Apparently I Need to Fight Dead White Men

I’m a huge proponent of libraries—seriously, I’d live in one if I could—but since the English department gave me a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card, I figured I might as well put it to use. Naturally, what did I decide to do with these fifty dollars? Buy French books, obviously, for light summer reading. (In my defense, the public libraries near my house don’t offer books in French. I can borrow English books whenever I want, but where will I find French ones in America?)

Figuring out that I wanted to buy French books was the easy part. Then I went and decided that I wanted to read books by female authors, and let me tell you, finding texts by women was a struggle. Hello, can I just get some works by underrepresented ladies? It should not have been that difficult. Curse you, white male literary canon. (I didn’t realize that I’d stayed up past midnight trying to find French books by women authors. If that doesn’t tell you about the kind of person I am, then I don’t know what will.)

After a lot of Googling, Wikipedia-ing, and copying and pasting names into the B&N search bar, I had to find books that were decently priced—contrary to what the website seems to think, no, I am not paying $25-$40 for a paperback, much less $1,500 for a hardback. I’m not that desperate. It took a bit of tweaking, but I finally managed to make my order $25.68 and eligible for free shipping. (Yes, I may have graduated, but I’m still in the mindset of a college student.)

My final book choices were Fleurs d’orient by Judith Gautier and Contes de fées by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. The first is apparently a collection of stories, reminiscent of A Thousand and One Nights, and the second a collection of fairy tales, and I’m super excited to read both. (I got really excited when I saw that Mireille Best’s novels often feature lesbian characters and immediately typed her name into the search bar. Imagine my disappointment when B&N yielded no results. Where did the minority representation go? Look, if I can’t have women of color characters, can I at least get disabled or queer ones? Is that too much to ask for? [Apparently, yes. What do you mean, the world isn’t made up of white, Christian, cisgender, straight, able-bodied men?])

Anyways, I never said I wasn’t a nerd. I don’t have a book problem—my tiny bookshelf isn’t already overflowing onto the carpet. No, absolutely not, that would be ridiculous. Clearly, you’ve got the wrong person.

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2 thoughts on “Apparently I Need to Fight Dead White Men

  1. Nathan says:

    If you’re looking for a thought-provoking read by a contemporary female author Annie Ernaux is always good. She does a lot of self-writing.

    L’usage de la photo is an experimental novel that combines photos and texts about her bout with cancer.

    La place, which is her break-out book, is about her childhood in France.

    Simple language, reminiscent of Jacques Prévert’s simple profoundity.

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