Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Sunday Post #329

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The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by 
The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.

The Sunday Post #329

On The Blog Recently

In My Reading Life

Last week, I read The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight To Win The Vote by Elaine Weiss. This is a dense nonfiction book about how women got the right to vote in the US. It's not the most readable book because there are a ton of names and dates, and I can't keep that stuff straight, but it gave me a lot to think about.

I was surprised at how long it took for women to get the right to vote in every state. It took 72 years! This is the embodiment of the quote "If you're not at the table, then you're on the menu." Since female politicians were rare, women had to convince men to give them rights. Men in some states were more receptive to the idea than men in other states. Most male politicians were perfectly happy to make laws about women without any input from women.

It's interesting (but not surprising) that conservative women fought very hard not to vote. They said, "God doesn't want women to vote." And "We have to uphold traditional gender roles." And "Treating men and women equally is socialism." It makes me wonder how people will think about our time in 100 years. Will the stuff we're arguing about become rights that people take for granted? Will future people look at our politicians and go, "What the heck were you so afraid of?"

When we talk about women's suffrage, we also have to talk about racism. Some of the states only gave white women the right to vote. Many of the suffragists were fine with this and didn't keep fighting to get voting rights for all people. That's disappointing. Hopefully society learned something from it. (I'm guessing not. I don't have a lot of faith in humans.)

If you want to learn about women's suffrage in the US, then this book is worth reading. It's dense, but the knowledge I gained made slogging through the pages worth the effort.

Then I read a classic! It was Washington Square by Henry James. I now understand why romance readers want a happily ever after. I know this is a melodrama and not a romance, but I wanted somebody to be happy at the end! Instead, it ends with every character being dead or depressed forever and ever. Nice.

Washington Square revolves around Catherine, a plain and unambitious heir to a fortune. When a young man—Morris—comes courting, her father is immediately suspicious. Why would anyone want to marry his stupid, ugly daughter? Morris is obviously after the family's money.

Catherine's aunt comes to a different conclusion. She thinks Morris is sincere and wants the couple to marry. Catherine's father and aunt spend the entire book meddling in Catherine's relationship while Catherine does nothing. She lets herself be bullied.

The author is great at developing characters. Everybody in this book is realistically awful. I wish the author had done more with the characters, though. The book is like a low-budget play. Every scene has two or three actors sitting in a room, talking. The story is mostly dialogue with no description or action. I wish there had been more scenes of Morris and Catherine doing something (anything!) together. All their scenes of polite conversation just make them seem ambivalent toward each other.

Catherine finally stands up for herself at the end of the book, but she doesn't seem happy about her choices. So . . . she stands up for her right to be miserable?

Since this book is mostly dialogue, it's quicker to read than other classics, but I'm not sure what the author wanted me to get out of reading it. I guess it's a cautionary tale about letting your family control your life. Or it's a depressing story about how upper-class women are trapped between family money and their own wishes? I don't know. It's just depressing.

In The Rest Of My Life

Five things that made me happy last week:

  1. It was my birthday. I'm not thrilled about being old, but at least there was cake.
  2. It was St. Patrick's Day too! We celebrated with pizza and chocolate.
  3. New episodes of YOU and Shadow & Bone on Netflix.
  4. Speaking of TV, I started watching Lingo because I'm obsessed with Wordle. I could never be on that show. How do people think so fast?
  5. I got a lot of blogging done. I even have posts scheduled. Who am I? I'm usually scrambling to get posts finished the night before they go up.

I Want Friends For My Birthday

Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!


  1. I hope you had a fantastic birthday!!! Cake is always a good thing. :-) I'll have to check out Lingo - I hadn't heard of it.

  2. Happy birthday! I won't ask your age as I rarely tell mine, lol. Have a good week.

  3. I hope you have a wonderful birthday, and remember, it's a gift to grow old. What kind of cake are we talking about? I can't remember the last time we had cake. Christmas? I don't care what kind of book it is, I always want a happy ending. If not happy, hopeful. I need that in my life.

  4. Happy belated birthday! I hope you had a fantastic one! <3

  5. Happy birthday! Sounds like it was a good week with pizza, St. Patrick's Day, and new shows!

  6. Happy belated birthday! Cake makes anything better. I am going to check out Lingo since I play Wordle every morning.

  7. Happy belated birthday AJ! And I love watching Shadow and Bone even if I watch it at a snailspace LOL

  8. Happy belated birthday! I think I need to check out Lingo! Yay for being ahead on blogging, it's something I strive for, but never quite get there, LOL!

  9. The whole thing about conservative women not wanting to vote (or thinking they shouldn't, maybe more accurate) kills me. Not to get political. But I grew up always hearing women wanted rights too and be able to make choices- I guess this whole we want traditional roles even if we can't vote or work or whatever is just new to me. Maybe because I live in a more conservative area now than when growing up.

    Anyway happy birthday!!!

  10. While I can appreciate the information and desire to know about the long process to get the vote, I'm not up to reading a dense book about it! Nor am I much of a classics reader. BUT, Lingo sounds really interesting - I'll look for it. I know what you mean about surprising yourself to have posts scheduled - that happens about once a month for me and I think, okay, I'm ahead now, I can just create posts at a 'normal' pace and always be a little ahead. Nope. It never works that way! :)
    Have a terrific week.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  11. Happy belated birthday! I remember reading Washington Square in 2016 after seeing "The Heiress" in NYC. The play was based on the book and featured Jessica Chastain and Dan Stevens. I really enjoyed the play, but the book was surprisingly readable for Henry James, lol!

  12. I enjoy getting a lot of actual history on things like the women's suffrage and many more topics by reading the daily letters to an American by Heather Cox Richardson. I started reading them on Facebook but then subscribed to emails. I really appreciate her factual information on history and the constitution and voting rights and many other things She is a professor at Boston College.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

  13. I'm usually scrambling the night before to do up posts, too! Lol!. Even with voting rights it still seems women are at a disadvantage, although we can now own property and we do have many other rights we didn't have not so long ago. Yep, I'm never excited about my birthdays either. Hope you enjoyed the cake! :)

  14. Happy Birthday!!!! Yay for cake!

    Depressing? That Washington Square book sounds right up my alley. Added it to my TBR.

  15. Happy Birthday!

    I love Wordle but I agree about Lingo. I tried watching and people just think too fast for me.

    I hope you have a great week!

  16. Happy Birthday! I love your sense of humour (I’m old too)! Have a wonderful week ahead!

  17. Happy birthday! I haven't decided that my age doesn't bother me but I do wish my knees and ankles were holding up a bit better - and there's cake! I'm a big fan of petting all the dogs. I've started assisting in obedience classes mostly so I can hang out with dogs. Have a great week!

  18. Happy Birthday! I think we share the same goals to pet all the dogs! LOL. We've been enjoying Lingo too. But, we don't think nearly as fast as those contestants either.

  19. Your review of Washington Square is totally hialrious. I want to read more by him, but I may have to skip this one.
    Happy belated birthday!

  20. Happy birthday! And great job on being organised with your blog posts! Have a great week.

  21. I've been wanting to read something by Henry James, but so many reviews of his books make his stories sound intimidating. Maybe Washington Square is the book for me.

    "If you're not at the table, then you're on the menu." What a fantastic quote. And it explains a lot about why I have always felt like I'm some kind of French dessert.

    Happy birthday, AJ!

  22. Happy birthday! Now you make me want cake. Interesting books this week but not something I would ever choose to read. Congrats on getting posts ahead. I've been rereading and eating into my reserve of posts instead of writing new reviews. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  23. Happy birthday! The suffrage book sounds interesting. I remember watching Suffragette and looking up all the countries that had really late dates for suffrage. Switzerland! Oh my gosh. It also took a long time, but women didn't have full voting rights until 1990!

  24. Posts scheduled? that's way too organized. You're ahead of the game. 72 years to get the vote in each state, that's nuts.

  25. Happy belated birthday! I'm sitting here thinking that I could tear up some cake right now. Then I remembered that we're spending the weekend with my husband's cousin to celebrate his birthday. I know for a fact that cake is on the menu. Yay!

    For something less dense about women's rights, I recommend Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women's Fight for Their Rights, a graphic novel by Mikki Kendall. She definitely tackles racism in among the suffragettes.

    I actually posted *reviews* this week. *gasp* And I have some scheduled for next week too! I think my husband is going to take me to the doctor because this is not the procrastinating wife he knows.

    Enjoy your week!