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Posts Tagged ‘Women’s March On Washington’

Once again, it is time for our annual list of great books to dig into after the relatives have left ( or, after the holidays end). This year, we seem to have selected some amazing tales that all have powerful women at their center (maybe we are channeling the women’s marches of a year ago). However, no matter their commonalities, each of these books will provide excellent reading to start your new year. Happy 2018!

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FC9781631494758.jpgWomen and Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard (2017) – Stop everything you’re doing, find a copy this beautiful little black book and start reading. Next, immediately buy ten copies and share them with your daughters sisters, and mother. And then, read it again. And then, share it with the men in your life (e.g., sons, husband, partner, co-workers, neighbors). Mary Beard’s newest work, sure to be a classic (no pun intended), is based on two of her lectures and draws upon her deep knowledge of the classics (she is a professor at Cambridge University and is the author of bestselling SPQR).  Beard examines how the the stories of mythical Greco-Roman characters like Penelope, Medusa, and Clytemnestra have informed women’s contemporary perceptions of how women are allowed to use our voices in public and to navigate the centers of power. A perfect pairing with Chimamanda Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists and a powerful resource to help guide women in the #metoo era. ~Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie

FC9780399575068.jpgHum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marias (2016) – An intimate look at life in South Africa during Apartheid.  This tale is told through the eyes of Robin, a young white girl who loses her mother and father during during the 1976 student uprising in Soweto. By using the narrator’s innocence to drive a plot of how she and Beauty, a middle-aged Black teacher who also experiences heart-wrenching loss during the uprising, are flung together, Ms. Marias exposes so much about how living through hate and fear causes unending harm. A great book for those with an interest in South Africa, human rights, racism, atypical families, and/or coming-of-age stories. ~Lisa Christie

FC9780735224292.jpgLittle Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (2017) – A page turning tale of a suburb turned inside out when a mother-daughter duo rolls into town.  With her latest novel, Ms. Ng tackles race, adoption, planned communities (based on her own experiences growing up in Shaker Heights, Ohio), teenagers, middle-aged dreams, and art, all in a well-written tale of family and love. ~Lisa Christie

FC9780062654199.jpgThe Alice Network by Kate Quinn  (2017) – This suspenseful tale moves seamlessly between World War I and World War II and follows the stories of two iconoclastic women, the more mature Eve Gardiner and young American Charlie St. Claire.  The older Eve is damaged, aging, living in London, drinking entirely too much,  and still trying to recover from her experiences during the Great War a spy in Northern France for the all-female Alice Network (which existed and is based on historical records). Charlie has come to Europe in 1947, unmarried, pregnant, and trying to find her missing French cousin Rose who disappeared during the French occupation in 1945. Charlie and Eve form a fragile, unlikely friendship and work together while moving through France to solve the mystery of Rose and to find an individual who betrayed The Alice Network in 1915.  This is excellent, well-researched historical fiction and will appeal to readers who enjoyed Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge and JoJo Moyes’ The Girl You Left Behind. Perfect for “after the relatives have left.” ~Lisa Cadow

And finally, HAPPY 2018!

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Well, last week was quite the week for politics in the USA. Our first Black President vacated the White House after eight years of service. Our new President was inaugurated. And, millions marched on Saturday in rallies in DC, many state capitals, and cities throughout the world to remind our new administration that inclusiveness remains important — and that over half the US population is women.

So today, we shine the pink spotlight on books that will help to remind us all what is at stake. We have selected several titles that include short manifestos (Adichie), speculative fiction (Atwood), a turn-of-the-20th century heroine (Chopin), and a comedienne’s memoir (Moran) that reminds us that (still) “there’s never been a better time to be a woman.”images.jpg

A Room of One's Own Cover ImageA Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (1929) -It is our intent to read every book that is reviewed on this site. In this case, we make a slight exception because only one of us has read it and this reading occurred years ago, possibly most importantly years before she could understand the importance of a “room of one’s own” as every room she inhabited was hers — she was so very, very single. In this collection of essays, Wolfe essentially argues that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” She asserts that females cannot be a part of the literary conversation if they do not have the freedom and autonomy to write. Woolf also highlights the importance of education for women and their tenuous place in society without it. Though only one of us has had the opportunity to delve into this very, very important work, after this weekend the other Lisa has placed it at the top of her pile. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie

The Handmaid's Tale Cover ImageThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985) – This work of speculative fiction has never once been out of print since it was first published over thirty years ago. The topics it tackles are so important and the construct so fascinating that directors have made in to a movie, an opera, and even a television series. It is set in a dystopian future New England where women have been stripped of their rights after a new government assumes power. Told through the eyes of Offred, a handmaid (the class of women assigned in this new society for reproductive purposes), Atwood explores the nature of power, fanaticism, resistance, and hanging on to hope in the face of great obstacles. ~ Lisa Cadow

We Should All Be Feminists Cover ImageWe Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2014) – This gem of a book emerged from a speech by Ms. Adichie in which she outlines a twenty-first century view of feminism, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. In doing so, she succinctly and beautifully makes the case why we should all be feminists – feminism benefits all of us no matter our gender.  Read it; give it; live it. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie

The Awakening and Selected Stories Cover ImageThe Awakening by Kate Chopin (1899) – In this slim, ground breaking work of fiction published at the end of the 1800’s, Chopin introduces us to Edna Pontellier, a white mother and wife from the South who is deeply unsatisfied with her life. When Edna falls in love outside of her marriage, she begins to ask new questions and push new boundaries alarming those around her.  It is hard to remember that this book was published before Woolfe, Wharton, and Welty started writing because its style is so modern, the subjects it tackles so ahead of its time. ~ Lisa Cadow

The Color Purple Cover Image The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982) – A book so important and complicated it won both the Pulitzer and National Book Award, and inspired a Broadway Musical. This compassionate novel, focusing on the lives of African American women in the 1930s, shows how two sisters one in the American South and one in Africa sustain their love across time, distance, and hardships. It garnered glowing reviews such as one from The New York Times Book Review,”intense emotional impact . . . Indelibly affecting . . . Alice Walker is a lavishly gifted writer,” and has frequently been the target of censors. ~ Lisa Christie

How to Be a Woman Cover ImageHow To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran (2011) – We end this list with humor because laughter and empathy help all conversations. Every sentence in this raucous, side-splitting book offers exquisite insight into subjects such as women’s shoes, Germaine Greer, strident feminism, motherhood, handbags, hair styles, pornography, surviving puberty, and making it through dating with your self-worth intact — in sum, how to be a woman. Moran has much to offer women as they reflect on their own journeys, and those of their daughters. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie (excerpted from review from Book Jam Holiday Gift Guide 2012).
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