Moranthology: Caitlin Moran

★★★★

I’m a little bit in love with Caitlin Moran. The glorious mixture of frankness, feistiness and common sense in her How To Be A Woman made me an immediate devotee and her follow-up book has been on my wishlist for a long time. Collecting together some of her columns, it gives Moran the chance to demonstrate that she’s able to write wittily and perceptively about many other topics than that of being a woman, although she is, as she points out, quite an expert on that.

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I Believe In Yesterday: Tim Moore

★★★½

A 2000-Year Tour through the Filth and Fury of Living History

When Tim Moore and his family move into an unmodernised semi in Chiswick in 1988, he has a glimpse of what it might have been like to live in the past: no hot water; no bathroom; and an outdoor privy in the back garden. Marvelling at the developments in home comforts over the last hundred years – and struck by how much we’ve come to rely on them – he decides to investigate why thousands of people feel drawn to give up such luxuries as central heating, soap and a proper roof over their heads, and take up living history instead.

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Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Peggy Orenstein

★★★½

Dispatches from the front lines of the new girlie-girl culture

Although it was only published in 2011, Peggy Orenstein’s book has already acquired legendary status in certain circles. Her focus is primarily on girls aged between about three and ten. Her mission is to draw attention to the fact that these modern girls grow up surrounded by increasingly gender-stereotyped marketing, which offers a dismally restricted range of role models and aspirations. Orenstein argues that the apparently innocuous ‘princessification’ of little girls gives them a limited sense of their own potential and that a generation is growing up which has learned to value itself not on its brains or its courage but on how pretty it is.

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