April Magazine

I am thrilled to announce that I am now writing book reviews for the new site April Magazine! This site launched just this month and aims to share stories for and about Asian women around the world. I honestly could not be more excited to be part of this endeavor.

As of right now, I will be contributing monthly book reviews and will focus on promoting Asian female writers. My first review is of Han Kang's The Vegetarian, which you might remember I posted here on The Little Spider a few months ago. Starting next month, I'll start exploring some new authors with a new review!

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Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own | Kate Bolick

TITLE / Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own

AUTHOR / Kate Bolick

PUBLISHER / Broadway Books

DATE OF PUBLICATION / April 19, 2016 (originally published in 2015)

NO. OF PAGES / 352


When I first pulled the paperback out of the padded yellow envelope that found its way to my doorstep, my mom took one look at the title and let out a little laugh. "Better not read that one in public."

What neither of us realized at the time was that, in this immediate reaction, my mom actually proved Kate Bolick's point.

Spinster is an interesting mashup, part memoir and part sprawling cultural examination of what it means to be a single woman in American society. Bolick traces the evolution of the word "spinster," starting at its most traditional definition (an older, unmarried woman) and continuing through imore modern dating trends. By the end of the book the word is reclaimed and re-presented, not as a woman shunned by society, but as a positive: a growing sisterhood of women who actively interested in a less traditional, more solitary lifestyle.

Bolick structures the book around her own life's chronology, from her time as a young teenager indifferent to her mother's generation to a 20 and then 30-something struggling to find her way through the revered New York publishing scene. To supplement and explain her own experiences, Bolick guides her readers through the lives of five women she considers her "awakeners": columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary and writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. These are the women who first sparked Bolick's fascination with "spinsterhood" and to whose writing she turned when trying to figure out her own path in life.

I can only hope that one day Bolick decides to write a full biography of one of these extraordinary women because the life story she spins for each of her awakeners is dynamic and intriguing. Better yet, the select excerpts of their work interspersed throughout the book are meticulously chosen and illustrate Bolick's observations beautifully.

Of course, Bolick herself is also a master with words. Just over ten pages into the book, I was struck by the intense imagery of her prose:

"Each of us is a museum that opens for business the moment we're born, with memory the sole curator. ...And so the curator toils alongside us in the dark, bereft of the information needed to truly understand who we are; the individual is inseparable from context."

Yes, Bolick's subject is fascinating and yes, the way she weaves her own life in with those of her "awakeners" is seamless. But it was the honesty in her written voice and the obvious passion for her subject that kept me turning pages again and again.

Every once and a while, you come across a book that speaks to something in your soul, sparks an interest you didn't know you had, and pulls you in completely. That is what Spinster did for me and I know I do not have enough skill with my own words to describe the masterpiece that Kate Bolick has created. Yes, this can definitely be criticized as a very limited, white, and privileged perspective on what it means to be a single woman. But as one woman's personal journey to understanding that her life can be whatever it is that she wants, Spinster is a skillfully crafted and utterly engrossing success.

About Spinster | About Kate Bolick

Disclaimer: I received this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid to review or feature this book and this review is my 100% honest opinion. This is not a sponsored post.


Summer Road Trip TBR

Now that we're well into July, it's time for my family's semi-annual road trip to San Francisco and thus another road trip TBR! We're only going for a week and, as usual, I'm definitely bringing too much reading material.

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own - Kate Bolick (Broadway Books, 2015)
It's been a while since I last read any feminism-inspired literature, so when I saw this eye-catching title on the Blogging for Books website I had to request a copy. As an examination of the social and historical evolution that has led to the current record high for unmarried women, I'm hoping Spinster will combine clever analysis with the quirky sense of humor suggested by the title.

Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone - Sequoia Nagamatsu (Black Lawrence Press, 2016)
Described as a collection of "fabulist and genre-bending stories inspired by Japanese folklore, historical events, and pop culture," this is a brand new release I immediately preordered when I discovered it way back in March. If this doesn't already sound like something I will love and devour, I have already flipped through a few times and am really intrigued by the variety of structure through which all the stories are told.

The Cat Who Walked A Thousand Miles - Kij Johnson (Tor.com, 2009)
It's no secret that I love Kij Johnson's historical Japanese novel Fudoki and I have high hopes for this novella as well. All of the reviews I have seen so far have been overwhelmingly positive and I really cannot get into the mystical Japan that Johnson writes so well.

Of course, bringing my Kindle means I will also have access to the dozens of unread books living on the device already, plus the wonders of Amazon's ebook marketplace. What can I say? I just like to have options!

If you have read any of the above-mentioned reads and would like to share your thoughts with me, that is always greatly appreciated. And until I get back from my trip, happy reading!


The #SaveTheClassics Tag & iDoyle

Hopefully this does not need to be said, but I would not promote a company, service, book, or product that I didn't truly feel good about sharing with you all. Which is why I thought this was such an amazing opportunity to not only make a fun video but also to share what I feel is a truly unique app. The graphics and animations of the entire iClassics collection are astounding and only add to the greatness of the original classic texts. I would specifically recommend these apps for those trying to get younger readers into some of the most well-known classics out there!

More about iDoyle | More about iClassics