img_4230Note: This analysis is pretty lengthy. Head to the Epilogue if you just want the tl;dr version.

Back in 2013, in my third year creative writing class, the tutor was giving us some inspiration on how to write literary fiction with meaning. She mentioned the recent Steubenville, Ohio, rape, and its effects on modern society. There was one woman she keep adamantly mentioning—some writer and feminist from this site called Daily Life who had published an article on rape culture and Steubenville that changed her life. I left a memo in my notebook with the name: Clementine Ford.  I forgot about her for a couple of years after that, until she started gathering some momentum on the internet for getting a man fired who called her a slut on Facebook; protesting against morning show host David Koch with #heysunrisegetfucked on her chest, and generally wreaking havoc. In September last year, her first book Fight Like a Girl was released, and I finally got around to reading it this month.

I found the old notes

I found the old notes

Put simply, Clementine Ford’s Fight Like a Girl reads like a teen self-help book with gender studies needlessly attached. There’s a lot of buzzwords you’ll only understand if you get the social justice/feminist lingo. She quotes that bell hooks line about the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy they all like to mention. Patriarchy is mentioned like the word is going out of fashion, and I kept looking for it on every page like a game to amuse myself while plodding through the book. Despite disagreeing with a lot of what Ford has to say, I tried to read the book open to her message, while also immediately skeptical of her us vs. them mentality that was obvious from the first page. However, it really does read like a self-help book with feminism. Here’s my review of each chapter in more detail (especially Chapter Eight):

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