Two books on my desk, they seem to demand a comparison, they are both from the same publisher and say completely opposite things. That's handy. Nothing like a good old fashioned binary choice of opposites. Also they are also both helpfully thin, concise if you like, like they might be 'made easy' volumes. I feel like weighing them up (this is a sort of Paul Shepheard line) and I feel like telling Paul just how confusing he is (just as Nina Power might).
Nina Power's take on consumer feminism, with a line on fashion such as 'if you were to follow all the trends equally, you'd be a corporate-goth-bohemian-neon-native-American-Indian-casual-office girl. Which would probably look quite interesting, but I doubt that's what they mean...'- taking on the kind of feminism that comes down to the ability to buy wine and vibrators- is pithy. Her take on the two prevailing feminist views on pornography; 'either degrading therefore bad or it is enjoyable therefore morally good' (despite being terrible hard work either way) is both gritty, funny and not entirely disapproving. Most of all she is a fun Marxist suffering none of the pious intricacies that dulled that subject for so many of us for so long. That's quite an achievement.
Shepheard is not a Marxist, I don't think he even mentions the word. No way. If anything he's deep down in the hole of post structuralism. His perspective is so long it's hard to reason with, but his books (and I recommend all of them) will always involve both lovers and hospitals, jet aeroplanes and possibly Metallica (so they are not that post structural) and are written also with the ease of somebody who knows and encourages, even when there is no better world to look forward to. If you want to know what post-structuralism feels like (but not necessarily what it is) read this book.
In the end (because effective blog ends are needed) I'll side with the need for utopia (even if it isn't quite utopia either way) to get through the day, and to get through Power's book in an hour or so. I'll get jesuitical about it too (so Paul might approve) but getting his side of the bargain may take another seven years.