When I was in high school, I read How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and I was like, “eh.” Ever since then, every time I’ve read stories and books about women awakening to their strength and becoming empowered in their womanhood, I’ve had exactly the same reaction (and to be fair, I have the same feelings about the bildungsroman in general, regardless of gender). Except once.
It’s been hard for me to put my finger on what I love so much about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, or what I love so much about Elizabeth Gilbert in general. Here are my top three books: Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski, and Antoine de Saint-Éxupery’s The Little Prince — stories that, at heart, are about atrocities and devastating loss and how people or characters cope with the aftermath. Keep reading »
Jane: The Virtual World of Jane Austen, a video game prototype currently crowdsourcing funding on Kickstarter, offers us the worst of real life without any of the escape. A world in which ulterior motives run rampant and gossip destroys lives sounds like celebrating the worst aspects of human behavior. Although the gossip and deceit of the Jane Austen’s stories makes for a riveting read, we all rejoice around the honest characters who find love in the end. Is there room in this world for characters like Mr. Darcy? Keep reading »
It’s time to create a new definition of chick lit, one that moves away from the tired standbys and into a new frontier. There are stories written for women by women that are varied and interesting and funny. These 10 books all share similar themes to the traditional chick-lit offerings: strong female characters and relatable situations. The key difference is the focus. Instead of serving as tarted-up romance novels, the books offered here explore the difficulties of the entire range of female experience. Let’s try and expand our horizons. Jennifer Weiner and Sophie Kinsella serve one purpose. Let these other forays into chick lit fulfill another. Click through for our suggestions for unconventional chick lit.
Our recipe for an ideal summer weekend is pretty simple. In fact, it only requires two ingredients: a beach and a book. But what exactly are the components of a truly great beach read? Let’s break it down…
Jennifer Egan is one of my favorite authors of all time. I devour her books, care about her characters, and recommend her novels to anyone looking for a good, meaty read. I was thrilled that her latest, A Visit from the Goon Squad, a novel about the ravages of time on characters working in the music industry (to distill it way, way down) got so much attention from publications like The New York Times Book Review this past year. And when a buddy of mine sent me a link via IM to a Wall Street Journal story yesterday about Egan winning the Pulitzer Prize for the book, I was so happy for her — and for women writers everywhere. But then I scrolled down to the end of the story. Keep reading »
A few months ago the author Jonathan Franzen published his novel, Freedom, and among bookworms, it was like a new “Star Wars” movie being released or Angelina Jolie popping out another baby. Not only did President Obama make headlines for snagging an advanced copy to read on vacation, but Franzen made the prestigious New York Times book review not once, but twice, in a single week. That was all too much for author Jodi Picoult. “Is anyone shocked?” she tweeted, no doubt rolling her eyes. “Would love to see the Times write about authors who aren’t white male literary darlings.” Everyone weighed in with their opinion — sexism? sour grapes? — including here on The Frisky. The matter was settled, at least for moi, when the blog Slate.com did an old-fashioned author byline count of The New York Times Book Review. That publication does, in fact, review more books written by men than women.
For us lady writers at The Frisky, it was all pretty disheartening. (Kate may be the only one who has published a book thus far, but there are several of us on staff who go home and peck on our laptops some more.) Now there’s more “ugh”-ness to “ugh!” deep in our bellies: Author Tawni O’Dell penned an essay for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about her experiences navigating the publishing industry and book-reviewing culture as a female writer and they’re utterly fascinating.
I just have four words for you: “wood nymph” and “biker chick.” Keep reading »