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Books To Watch Out For publishes monthly e-letters celebrating books on various topics. Each issue includes new book announcements, brief reviews, commentary, news and, yes, good book gossip.
More Books for Women
covers the finest in thinking women's reading, plus mysteries, non-sexist children's books, and news from women's publishing. Written by the owners and staff at Women & Children First, and friends.
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The Gay Men's Edition
covers both lesbian books and the whole range of books lesbians like to read. It covers news of both the women in print movement and mainstream publishing. Written and compiled by Carol Seajay.
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announces and reviews new books by and about gay men as well as other books of interest and gay publishing news. Written and compiled by Richard Labonte.
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- This Issue Sponsored by -
The proud publisher of
From Ann Allen Shockley,
author of the lesbian
classic Loving Her, comes a tale of an Historically
Black College on the brink of its One Hundredth Anniversary
– while internal academic conflicts and a shocking discovery
about an admired faculty member create a fascinating maze
of gender and racial identity issues.
- January 2006 -
Volume 2 Number 1
Welcome to the fourth issue of More Books for Women. This issue leads
with some thoughts on books and Black History Month, then tours through some excellent
books, and ends with news of feminist publications (The Women's Review of Books
is back!), presses and bookstores.
For the Kids
February is Black History Month and publishers use it to market books about
prominent African Americans and historical events. I’m all for it, and so are
most of our public schools and libraries in Chicago. This year there are some great new books in which the art
is so lovely and the texts so compelling that they will be enjoyed year round,
in homes as well as schools and libraries.
Mr. Williams by Karen Barbour is a richly painted story of a Louisiana
farmer, told in his own words. The combination of brightly hued paintings and
simple text evoke a time and a place that most urban and suburban children will
find as exotic and quietly beautiful as life in a hobbit-filled forest. Henry
School Is Not White: A True Story of the Civil Rights Movement by Doreen
Rappaport, illustrated by Curtis James, is another stunningly illustrated, simply
told story – this one is about the Carter family, Mae Bertha and Matthew and their
eight children, who were committed to the integration of schools in Drew, Mississippi.
This story was told by Constance Curry in Silver Rights for adult audiences,
but Rappaport makes the Carter children’s determination to withstand white hostility
both understandable and heroic to children in the 6 to 10 range. Hyperion/Jump
at the Sun, $16.99.
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni with glowing collage paintings by Bryan Collier,
is the movingly told story of Rosa Parks’ decision to not relinquish her seat
on the bus and to accept arrest, and how that one act became a catalyst for the
Civil Rights Movement. Nikki Giovanni knew Mrs. Parks and captures her quiet dignity,
her humanity and strength. Colliers’ luminous paintings help communicate the power
of her “aura”, the shield of righteous determination, that protects her from police
brutality. One of the best picture-book biographies I’ve ever seen. For ages 6
and up. Henry Holt, $16.99.
Voice of Her Own: The Story of Phillis Wheatley, Slave Poet by Kathryn
Lasky, illustrated by Paul Lee, is written in short “chapters” and should appeal
to the primary grade reader. Wheatley’s story and that of her “mistress” who taught
her to read English, is truly remarkable. This book is a good introduction for
children to revolutionary war times as well as to the first published black woman
poet. Lasky’s sympathetic text also shows how difficult it was for a brilliant
woman to find a place in a segregated society. Candlewick, $6.99.
Portraits of African-American Heroes, by Tonya Bolden with beautiful,
sepia-toned paintings by Ansel Pitcairn, offers three-page descriptions of twenty
heroes, eight of them women, who fought for recognition in the arts, politics,
sports, education, and civil rights. The portraits are arranged chronologically,
so reading them in order reveals a theme of continuing work and achievement in
the struggle for full humanity for African Americans. Stirring and engaging for
ages 8 and up. Puffin, $11.99.
for Adult Readers
a book-group leader, I always choose writing by African American
women in February (as well as other months, but I
insist on it in February), and this February we’re discussing April
Reynolds’ Knee-Deep in Wonder, just out in paperback. To say it
is the story of three generations of African American women in a
deeply Southern rural setting is true, but it is a Faulkner-esque,
memorable, soulful presentation, rich in story and character and
unforgettable. The ending is wild and surreal - and should give
us plenty to talk about. Picador, $14.00.
Another great choice for book groups who’ve
already read Morrison
and Hurston is playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’ only novel, Getting
Mother’s Body. Parks’ homage to Faulkner is deliberate: it is a kind of
rural black version of As I Lay Dying. The characters walk off the page,
especially young, desperately pregnant Billie and her mother’s former lesbian
lover Dill, long accepted as a man by the folks in town. There’s a lot of humor
in this story and the politics are wonderfully subtle. Parks, as you might imagine,
excels at dialogue. There’s also a book group guide tucked in. Random House, $12.95.
What I can’t wait to read:
Piercy’s new novel Sex
Wars, all about the fascinating characters of the first wave: Victoria
Woodhull, Susan B., and a moralistic cop at war with women trying to take charge
of their lives and their sexuality. Morrow, $24.95
Plea for Eros, essays on art and autobiography by Siri Hustvedt, because
I loved her last novel, What I Did for Love. Picador, $15.00.
Ann Christophersen is reading...
After a two-year run in hardcover (it was selling so well that the publisher
didn’t put it out in paper on the usual one-year schedule), Twyla Tharp’s book
Creative Habit: Learn It and Use it for Life is now in a very affordable
paper edition. What that means to me is that anyone with the slightest hankering
to lead a more creative life should have a copy close by. It is a practical guide
with hundreds of useful tips on how to bring a latent creativity to the fore or
give a big boost to what’s already going on. At the same time it is written with
such intelligence and in such a lively and exuberant style that it bears no resemblance
to any “do this” book I’ve ever read. Do yourself a big favor: read this book.
You’ll come to treasure it. Simon & Schuster, $15.
A book critic, editor
at Booklist, and essayist, Donna Seaman also hosts Open Books a
Chicago radio show, which has been airing now for eleven years.
On her show, Donna provides an opportunity for writers to talk about their ideas,
their writing, and their lives. She has a superb ability to get her subjects to
open up, the result of which is a level of conversation that one only gets from
great interviewers: Studs Terkel and Terry Gross come to mind. In her new book
on the Air: Conversations about Books, those of us who missed her live
can read about some of the writers she interviewed and “listen in” to insightful
comments from the likes of Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, Alexander Kotlowitz
and many more. Paul Dry Books, $24.95.
Would you like a healthy dose of theory and a vigorous exercise in thinking
to usher in 2006? If so, I would suggest Frontiers
of Justice: Disability, Nationality, and Species Membership. It
is written by Martha C. Nussbaum, Professor of Law and Ethics at the University
of Chicago, a brilliant scholar, teacher, writer and feminist who thinks hard
and continuously about social justice. In her earlier book, Women and Development,
she established a new theory she calls the “capabilities approach,” advancing
her argument that the measure of a country’s development should be how well it
positions women as full participants in society and full recipients of what that
society has to offer. In her new book, she both applies that theory and breaks
some new ground in addressing other issues of justice: “doing justice” to people
with disabilities, “extending justice” to people across political and economic
boundaries, “facing” issues of justice in our treatment of animals. What I love
about Martha Nussbaum’s books is that they are serious and important - and
that I can (sort of) understand them. They are challenging, to be sure, but
she writes to be understood and it is an enormous pleasure to watch her thought
process and see one’s own moving along with it. Will I read the entire book? That
depends on my intellectual stamina. Will I be strongly influenced by however much
I read? Absolutely. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, $35.
Like her remarkable first memoir, Borrowed Finery, Paula Fox’s second
installment in writing about her life, The
Coldest Winter: A Stringer in Liberated Europe, is a fine, refined gem
of a book. I
am a huge fan of economical, elliptical prose - and Paula Fox is an absolute master
of the style. Working in Europe in 1946, her observations of life in post-war
Poland and fascist Spain are subtle and extraordinary: she conveys more in a single
paragraph than many other writers do in entire pages or chapters. It would take
me many more sentences to adequately convey the brilliance of her writing: the
complexity of the metaphors; the emotional distance that, paradoxically, creates
forceful emotion; the beauty of the language. Just read. Henry Holt, $18 hardcover.
In this column I will, from time to time, comment on books by classic women
writers that I am reading either for the first time or have just reread. Glimpses
of the Moon by Edith Wharton is one such novel and has recently been
reissued in a beautiful paper edition by Pushkin Press. First published in 1922,
the story of Nick and Susy, lovers who are determined to lead the good life but
who don’t have the personal resources for it, is familiar ground for Wharton.
So are the bewildering compromises they are willing to make to get what they want.
Wharton’s milieu is New York society in the 20s and 30s and her novels would be
interesting to read for the social and cultural history alone. But the complex
pressures her characters face and the moral dilemmas they slog through are very
moving, and I have never read anything by Edith Wharton (and I’ve probably read
twenty of her novels and story collections) that hasn’t been quite affecting.
I liked Glimpses quite a lot, but my favorites include The Age of Innocence,
The House of Mirth, A Mother’s Recompense, and The Custom of
the Country. Pushkin Press, $16.
Pam Harcourt raves (and rants)
Michelle Tea’s novel, Rose
of No Man’s Land, is a manic valentine to the flashiness and grittiness
of malls, tattoos, and instant girlfriendship. Trisha’s family life sucks, and
at the painful start of the story she barely tolerates being harassed by her sister
into “normal” teengirl clothes and employment. A new friendship with shoplifting
smoker Rose is mad exciting, and through a night of manic adventures I felt like
I was watching Trisha forming herself. Michelle Tea’s exhilarating punk-rock prose
had me flying through this book. As always, she finds the beautiful in places
no one thought to look. Due February 14! MacAdam/Cage, $22.
Girl From the Left by Martha
Southgate is the story of three generations of black women, each with a different,
loving relationship to film. Angela is the “third girl from the left” in blaxploitation
movies – not exactly the star she set out to be when she moved to Hollywood. Her
mother Mildred found passion as a spectator at the movies – exactly how many times
in one week is too many to walk to the theater and see Carmen Jones? And
daughter Tamara discovered watching She’s Gotta Have It that her love would
be the view from behind the lens. Southgate perfectly captures the ache of misunderstanding
between generations. The film history is fascinating and gives great texture to
all three stories. I think Angela’s is my favorite - the point of view of a black
woman in the 70s film scene is not one I can remember ever reading. She and her
complex personal relationships really came to life for me. Houghton Mifflin, $24.
Kathryn Davis' strange, beautiful The
Thin Place is the story of a town changed by a gift
one of its residents possesses: 12-year-old Mees Kipp can bring
the dead back to life. It's not only the story of the people in
the town of Varennes - there are passages from the point of view
of the local beavers, a dog savoring the rush of escape from her
house to run around crazily with other dogs, the consciousness
of the corn.... Davis tells the town's story soaring elegantly
from living thing to living thing, but also using different primary
documents - the schedule for a mass in a church, local police
blotters, horoscopes. Odd, lovely, and full of light. Little Brown,
I picked up Stories from Blue Latitudes: Caribbean Women Writers At Home
and Abroad, edited by Elizabeth Nunez and Jennifer Sparrow, thinking it would
give me some insight into an area of the world (and of literature) that I find
fascinating, while fully expecting to endure some typical anthology unevenness.
No way! This collection was a complete treat, immensely rich, and I didn’t skip
one story. Edwidge Danticat, Jamaica Kincaid, Nalo Hopkinson, Andrea Levy - and
none of the writers I hadn’t heard of were out of place among these big names.
The lives of girls and women who are in or from the Caribbean are illuminated
in these stories about mothers, fathers, girlfriendship, sexual pleasure and
sexual exploitation, race, class, police terror, imperialism and tourism, food,
love, economics, and the connection of place and self. This book is valuable in
the way anthologies of under-represented people always are, while the stories
were so engaging as to transcend my idea that I “should” read it and made it pure
pleasure. Seal Press, $16.95.
Ali Smith’s dazzling first full-length novel, The Accidental, moves
between the points of view of four family members reacting to newcomer Amber,
a woman who recreates all of their lives, who is herself, in many ways, created
by the movies. Smith gives us many ideas about beginnings and endings, she gives
us world politics and academic politics and personal politics, she gives us pages
of poetry that are simultaneously hilarious and moving. Like reading On Beauty,
I wasn’t far into this book when I had that feeling that I was traveling through
a story led by an author so brilliant that she could really play around, meander
down different paths, and I’d follow her gratefully. I can’t wait to read this
a second time. Pantheon, $22.95.
Tish Hayes recommends.....
I had no idea what to expect when I picked up the newly reissued copies of Joanna
Who Are About To… and The Two of Them. Although I really enjoy
science fiction and think it’s an important genre (mostly for its ability to use
metaphor to subvert and question social convention), I don’t often hold it to
the same literary standards I maintain for the rest of the fiction I read. So
it was to my surprise and pleasure that I discovered within the first few pages
that Joanna Russ is an extraordinary writer. Her minimalist style captures with
perfect clarity settings and characters and, because the worlds are so unfamiliar
to us, this style also creates a tension and anticipation for the reader: the
narrative isn’t a cozy one, anything could happen at any moment. Rarely do I find
a writer who can tell a good story, engage me politically and philosophically,
and stun me, sentence after sentence, with the skill of her craft. I am excited
to have found Joanna Russ among these few.
We Who Are About To… begins with a crash on an uninhabited alien planet
and, without hope of rescue, the group starts to think of colonizing the land and
propagating the species. Of the group, only our narrator questions this plan, and
the mere question earns her an outsider status and eventually threatens her safety.
I hate giving away plot points, so I hesitate to say much more, but Russ turns
a common sci fi trope upside down and in doing so questions basic assumptions
about what we value both personally and as a society.
The Two of Them might be the most satisfying feminist novel I have ever
read—not because of the answers it provides (there aren’t any here), but for the
questions it asks. The focus of the novel is on Irene, who leaves 1950s America as a teen for a freer life as a TransTemp
agent. Despite this education and the status her job provides, Irene begins to
question how free she really is and begins to see her life as something always
in relationship to the men around her. The particular job that she and her partner
are working brings these thoughts to a crisis point. The way Joanna Russ handles
the narrative in this novel is remarkable—at a critical moment she breaks the
construct of story and as the author addresses the reader, pulling us out of the
narrative and forcing us to confront the implications of what we have just read
and our feelings about it. I cannot recommend these two novels highly enough.
Thanks to Wesleyan University Press for putting them back in print and providing
insightful introductions for each. Wesleyan University Press, $14.95 each.
The Ice, Gretchen Legler reveals the coldest, most isolated and inhospitable
place on earth to be full of beauty, human warmth and compassion, and the perfect
spot for self-discovery. It is packed with stories of the people who work and
live in this land: scientists studying the ice to predict the repercussions of
climate change on our planet or looking at the light from stars billions of years
past and the folks who cook the meals for the station, fix the machines, do the
drilling, or maintain buildings and vehicles in the most extreme weather imaginable.
It is also full of the stories of those who came before, the explorers who risked
their lives to discover (possibly conquer) something new. In the midst of all of
these stories, Gretchen Legler reveals her own journey—how Antarctica knocked
aside her agendas and how each new experience helped her to set aside fear and
pain from the past and move on to a new love. She invokes Thoreau’s passionate
relationship with nature as she describes the profound beauty of the ice and sky
around her. Legler’s descriptions are stunning and are enough to make me want
to pack my bags and brave the cold. Milkweed Editions, $15.95.
Where Love is Found: 24 Tales of Connection, edited by Susan Burmeister-Brown
and Linda B. Swanson-Davies, looks a lot like a book I wouldn’t enjoy. The pastel
cover, the photo of flowers, and the title in red script suggest a kind of romance
story and a caliber of writing I’m not particularly interested in. Luckily, I
have a little inside info that assuages the concerns the cover might bring up
for anyone with discerning taste in fiction: The collection is edited by two women
from Glimmer Train Stories, an excellent literary journal, a quick glance
at the table of contents reveals an interesting mix of established authors and
writers still in the beginning stages of their careers, and the actual content
is anything but light fiction. These are stories that attempt to map our complicated
connections to each other, and in doing so capture the heartache of loss, bittersweet
memories, and the joy found in moments shared with another. This is a fantastic
collection full of great writing. Washington Square Press, $15.00.
Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel,
by Jean Kilbourne, was the Young Feminist Book Group selection for December, and
although it is a few years old, I think it is the perfect antidote to that whole
consumer-crazed month. Despite our ability to recognize that we all at times let
food or alcohol or material goods substitute for the real personal relationships
in our lives, Kilbourne clearly points out that it is someone’s job to make us
feel that way and make sure we continue to feel isolated and dependent not on
each other but the miracle we can buy. I don’t always agree with the route Kilbourne
takes to get to her conclusions, but she does an excellent job of showing the
insidious ways advertisers work their way into our hearts and minds, keeping us
distracted from the things that would really make us happy. Free Press, $15.00.
By Nan Cinnater
African American writer Paula L. Woods has a fourth entry in her excellent
series about LA cop Charlotte Justice and her extended family. In Strange Bedfellows
($23.95, One World/Ballantine) Charlotte revisits an old case. A toy manufacturer
remains in a coma after a drive-by attack on him, his wife, and their business
associates, two African American Muslims. Woods is brilliant at combining racial
politics, recent history, and character development into a well plotted, smoothly
readable mystery. Her characters change over time as well, which is a good reason
to read the whole series from the beginning: Inner City Blues, Stormy Weather, and Dirty Laundry (all $6.99, Fawcett).
First Drop by Zoe Sharp ($23.95, Minotaur/St. Martin's) begins, appropriately,
on a roller coaster - and what a ride it is! Female British security expert Charlie
Fox is working as bodyguard/babysitter to a Florida teenager, and they're spending
the day at a theme park when her charge is attacked. Very soon, Charlie and the
surly fifteen-year-old boy are running for their lives. This is a nifty female
variation on the formula thriller, and Charlie's British culture shock in places
like Fort Lauderdale and Daytona Beach is subtly amusing. I thoroughly enjoyed
this book, just like I occasionally enjoy a well-crafted action movie. But the
body count mounts, just like in the movies, to the point where the shoot-outs
are, thankfully, numbing. Personally, I object much more to all those serial killer
books that revolve around the psycho-sexual abuse of women, so I didn't much mind
when corrupt cops and corporate bad guys - and even innocent bystanders - got
Secrets Die by Lynn Hightower ($14.00, Pocket) is another female variation
on the thriller - creepier but equally compelling. Lena Padgett is a Kentucky private
eye who is dedicated to righting the wrongs suffered by women in a violent male
society. Here Lena takes on the cause of Emma Marsden, accused of poisoning her own child when her son dies and she disputes the clinic's right to sell his organs. The case involves hot-button medical issues usually more in Robin
Cook's territory, but Hightower writes a lean, mean sentence and she builds extraordinary
suspense. The previous Lena Padgett thriller, now in paper, is Fortunes
of the Dead ($7.50, Pocket). Lena Padgett debuted in Satan's
Lambs ($14.95, Felony and Mayhem Press), one of the scariest books I ever
read, for which Hightower won the Private Eye Writers' Shamus Award in 1993.
You might think from the above that I'm quite bloodthirsty, but actually
I prefer cozy mysteries, and, lately, historical mysteries. Here are some outstanding
Jacqueline Winspear is writing a historical series set in
post-WWI London featuring a unique detective, self-described "psychologist
and investigator," Maisie Dobbs. The first book in the series, entitled Maisie
Dobbs, won the Edgar Award for Best Mystery of 2003 ($14.00 Penguin).
Working class but educated, Maisie is an independent young woman whose psyche
was shaped by her experience as a nurse in WWI. The books take place in 1929-1930,
when most of Britain, like Maisie herself, is still traumatized by the Great War.
(When I questioned whether the war would still have such an effect more than ten
years after it ended, my girlfriend said, "How long ago was Vietnam?")
of a Feather, second in the series (also $14.00 Penguin), Maisie is hired by a self-made grocery
tycoon to find his missing daughter. Maisie discovers that three of the daughter's
best friends have recently died, at least one of them murdered. Ultimately, of
course, the friends' connection and the solution to the mystery go back to the
Great War. In Winspear's new hardcover, Pardonable
Lies($23.00 Holt), Maisie must find proof that a young aviator was really
killed in France - a case which reunites her with her college friend Patricia,
who also served in France. Maisie practices an eclectic mix of sharp observation
and holistic techniques, including yoga and meditation. These can seem anachronistically
New Age-y but probably are not, given the Twenties' enthusiasm for spiritualism,
oriental philosphy, and physical culture. For instance, in Birds of a Feather,
Maisie's mentor talks about an exercise regimen developed in a British internment
camp during the war. "The physical movements incorporated in the regimen
have been used to rehabilitate the severely wounded with great success.... The
man whose work he has followed now lives in America. His name is Joseph Pilates."
favorite WWI series is still the Inspector Rutledge series by Charles Todd (nom
de guerre of a mother and son writing team). Shell-shocked veteran Ian Rutledge
debuted in Test of Wills, when he is making a comeback at Scotland Yard
even though he hears the voice in his head of his fallen Scottish comrade Hamish.
Hamish is still Rutledge's ghostly companion in A
Long Shadow ($23.95, William Morrow), eighth in the series; here, a town
constable has been shot with an arrow, and someone is stalking Rutledge himself.
Todd's most recent paperback is A
Cold Treachery ($6.99, Bantam).
In a completely different era, The
Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig ($14.00, NAL) purports
to tell the amazing truth about the league of Franco-British
spies dedicated to beating Napoleon - all of them code-named after flowers,
like their leader, the Scarlet Pimpernel. Chick lit meets historical romance
as the narrative alternates between Eloise, a Harvard grad student researching
the Pink Carnation in London, circa 2005, and Amy, a French-born aristocrat raised
in England who determines to return to her native country and fight the new emperor,
circa 1803. As a feminist re-imagining of the original swashbuckling heroes, this
is a not-so-guilty pleasure, but it's lighter than cotton candy and about as nutritious.
Meanwhile, the sequel, The
Masque of the Black Tulip is already a BookSense Pick of the Month ($24.95,
Scarlet Pimpernel, a mysterious hero who rescued French noblemen from the guillotine, was actually the fictional creation of Emmuska (Baroness) Orczy; the original is one of the greatest adventure stories of all time ($14.95, Everyman's Library). Baroness Orczy also wrote straightforward mysteries, and she created one of the first professional female detectives, Lady
Molly of Scotland Yard.
If you like quirky, you will love The
Belen Hitch ($24.95) and The
Clovis Incident ($14.95, both University of New Mexico Press) by Pari
Noskin Taichert. Taichert's
sleuth, Sasha Solomon, is a PR consultant to small towns in New Mexico that want
to improve tourism; but small-town weirdness is the least of it. In The
Belen Hitch, Sasha's best friend is a psychic who can communicate with
anything living, making her, bizarrely, pest controller to the rich and famous
(presumably by passing along to the cockroaches a request to vacate the premises).
Sasha's alcoholic mom is in a long-term care facility, having suffered a stroke.
As part of the tourism project, Sasha goes to interview her mother's old friend,
a controversial artist, and finds her murdered. There's also a railroad museum
and a ghost. The first in the series, The Clovis Incident, involved a UFO
The Women's Review of Books is back!
After a year's hiatus to find a new publisher and a new structure, the Women's Review of Books is back in print. The first new issue just dropped in the mail (January 6). It features reviews by Dorothy Allison, Linda Gordon, and Farah Jasmine Griffin on Bobbie Ann Mason's new novel, An Atomic Romance, Vivian Gornick's The Solitude of Self: Thinking about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Julia Blackburn's oral history of Billie Holiday, and an article by yours truly on the resurgence of lesbian pulp novels. We can't wait to see it.
If you're not an active subscriber, you can subscribe at:
or send $33 ($58 institutions) to Old City Publishing, 628 North 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19123.
Feminist theoretician and poet Judy Grahn (The Common Woman Poems, Edward the Dyke, Another Mother Tongue and Blood, Bread, and Roses) has just launched Metaformia: A Journal of Menstruation and Culture.
"Metaformic theory," Grahn tells us, "Returns women to a crucial place in cultural origin stories, histories, rituals and religions." Metaformia includes articles on race, class and caste, on violence and peace, cosmic energies and money, gender and evolution, roles of women and men in creating culture, aspects of religion and anthropology, and more. Read it online at www.metaformia.com.
Grahn is currently collaborating with Olympia Dukakis on Lady of Largest Heart, a monologue based on Betty Meador's book, Inanna: Lady of Largest Heart. Watch for it on a stage near you.
Bitch, one of my favorite feminist magazines ("Á breath of journalistic fresh air blowing through the newsstands."-The Chicago Tribune), is celebrating ten years. www.bitchmagazine.com/
Spinifex Press Celebrates 15 Awesome Years
If you're in Australia, head for Melbourne March 3-5 for a weekend-long literary
festival celebrating Spinifex's15 years of feminist publishing. It sounds so good
I'm tempted to hop a plane....
Launched in 1991 by Susan Hawthorne and Renate Klein (then a senior editor at Penguin UK and an editor of the Athene Series at Pergamon, respectively), Spinifex has become a global force by publishing locally and distributing globally. Readers in the U.K., the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand, as well as Australia, can walk into any excellent bookshop and find Spinifex's pink-spined books. Co-publishing and rights sales further expand their distribution into countries as diverse as Bangladesh and Germany. Spinifex's most successful title, Betty McLellan's Help! I'm Living with a
Man Boy has been published in eleven languages including Estonian, Turkish, Korean, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Greek.
Spinifex publishes a wide range of feminist and lesbian titles. Their list includes writers from every continent, includes particularly strong lists of Asian and Pacific writers, Australian and New Zealand indigenous writers, and African writers as well as internationally known European and North American feminist and lesbian writers.
More info at www.spinifexpress.com.au
Feminist Bookstore News
Sweet Violets, the feminist bookstore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is closing in February. Meanwhile, long-lived Charis has moved to 1189 Euclid Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30307. Australia's sole remaining feminist bookstore, The Feminist Bookshop in Sydney, just celebrated 30 years.
If you cherish feminist bookstores, spend your money there. They're definitely a "use it or lose it" proposition. Don't have one handy or don't have time to shop? No problem: it's just as easy to order online from a feminist bookstore as from any of the megalomaniacs. It might cost a few cents more, but you sure do get a lot more for your money.
Book Collection Databases
I recently read a review about two databases designed for book collections, Book
Collector ($39.95 from www.collectorz.com)
and Readerware ($40 from www.readerware.com)
and I'd love to hear from anyone who's used either.
Submission dates for the fifth annual Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize, sponsored by the always awesome Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, are March 1 to May 31, 2006. Winner receives $300 and publication in Calyx. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni was the judge for last year's prize, which went to Patricia Hale. Submission details at www.proaxis.com/~calyx.
Do Feminists Order Books Online?
Why and why not? And if we do, where do we order them? Join my informal survey and tell me what your experience is. I'm contemplating doing a formal survey, and your responses will shape the questions I'll ask.
That's it for this issue. Send letters to the editor, fan mail to the reviewers, feminist publishing news,
tell me where and why you do and don't order books online, and
send general comments to me, Editor at BooksToWatchOutFor dot com.
Yours in spreading the words,
© 2006 Books To Watch Out For
Graphics © Judy Horacek
Books To Watch Out For
PO Box 882554
San Francisco, CA 94188