What I read in January

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descent of man.jpg

I spotted this on one of those beautifully arranged tables in Waterstones and picked it up on a whim. Written by award winning artist and transvestite Grayson Perry, it's a pamphlet of a book you could zip through in a leasurely weekend but it contains such wisdom. It's a breakdown of traditional masculinity and how it's (literally) killing our men and, in turn, women. It's a perfect walk-through of how feminism is a far-reaching movement that serves everyone and I want to put it in the hands of everyone I know.

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My mum forced this book on me when I was 13 and, like most people, it's been one of my favourite books ever since. I haven't read it for at least six or seven years and took it with me on a train journey to Edinburgh, finishing it before I got back home. There's nothing I can say that hasn't been said; it's a book so perfect that Harper Lee never published anything else. I've chosen not to read 'Go Set a Watchman', the sequel released following Lee's death. I felt that, if she wanted it to be published, she would have done it herself. 

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Another book I loved! Rebecca Solnit lays out facts I already knew about violence against women in such a way that they seem brand new and leave you bubbling with rage as you turn the pages. That if anything else was happening the way that violence is happening to women, we'd call it an epidemic. The USA talks constantly about terrorism when domestic abuse is the number one reason a woman will visit A&E. This book made me furious, in a good way.

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I'm not crazy about Hillary Clinton. Trump aside, there was a sense in the 2016 that it was just her turn, her time. Not entitlement exactly, because she's one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for the presidency, but there was a feeling that her rule was inevitable. Not actively liking her has never mattered much to me, though, since I'd never have to see her on my ballot paper. 

Her book was on offer and I thought it would be a fascinating insight into the election and it was. It's difficult to gauge how genuine she is; such are the pitfalls of working in politics for the last 40 years. But that's the tightrope she's always walked. If she's spontaneous, she says the wrong thing and gets shot down in flames and if she prepares, she's robotic. She's incredibly, objectively critical of herself in this book and I came away liking her. I even got a little teary at the end.

What did you read this month? I need recommendations for my holidays!

WIBRLauren Aitchison