Monday, January 23, 2012

55 Books in a Year: Book #3 Geek Girls Unite, How Fangirls, Bookworms, Indie Chicks, and Other Misfits are Taking Over the World

I am a geek. I've embraced that fact from the first day I went to visit my grandfather and he told me stories about WWII and his early life in PA. While other kids were reading Amelia Bedelia (and, I read her too!), I was reading about fighter jets and pilots and Tuskegee Airmen...collecting WWII stories was my first foray into geekdom.

Fast forward to a few years later, which you can read all about here, I began an adventure in SF. I've collected books, movies and actors (yes, if you keep stats on actors on paper like IMBD, in 1985, before said website was even thought up and before the interwebs were created for mass use, you are, in fact, collecting actors), I collected action figures (I still have my Yoda action figure, no you may not buy it from me) and I still have my Mulder and Scully Barbies (no you may not have those either!), rocks and posters. Starting my adult years I began to collect recipes and glassware. I think that it is being a collector that makes any person a geek. I don't think that Leslie Simon, author of Geek Girls Unite, disagrees at all.

The book is broken up into chapters focusing on various types of 'geeks’ (fangirl, literary, film, music, funny girl, domestic and miscellaneous) and each of those sections follows the same format: a quiz (where the answers are always 'C'...don't know why that is), a character sketch, descriptions of famous geeks of that ‘genre’, ‘frenemies’ (which is an hilarious look at those in that particular community that give the rest a bad name...) and concludes with ‘the perfect match for’ section. It's this last part that cracks me up the most, it's like Geek girls meet Cosmo mag and my friends and I had such a fun time checking off the list and then adding our own.

I like how Simon uses the introduction to make sure that we understand that while she may poke fun at this or that and that while we may do that too, we are all in this together. She says

It's time for us to reclaim the connotations of being a "geek" and hold tight to the term as a source of pride and distinction. In other words, embrace your quirkiness! Celebrate your idiosyncrasies! There is power in your geekiness! Trust.


Here's the most important thing, though: just because our passions aren't the same," that doesn't mean we aren't united in our geeky affection for what ever it is that makes us happy--even if it feels like society sometimes pits us against one another. ...being a geek should unite--not divide--us. If one good thing comes out of this book, it will be that you get to know your geeky sisters (and cousins) so you can recognize these fabulous ladies when you see them, start a conversation, and realize that our differences are actually what bring us closer together.
I remembered the above when she defined, with a little bit of sass, but all truisms, the terms that I have used to refer to myself (geek, nerd, dork, dweeb, weirdo) and when, on more than one occasion, I found myself falling into the 'frenemies' category. We, even those of us who only scratch the surface of someone else's obsession, must love each other and unite in order to conquer the world.

Geek Girls Unite is just informative enough that teenager girls, who feel their inner geek, but can't find an outlet, can learn more and identify with others and those of us who already know what we are can laugh in delight. I mean I have at one time or another been totally in love with David Tennant (my Fangirl Geek Girlness), James Franco (my Literary Geek Girlness), Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Mark Ruffalo (my Film Geek Girlness), Jack White (my Music Geek Girlness), Andy Samberg (my Funny-Girl Geek Girlness)...and, I've crushed on Hungry Girl, Anthony Bourdain, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and John Stewart. I liked that Simon talks about Athletic Geek Girl as a person who doesn't necessarily play or want to play sports (it goes back to that collecting thing I mentioned earlier) so I felt comfortable about falling into this category as well. 

This book is part encyclopedia, part humor, part commentary, part major to-do list (as in I must now watch _____ or create a mix-CD of ________, why haven't I done that before?) and definitely a call to arms to all geek girls out there.

It is, after all, "a geek's world; everyone else is just living in it."

5 Stars
This book isn't really 280 pages on the Nook...seriously like 70 pages are footnotes. Each footnote gets its own page so you can click back and forth effortlessly. I'd like to also note that this book is glitchy moving from the last page of a chapter to the first page of the next one...not really sure what that's about, but I'm sure it can be fixed and I will wait to go to B&N before archiving and unarchiving et cetera, I have an irrational fear of deleting things that I shouldn't!

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