Czytelnia (6) | “Love in the Time of Cholera”

“Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This marvellous book provides you with the fascinating displeasure of meeting a man you should fear more than the Devil himself.

The other way to look at this book is that… it’s not about love as a romantic concept. Love could be just a metaphor of an idea, passion, desire, prejudice, beliefs or anything that sometimes becomes so strong in a human’s mind that makes us blind. We subjugate our whole life to it and use it as an excuse for our choices, even when they cause pain or harm to others.

This book also beautifully portrays how our life choices are influenced by many different factors and we can learn to be ok with that. When you look separatedly at the lives of Fermina Daza and Juvenal Urbino, you can see the grand decisions of marriage, love, hate, family relationships are not made according to the romantic ideas written in the golden book of eternal rules. They can be a result of an impulse, pure calculation, they can be contradictory, logical or irrational, they may also change over the years and whatever they may be, THEY ARE ALL VALID. They can lead to happiness or misfortune, most likely to both, but we are complex creatures and life is messy, so lets stop lying to ourselves that there can only be one true love and it is the only thing that will makes us truly happy.

Czytelnia (5) | “Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars”

“Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars” Nathalia Holt

It’s inspiring and mind-blowing to read about all these women who crunched the numbers, plotted rocket trajectories and tested rocket designs to finally become one of the first computer code writers. It makes me smile broadly and want to high-five the invisible hand of our old friend Irony, while thinking about the laboratory, where since 50’s the policy was to hire only female.

As much as I found the American space exploration and female computers that played significant part in the process fascinating, I am rather mildly interested in JPL’s ladies giggles, outfits, love stories etc… I understand though, that there are still people out there in XXI century that require explanation and proof that being a female/wife/mother and scientist/mathematician is not mutually exclusive. Moreover, it is physically and mentally possible to want to pursue the role of both and succeed in it. I know, how wild is that. And there happened to be man (rare, exceptional cases, but still), husbands to be precise, who supported that – in 50’s and 60’s!

So, even though I really didn’t need all those “girly stories” in between, I appreciate where the author is coming from and I see her point in documenting the lives of women, who were not only pioneers in their profession, but also in their personal lives. The “rocket girls” worked outside of the home when only 20 percent of women did so, had children and returned to work, went through divorce when it was first becoming socially accepted, and witnessed the first wave of feminism, not to mention other social revolutions in the decades that spanned their careers.

In short, we need more stories like this, the stories about the real “girl power”.