The Tigger’s 2015 in review: stats and more

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 55 trips to carry that many people.

Now at the start of the year I made some a series of reasons why people should read this blog so that I could gain 1000 followers. I now have 385 that read this blog directly; 29 read through Tumblr; and 985 see my book reviews through my FaceBook page – https://www.facebook.com/elayne.coakes which does have other stuff on it too.

So what I said was:

  1. I don’t blog a lot about my health and moan about my family or the state of the union or be vehement about my politics or… I blog about a variety of subject matters that interest me and hopefully you, some of which, especially as the majority of my followers are from the US, may be unfamiliar to you;
  2. I write good grammatical English (UK spelling), properly punctuated, and I know how to use the apostrophe. I don’t usually write in stream of consciousness mode but nice precise paragraphs.
  3. I write about a good variety of subjects so you are very likely to find something to interest you in them  – from flowers and gardens, to crafts, to travel, to – in particular – books. Illustrated by my husband’s excellent photographs. As a European I get to a lot of countries you may wish to visit in Europe, but also have been to many more exotic locations such as China and India and these are  described here. More still to come on past adventures, but this year I shall be flying out to Boston and New York and cruising back on the Queen Mary 2; and also Ireland later in the summer for sure. [Sorry, 2015 has been dominated by books but still I did cover other items, and shall try to do better in 2016]
  4. I read a lot of books and write informative and well researched reviews that don’t give the plot away and are not summaries. There is no plot synopsis but a comment that will be relevant to the subject matter and will inform. [2015:This is absolutely still true and will continue to be so]
  5. If I can get over 1000 followers, I will be authorised by more publishers on the NetGalley site which means I will get to read yet more books that are just being published, and more books by new authors you may not yet have heard of. I shall endeavour to keep up the interviews with them that I have recently started. [2015:I now have at least one author interview a month, sometimes more, and I am recognised by several publishers as shown by my widgets including being in the Brash Priority Reveiwer’s Circle]

 Here are details of 2014’s activity to compare to this year’s:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

The busiest day of the year was January 21st with 75 views. The most popular post that day was Feminism? Vegetarianism? Linked or not?. In 2014, there were 60 new posts.

Click here to see the complete report. for 2015.

And do please comment and come and read more posts!

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Just how do you catch a member of the aristocracy?

The Viscount’s Xmas Temptation

By

Erica Ridley

If you can manage a Duke’s household- surely you can find yourself a husband in two weeks?

After all managing to triple your dowry in three years must surely make you eligible to someone?

But you need (want?) a title for your children, so no barons or viscounts. No going down the nobility hierarchy and marrying beneath you when your father was a Duke and your brother is too. Chart_of_Social_Hierarchy_of_England

And you don’t want to be bored so you need occupation – suitable of course – so you need to find a way to meet the eligible men, and the answer of course is a ball. To be organised within 11 days no less.

And instead of a memory palace, there is a memory pantry. Items are filed under the letters of the alphabet and then associated with items in the pantry eg F would give you flour and you would associate flour with whatever you were trying to remember, something light and white and powdery probably.

And just when was the wet t-shirt invented? Clearly 1815 – masked balls with dampened muslin dresses to make them transparent!

And remember the lack of underwear as we know it… especially at night when bosoms were frequently on show – often to an extreme…

muslin dress

If you want know something more about muslin dresses then go to: https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/muslin-muslin-versatile-cloth-for-regency-fashion/ where there is a good article/s explaining the cloth and dresses etc.

And http://www.rakehell.com/article.php?id=387 has a good article explaining undergarments and what type of dress was worn when.

I liked this book and the heroine – she really appealed to me. An independent minded person with a mind that was incredibly organised (mine isn’t but I would refer you back to my discussion of memory palaces last year) and who knew what she wanted and how to go about getting it.

4 stars.

 

 

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Feminist? Humanist? Means to an End?

Just recently, having watched Suffragettes the movie, and been reminded about how long it has taken for so many women to achieve human rights, I was again reminded by an email that starting in November, women worked the rest of the year for nothing. Equal pay has still not been achieved for so many women.

I am also now a member of a Refugee Action Group raising funds and awareness of the plight of refugees both here and abroad and one of the issues we see again here is the plight of many women who are now refugees fleeing from oppression, rape and war.

I also note that rape is not a permitted reason for the Northern Irish woman to ask for an abortion and that this has just been ruled as a breach of their Human  Rights.

So I decided to take myself off to a lecture hosted by the British Humanist Society on Feminism and Humanism at UCL. This was the Bentham Lecture for 2015 and was given by Professor Rae Langton of Cambridge.

Some readers may not be aware of what the British Humanist Society stands for let alone who Bentham was as you may only have come across him if you learnt about British social and political history, so I’ll give some brief introductions to them before going on to talk about the lecture as this helps set the scene.

The British Humanist Society is a charity that works on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical lives on the basis of reason and humanity. They promote Humanism, a secular state, and equal treatment of everyone regardless of religion or belief.

Now, despite what they say, you can also be a humanist if you are religious as the key to being a humanist is that you judge for yourself what is right and what is wrong based on reason and respect for others. You use empathy and compassion to try and improve the world for all.

I will come back to this meaning later as it was a core element in Prof Langton’s speech.

Bentham was a very interesting man. He was a philosopher who lived in the late 18th and early 19th century. He was a child prodigy being able to read a history of Britain as a toddler and started learning Latin at 3 years. He went to Oxford at the tender age of 12. He is mainly known for his doctrine which was intended to guide the law, practice and belief – the greatest happiness of the greatest number.

This was very much a utilitarian view of the world and humans – individually we are a means to an end. Also we are motivated by a desire for happiness and to avoid pain. Fundamentally we are only concerned with our own well-being – the community is a fictitious body merely the sum of the interests of the several members who compose it.

He was part of a group of philosophers who agreed that many of the social problems of the time were a result of an antiquated legal system and control of land and capital by inheritance and thus the landed gentry.

Professor Rae Langton has been called the 4th most influential women thinker in the world and was listed in Prospect magazine as the 18th most important thinker –  note the difference in numbers here between women and men… which of course is why the lecture was so important. She is considered such an important academic that she has a Wikipedia page.

Most of her work is concerned with speech and pornography etc and she has studied and written extensively about Kant. So I am going to make a short diversion here to also discuss Kant as without Kant her lecture on feminism and humanism could not be understood.

Immanuel Kant is an important philosopher with regard to Humanism. Kant lived in the mid to late 18th century and it is said that he lived a very boring life! He never left his home town and was extremely regular in his behaviour – such that his neighbours literally could set their clocks by him. From Kant we can draw a statement that Humanism is an end in itself and not a means to an end.

Prof Langton took this and other Kantian writings about how we can choose our behaviour and know its causation to mean that we are born with choices, we always have options. There is a wrongness in treating humans as things with no choice. If humans are things then we can oppress them – we can impose a role upon them externally to themselves. Thus we see the role of women being imposed upon them by men or by people being classified as slaves with no rights to their own-selves – they are objects.

The issue is that at times, as philosophers such as Simone de Beauvoir say, women may willingly conspire with this role as is easy to live with no choice and to have one’s behaviour and even thoughts dictated to one.

In the lecture it was agreed that one is not born a woman but becomes a woman through behaviour and belief. But if a woman is a thing, an object, one cannot have an authentic relationship with her – the ‘other’ remains alone in this relationship. The ‘other’ is the only human that counts in this relationship. Their will predominates.

Martha Nussman, another female philosopher with a Wikipedia page and to be found discussed in Prospect magazine has come out with 7 features which identify objectivism:

  1. instrumentality: the treatment of a person as a tool for the objectifier’s purposes;
  2. denial of autonomy: the treatment of a person as lacking in autonomy and self-determination;
  3. inertness: the treatment of a person as lacking in agency, and perhaps also in activity;
  4. fungibility: the treatment of a person as interchangeable with other objects;
  5. violability: the treatment of a person as lacking in boundary-integrity;
  6. ownership: the treatment of a person as something that is owned by another (can be bought or sold);
  7. denial of subjectivity: the treatment of a person as something whose experiences and feelings (if any) need not be taken into account.

Rae Langton added three more features to Nussbaum’s list:

  1. reduction to body: the treatment of a person as identified with their body, or body parts;
  2. reduction to appearance: the treatment of a person primarily in terms of how they look, or how they appear to the senses;
  3. silencing: the treatment of a person as if they are silent, lacking the capacity to speak.

Do you recognise any of these features in the treatment of women? Do you believe that objectification is always bad? How does it link to Feminism? Or Humanism? Or religion for that matter?

All these and more are questions we women of today should be considering. Just what in our familial socialisation makes us a woman? If we are not born one? Is it right and correct that we should be taught a different set of rules according to our gender? And just how do  we know what that gender is? What about transgender people? How would we know whether they are women or men? And remembering that gender is not so black and white but many shades of grey, are we or they, objects or means to end, or ends in themselves?

So look at the TV programme by Tyger Drew-Honey and think on these concepts of gender and wonder again, just what does being a woman mean?

 

 

 

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Enter the Angel when the winds are rising

A review of The oncoming storm: bk 1 in Angel in the Whirlwind series.

by

Christopher Nuttall

This was my first experience of a book by Nuttall – who is quite prolific – and I was impresssed. So much so that I have pre-ordered the next in the series.

Am i getting soft in my choices I wonder? but no, I am not giving this book 5 stars, only 4 but interesting enough in premises and story-line that I wanted to read more.

spaceFar far into our future Earth has been destroyed. Gone through warfare and no-one lives there any more.

Humans have scattered across many worlds – with varying degrees of technological capacity depending on who settled them and what with. Sects and cults are still with us though as are religious wars. Can we never learn? And just what is this new religion, that is so zealous and so reminiscent of a nasty cross between the Taliban and the Roman Catholic Church at the time of the Inquisitors? Inquisitors with torture again and women once more to be forever hidden from view and disregarded and unable to participate in life.

Here we have a story of Galactic wars with a twist. A twist for women. The hero is actualy a heroine. Nice contrast of course with the new religion (I think there is a hint of what it is at the end of the book but I need it confirmed before I write a spoiler, but if I am right, it is just an old religion made new).

In the heroine’s culture women are equal and allowed to fight hand to hand and on the front line. and that gives her an advantage, an edge against this new religion and their leaders s they underestimate her and her capabilities.

She is feisty and strong in intellect even if not funny, and I want to command a space ship too… although being in charge of all those weapons would not suit me – I want to ban the bomb after all…

So yes, I have ordered the next book and wait to find out how the war progresses and just how sneaky women who are locked up can be…(ref Princesses).

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Unsung Heroines:Betty, Flora, Jessie and more

‘There’s the girl who clips your ticket for the train,
And the girl who speeds the lift from floor to floor,
There’s the girl who does a milk-round in the rain,
And the girl who calls for orders at your door.
Strong, sensible, and fit,
They’re out to show their grit,
And tackle jobs with energy and knack.
No longer caged and penned up,
They’re going to keep their end up
‘Til the khaki soldier boys come marching back.

There’s the motor girl who drives a heavy van,
There’s the butcher girl who brings your joint of meat,
There’s the girl who calls ‘All fares please!’ like a man,
And the girl who whistles taxi’s up the street.
Beneath each uniform
Beats a heart that’s soft and warm,
Though of canny mother-wit they show no lack;
But a solemn statement this is,
They’ve no time for love and kisses
Till the khaki soldier boys come marching back.

Jessie Pope wrote this poem in 1916/7 to let people know about all the jobs that women were doing then that seemed to be hidden from open view. All the jobs that they were capable of, and that men had not thought that they could do.

I thought that I would write about a couple of the type of women mentioned in the poem, that I have found out about. there are a great many resourceso n this topic available now but I could not cover every such woman, so I just picked a few interesting ones – to me at any rate!

The first is Betty Stevenson. She was a YMCA volunteer who went to France to help in the rest huts provided for front line troops. Around 40,000 women served as volunteers for the YMCA during the First World War, providing their own expenses as well as being unpaid.

Betty drove lorries from the stores to the huts providing food, and transporting relatives to injured soldiers. She also drove food out to refugees which was how she finally died during an air raid. The French Govt awarded her the Croix De Guerre.

The only woman soldier enlisted in the British Army managed the feat by passing herself off as a man.  Dorothy Lawrence, a 20-year-old ambitious journalist, joined in 1915 the B.E.F. Tunnelling Company using the alias Denis Smith, aided by some sympathetic men. [http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/womenww1_one.htm]

During the First World War, Kathleen Scott transported cars and ambulances to France, helped in a French Army hospital in a chateau in France – which she located – recruited her friends to war work, worked in the Vickers Factory in Erith making electrical coils and worked with plastic surgeons on the re-creation of badly disfigured faces.

Mary Borden set up a mobile hospital unit on the Western Front that nursed soldiers wounded in Ypres and Somme with her own money. She served as a nurse until the end of war.

Dame Helen Charlotte Isabella Gwynne-Vaughan became the Controller of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in France. She also became the first woman to receive a military Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1918. Dame Gwynne-Vaughan served as Commandant of the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) from September 1918 until December 1919.

There was Evelina Haverfield  who founded the Women’s Emergency Corps. In 1915, she volunteered to join the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Serbia as a nurse. in contrast Dr. Elsie Inglis fought against the prejudice against female doctors and started the Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit, one of the few female medical units on the front.

Helen Fairchild staffed a medical unit at the Western front at Passchendaele in Belgium whilst Julia Hunt Catlin Taufflieb converted the Chateau d’Annel into a 300-bed hospital on the front line.

Lucy London has created a great list on her blog of the Inspirational Women who worked during World War One. which I am copying here. http://inspirationalwomenofww1.blogspot.co.uk/2013_09_01_archive.html

Anna Airy (1882 – 1964) British Artist.  One of the first women to be commissioned as a war artist
Mildred Aldrich (1853 – 1928) America writer.  Lived in Paris for 16 years prior to WW1, retired to the Marne in July 1914 and wrote about her “Little House on The Marne” in the early days of the war.
Clare Atwood (1866 – 1962) British Artist
Gertrude Bell – British spy (and a lot more – do read her biography , it is fascinating. Lots of stuff about deserts and sheiks!
Lady Blomfield (1859 – 1939) born Ireland
Maria Bochkareva – Russian woman soldier – recruited over 2,000 women into the Russian Army
Mary Booth (1869 – 1956) – Australian Pyhsician and Welfare Worker
Maude Bruce – forewoman at Munitions Factory in Gretna, awarded medal for extreme bravery
Lady Elizabeth Butler (b. 1846) – military artist/illustrator – sister of Alice Meynell the poet
The Dick Kerr’s Ladies Football Team – Dick Kerr’s Factory, Preston – raised large sums of money for the war effort by playing football, organising matches after their factory shifts were over
Dora Carrington – artist
Edith Cavell – British nurse shot as a spy for helping British soldiers to escape after the early battles of the War
Dorothy J. Coke – artist
Maria Corelli (1855 – 1924)  – British novelist who sold more books than Conan Doyle, Wells and Kipling combined;  9 films were made of her novels
Dorothy Crewdson (b. 1886) – British nurse
Marie Curie – created mobile radiography units for use in WW1
Margaret Damar Dawson – woman police officer in munitions factory
Janet Daniels – Munitions factory worker – awarded medal for extreme bravery
Joyce Dennys (1893 – 1991) – served as a VAD in Cornwall – War Artist for the “Daily Sketch”
Jessica Dismorr (1885 – 1939) – British painter/illustrator (Vorticist Movement) served as a VAD, nursing in France
Olive Edis (1876 – 1955) – Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society 1914 – Official War artist
Helen Fairchild (died 7th July 1917) – American – assigned to duty as a nurse in France 7th July 1917, died 18th January 1918
Elsie Mabel Gladstone – British nurse, killed in WW1 (buried Belgrade Cemetery, Namur, Belgium)
Norah Neilso Gray (1882 – 1931) – war artist
Margaret Haig Thomas (1883 – 1958) – Welsh – saved with her Father from the Lusitania
Mary Riter Hamilton – Canadian artist who went to paint the Aftermath in Flanders
Zora Neale Hurston (1891 – 1960) – American writer
Dr. Elsie Inglis (1864 – 1917) – Scottish doctor and suffragist; founded Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service in WW1 (France, Serbia and Russia) and went to Serbia to run a hospital
Elsie Janis – American entertainer who went to entertain the troops in France/Belgium
Gwen John – War Artist
M. Jones – nurse – described air raids in Salonika
Lucy Elizabeth Kemp-Welch (1869 – 1958) – military artist
Bahiyyih Khanum (1846 – 1932) daughter of the founder of the Baha’i Faith – imprisoned in 1867 at the age of 21 and freed in 1980.
Olive May Kelson King (1885 – 1958) – Australian.  Funded and drove ambulances in France and Serbia.
Dame Laura Knight (nee Johnson) – (1877 – 1970) – British war artist
Ellen La Motte – American nurse who wrote about her experiences in WW1
Dorothy Lawrence – British Journalist – enlisted in BEF Tunnelling Company as Denis Smith in 1915
Flora Lion (1878 – 1958) – British artist commissioned by Ministry of Information to paint factory scenes
Elizabeth Lucas (wife of poet E.V. Lucas) – founded a children’s home behind the lines in France WW1
Misstanguett – (1875 – 1956) French entertainer and spy WW1
Olive Mudie-Cooke – British artist – drove ambulances in France and Italy WW1
Rose O’Neil (1874 – 1944) – American sculptor, suffragist, inventor, novelist, poet, musician, creator of Kewpie dolls
Gabrielle Petit (1893 – 1916) – Belgian spy – executed
Ellie Annie Rout (1877 – 1936) – New Zealand – pioneer in sexual transmitted diseases in WW1
Helen Saunders – artist
Kathleen Scott ((1878 – 1947) – sculptor. Wife of the explorer Captain Scott of the Antarctic (later Baroness Kennet).  Among other things, she worked on innovative plastic surgery treatments WW1
Nellie Spindler – British nurse killed i WW1 on the Western Front (buried Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium)
Mabel Annie St Clair Stobart (1862 – 1954) Founder of The Women’s Sick and Wounded Convoy Corps who organised hospitals in France and Belgium for St. John’s Ambulance  in WW1
Elizabeth Ann Slater Weaver (1878 – 1956) – housewife/weaver who lived in Burnley, Lancashire
Bertha (Betty) Stevenson (1896 – 1918) – British – YMCA volunteer killed in the line of duty May 1918 and buried with full military honours in Etaples Military Cemetery
Mrs Mary Humphrey Ward (1851 – 1920) – first woman journalist to visit the Western Front trenches
Maria Yurlova – Armenian Cossack Soldier
Clara Zetkin – Founder of International Women’s Movement

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