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this week i #read age of vice by deepti kapoor and invisible women: data bias in a world designed for men by caroline criado pérez. the vast majority of the time i say i read a book i really mean i listened to the audiobook. i like to listen to audiobooks when i do household chores. with the weather warming up here in minnesota, i've been doing my spring cleaning – deep cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, cleaning and storing my winter clothes, bringing out the summer clothes, and getting ready to start gardening. this gave me plenty of time to get through these two large books in the space of a week.

cover of the book Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor

cw: mentions of drugs, violence, car crashes, and death i don't remember why i decided to read age of vice. to be honest like 80% of the books i read i just see on libby or hoopla, think the cover looks good or the short blurb sounds interesting, then put it on hold. so by the time i'm actually able to check it out and read it i've forgotten all about what drew me to it in the first place. it follows the story of sunny wadia, the heir to a powerful mobster family, his servant ajay, and his journalist girlfriend neda. the book starts with a car crash that kills five people in new dehli, seemingly caused by ajay. not really the story i typically reach for, since i mainly read fantasy, but i've been on a bit of a crime thriller kick the last couple of months so i'm guessing this is why i put it on hold like 3 months ago. soon we go back to ajay's childhood and spend like a third of the book going through his past, how he meets sunny and starts to work for him, and gradually come to understand the wadia family from the perspective of an outsider. i loved this part of the book – i found ajay and his journey so captivating. but when the perspective moved to neda is when the book started to lose me. a journalist getting involved with the playboy son of a violent gang family, who is being investigated by the newspaper she works at, sounds like it should be interesting, but she ends up being the most boring character in the book. i don't know how to describe her other than she feels like she was written by a man, but the author is a woman, so... it's like she has no interiority. not that any of the other characters do either but i felt like she had the most potential, just to end up being defined entirely by her relationship to a man. and the man is fucking sunny wadia. even after all the time i spent watching her become interested in and then falling in love with him, i couldn't find a single redeeming quality to him. honestly he seemed cooler when i was reading from ajay's perspective. like if it was revealed at some point that ajay was in love with sunny i would've been like "okay, i could see how he could develop those feelings given his life circumstances" but neda? girl... love yourself. by the time we switch to sunny's perspective for the last third i was basically entirely checked out at that point. really the only reason i didn't DNF was because i was still invested in ajay's downward spiral. like while ajay was dealing with the trauma of trying to reunite with the family he lost as a child and the increasing level of violence he was expected to perform as part of his duties, sunny's downward spiral was just... drinking more and doing more cocaine. groundbreaking. the final parts of the book that take place after the reader learns the truth of the car crash was just confusing to me. i think i would've had an easier time if i was reading and not listening to the audiobook, but i absolutely would've DNF'd by that point if i was actually reading it. i've also read other reviews that mention feeling lost in the last part too, so maybe it's not just a me thing. besides ajay, the only other thing i really liked about this book was the prose. i think the blunt, detached air of it was fitting for the atmosphere of the book.

cover of the book Invisible Women by caroline criado pérez

i've had invisible women in my to read list for awhile now. the book discusses how women are often not considered when it comes to collecting data on basically every facet of life. the author claims that this arises from how we consider men to be the default human, with words like "man" and "mankind" being understood to include women, so people often assume that conclusions drawn from men's opinions or studies using mostly men will apply to women too; pérez goes on to show just how pervasive this mindset is and how it's actually inaccurate at best and actively harmful at worst. i think i didn't read this book earlier because i wasn't sure if i was in the mood to read about stuff i assumed i was pretty knowledgeable about already. and i was right, that i didn't learn a ton of new information from this book, but i do read a fair bit of feminist literature. since i just needed something to listen to while i cleaned, it didn't bore me though. the audiobook is read by the author and you can definitely feel her frustration at points which i personally liked, although i've read some reviews that disliked it. to me the most interesting chapters were the final ones, that discuss how women aren't included in disaster relief planning and that this leads to prioritizing rebuilding for businesses before public housing, walkability and safe transit, and mixed use areas that women are more likely to want and utilize. it's not something that i had ever thought of before, how even zoning laws and city planning are disproportionately affect women.

lilac mock neck drop sleeve cropped cashmere sweater

in addition to doing a bunch of cleaning and listening to audiobooks i also #thrifted this sweater. it's a cashmere sweater in a pretty lilac color by the brand theory. i'm not that familiar with fashion but i thought i had heard the name before, plus most of the cashmere sweaters i've thrifted have been from charter club or j crew in boring cuts. so when i saw this sweater in a bit of a trendier style and color i was a bit curious as to how much it would retail for. turns out the original price was $325 😭😭😭 it makes me feel better for spending 7 whole dollars on it despite the weird patch of pilling on the front.