Monday, February 13, 2006

A Quiet Weekend

Now this one was very different from the one before. It was very much a time for recharging my (quite spent) batteries. I napped on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons (and I hardly ever sleep during the day).

I was able to devote time to private projects and finish reading a book. I'd almost forgotten what that felt like, with so much time torn between work, Internet and the general business of life. With so much going on, reading can often feel like a luxury that I cannot afford. I finished Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris by Sarah Turnbull. I've never lived in Paris, but I understood the ups and downs of adjusting to life in a new place. I'm not sure that I want to do a lot more moving around in my life (at least to another country), but with life you never know.

I am still reading Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by bell hooks. It's not a difficult or uninteresting book, but it is dense with ideas and I need to take my time ruminating over them as I read. So I may be at that for a while longer.

I started Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer, which I had been thinking about getting for a while. Short stories tend to be so unsatisfying for me, so I tend to stay away but something drew me in with this. So far, so good.....


sokari said...

bell hooks is probably one of the major influences on my feminist perspective along with Audrey Lorde, Angela Davis, Barbara Smith, Patricia Hill Collins - there are so many. In fact my blog is named after bell hooks' book "Black Looks" which still accompanies me on all my travels.

Ore said...

Oh, that's right! I was wondering why the name "Black Looks' sounded so familiar. I haven't read that book yet, but hopefully I can pick it up next time I go major book shopping.

I haven't read any of the other authors you mentioned, but I look forward to doing that in the near future.

Grace said...

bell hooks is a major influence for me as well. I've heard incredible things about Audre Lorde and have only read one or two essays in different collections. I read a collection edited by Barbara Smith in the 80s a while back, This Bridge called my Back. When I was living in Philly, I would take a schoolbag to the public library and check out five or six books just on black women and feminism every week. I can hardly remember all the stuff I read!

Nowadays I'm reading stuff by African and Asian feminists, though they generally tend to be a series of articles and papers. I don't know if its because of limited resources for publishing, but it was difficult to find books by individual African feminists, except critiques of feminism itself (Oyeronke Oyewunmi, etc).It's been interesting so far, mainly because for a while I wanted to be like bell hooks, but in an African context. Then I discovered there are already people like her! I'm also reading poems and writings of Adrienne Rich.

Anonymous said...

bell hooks was a major influence for me too (stopped reading her after teaching to transgress). Together with all the names owukori mentioned. I fell in love with Audre Lorde's poem when I was a very shy 16 year old. I can't remember which of the poems again, but a line stuck with me till this day: 'you speak you are hurting, you don't speak, you are still hurting. You might as well speak because you were never meant to live...' It was 'breakthrough'and invitation to step outside of myself. It opened me up to speak and engage in revolutionary consciousness. I recommend her collection of essays Sister Outsider (especially the essay Uses of Erotic as Power). I am currently based in Nigeria (abuja) and I have tons of these authors and other feminist writers, if any of you want to borrow them. I have written a long critique of Oyeronke Oyewunmi published in African Identities.

Grace you can still be an African bell hooks. There ain't many of them. Oyeronke Oyewumi doesn't approximate to bell hooks lucidity, insight and freshness of writing. This is not to say Oyeronke is not important 'cause she is. but I don't see black male prisoners in America's prison industrial complex being transformed by her writing the way they are by bell hooks or Angela Davis. But there are African feminist scholars - Amina Mama, Nthabiseng Motsemme, Desiree Lewis, Charmaine Peieria etc. We don't have very many in Nigeria, most (not all are doing consultancy) . I don't think we can ever have enough of the likes of bell hooks. They provide us with the passion, healthy dose of anger and truculent that we need to push us along.

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