#5Books: Book recs and On the Basis of Sex

#5Books for the week ending 31 March 2019

I wasn’t quite sure what to think about On the Basis of Sex, but I found it completely and utterly engrossing. Based on the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Supreme Court Justice and all around badass if the movie is anything to go by.

It follows her time at Harvard, where she took her classes and her husband Martin’s classes when he was diagnosed with cancer, and pretty much aced everything she did. Following that, she moved to Columbia university to follow her husband, and I have to wonder if Harvard or the Dean in question has ever gotten over the regret of that decision. Kind of like every publisher who sent JKR a rejection letter kicking themselves constantly all these years later.

The movie follows her through a sex discrimination case over a tax deduction, which is actually not one of her biggest cases, but worked well in the movie, which gives her family and her marriage as much importance as her work — and the tax deduction case if about a man taking care of his mother.

I also enjoyed watching her relationship with her husband, who is as supportive as he is challenging.

Casting was spot on, and I couldn’t figure out what else I had seen Felicity Jones in until it hit me — Star Wars Rogue One!

Anyway, have you seen it? What did you think of it?

In other news, these are the books on my radar this week:

A Mistake 

In medicine, a single mistake in an otherwise spotless career can determine the rest of your life—even if the mistake was not your own.

Elizabeth is a gifted surgeon—the only female consultant at her hospital. But while operating on a young woman with life-threatening blood poisoning, something goes horribly wrong. In the midst of a new scheme to publicly report surgeons’ performance, her colleagues begin to close ranks, and Elizabeth’s life is thrown into disarray. Tough and abrasive, Elizabeth has survived and succeeded in this most demanding, palpably sexist field. But can she survive a single mistake?

A Mistake is a page-turning procedural thriller about powerful women working in challenging spheres. The novel examines how a survivor who has successfully navigated years of a culture of casual sexism and machismo finds herself suddenly in the fight of her life. When a mistake is life-threatening, who should ultimately be held responsible?

Carl Shuker has produced some of the finest writing on the physicality of medical intervention, where life-changing surgery is detailed moment-by-moment in a building emergency. A Mistake daringly illustrates the startling mix of the cooly intellectual and deeply personal inherent in the life and work of a surgeon.

The first time I read this, two things came to mind: articles in the papers here over the past couple of months of women surgeons and the sheer amount of sexism they have to face in hospitals, and most recently a young surgeon who quit bc her hours went over the line from overworked to stupidly insane and risky for patients, and no-one in her hospital gave a shit. Which brings me to this book — and yes it’s a procedural thriller, but also touches on all these things as well. I don’t know if this mistake is Elizabeth’s or there’s something else at play either. Also, a New Zealand author makes this doubly interesting.

The Marriage Clock

In Zara Raheem’s fresh, funny, smart debut, a young, Muslim-American woman is given three months to find the right husband or else her traditional Indian parents will find one for her–a novel with a universal story that everyone can relate to about the challenges of falling in love.

To Leila Abid’s traditional Indian parents, finding a husband in their South Asian-Muslim American community is as easy as match, meet, marry. But for Leila, a marriage of arrangement clashes with her lifelong dreams of a Bollywood romance which has her convinced that real love happens before marriage, not the other way around.

Finding the right husband was always part of her life-plan, but after 26 years of singledom, even Leila is starting to get nervous. And to make matters worse, her parents are panicking, the neighbors are talking, and she’s wondering, are her expectations just too high? So Leila decides it’s time to stop dreaming and start dating.

She makes a deal with her parents: they’ll give her three months, until their 30th wedding anniversary, to find a husband on her own terms. But if she fails, they’ll take over and arrange her marriage for her.

With the stakes set, Leila succumbs to the impossible mission of satisfying her parents’ expectations, while also fulfilling her own western ideals of love. But after a series of speed dates, blind dates, online dates and even ambush dates, the sparks just don’t fly! And now, with the marriage clock ticking, and her 3-month deadline looming in the horizon, Leila must face the consequences of what might happen if she doesn’t find “the one…”

So this is on the other end of the spectrum of the book above, but it reminds me of Ayesha at Last and that was such a joyous read for me. I don’t know if Leila’s parents do know best, or there’s a romance hidden somewhere in Leila’s life that the blurb isn’t telling, but I just smiled when I read this, so yeah.

Kill [Readacted]

Michael lost his wife in a terrorist attack on a London train. Since then, he has been seeing a therapist to help him come to terms with his grief – and his anger. He can’t get over the fact that the man he holds responsible has seemingly got away scot-free. He doesn’t blame the bombers, who he considers only as the logical conclusion to a long chain of events. No, to Michael’s mind, the ultimate cause is the politician whose cynical policies have had such deadly impact abroad. His therapist suggests that he write his feelings down to help him forgive and move on, but as a retired headteacher, Michael believes that for every crime there should be a fitting punishment – and so in the pages of his diary he begins to set out the case for, and set about committing, murder.

Waltzing through the darkling journal of a brilliant mind put to serious misuse, Kill [redacted] is a powerful and provocative exploration of the contours of grief and the limits of moral justice, and a blazing condemnation of all those who hold, and abuse, power.

If there’s a third side to the spectrum, then this book is at that point, totally removed from the other too. It’s the cover that got me with this one, and I admit, the blurb sounds intense enough that I think I would have to be mentally ready to dive into Michael’s mind, but still… here it is.

Titanshade

This noir fantasy thriller from a debut author introduces the gritty town of Titanshade, where danger lurks around every corner.

Carter’s a homicide cop in Titanshade, an oil boomtown where 8-tracks are state of the art, disco rules the radio, and all the best sorcerers wear designer labels. It’s also a metropolis teetering on the edge of disaster. As its oil reserves run dry, the city’s future hangs on a possible investment from the reclusive amphibians known as Squibs.

But now negotiations have been derailed by the horrific murder of a Squib diplomat. The pressure’s never been higher to make a quick arrest, even as Carter’s investigation leads him into conflict with the city’s elite. Undermined by corrupt coworkers and falsified evidence, and with a suspect list that includes power-hungry politicians, oil magnates, and mad scientists, Carter must find the killer before the investigation turns into a witch-hunt and those closest to him pay the ultimate price on the filthy streets of Titanshade.

Do you remember the movie Alien Nation? That’s the first thing that popped into my head when I saw this cover. I think this is going to be a HELL of a ride, yes?

Miranda in Milan

“A haunting story that reimagines the consequences of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.”

After the tempest, after the reunion, after her father drowned his books, Miranda was meant to enter a brave new world. Naples awaited her, and Ferdinand, and a throne. Instead she finds herself in Milan, in her father’s castle, surrounded by hostile servants who treat her like a ghost. Whispers cling to her like spiderwebs, whispers that carry her dead mother’s name. And though he promised to give away his power, Milan is once again contorting around Prospero’s dark arts. With only Dorothea, her sole companion and confidant to aid her, Miranda must cut through the mystery and find the truth about her father, her mother, and herself.

So not a retelling but more a what happened to kind of story. I don’t know much about The Tempest, but from reading about it on wikipedia, it seems that Miranda isn’t a main character, and her purpose is to be married and mainly be Prospero’s daughter. So, what prevented her from going to Naples to be married? and what about the mystery of her birth?

6 Comments

  • Hey V! Still kicking around blogs! This has to be a record for me this year! 🙂 I actually haven’t seen or even thought about watching On the Basis of Sex, but you’ve made it sound very compelling and I feel like it would be something my hubby would also enjoy. We’re going to try rewatch all of Game of Thrones though ready for the final season and seeing as we’re only in Season One at the moment our schedule is somewhat tight! Ha ha. 🙂 Why are there never enough hours left for ‘me time’ in each day???

  • I have Titanshade on reserve at one of my local libraries when it comes in. For some reason, I can’t wait to jump right in. I’m glad you enjoyed the movie. It does sound interesting!

  • Jen Mullen says:

    I have not seen On the Basis of Sex, but I do intend to see it at some point. All of these books sound interesting, and I’ll be keeping them in mind!

  • Lark says:

    I totally want to read The Marriage Clock! 🙂

  • I haven’t seen On the Basis of Sex yet, but I definitely want to because I love RBG. Miranda in Milan intrigues me, although it has been so long since I read The Tempest, I’d probably have to re-read it to make heads or tails of a retelling, lol.

  • Lily says:

    The Marriage Clock I also thought looked interesting. The rest were new to me.

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