Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf #MiniReview @jweisswolf @skyhorsepub

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Half of the people in the world have periods. Menstruation was once a taboo topic associated with superstition and prone to stigma, but in the 21st century it is still a taboo topic associated with superstition and prone to stigma.

Wait, what? Unfortunately, it’s true.

Periods Gone Public touches on this subject, as well as the lack of access to menstrual products in some parts of the world (something that disrupts education for girls, as they have to stay home each time they have a period due to the lack of sanitary items and/or no private area in which to tend to their needs). Problematic issues closer to home include the lack of menstrual products for the homeless, as well as an inability to acquire these necessities. Pads are rationed for women in some prisons, and the inadequate supply is often of inferior quality, leading to soiled clothing the inmates have no choice but to wear—leading one to the obvious conclusion that the subsequent humiliation is used as another form of control over the already powerless.

These are but a few of the issues discussed in this book. Most of the topics included are things that I was completely unaware of, and made me realize that, for some, being on their period caused a great deal more disruption in their lives than I ever thought possible.

Final Thoughts

I enjoy books that make me think, and this one certainly gave me a lot to think about. I was completely unaware that “period activism” was even a thing, but after reading this book? I can see why it’s needed.

 I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Arcade Publishing via Edelweiss.

 

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Author: Jennifer Weiss-Wolf
Title: Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity
Genre: Nonfiction, Women’s Studies
Published: October 10th, 2017 by Arcade Publishing
Rating: 4 stars

About the Book

The first book to explore menstruation in the current cultural and political landscape and to investigate the new wave of period activism taking the world by storm.
After centuries of being shrouded in taboo and superstition, periods have gone mainstream. Seemingly overnight, a new, high-profile movement has emerged—one dedicated to bold activism, creative product innovation, and smart policy advocacy—to address the centrality of menstruation in relation to core issues of gender equality and equity.
In Periods Gone Public, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf—the woman Bustle dubbed one of the nation’s “badass menstrual activists”—explores why periods have become a prominent political cause. From eliminating the tampon tax, to enacting new laws ensuring access to affordable, safe products, menstruation is no longer something to whisper about. Weiss-Wolf shares her firsthand account in the fight for “period equity” and introduces readers to the leaders, pioneers, and everyday people who are making change happen. From societal attitudes of periods throughout history—in the United States and around the world—to grassroots activism and product innovation, Weiss-Wolf challenges readers to face stigma head-on and elevate an agenda that recognizes both the power—and the absolute normalcy—of menstruation.
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My Days: Happy and Otherwise by Marion Ross #Review

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Marion Ross said she would never write a book about her life. Luckily for fans, she had a change of heart about that. In My Days: Happy and Otherwise, Ross shares stories about her life and six decade career acting in film in television.

Watching Happy Days was a big part of my childhood, so it’s no surprise that I immediately wanted to read this book. I love finding out behind-the-scenes details of television series I love(d), and it was a lot of fun to read about Ross’ memories of working on the show. There were a few surprise (such as her difficult relationship with Tom Bosley in the early days of the show), but most of the memories she shared were quite pleasant and enjoyable to read about. As an added bonus, there are also interviews with her former Happy Days cast members, including the late Erin Moran.

This was an enjoyable read, and I think fans of Happy Days would definitely be interested in this one!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Kensington Books via Netgalley.

 

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Author: Marion Ross
Title: My Days: Happy and Otherwise
Genre: Autobiography, Nonfiction
Published: March 27, 2018 by Kensington
Rating: 3 stars

About the Book

For eleven seasons, Marion Ross was head of one of America’s favorite television households. Now meet the lovable real-life woman behind the Happy Days mom . . .
 
Before she was affectionately known to millions as “Mrs. C.,” Marion Ross began her career as a Paramount starlet who went on to appear in nearly every major TV series of the 1950s and 1960s—including Love, American Style, in which she donned an apron that would cinch her career. Soon after came the fateful phone call from producer Garry Marshall that made her an “overnight” success, and changed her life . . .
In this warm and candid memoir, filled with loving recollections from the award-winning Happy Days team—from break-out star Henry Winkler to Cunningham “wild child” Erin Moran—Ross shares what it was like to be a starry-eyed young girl with dreams in poor, rural Minnesota, and the resilience, sacrifices, and determination it took to make them come true. She recalls her early years in the business, being in the company of such luminaries as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Noel Coward, yet always feeling the Hollywood outsider—a painful invisibility that mirrored her own childhood. She reveals the absolute joys of playing a wife and mother on TV, and the struggles of maintaining those roles in real life. But among Ross’s most heart-rending recollections are those of finally finding a soulmate—another secret hope of hers made true well beyond her expectations.
Funny, poignant, and revealing—and featuring Garry Marshall’s final illuminating interview—as well as a touching foreword from her “TV son” Ron Howard, and a conversation with her real-life son and daughter, Marion Ross’s story is one of inspiration, persistence, and gratitude. It’s also a glowing tribute to all those who fulfilled her dreams—and in turn, gave us some of the happiest days of our own lives.

High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing by Ben Austen #Review

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I remember hearing about “the projects” when I was a child. I didn’t truly understand what it meant, or what they were, of course—that understanding wouldn’t come until several years later. When it did, the few things I read (or, occasionally, saw on television)  centered around African-American poverty, crime, and gangs; leaving me with the impression that it was a terrible, frightening place to live.

What I never learned about was how they came to be, or how different life was for the early tenants compared to what it eventually became.

High Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing tells the story of the Cabrini-Green public housing project in Chicago, Illinois. Though it would later become notorious for crime and gang activity, the high rises were once a lovely, desirable place to live, as we learn in reminiscences of former tenants, such as Delores Wilson. Wilson (along with her husband and children) moved into one of the high rises in 1956. In the fifty years she lived there, she witnessed how Cabrini-Green went from being a well-maintained, safe and friendly place to live, to what it eventually became before the last of the high rises were demolished in 2011.

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I can’t begin to comment, even briefly, on the politics and people involved that saw the construction and eventual demise of the Cabrini-Green high rises, and how it affected the lives of the people living there. Trust me when I say that all of it—the history of how it came to be, the politics involved throughout its existence, racism and deliberate segregation based on both race and financial status—made for some seriously interesting reading. The depth of Austen’s research is clearly evident throughout, and the book is written in a narrative-style similar in my mind to Matthew Desmond’s Evicted:Poverty and Profit in the American City. This isn’t a dry retelling of the facts; it’s a heartfelt history that tells the story of Cabrini-Green and its residents, warts and all. If anyone can manage reading the portions telling the personal stories of former residents without feeling an ounce of empathy (and, at times, anger and a sense of injustice), it would truly shock me.

This isn’t a light read by any means, but I think it’s an important one. Poverty and a lack of affordable housing is an ongoing problem in the United States. Unless we’re informed about past attempts to solve the housing problem, we cannot hope to do better in the future. And unless we’re informed about the realities about people living in poverty—the day-to-day struggles they face, and how hard their lives are—we’re not going to make any headway on improving that, either.

If this is a topic of interest for you, I hope you’ll take the time to read this book… and I hope you’ll find it as informative and moving as I did.

 

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Harper via Edelweiss.

add to goodreads

Author: Ben Austen

Title: High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing

Genre: Nonfiction, Social Science / Poverty & Homelessness

Published: February 13th, 2018 by Harper

Rating: 5 stars

book worth reading

About the Book

Joining the ranks of Evicted, The Warmth of Other Sons, and classic works of literary non-fiction by Alex Kotlowitz and J. Anthony Lukas, High-Risers braids personal narratives, city politics, and national history to tell the timely and epic story of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, America’s most iconic public housing project.

Built in the 1940s atop an infamous Italian slum, Cabrini-Green grew to twenty-three towers and a population of 20,000—all of it packed onto just seventy acres a few blocks from Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast. Cabrini-Green became synonymous with crime, squalor, and the failure of government. For the many who lived there, it was also a much-needed resource—it was home. By 2011, every high-rise had been razed, the island of black poverty engulfed by the white affluence around it, the families dispersed.

In this novelistic and eye-opening narrative, Ben Austen tells the story of America’s public housing experiment and the changing fortunes of American cities. It is an account told movingly though the lives of residents who struggled to make a home for their families as powerful forces converged to accelerate the housing complex’s demise. Beautifully written, rich in detail, and full of moving portraits, High-Risers is a sweeping exploration of race, class, popular culture, and politics in modern America that brilliantly considers what went wrong in our nation’s effort to provide affordable housing to the poor—and what we can learn from those mistakes.