Books I've Been Reading Lately

Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. Just started it; can't comment yet.

Lady Chatterly's Lover by D. H. Lawrence. Enough said.

The New Victorians: A Young Woman's Challenge to the Old Feminist Order by Rene Denfeld. Warner Books, 1995. ISBN # 0-446-51752-6.

This book is an absolute must-read for anyone who is turned off by what the term "feminism" has come to mean.

From the back cover:
"The fact is that feminism has changed. Dramatically. While there are some feminists still in touch with most women's concerns, the movement for the most part has made a radical change in direction. It has become bogged down in an extremist moral and spritual crusade that has little to do with women's lives... and has substituted a world view that speaks to the very few, while alienating the many. For women of my generation, feminsim has become as confining as what it pretends to combat.

"Today's feminists are remarkably similar to Victorians... and this is why women of my generation are abandoning the women's movement."

From the inside cover:
"In the movement's latest obsessions, Denfeld finds a complete reversal of the movement's progress made since the 1970s. This decade's hypersensitive feminist--fearful, disillusioned, and adamantly anti-male--bears a strong resemblance to the dainty, sheltered, chaste Victorian lady of a century ago. And this is why, Denfeld says, young women are abandoning the feminist movement. Rene Denfeld cuts to the roots of:

"Offering realistic alternatives to ideologically rigid and sometimes ridiculous doctrine, The New Victorians is a rallying cry for young women to take back feminism--and be proud of it."

Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics by Heather Busch and Burton Silver. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 1994. ISBN # 0-89815-612-2.

"Why Cats Paint is a registered international experiment in inter-species morphic resonance and is designed to test the hypothesis of formative causation. I.E.# 644-38837-59."

I still haven't made it to the library to check out the bibliography listed in this book and figure out whether it's a hoax, but the entertainment value of the photos included make it definitely worth the $14.95 purchase price (and it's a far better conversation starter than your average coffee-table book!).

From the book jacket: "The fact that some domestic cats are able to make marks with paint has always been explained by biologists as an instinctive form of territorial marking behavior. Now, Why Cats Paint presents a cogently argued theory based on recent evidence which clearly supports the view that some cats' marks are aesthetically motivated and should be regarded as genuine works of art." Whew. I'm not making this up.

The Highland Scots of North Carolina, 1732-1776 by Duane Meyer. Chapel Hill, 1961. ISBN # 0-8078-4199-4.

I'm using this book to help formulate a hypothesis about where, when, and why my Wallace ancestors may have migrated.

From the cover: "Meyer addresses himself principally to two questions. Why did many thousands of Scottish Highlanders emigrate to America in the eighteenth century, and why did the majority of them rally to the defense of the Crown? Using a variety of original sources--official papers, travel documents, diaries, and newspapers--Meyer presents an impressively complete reconstruction of the settlement of the Highlanders in North Carolina. He examines their motives for migration, their life in America, and their curious political allegiance to George III. Duane Meyer is president emeritus and professor of history at Southwest Missouri State University."

The Rise and Fall of a Regency Dandy: The Life and Times of Scrope Berdmore Davies by T.A.J. Burnett. Little, Brown, 1981. ISBN # 0-316-11709-9.

Davies was a dandy and a close friend of Byron's. When he eventually fled to the Continent to avoid his debts, he left a trunk of diaries, letters, and even some of Byron's and Shelley's (previously unknown) manuscripts with his bank, Barclay's of London. The trunk lay untouched until 1975, when they opened it to discover literary treasure.

Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat by Bill Watterson. Andrews and McMeel, Kansas City, 1994. ISBN # 0-8362-1769-1.

A compilation of Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strips.

Books I Should Be Reading But Ain't

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L.A.W. 28 June 1995