Adventuresses Club Press 2: The Nun Ensign

That’s correct, we have another book out! This time I’ve delved back to the 16-17th centuries, to bring you the impossibly block-busteresque life of Catalina de Erauso, the Nun Ensign. 


Deciding that the life of a nun in Spain was not for her, in 1600 Catalina escaped the nunnery, dressed as a man, and sailed to the New World. There she got into fights, seduced women, enlisted as a soldier, and… murdered a lot of people. Her scrapes with death and escapes from the authorities defy belief, and the events are told with a truly economical approach to words, which is occasionally infuriating, as you wonder what possible subtext could have ignited a given incident. 

Try a sample here:

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Adventuresses Club Press 1: The Conquest of Mount Cook, Freda du Faur

Greetings, fellow readers! A brief project update, which I’m sure you will all be as excited about as I am.

Firstly: I have a new website to host my Very Exciting Project: Women on Adventure. I’ve spent the last couple of years researching obscure accounts of women travellers, whose professions run the gamut from soldier, to cartographer, to spy. My limitation is simple: if it was published prior to 1918, I’m interested in it!

As part of this, I’ve been aiming at publishing a number of different accounts by these women each week (and, eventually, I would like to collate these into manuscript form). You can view the updates on Facebook, or go directly to the source of goodness that is my website: http://womenonadventure.net/.

Secondly: Because I quite sincerely can’t get enough of encouraging everyone to read about these fantastic ladies’ exploits, I’ve also started up The Adventuresses’ Club Press, dedicated to popularising them. It also gives me the opportunity to write forewords to analyse their adventures from a historical and contemporary perspective — bring on the intersectionalism, sisters!

The first book published by The Adventuresses’ Club Press is The Conquest of Mount Cook, by Freda Du Faur, Australia’s first female mountaineer. As I come from a family of rock climbers and mountaineers, I was ecstatic to find an edition of her autobiographical work to share online! You can try a sample on Amazon:

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The second book will be out soon–here’s your hint: it involves a nun, conquistadors, and significant amounts of swash-buckling.

Thirdly: I have a (new, first edition) niece, and over the weekend adored the opportunity to read Rebecca Solnit’s essay “The Ocean around the Archipelago” to her while she slept on me. Life goals achieved.

That’s all for now!

How To Be A Woman – Caitlin Moran

How to Be a Woman

I just finished reading How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran.

It’s hilarious. Breathtakingly funny, occasionally cringeworthy, and utterly sensible discussions of issues people face in everyday life; albeit this book is directed at those who (for the most part) possess a vagina.

It’s feminism defined as the right to be ‘one of the guys’, and a guide to picking out misogynistic or even our own sexist behaviour as ‘Dude. Rude. Would you say that or do that to another man?’ and ‘Is this something a guy would do, or is it just a bunch of bullshit we shouldn’t give a second glance?’

Reading How To Be A Woman is like sitting down with your favourite Disreputable Aunt – the one who’s still young enough to totally get you, who got drunk with Lady GaGa, writes columns on contemporary society, and speaks honestly and happily about both her two daughters, and about having had an abortion.

She’s so geeky, so upbeat, so clever and so unwilling to accept any of the facets or farces of life at face value – Brazilians? High heels? Having children? Not having children? Having to stay young? Sexism? Abortions? Menstruation? – that I want to be her.

 

And for the guys, who may be backing away from this post in fear, I say: “Dudebro. Read it. Read it now. This book may be the most honest conversation you will ever have with a woman, and you will understand so much.”

 

It’s an exhilarated, happy book. It’s not a rage, or a tantrum, or a sulk. I’m sure Moran, being human, has experienced all those things. But only briefly, and then she picks herself back up and jumps onboard the good ship HMAS Gosh, Isn’t This All Awesome? What Comes Next?!, and sails cheerfully off for warmer waters.

It’s inspiring, and makes me think that yes, we should have the lady-balls to say, ‘Yeah – I like the look of this world. And I’ve been here for a good while, watching. Now, here’s how I’d tweak it. Because we’re all in this together. We’re all just, you know. The Guys.’

 

If I could set a mandatory reading list for everyone, everywhere, I’m pretty sure this would be on it.

 

K.L gives How To Be A Woman 5 out of 5 tipsy friends dancing badly in public.