Thursday, December 18

12x12: Breaking Through The Stained Glass Ceiling

Breaking Through The Stained Glass Ceiling
by Maureen E. Fiedler

Unfortunately, no relation. I got this book for Christmas about two or three years ago and I was thrilled to get it! A book on interfaith relations and women and the Church? ABSOLUTELY. That's basically my bread and butter... and then I just never got around to reading it, haha.

What I Loved:
  • It was really informative - even if you already have a background in academic religion, which is saying something. Obviously we always have more to learn, but I didn't feel patronized or like she was trying to teach me basics. I always left each chapter or interview deeply interested in the work that person was doing or wanting to buy that interviewee's book to hear more about her point of view!
  • It got me invested and interested in academic religion and feminism again. It's not like I ever got uninterested, but I do get worn out in law school. It was a good reminder of this other side of me that I deeply love and am interested in.
  • I fell in love with a lot of new writers and inspirational women that I would never have known about before.
  • The format is somewhat easy to read since the chapters are split up into several different chunks - so, like with the Grimm Fairy Tales, if I'm trying to read just a little bit each night, I can commit to reading an interview at a time.

What I Wasn't Crazy About:
  • The format didn't appeal to me - it's set up where each chapter is a different subject, like "Women Interfaith Leaders" or "Women Academic Leaders." Then the substance of the book is interviews Ms. Fiedler did with each of these individual leaders. The interviews themselves are all really great and easy to get into, but sometimes it felt like I was just getting into the interview when it ended and I was supposed to move on to the next person's interview.
  • It's something I can really see an academic reading, but because of the format, it just doesn't read like a "normal" book. It doesn't flow in the same way a novel flows - and how could it, when it's a series of interviews?

Would I Recommend This Book?

  • I really would, especially if you're a religious academic, interested in different religious viewpoints in the slightest, or looking for new and interesting things to read! I'm going to go back through the book and mark down everyone interviewed who I wanted to learn more about, because most (if not all) of the interviewees had books of their own!
  • It definitely helped re-shape me during this semester and kind of remember my faith again. What's legal and what's moral are often not the same thing, and I think law school has a tendency to make you forget that your first priority should not be to see what you can get away with, but think about what the right thing to do is. Reading about so many women's faiths really woke me up to my faith again and inspired me. Especially when you're reading about so many different faiths, it actually really helped me to hone in on what I agreed with and didn't agree with.

It took me a long time to get through this book. I got about halfway through and kind of gave up because the format doesn't really lend itself to light reading. You're not invested in a particular character - you just hope the next interview is good, haha. I'm so glad I read it and finally finished it!

Have you ever read this book? Would you? How has your faith changed this year?

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