Worth a Look

Reviews of books or media about or by women

Books

Media

Author: Bonnie Garmus
Published: Random House, 2023.

Reviewer: Kay Bishop

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Best Debut Novel Award

Lessons in Chemistry is Bonnie Garmus’s debut novel. Set in 1960s Southern California, the independent and brilliant chemist Elizabeth Zott, seeks to pursue her research into abiogenesis in an all-male research team at Hastings Research Institute. Here she encounters not only the bigotry, biases and sexism rife in such institutions at the time but the genuine interests of the most outstanding but lonely grudge-holding chemist, Calvin Evans.

Elizabeth’s life takes a turn for the worse when she finds herself pregnant following Calvin’s accidental death. Forced to resign from Hastings, and with no hope of continuing her career as a researcher – she was a single mother after all - Elizabeth reluctantly becomes the host of a cooking show, Supper at Six. Unsurprisingly, the free-spirited Elizabeth does not follow the rules. For her, cooking is about Chemistry! Her revolutionary approach is just that. Elizabeth encourages the women in her audience to challenge the status quo and pursue the careers of their dreams.

While there are elements of tragedy in Elizabeth’s story, there is much to enjoy as a reader. Although described as ‘laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters’, Lessons in Chemistry carries an underlying feminist theme, not so evident in the TV series based on the novel.  DO NOT BE PUT OFF BY THE TITLE! This is a great story that will keep you enthralled to the last page.

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Author: Lesley Williams and Tammy Williams
Publisher: University of Queensland Press. First published: 2015

Reviewer: Dr Jennifer Nayler

Winner" David Unaipon Award.
I was reading at 2.00 a.m. recently to finish ‘Not just black and white’ by Lesley Williams and Tammy Williams. Once I started reading, I was hooked. It is easy to understand why the book has collected several awards, including the David Unaipon Award. The book is appealing to readers on many levels. The rich account of life in the Cherbourg State Aboriginal Settlement, during the 50s, 60s and later,  is one of heart-breaking control of Indigenous lives and of the uplifting and sustaining nature of family love. The book is also about tackling bureaucratic red tape to find truth and justice, carving out job opportunities, and commitment to study and the betterment of the lives of others. Lesley Williams grew up in Cherbourg and raised her three children in Gympie. Their achievements are remarkable.

This is a fabulous book. It makes a great contribution to our understanding of the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples in this country and to the specific ways in which government policies perpetuated injustice and suffering. It is also a story of struggle, endurance, love and determination to create a better Australia. It is simultaneously a deeply personal story and a universal tale.


Author: Corey Marie Green
Publisher: Apress. First published: 2021
Reviewed by Mari-Claire Ferguson

This is an eTextbook

This is a practical, hands-on, all-you-need-to-know roadmap on how to set up your own podcast.  Aimed at novices and absolute beginners, Corey Marie Green prioritises what is important in the land of podcasting.  The clarity of the author’s instructions reinforces her desire for her readers to get it right the first time.

She provides the option to deep dive into the technological side of podcasting with easy-to-digest technical information if that interests you. For those of us simply seeking the basics, she provides executive summaries at the end of chapters, while the book is peppered with a touch of humour, and relatable yet simplistic illustrations,

Best of all, Corey Marie Green reassures her potentially non-tech-savvy audience that the art of storytelling is actually at the heart of the process. She doesn’t dress it up and make it sound easy, but she certainly gives clear and valuable advice to set readers up with the best chance of success.

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Released: 2018
Watch on Netflix

This movie, about an amazing woman dedicated to challenging sex-based discrimination within the law, gives an insight into the legal battles that ensue when the gendered status quo is challenged. It is a ‘must watch’ film. It is an American biographical legal drama film is based on the life and early cases of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was the second woman to serve as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

The movie commences in 1956 when Ruth is a first-year Harvard Law School student married to second year law student, Martin Ginsburg and with an infant daughter. Ruth’s determination and capabilities come to the fore when, as a result of her partner being diagnosed with testicular cancer, she not only cares for him and their child, but attends both his and her own lectures.

Despite graduating as top of her class, Ruth fails to find a position with a law firm. Ultimately, a professorship, teaching Sex Discrimination and the Law at Rutgers Law School, becomes her career. Her deep understanding of sex discrimination leads to a successful outcome in the case where a man, wishing to claim as a tax deduction the cost of paying a nurse to care for his aging mother, was discriminated against on the basis of sex.

Trailer on YouTube

Released 2020
Watch on Netflix

Shirley Chisholm was the first Black congresswoman in the United States, and the first woman to mount a history-making campaign to become its president, when she campaigned in 1972 to be the Democratic presidential nomination.

Trailer on YouTube

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