Convenience Store Woman
Sayaka Murata

A slice of life story - fascinating, a little comedic, a little tragic - about how Keiko Furukura struggles with (implied) undiagnosed autism now that she's in her mid-30s, and how she puts on several masks to try to fit into the role of "woman" and not worry her family. I'm obsessed with her. I love her.


The point, imo, was to make us empathize with Keiko so thoroughly that we can't discard her as 'some loser' like everyone around her does. Yeah sure, we all "see" how she's a loser by society's standards, but we now understand her. We end the book with Keiko deciding that no, her best life isn't to conform, and her passion in life is working at a convenience store to optimize the experience for everyone. That's what makes her happy and brings her out of the dysfunctional funk, and she's GREAT at it!

So why does Keiko's life have to be so damn hard if that's what she wants to do? Just because she's a "triple handicapped virgin" doesn't mean she needs to mold herself into a stock 'woman' character that society demands of her! She should be paid a living wage where she can eat more than mushy food if she ever wants to, she shouldn't have to worry about being left homeless if her body ever breaks down on the job. She should be able to afford health insurance on her wage, and live somewhere that doesn't have mold or crap showers!! She should be treated as more than just a cog that will be "fixed" or replaced, and she shouldn't feel like her reproductive organs belong to society.

It's our feeling of worry and concern and happiness for her that's the whole point of the book! I saw so many reviews saying they were disappointed that the protagonist and social commentary weren't anything special. To that I say, I also initially felt that the ending was incomplete, but honestly, there wasn't a realistic way for it to have felt complete, and I think us wanting more for Keiko is what Murata wanted us to feel. Yes, we're glad she's happy, yes we also want her to be living a safe lifestyle. That disconnect between the two is the message.

Woman Hating
Andrea Dworkin

My favorite parts were I and III. Dworkin analyzes some of the very foundations of socialization, then how that socialization evolves, then how those templated roles we're given played out in history/herstory, and then some... theories to end patriarchy. I read this with a friend and annotated it as we went, which was incredibly helpful to process and make further notes on what we read.

It's great for seeing the core of the misogynistic male-supremacist ideology that has shaped & still shapes our world. Part III is particularly harrowing for describing exactly what lengths of lunatic depraved torture men inflicted on women for mere pleasure and whim. Definitely read this with a buddy, for both emotional rapport and because analyzing with 2 brains is better than 1.

There's a section of the book where Dworkin goes completely white libertarian in, but keep in mind that the book was written in 1974, the same year women in the US got the right to open their own bank accounts without a man's permission. Women had much less power than we did today and it's understandable that some were unsure what more power in their hands would be like. But I do like the book despite some emotionally taxing sections and Dworkin's shortcomings. There's still so much value to be gotten, even in her shortcomings, if you analyze them and her own "doubledouble-think," as she coins.

The Complete Stories
Franz Kafka

I'm about 30% through this collection of Kafka's works right now. He can be a delightfully horrible dude lol.

I think one of the biggest challenges of his work is that every character is a symbol and every plot beat is a metaphor, and because everything stands for something, it can be hard seeing what directions his narratives are pulling us towards - or maybe that's just the case for his earlier works, since I found 'The Metamorphosis' pretty straight-forward. He's surprisingly transparent.

    Favorite stories (so far):
  • The Metamorphosis
  • The Judgement

Madeline Miller

I liked it! A Greek myth adaptation that doesn't shy away from how ruthless and visceral they can get. And how it gives grace and characterization (even if only a little bit) to so many characters who were originally just mentioned to be trod on. The afterword where Miller explicitly states 'yes I wrote this book to be a feminist work' is great, instead of the more common wishy-washy ~it's just a story about people~ line.

Miller did a lot while remaining relatively faithful to the Greek myth canon - and to remain within the canon, comes with more introspection and inner struggles than you might think. It was a real treat to look inside the mind of Circe, I think I might move up 'The Song of Achilles' on my reading queue.


I saw some reviewers complain that it was too slow (I mean, she IS stuck on that island for millenia in canon too), or not feminist enough because she fucked the married Odysseus (this is a Greek myth retelling... and Pasiphaë fucked a bull to make the Minotaur so idk, be also mad that the book ~endorses beastiality~?), or that it was a retelling in the first place...

It's a little annoying when someone talks only about what they expected and didn't get. What parts of it DID work for you, then? There's something of value to be gotten from pretty much anything, go look for that.

Also I was like YOOOO I can't believe she fucked Odysseus AND his son. Living her best life, whatever, good for her.