I’m not being facetious – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the following works of non-fiction:
Caitlin Flanagan’s Girl Land and Hannah Holmes’ The Well-Dressed Ape
Caitlin Flanagan wrote To Hell With All This which is about the role of women in today’s society and specifically within the realm of the house. Gains in equality in the workforce have not been matched with equality in the home. The average woman with a full-time job also has primary responsibility for children and home as well. Not only that, but the bars for every aspect of a homemaker’s job have been elevated to unreasonable levels of expectation. (It’s Martha Stewart’s fault.) In Girl Land, she reviews the passage of women from little girlhood to womanhood in an age when, though levels of equality are unprecedented in history, so is the level at which women are brutalized and objectified in popular culture. It’s very good, if terrifying at times. But it’s interesting to learn that “Prom”, and the whole American high school experience was something manufactured in the 1930s to combat the statistics of the Depression. If you turn an unemployed worker into a full-time student, you can lower the rate of unemployment, if only on paper. So young people who would have been working once past their 6th-grade level of education were encouraged to return to school. And Prom was part of an entire high-school culture that grew out of the need to entice young people back into the education system.
Hannah Holmes’ incredibly informative, wonderfully written and fabulously funny (I’m on an alliterative rip here) book, The Well-Dressed Ape, is a look at the human animal. Our biology, behaviour, culture – everything is explored from the point of view of a biologist. I particularly enjoy when she describes human behaviour in scientific jargon. It’s tremendously amusing. I rushed to buy her other books for my e-reader but could only get hold of two.
This is a short post because I’m super busy….