Top Five Wednesday: Top Five Audio books

It's Wednesday, so it's time for top 5 Wednesday, hosted by Lainey. I haven’t done one of these in a while, and I’ve really gotten into audiobooks this year. I started using Audible this year, and they’ve got some amazing audiobooks, you would hope. They make audiobooks for a living. I usually go to audiobooks for non-fiction. I tend to lose focus when it’s fiction, I don’t know why. Anyway. I’ve probably mentioned all of these before, but you get to see them again.

Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do about It by Kate Harding, read by Erin Bennett
This is a book about rape culture, duh. It’s about how women are viewed and how the patriarchy has really fucked women over. I got a bit over excited. It’s a really fascinating look at how rape survivors are treated in court, after trials, and specifically in the media. It looks at how we insist on rape victims being perfect victims; so preferably virginal, sober, soberly dressed, someone able to fight back, and able to recall absolutely every detail about their attack exactly the same way every time they recount it. No other crime victim have these expectations on them, and in no other crime is the perpetrator so consistently believed over the victim. It looks at advertisement and films and everything else in culture (although it is focused mainly on western culture). It was really fascinating, depressing at times, and it was a bit uplifting too, because it will get better.

Girls will be girls: Dressing Up, Playing Parts and Daring to Act Differently by Emer O’Toole, read by Olivia Caffrey
This is a sort of feminist-gender discussion starter book. Emer O’Toole writes about women and girls and the pressures on them. She looks at femininity and gender and sexuality in today’s world. And O’Toole uses a lot of her own experience. She’s a scholar, she’s a professor of Irish performance studies. She’s also a feminist, a queer woman, and Irish. She grew up in a very restrictive gender role, or a country with very restrictive gender roles I guess, because she is from Ireland. And Ireland is quite a bit more traditional I guess, than England, and Norway, which would be my frame of reference. Something that stood out was her describing a scene where she was at her mother’s house and her mother had made her, her father, her brothers and her brother’s friend (girlfriend?) dinner. Her mother wasn’t even eating. When they were done Emer and the friend were doing dishes and when Emer suggested her father and brothers help they said it’s women’s work, and why would they do that (basically). And it seems like she saw it as something very Irish as opposed to how it is in England. It was really fascinating to see how gender impacts us, and how it doesn’t need to define us, and how we can define it how we like. It was great.

Spinster: Making a Life of one’s own by Kate Bolick, read by Kate Bolick
This is about singledom, sort of, particularly for women. Kate Bolick never really knew if she wanted to get married, and she really likes being on her own, and taking care of herself. She also lost her mother when she was quite young. And a lot of her identity was tied into this woman who she looked up to so much, and who was very different from herself, in that she got married quite young, had kids, and then started working hard as a writer and it really affected Bolick. She looks at women who live as single women their whole lives through history. And how they were seen as slightly crazy, and like they couldn’t possibly be happy. She doesn’t focus solely on being single forever, but more on how you want to live your life and what will make you happy. And I just really liked it. Her autobiographical writing is beautiful. Her prose is gorgeous, and lovely.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach, read by Shelly Fraiser
This book combined my love of audiobooks and my weird fascination with cadavers and pathology. Yes, I have a weird fascination with cadavers, and also rituals surrounding death, because I’m fun. Roach looks at the history of what we do with cadavers, which sounds weird. But when you die you can either get buried, or cremated, or pretty much anything else it seems. People donate their organs, donate their bodies to science, to medical students, to plastic surgeons to practice procedures on. People donate their bodies to crime scene investigation, and body farms (yes I find this insanely interesting). And there are people who want to make different ways to dispose of bodies, like making them into compost, so we can give back when we die, which is AWESOME! Obviously before we had laws and committees and actual scientists there were people who basically stole bodies and sold them to doctors. This was obviously really important, because they learned a lot about how the human body works, and to fix people. So it was important, but also illegal. I love maverick scientists by the way. They’re so creepy and weird. Roach describes the time her mother dies and Roach and her brother view the body in the casket, which is a thing I’ve always found weird. It’s… we have a lot of very strict rituals around death, which when you look at them, are weird, but understandable. Because when we’re alive we try to be more than our bodies, and we’re our brains and souls, and then we die and our souls, for lack of a better word, disappears and all we are is our body. So we get very attached to our dead loved one’s bodies. Which is fascinating. That’s basically why we have graves and markers. To mark their existence somehow. It’s fascinating! I am too excited about this.

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem, read by Debra Winger
This is the most recent non-Harry Potter audiobook I listened to. It’s Gloria Steinem’s memoir. It’s about her life on the lecture circuit, and her life travelling through the US, and through the world, as a journalist, as a lecturer, as a feminist badass. She has spent so much of her time hosting women’s circles, where women come together and discuss being women, and it’s just so great. Gloria Steinem is so great. She’s so tough and magical. She’s not perfect, obviously, but she’s just so awesome guys. I’m a Gloria Steinem convert. I’m not going to be able to say anything coherent, but it’s just great.

These were my top five audiobooks. And there was clearly a theme of non-fiction, women, feminism, and you know, dead bodies. That’s a theme you want. I’m gonna stop now. Tell me your favorite audiobooks, because I love them now