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Friday, 14 August 2009

Bluestockings and How Not To Shop

Bluestockings by Jane Robinson is absolutely fascinating. It is strange to read how women had to fight for any sort of education as they were not considered worth educating. There's a marvellous quote from a sermon delivered by Dean Burgon of Chichester Cathedral in 1884 'Inferior to us God made you: and our inferiors to the end of time you will remain. But you are none the worse off for that.' The author comments that apparently his audience/congregation, brave souls, dissolved into incredulous laughter. I knew Oxford did not award degrees to women until the 1920s but I had not appreciated that Cambridge was even later - 1948!

I'm about half the way through the book which is written in a very approachable style. There is a comprehensive bibliography at the end and the author spoke to many of the women still alive who were involved in the early days of women's university education which really brings the whole subject to life.

How Not To Shop by Carmen Reid is excellent chick lit with great dialogue and characters. Yes there is a happy ending but there are also problems in the background. Annie Valentine - the heroine - is having to deal with her mother's increasing vagueness and with trying to support her sister through IVF. These issues are not reslolved at the end of the book. It's a real feel good read whether or not you've read the previous books in the series.

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