Spring is here and while I have been reading many books, my focus has been also on exercising and enjoying the sunny weather outside. The evenings are starting to be lighter here in Finland and the long winter is finally, slowly, turning into spring. 🙂
I spent March and April reading books about some very interesting women, and since March was Women’s History Month, the theme I had was very appropriate!
I love reading stories of real women who have lived interesting, inspiring lives and give us perspective to what it’s like to be a woman in different times and contexts. Here are short comments on each of the books I read:
Persepolis – The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis was picked by our bookclub to read in March. This graphic novel surprised me by how little I knew of the quite recent history of Iran. While the huge theme of the Islamic Revolution can be difficult to understand, Persepolis gives us a look on how it was experienced in the eyes of a child. The book is very touching, and sad, but there are also some very warm and funny moments. The balancing of these feelings really matches with how a child would experience such a drastic change to everyday life. Even in the middle of everything being uncertain and horrible, children will find a way to play and there is some comfort in that. I hope to read the sequel book soon!
Tove Jansson -Work and Love by Tuula Karjalainen
I can’t believe I haven’t read Tove Jansson’s biography before. Her moomin books and comics are among my all-time favorite books and I have been reading and re-reading those ever since I learned how to read. ❤ Her love and passion for art and writing is just so inspiring, as is her personal life. She lived quite an independent and bohemian life in the times when women’s roles were still quite restricted. And of course Tove’s love-life both with men and women provide interesting perspective to the past decades and the attitudes there were. She and her partner Tuulikki Pietiläinen were believed to be the first openly lesbian couple to attend the official Independence Day Reception hosted by the President of Finland. The creator of Moomins and so much more, Tove Jansson is one of my favorite Finns ever. Her work continues to inspire, entertain and comfort still after all these decades. ❤ I very much recommend reading this biography if you have enjoyed Tove Jansson’s work and want to know more about the woman behind it. I read it in Finnish and am happy to see there is an English edition too.
Historian Jännät Naiset by Maria Pettersson
This book’s title translates roughly as “The Exciting Women of History”. It’s unfortunately currently only in Finnish but I wouldn’t be surprised if it would be translated some day. The book is over 500 pages of stories of women in history, and from all over the world, who were making a difference and living extraordinary lives in some way. Some are scientists, artists, athletics, activists and some are criminals. This book focused on those remarkable women we don’t see in the history books, and one after another these kept surprising me and I was constantly thinking “why haven’t I heard about this woman before”. I do believe I will re-read this book at some point. Maybe I’ll use it for some writing exercises too, taking a random page and writing a small piece of fiction of that woman on that page. That’s the inspirational power these real stories had on me. 🙂
The Memo – What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table by Minda Harts
I participated in a webinar some time ago where Minda Harts was one of the speakers about diversity, equity and inclusivity at work places. So after hearing her speak about these very important themes, I wanted to know more and bought her book. It was a very interesting read, and quite shocking at times due to the blunt racism and many moments of microaggressions she has experienced. It was a very eye-opening read, even for someone like me who has experienced my own share of negativity due to myself being biracial. Overall I think the career advice side of the book didn’t offer that much new info to me, but this could be a good book to give to those who are at the beginning of their careers.
These books all fill prompts from the two Reading Challenges I’m doing this year:
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
A book featuring playing (Helmet Reading Challenge)
A book in a different format than what you normally read (Popsugar Reading Challenge)
Work and Love by Tuula Karjalainen
A book about love (Helmet Reading Challenge)
A book about art or an artist (Popsugar Reading Challenge)
Historian Jännät Naiset by Maria Pettersson
A book written by a Nordic author (Helmet Reading Challenge)
A book set in multiple countries (Popsugar Reading Challenge)
The Memo by Minda Harts
A book that is useful for you to read (Helmet Reading Challenge)
A book that has fewer than 1,000 reviews on Amazon or Goodreads (Popsugar Reading Challenge)