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Books and Reading Prompts Memes and Other Fun Things Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Super Long Book Titles from My University Essays: Being a Short and Incomplete Historie of the Ridiculously Verbose and Unnecessarily Long Titles of the Tomes Brought Forth for Studye During My Younger and More Academic Years, Written in the Yeare 2020

I’ve been out of academia for a while now, but if there’s one thing that I remember about being at uni, it’s the fact that there is a lot of reading. And I mean a lot.

Sometimes that reading is fascinating, sometimes it’s decidedly not (I’m looking at you, Jacques Lacan, you bastard). I’ve already written a list of top 10 books I think every lit major should read, and this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was a great chance to revisit my university days once more. As soon as I saw the topic was extremely long book titles, the reading I did at uni immediately sprang to mind. Because if there’s one thing academics love, it’s a nice, long, and juicy title.

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Books and Reading Reviews

Mansplain No More: Men Explain Things To Me (2014), by Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things to MeApparently there’s this thing called ‘mansplaining’. It used to be Internet Speak; then it was Word Used By Journalists Desperate to Remain Relevant to Internet Speakers; and finally, in 2014, it was elevated to Word, thanks to its inclusion in the Macquarie Dictionary. And before there was ‘mansplaining’, there was ‘Men Explain Things To Me’.

Of course, I’ve heard the term a few times while browsing the Interwebs. But never having heard of Solnit’s essay, I thought that ‘mansplaining’ was a cute term for when men try and explain their supposedly incomprehensible actions to women. I thought it was the sort of thing that belonged to the world of sitcoms and similar: “No, babe, you don’t understand. Men watch sports because they don’t like knitting /cooking /shopping / insert condescending female stereotype here”.

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Books and Reading Reviews

Am I a Bad Feminist? Bad Feminist (2014), by Roxane Gay

Bad FeministAm I a bad feminist? That’s probably the question a lot of people asked themselves when they saw the title of Roxane Gay’s essay collection Bad Feminist (2014). The insidious nature of contemporary sexism – veiled in ancient gendered representations, in advertising and the media, and in the rise of ‘irony’ as a catch-all phrase for dealing with accusations of misogyny┬á– certainly makes it difficult to tell at all times whether sexism is actually happening, whether we’re unconsciously (or even consciously) accepting stereotypes of gender as they are handed to us.

The title of Roxane Gay’s collection of essays instantly intrigued me, because it seemed to be addressing this issue face-on. It seemed to be considering what it means to identify as a feminist in a world where a song about rape (‘Blurred Lines’) can be a chart-topper, and where young women can write on the internet about being perfectly willing to let a man beat them simply because he is a celebrity (which Gay addresses marvellously in an essay entitled ‘Dear Young Ladies Who Love Chris Brown So Much They Would Let Him Beat Them’). Existing in this kind of world as a self-identified feminist is tricky enough, but it doesn’t help when we are daily exposed to such content and, even worse, sometimes find ourselves humming the chorus of ‘Smack Ma Bitch Up’ (in case you can’t tell, my taste in music is almost pathetically out of date) without even realising.