Review: The Little Book of Feminist Saints by Julia Pierpont

This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for in terms of feminist collections. I mentioned before in my reviews for equally striking books (Bad Girls Throughout History & Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls) how I’m not keen on Wikipedia-esque entries, instead, I prefer anecdotes that bring the women back to life through words. And oh, how Julia Pierpont delivered with The Little Book of Feminist Saints.

“These entries are not meant to serve as short biographies, summaries of each woman’s life that could just as easily be found online. I tried, instead, in my daily research, to zero in on the colorful, the anecdotes I would find myself repeating to a friend that night.”

My most important thing with these collections is that I want to educated myself on something new in an engaging way, without feeling like I’m reading a textbook. And because The Little Book of Feminist Saints focused on telling witty stories that captured the spirit of each woman, there wasn’t ever a case of reading the same repeated history lesson, especially with the more well-known personalities. I got enlightened on so many phenomenal sheroes over the course of the book, and I had the most fun doing so.

This read also managed to pack many experiences into a short amount of pages. Ranging from leading ladies, philosophers, readers, dreamers, travelers, athletes, students, and rebels.

Speaking of which, here were some of the noteworthy women I was very in tune with that I’d like to highlight:

1. Oprah: Matron Saint of Every Home.The Little Book of Feminist Saints 1-- bookspoils“She connected with audiences because she knew people, and she let them know her.”

2. Yayoi Kusama: Matron Saint of VisionariesThe Little Book of Feminist Saints 2-- bookspoils“The visions started in childhood—flowers would talk to her; the floor would disappear.”

3. Gloria Steinem: Matron Saint of SisterhoodThe Little Book of Feminist Saints 3-- bookspoils“There was something,” she remarked, “about seeing women tell the truth about their lives in public, and seeing women take seriously something that only happens to women. In my experience, things were only taken seriously if they also happened to men.”

4. Maya Angelou: Matron Saint of StorytellersThe Little Book of Feminist Saints 4-- bookspoils“In times of strife and extreme stress, I was likely to retreat to mutism. Mutism is so addictive. And I don’t think its powers ever go away.”

5. Rachel Carson: Matron Saint of Future GenerationsThe Little Book of Feminist Saints 5-- bookspoils“The threat is infinitely greater to the generations unborn; to those who have no voice in the decisions of today, and that fact alone makes our responsibility a heavy one.”

6. Katharine Hepburn: Matron Saint of Leading LadiesThe Little Book of Feminist Saints 6-- bookspoils“As one goes through life,” she wrote in her memoirs, “one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.”

7. Anne Frank: Matron Saint of DiariestThe Little Book of Feminist Saints 7-- bookspoils8. Frida Kahlo: Matron Saint of ColorThe Little Book of Feminist Saints 8-- bookspoils

The Little Book of Feminist Saints exceeded all my expectations, thanks to both the striking illustrations by Manjit Thapp that set the tone for what to expect, and the accompanying anecdotes written to the strengths of our leading ladies.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Publication Date: March 6th 2018


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Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I had quite high expectations going into The Alchemist, granted that it had been my mom’s favorite read about a decade ago when she picked it up. But upon having reached the last page myself, I was unclear on whether the book had made a positive impression on me or not. The one thing I remember for certain is that the ending had me laughing out loud (more on that later*). Oh, and there were a number of passages that made me either contemplate everything I know or feel like someone could see through my soul.
However, there were also a lot of moments were I completely zoned out while listening to the narrator. So I don’t know what to take out of this book.

Having this as my second Coelho read, I knew more or less what to expect: a quick read with beautiful quotes that I would think about for a number of weeks. Also, the author’s prologues are always exceptional in stealing my thoughts and time:

“Who better than you to know that?” the goddesses said in wonder. “After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself!”
The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said:
“I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.”

Greek mythology combined with wit guarantees my interest secured in the palm of your hand.

The Alchemist follows a young Andalusian shepherd in his journey to Egypt, after having a recurring dream of finding treasure there. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within.

My love for this book is a quiet kind of love. The writing changed something inside me that I don’t have words for yet. So I’ll let Paulo Coelho’s quotes speak instead:

“You came so that you could learn about your dreams,” said the old woman. “And dreams are the language of God. When he speaks in our language, I can interpret what he has said. But if he speaks in the language of the soul, it is only you who can understand.”

I was instantly won over when dreams were mentioned in here.

“People say strange things, the boy thought. Sometimes it’s better to be with the sheep, who don’t say anything. And better still to be alone with one’s books. They tell their incredible stories at the time when you want to hear them.”

I found this to be so fascinating that I ended up reciting it back to my mother.

“The boy knew what he was about to describe, though: the mysterious chain that links one thing to another, the same chain that had caused him to become a shepherd, that had caused his recurring dream, that had brought him to a city near Africa, to find a king, and to be robbed in order to meet a crystal merchant, and . . .
The closer one gets to realizing his Personal Legend, the more that Personal Legend becomes his true reason for being, thought the boy.”

“The closer he got to the realization of his dream, the more difficult things became. It seemed as if what the old king had called “beginner’s luck” were no longer functioning.
In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, nor impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path.”

“Don’t be impatient,” he repeated to himself. “It’s like the camel driver said: ‘Eat when it’s time to eat. And move along when it’s time to move along.’”

“If good things are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise,” said the seer. “If bad things are, and you know in advance, you will suffer greatly before they even occur.”

This kind of reminded me that quote from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:
“My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.”

“When people consult me, it’s not that I’m reading the future; I am guessing at the future. The future belongs to God, and it is only he who reveals it, under extraordinary circumstances. How do I guess at the future? Based on the omens of the present. The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.”

“Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”

One last thing I want to point out is that I wasn’t expecting this book to be so philosophical…and I wasn’t anticipating to like it so much for that. I’m truly excited to see what I’ll think of my next Coelho book.

*That ending…. I genuinely laughed out loud when Santiago realized where his treasure was buried. And I kind of applaud the author for interweaving the intricate details of this tale in such a seamless way.

I also listened to this song while reading thanks to the latest and most beautiful episode of This Is Us:

The “And I will remember you” from the song has me on the edge of tears every time.

3.5/5 stars

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Review: 365 Days of Wonder by R.J. Palacio

tumblr_n43w4pcom11sf2cljo1_12801I love quotes with a fiery passion, which is why I somehow always end up looking at the quotes on my Goodreads. I’m a quote collector.

As Cheryl Strayed wrote in Brave Enough:

“The best quotes don’t speak to one particular truth, but rather to universal truths that resonate—across time, culture, gender, generation, and situation—in our own hearts and minds.”

This book is a collection of precepts that Mr. Browne has gathered over the years along with some essays in which he touches upon the themes presented within. For instance: kindness, strength of character, overcoming adversity, or simply doing good in the world.

This collection features multiple quotes that really resonated with me, while others I had to read multiple times to get the message across.
But in the end I managed to capture the ones that left me pondering the most:










Overall, this collection was exactly what I was looking for: beautiful and inspiring quotes to start your day on the right note.

4/5 stars 

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying 365 Days of Wonder, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!