Hot, Wet, and Shaking is written in the tone of a trusted and cheeky friend, confessing secrets that shake loose their shame when spoken aloud. This is not the sex advice of a poised, multi-orgasmic, inaccessible, or clinical expert, but rather the honest musings of a woman in a pair of yesterday’s dirty jeans. Trace describes how it was a love of feminist literature that got her into Venus Envy, and how working there expanded her thoughts and views on sex and its participants. Her depiction of herself as a messy, comedic heroine, an unlikely and even unqualified sex educator, adds weight to the value of her advice, as we come to immediately trust her as she hilariously catalogues her flaws and foibles for all to see.
Those who love baseball often hold it up as the intelligent fan’s sport. We believe it to be wholesome, wise, and poetic, somehow above the violent, abhorrent behaviour of other professional athletic pursuits. The reality is that MLB’s record on domestic violence is actually worse than the NFL’s. Baseball’s romantic mythology conveniently conceals a long list of threats, beatings, and rapes that the sport’s powers that be have egregiously failed to punish. Women continue to be the voiceless victims of a regressive, sanctioned culture; Hayhurst’s piece and the so-called “awareness” it garners exert no pressure on actually changing that. There is no consequence for the perpetrators or bystanders, no punishment for the institutions—just a token gold star for the player who, eleven years later, set a corner of the Internet afire with a salacious tale.
…This is not to say that Lana Del Rey doesn’t suffer, but that when she does it’s quick. Then she curls her hair, smokes a Parliament, and gets a little bit of bourbon in her. (I get a little bourbon in me, and I either need to have a cry or go to bed. Listening to Lana Del Rey is like doing both.) When, in an Ultraviolence lyric, she tells us that his “Bonnie on the side” makes her a “sad, sad girl,” we don’t really believe it. Her heart seems unbreakable, and there is no better “fake” daydream than the invincible heart.
Gould is indeed a polarizing figure, with constant debates about her validity, and constant vitriol slung her way, but I’ve always viewed her as much more of an admirable literary entrepreneur than an egregious upstart. Gould found success during a time of publishing upheaval, and wisely used the Internet to her advantage, climbing to the top of the pile not only because of her talent (which she clearly has), but also because of her tenacity and drive. These observations aren’t in any way derisive, but it would seem that old school literary types find this brand of honesty and ambition — especially in a woman — particularly distasteful.
I wrote about Lana Del Rey’s nostalgia for an old lie for The New Inquiry’s Ms. America Supplement.
“Infidelity is emblematic of a new and entirely welcome breed of Canadian fiction. It’s a deceptively simple story of an affair between a working-class woman and a tweedy professor in present-day Toronto. Ronnie and Charlie are very different people, but both are in rather prosaic relationships. A meeting at a faculty party results in a goodly number of trysts and the pressure of balancing their secrets with the increasing weight of both of their daily lives.
Where Fowles excels in Infidelity is in making one care about two flawed (trapped?) people, and even though we can see the car crash coming, it’s impossible to look away. This was one of my favourite Canadian novels of 2013, and I’ll drop everything to read her next book.”
—David Worsley from Words Worth Books, Waterloo, Ontario
Blood Ties: The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill and All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
For Noushcka, the ambitious, downtrodden heroine of The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, the idea of love has always been suspect. When her sweet yet disturbed boyfriend, Raphaël, proposes with a mood ring pulled from a cardboard box, she reflects, “Sometimes I was so afraid of love. It gave you the feeling you had when you were shoplifting and you were walking out of the store with something concealed under your jacket.”
Read the entire review at The Walrus.
I know that a lot of us are well aware of what kind of person Josh Lueke is, and that rape is a very bad thing. We don’t need reminders to be secure in that knowledge, nor is it likely we’ll forget. But with all due respect to Mr. Hahmann and his ilk, the onslaught of tweets calling Josh Lueke a rapist is not for you. It’s for the thousands of rape survivors who watch games and know that what they love is sullied by baseball’s willingness to turn a blind eye to the kind of suffering they themselves endured. It’s a gesture on the part of fans who know it’s unlikely Lueke will ever see his career end as a result of those actions, but refuse to tolerate his inclusion, who believe that, while a team may opportunistically decide to field a talented player who has committed an act of sexual violence, it shouldn’t be immune from the disgust of the public.
Read the full essay here.
In Canada, over half of the female population has experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. In America, there is a rape reported every six minutes. One could make a lifelong project of explaining what the resulting suffering truly feels like and never succeed, but with One Hour in Paris, Freedman has certainly come close. It’s taken her more than 20 years to arrive at point where she could write of the assault, and of the legal, psychological and interpersonal aftermath that followed. In her brave and compelling memoir, the professor of philosophy uses her keen intellect and in-depth knowledge of trauma to unravel the complexity of rape, and to make sense of the imprint it has made on her life, and on the lives of so many others.