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  • Writer's pictureUmaSofia Srivastava

The Bookshelf of Yours Truly: October

Heyyyy I know all of you have been dying to read the next installment of Fan Behavior. Just admit it, you’ve been waiting by your keyboard pressing the refresh button. Ah yes I can picture it perfectly. The title is pretty self explanatory, but some of you might be asking why it’s in red, which is notorious for being one of my least favorite colors, unless of course it’s valentine’s day. (Listen I know this is kind of hypocritical because my fav color is pink BUT red is not the same, ok?) Well it’s red because i don’t want to directly admit that i’m a walking red flag as much as insinuate it… oops I just told you didn’t I. Whatever! you guys were bound to find out anyway. Also before any of you complain to me whining, “But Uma reading is for nerds, I haven’t read since like 2nd grade!” 1) so you're openly admitting to your personal contribution to anti-intellectualism 2) #Unsubscribe (natural selection baby!) And 3) as Penny from Big Bang said, “Well, that’s what I am, queen of the nerds.” (Totally off topic, but I’m actually playing Penny in the fall drama and that’s a line from my favorite episode which just happens to be the scene I’m performing!!) The amount of people I've met that think not reading is an accomplishment is actually terrifying.

If this does well, I'm thinking of making this a multi part series where I expose myself until I blush so much that I end up literally turning red. How appropo! I bet you guys would pay to see that, so I might just be a benevolent ruler and give you the satisfaction! For now, let’s get on with the show, shall we? (See a book that interests you? Click the pictures to buy them!)

To build your tolerance, let's start with some feel good feminism!

Little Women: when you want to be Jo but really you’re meg

Louisa May Alcott was literally the blueprint for the rest of the books on this list, even if this is mostly a feel good novel. While she does take on a lighter tone, her writing was revolutionary for the time, showing women struggling with conforming to stereotypical gender roles. It shows that not only should women be allowed to work and get treated the same as men, but if they didn’t, that was okay as well. I think that fact is lost on a lot of people who participate in modern feminism; for example if a woman chooses to be a stay at home and take care of her children, she should not be looked down on for “conforming to the patriarchy”; true feminism is the right to choose, which Louisa understood perfectly. (yeah we’re on a first name basis, it’s what she would’ve wanted)

I bet you’re dying to know which Little Woman I relate to most! Yes, I’m stubborn, a perfectionist, and an amazing writer (you can’t dispute this, I must be doing something right if you’re still reading!) like Jo, but behind the scenes I admit that I can be a total primadonna like Meg. (Well maybe not totally behind the scenes hehe) But let’s not forget that while

Meg might be a little vain and a bit of a reckless spender, but she’s just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. I’m glad I'm a mix, Jo lacked Meg’s compassion which made her a bit hard to swallow. I’m not saying I'm a cool drink of water, but maybe less whiskey, more super fizzy coke?

Following is the best genre: nihilistic beauties

I love love love the irony and contrast of this trope, and I realized it didn’t really have a name so voilà! There’s something so refreshing about self aware, and even cynical beauty queens; everyone assumes there’s not a thought inside our heads! (yes I said we, let me live in the bliss of plausible denial) As someone very wise once told me , it’s better to be underestimated than overestimated!

The Virgin Suicides: little women 2.0 for the mentally ill

If Little Women’s most rebellious character was Jo, the Lisbon sisters are on another level. The Virgin Suicides is definitely a more modernized version, meaning the girls were breaking laws about things that didn’t even exist in the 1800s. The two are often compared, because the Virgin Suicides talks about gender roles as well, this time choosing to focus on the aspect of how women are affected negatively by the male gaze, in a very polarizing way. If you’ve read Alcott’s book, you know about the debate about whether Laurie and Jo should’ve ended up together or not. Little women touched upon Laurie’s idealized view of Jo, and how she didn’t feel the same way. However the Virgin Suicides shows the extremes of this, and the consequences of the male pushing his attraction of Lux leads to her downfall.

But on a lighter note, here’s the link to find out which Lisbon sister you are:

Apparently I’m Lux herself, beautiful and possibly self destructive... call me your local femme fatale. Wow, guys I think this quiz has a little crush on me! I always knew I’d be the one to make AI fall in love, I did say I was Queen of the Nerds. (totally Ignores the part where she does not get the happiest ending. I mean like, NO happy ending whatsoever). Completely unrelated, but Heaven by Marc Jacobs just came out with the MOST adorable line inspired by the Virgin Suicides. I soo wish I could pretend my bank account wouldn’t shatter into a million pieces after buying one item!

The Bell Jar: Gate keeping Sylvia Plath: you guys don’t understand her like I do

I am one bad day away from sticking my head in the oven! (Kidding of course, but Sylvia sure wasn’t) The Bell Jar will make you feel slightly uncomfortable in a very very good way, which is exactly how it made me fall in love with Sylvia’s writing. Her writing has the amazing quality where you can really put yourself in the shoes of the main character; feel what she feels, see, taste, hear, and even smell everything that the main character is, and god is Esther relatable! (don’t read toooo much into the last part) If you love dry humor, sardonicism and women laughing in the face of the patriarchy, which imo is definitely an underlying theme, then this is the book for you.

My year of rest and relaxation: we’re the same except she’s blonde and I don't need meds to sleep through the entire year!

Well I haven’t tried, but just the other day I went to bed at 4 pm and woke up just in time to catch the bus in the morning, so I think I can give our nameless heroine a run for her money. Jokes aside, this book has one of the best depictions of a female frenemy relationship, perfectly capturing all of the dark nuance and passive aggressiveness. The so-called heroine is actually someone that the reader detests, but the book shows how depression affects relationships perfectly; showing the main character's inability to connect with people, even with someone who was supposedly her best friend. I actually just finished reading this at 12am last night, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best satirical critiques on society and vanity that I've come across, if that means anything to you guys. I would go as far as to say it's a very 2000s version of the Bell Jar (and by y2k, I mean that Miss Moshfegh was NOT afraid to get into the dirty details Sylvia briefly touched on). There is a lot of controversy around the ending; a lot of people think it feels very unfinished, and I see where they are coming from. HOWEVER!!!! I think that was the point, to feel as if there were gaps of memory loss due to the periods lost to her during her 365 days of sleep, so that we as readers understood the main character’s thought process.

Gone Girl: one of my fav ‘good for her’ girls!*

This book makes me think we should care less about mental help: “Like girl, go insane, you are valid and I might just join you <3”... is what I would say if Amy Dunne was holding me at gunpoint. Because let's face it, Amy Dunne is freaking S-C-A-R-Y, so like go crazy at least 5 miles away from me. But I mean with a childhood liked that who wouldn’t be, #overbearing parents. I can’t say I wouldn’t want to hurt my husband after I find out he cheated on me, but like come on who could be mad at Ben Affleck! (Quick tangent: I accidentally said the last part out loud while I was in history and Ms. Jelonik, THE best history teacher in the history of ever - partly because its true and partly because she’s reading this right now- said, “Are you insinuating that Ben Affleck is eye candy?” Most embarrassing thing ever, but we talked about how much we hated how they left out the entire loophole plot during the cabin scene. At the risk of spoilers I’ll stop my rant here. Favorite part: obviously the cool girl monologue, they hate to see a girlboss winning! (and can we agree that Mr. Affleck was the only good part of that movie)

*I'll be talking about her more in next week’s blog as Halloween season creeps closer!

Self-help for the female manipulator:

I've decided that this is going to be the year of me! It’s been going well enough already so might as well make the next few mine too. Translation from Uma speak: I’m tired of getting walked all over even if, let’s be honest I was never a doormat, more of a red carpet. But do you know the amount of wardrobe malfunctions that happen at a red carpet event??? Think of the number of bathroom trips… yeah I don’t want someone’s nasty Louboutins getting anywhere near me!

48 laws of power: I'm not like other girls, I'm worse!

Machiavelli would’ve totally loved this book! Whether you choose to use it to identify manipulators in your life, or if you use it to start your evil character arc (get it ig), this book will change your whole perspective on the way you interact with people. It’s popular among celebrities and prison inmates for a reason, do with this information what you will.

The Art of Seduction: how to stop trying to be the girl he wants you to be and become his waking nightmare!

Sick and tired of being manipulated by less than spectacular men?? Ask yourself not what you can do for the patriarchy, but what the patriarchy can do for you! This book might appear to be completely anti feminist, but in a way it’s just using whatever we have to survive, even if it seems a little counter intuitive. (Remember the bit about underestimation that wins)

That about wraps up the books I've read so far in October, so if you liked this just wait until you hear November's books!

Au revoir,

UmaSofia xoxo


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