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Morag Eyrie "Morag" (Glasgow, Scotland)

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The Myth of Mars and Venus: Do Men and Women Really Speak Different Languages?
The Myth of Mars and Venus: Do Men and Women Really Speak Different Languages?
by Deborah Cameron
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.57

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the cover: intelligent response to sexism, 15 Dec 2007
Like the previous reviewer, I read extracts of this book in the Guardian. Normally with excerpted books, even if I enjoy the extract, I figure they've printed the most interesting bit and don't bother reading the whole book. In this case I felt almost desperate to get my hands on it- and wasn't disappointed. The book is both scholarly and very readable, sometimes humorous, but rightly angry and disturbing in parts. It is full of tips drawn from real research that you can use to counteract anyone spouting Mars & Venus type myths about men and women. If you grew up, as I did, in a non-sexist family, in a very anti-sexist country (New Zealand) and came of age at the peak of feminist consciousness, you may be as dismayed as I am about the return to intensive gender stereotyping in the world. This book helps counterbalance some of that. That said, there is a weird dissonance between the design of the book itself and the content- the cover makes it look like some piece of chick-lit, and the funky-friendly fonts inside really jar with what the words are actually saying. Deeply ironic given the subject matter. Bizarre decision by the publishers.

The Secret River
The Secret River
by Kate Grenville
Edition: Paperback

17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important perspective, 10 April 2006
This review is from: The Secret River (Paperback)
I grew up in New Zealand, not Australia, where the history of the colonisation and oppression of the indigenous people is slightly different. I left for my own ancestral homeland, Scotland, at the age of 31 (quite a few years ago) so I've experienced both a former colony and the coloniser culture. I have to say that any kind of empathy with the convict settlers and their masters in Australia has never been high on my agenda, given the horrors that were perpetrated on the indigenous peoples of that continent, which continue to this day. However, it is important to always expand one's understanding of any people, and this book makes a significant contribution to that, in an easy to absorb way. It's simply (but eloquently) written and enjoyable to read, and doesn't much pull its punches. It's funny for someone who lives in the UK to hear narrative set in historical London described in a way that is obviously designed to make Australians understand the landscape, geography and culture of a place they aren't familiar with (that in itself is funny because nearly every Australian spends at least some time living in London don't they?). This part seems rather naive and romanticised ("Ooh, cobbled streets and tiny lanes! Gosh"). But if you accept that as necessary, actually getting inside the heads of the horrors the poor of Britain went through and the terrifying alien-ness they were confronted with in Australia makes this a worthwhile read.

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