Growing up Black and Female

school girls

On the occasion of the publication of Disgruntled by Asali Solomon, I want to make you aware of some other books about growing up as an African-American girl. Set in different time periods, there are certain themes that carry through. Responsibility, otherness, friendship, and family are all explored. In Solomon's Disgruntled, Kenya is an outsider everywhere from […]

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Can’t Get Enough Jane Austen?

Source: tiaragwin, flickr

I first encountered Jane Austen through the BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice. After falling in love with Colin Firth as only a girl of 12 can, I quickly devoured as much Austen as I could get my hands on. Years later, I still grab Persuasion to read on vacation. I recommend the following titles for all Jane […]

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Women’s History Through Novels: Michelle Moran

Nefertiti

Michelle Moran writes riveting novels about history from a woman's point of view. These novels are both extensively researched and richly imagined, leading to deeply atmospheric tales. The physical description is also a treat. While there is no question that Moran's heroines operate in a man's world, they more than measure up to those who would destroy […]

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Boston Girl Readalikes

hadassah 1

For those of you waiting for The Boston Girl, I have a few suggestions while you wait. First, let me tell you are in for a treat in Anita Diamant's latest, about a young woman who works her way from tenement child to a social worker. Addie Baum is as old as the century when her granddaughter […]

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“Handmaid” Hits 30: Readalikes

Handmaid's Tale 2

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale turns 30 this year, and as an avid fan of the book, I'd like to propose some readalikes. For those of you not familiar with Atwood's dystopian story, the United States has been taken over by Christian fundamentalists and (supposedly) biblical rule is the law. There's also a venereal disease going around that makes […]

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Perseverance is Triumph: Lalita Tademy

Cane River cabin

Lalita Tademy used to have a high-powered job at Sun Microsystems before delving into her genealogy, leading to three books (so far) imagining her family's history. The  results are historical novels that tell of little-known parts of the American narrative, which we forget to our peril. All three family sagas are moving, atmospheric, and accurate down to the smallest […]

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I’m Dreaming of a Dark Christmas

Trees surrounded by fog

I'm the first person to sit down with a cup of cocoa and a cheesy Christmas movie (Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas, anyone?), but after a surfeit of sweet films and books, a little sorbet is in order. Apparently, I'm not alone on this one, as there is a long tradition of Christmas Ghost Stories. Whether you […]

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Moran More

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Caitlin Moran made a splash two years ago with her book of essays, How to Be A Woman. While better known in England than here in the States, her body of work so far will hopefully rectify that. How to Be a Woman goes roughly in chronological order, from Moran's burgeoning adolescence in Wolverhampton to contemplating her mortality […]

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Tough Broads II

strong woman 1

As winter closes in at the time of this writing, I highly recommend Nevada Barr and her Anna Pigeon mysteries for some gritty armchair adventure. Anna Pigeon is a National Park Services employee (she advances through the ranks as the series progresses) who tends to stumble on suspicious deaths in the great outdoors. Barr is a master of […]

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Epic Yarns in Teen Fiction

yarn, knitting needles

Back in the day knitting used to be grandmas making ugly, itchy sweaters that never fit right and that you never EVER wanted to wear in public. Now, thanks to the DIY revolution, I'm getting some of my favorite patterns from teens and there are at least two video games featuring yarn (Kirby's Epic Yarn […]

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