A new month, and a new collection of epic books, podcasts, audiobooks and TV shows to get you through the long days of lockdown. We’re bringing you the best content thanks to our friends at Scribd- all the goodness none of the hard work. Hooray!
This week, I review Bri Lee’s searing study of our relationship with our bodies in Beauty, Tricia Stringer’s The Model Wife, and a new documentary-series on Naomi Osaka, streaming on Netflix.
Bri Lee – Beauty
Are you obsessed with how you look? Maybe you’re like me -not exactly obsessed, but I know my relationship to my face and my body has always pre-occupied an extravagant amount of real estate in my head — and often, I feel it’s so forced upon me.
In this slim book, Bri Lee explores our obsession with thinness and asks how an intrinsically unattainable standard of physical ‘perfection’ has become so critical to so many young women today.
You were either fit or weren’t working hard enough. You ate too much, or not enough. Your body was how you conveyed wealth and status to the rest of the world – it was a personality trait, a symbol of goodness, a value signifier.
In recent years, women have made enormous progress fighting the patriarchy, yet they are held to more unreasonable and punishing physical standards. Self-worth continues to drop and eating disorders are more prevalent than ever. What happens if you try to reach these impossible goals? And who made these goals for us?
Lee writes with a gripping and intelligent rigour. A must-read for all feminists.
Listen to it here, on Scribd.
Kate Mildenhall – The Mother Fault
Mim’s husband is missing. No one knows where he is, but everyone wants to find him – especially The Department. And they should know, the powerful government body has fitted everyone with a tracking chip to keep them ‘safe’.
The Mother Fault is Australian author, Mildenhall’s second novel and it’s a dystopian blockbuster with visceral depictions of place, the sugary anxiety of unexpected romances and the unplaceable price we might have to face if we continue to neglect the climate crisis.
Mim is questioned about her husband’s disappearance, and she is made to surrender her passport and threatened with the unthinkable – her two children being taken away. Left with no choices, Mim risks everything to find her husband – and must confront a part of herself that is brave enough to tackle the journey ahead.
From the stark backroads of the Australian outback to a terrifying sea voyage, Mim is forced to cast off who she was – mother, daughter, wife, sister – and become the woman she needs to be to save her family and herself. A gripping tale of female strength.
Tricia Stringer – The Model Wife
Bestselling South Australian author Tricia Stringer returns with a multi-generational family tale that looks at what happens when betrayals and struggling relationships clash with traditional notions of of what a woman should be.
The Model Wife is Natalie King, who seems to have it all – a solid teaching job, a farm to run, three daughters, a husband and a demanding mother-in-law. Most days she is too busy to think about whether she is happy.
Her life has meaning, doesn’t it? When she receives an old book in the form of stern and outdated advice for young wives, it brings back memories Natalie thought she had buried deep. Has this insidious little book exerted some kind of hold over her?
On a day when it seems everyone is taking her for granted, and as the ghost of a past betrayal emerges, it becomes clear that even this model wife can be pushed too far. Tricia Stringer’s novel is a blend of rural romance and historical saga that is sure to leave you itching for a trip to the outback.
Read it here, on Scribd.
Naomi Osaka (Stream on Netflix)
In the final minutes of Naomi Osaka, a three-part docu-series streaming on Netflix, there’s footage of the 23-year old from last year’s US Open, standing in front of a microphone as a reporter asks her why she was wearing the names of murdered Black Americans on her face masks throughout the tournament.
“What was the message you got?” she replied.
This inspiring champion of tennis opens up over three episodes about her mental agility, her self-esteem, and her own thoughts about her rise to the top.
There is a kind of relief and comfort in seeing an extraordinary athlete display their fragility and complex humanity.
“Sometimes I feel like a vessel,” Osaka explains in the opening seconds of the first episode. “So many people have told my dad that I would never be anything.”
And yet, at just 20-years old she made history, beating Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open.
“No one really knows all the sacrifices that you make just to be good,” Osaka explains.
This documentary reveals the reality of what it is like to be a world-champion sportsperson, and a person who has ‘a ridiculous amount of attention’ — Naomi’s own words. Watch it now on Netflix.