Traveling to Novel Places: India

Varanasi Woman

Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel is a book at once sweeping and intimate, covering the end of the British raj. Layla Roy has an unlucky horoscope and a grandfather who believes in educating women, and so she is sure she will never marry. However, Manik Deb, a British-educated neighbor, takes a romantic interest in […]

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Rock Critic Jessica Hopper to Speak at Harold Washington Library Center

Photo provided by Featherproof Books.

We chatted with Jessica Hopper, who presents her new book, The First Collection Of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic, at an Author Talk at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 10 in the Chicago Authors Room on the 7th floor of the Harold Washington Library Center. Q: You've been writing about music since you were a teenager. […]

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5 Books to Read After You Read “Reading Lolita in Tehran”

Iranian women 1a

While Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran has become a modern classic in its own right, there are plenty of other books detailing the lives of women in revolutionary Iran. For those not familiar with Nafisi's story, she was an English professor in Tehran who held private, secret seminars for a selected group of students on […]

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What To Read After Missoula

Take Back The Night

Jon Krakauer is a master of writing about people in extreme situations, whether they go out into the wilderness in Into the Wild or follow Mormon fundamentalism in Under the Banner of Heaven, so it makes sense that he writes about sexual assault in a college town crazy for football. Missoula is home to the University of Montana Grizzlies, a […]

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Lyrics are Poems Put to Music: Part Two

janis joplin

I hope you find this well worth the wait after reading part one. Although Janis Joplin's professional career did not last nearly long enough, her gravelly voice and folky sound will not be forgotten. Her songs are about love, freedom and living. Carole King started as a song writer by writing hits for other singers. She eventually became […]

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Lyrics Are Poems Put to Music: Part One

Prompt 6 by miscellaneaarts
 Sorce: Flckr Creative Commons

As Women's History Month winds down and National Poetry Month starts, I thought this would be a good time to look at some important women in music, or more like women in music whose lyrics influence and inspire me. These women paved roads, ruined hearts and broke down walls. Their lyrics and music speak of passion, anger, rage and love. They sang the […]

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With Friends Like This, Who Needs Enemies?

Her: A Novel

Friends, enemies and frenemies—women's relationships can be complex: a source of endless comfort and strength or something that makes you wish human mothers ate their young. Here are some novels to help appreciate all the really good women in your life, or to help you recognize the ones that need to be un-friended!  Her by Harriet Lane. A disturbing, […]

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Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement

Nina Simone 1

If you're looking for heroes of the civil rights movement, there are the usual suspects, the names that everyone knows: King, Shuttlesworth, Abernathy, etc. But how about the people who were heroes a little more indirectly? Those who were heroes for other reasons, but lent their fame to the cause? I speak of the entertainers. Lena Horne, Nina […]

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Nothing Like a Dame: Judi Dench

Judi Dench

Dame Judi Dench has recently released a new book of photos and anecdotes from her long career: Behind the Scenes. The photographs are both publicity shots and ones from Dench's private collection, documenting both her professional and personal life. The most striking thing I learned from this book was that as a young actor, a […]

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Moran More

caitlin moran 1

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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