Nickel and Dimed is chilling reading. Ehrenreich – as the title says – goes undercover and tries to find out how people survive in low-wage America. The answer is “barely”. How so many people can live in such conditions beats belief, but on the other hand you see how staying alive would be so all-consuming that there is no time, and certainly no energy, left for even considering how to change the situation.
I’ve been reading For Her Own Good on and off for a couple of months. Ehrenreich and English demonstrate how the (mostly) male “intellectuals” appropriated the right to make statements about female health – biological and psychological – which up until the 19th century had been the sole property of female healers, midwives and the network of mothers, grandmothers and aunts that any woman used to be surrounded by. It’s a pretty interesting piece of social history and an enlightening read, especially if you’re a woman, but I bet men would learn a bit about the “authority” of the self-styled/so-called experts, too.