Book picks similar to
A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War by Susan Griffin
Kate Zambreno - 2012
Taking the self out feels like obeying a gag order - pretending an objectivity where there is nothing objective about the experience of confronting and engaging with and swooning over literature." - from HeroinesOn the last day of December, 2009 Kate Zambreno began a blog called Frances Farmer Is My Sister, arising from her obsession with the female modernists and her recent transplantation to Akron, Ohio, where her husband held a university job. Widely reposted, Zambreno's blog became an outlet for her highly informed and passionate rants about the fates of the modernist "wives and mistresses." In her blog entries, Zambreno reclaimed the traditionally pathologized biographies of Vivienne Eliot, Jane Bowles, Jean Rhys, and Zelda Fitzgerald: writers and artists themselves who served as male writers' muses only to end their lives silenced, erased, and institutionalized. Over the course of two years, Frances Farmer Is My Sister helped create a community where today's "toxic girls" could devise a new feminist discourse, writing in the margins and developing an alternative canon.In Heroines, Zambreno extends the polemic begun on her blog into a dazzling, original work of literary scholarship. Combing theories that have dictated what literature should be and who is allowed to write it - from T. S. Eliot's New Criticism to the writings of such mid-century intellectuals as Elizabeth Hardwick and Mary McCarthy to the occasional "girl-on-girl crime" of the Second Wave of feminism - she traces the genesis of a cultural template that consistently exiles female experience to the realm of the "minor" and diagnoses women for transgressing social bounds. "ANXIETY: When she experiences it, it's pathological," writes Zambreno. "When he does, it's existential." By advancing the Girl-As-Philosopher, Zambreno reinvents feminism for her generation while providing a model for a newly subjectivized criticism.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Joan Didion - 1968
The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem remains, decades after its first publication, the essential portrait of America—particularly California—in the sixties.It focuses on such subjects as John Wayne and Howard Hughes, growing up a girl in California, ruminating on the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room, and, especially, the essence of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, the heart of the counterculture.
Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman
Anne Helen Petersen - 2017
It's not that she's an outcast (she might even be your friend or your wife, or your mother) so much as she's a social variable. Sometimes, she's the life of the party; others, she's the center of gossip. She's the unruly woman, and she's one of the most provocative, powerful forms of womanhood today. There have been unruly women for as long as there have been boundaries of what constitutes acceptable "feminine" behavior, but there's evidence that she's on the rise--more visible and less easily dismissed--than ever before. In Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, Anne Helen Petersen uses the lens of "unruliness" to explore the ascension of eleven contemporary powerhouses: Serena Williams, Melissa McCarthy, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, Nicki Minaj, Kim Kardashian, Hillary Clinton, Caitlyn Jenner, Jennifer Weiner, and Lena Dunham. Petersen explores why the public loves to love (and hate) these controversial figures, each of whom has been conceived as "too" something: too queer, too strong, too honest, too old, too pregnant, too shrill, too much. With its brisk, incisive analysis, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud will be a conversation-starting book on what makes and breaks celebrity today.
Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
Jia Tolentino - 2019
This is a book about the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly in a culture that revolves around the self. In each essay, Jia writes about the cultural prisms that have shaped her: the rise of the nightmare social internet; the American scammer as millennial hero; the literary heroine’s journey from brave to blank to bitter; the mandate that everything, including our bodies, should always be getting more efficient and beautiful until we die.
Hilton Als - 2013
The result is an extraordinary, complex portrait of "white girls," as Als dubs them—an expansive but precise category that encompasses figures as diverse as Truman Capote and Louise Brooks, Malcolm X and Flannery O’Connor. In pieces that hairpin between critique and meditation, fiction and nonfiction, high culture and low, the theoretical and the deeply personal, Als presents a stunning portrait of a writer by way of his subjects, and an invaluable guide to the culture of our time.
Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women
Geraldine Brooks - 1994
Yet for her, headline events were only the backdrop to a less obvious but more enduring drama: the daily life of Muslim women. Nine Parts of Desire is the story of Brooks' intrepid journey toward an understanding of the women behind the veils, and of the often contradictory political, religious, and cultural forces that shape their lives. Defying our stereotypes about the Muslim world, Brooks' acute analysis of the world's fastest growing religion deftly illustrates how Islam's holiest texts have been misused to justify repression of women, and how male pride and power have warped the original message of a once liberating faith.
Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
Gloria E. Anzaldúa - 1987
Writing in a lyrical mixture of Spanish and English that is her unique heritage, she meditates on the condition of Chicanos in Anglo culture, women in Hispanic culture, and lesbians in the straight world. Her essays and poems range over broad territory, moving from the plight of undocumented migrant workers to memories of her grandmother, from Aztec religion to the agony of writing. Anzaldua is a rebellious and willful talent who recognizes that life on the border, "life in the shadows," is vital territory for both literature and civilization. Venting her anger on all oppressors of people who are culturally or sexually different, the author has produced a powerful document that belongs in all collections with emphasis on Hispanic American or feminist issues.
Bachelor Girl: The Secret History of Single Women in the Twentieth Century
Betsy Israel - 2002
From the nineteenth-century spinsters, of New England to the Bowery girls of New York City, from the 1920s flappers to the 1940s working women of the war years and the career girls of the 1950s and 1960s, single women have fought to find and feel comfortable in that room of their own. One need only look at Bridget Jones and the Sex and the City gang to see that single women still maintain an uneasy relationship with the rest of society -- and yet they radiate an aura of glamour and mystery in popular culture.As witty as it is well researched, as thoughtful as it is lively, Bachelor Girl is a must-read for women everywhere.
Composing a Life
Mary Catherine Bateson - 1989
Grove Press is pleased to reissue Bateson's deeply satisfying treatise on the improvisational lives of five extraordinary women. Using their personal stories as her framework, Dr. Bateson delves into the creative potential of the complex lives we live today, where ambitions are constantly refocused on new goals and possibilities. With balanced sympathy and a candid approach to what makes these women inspiring, examples of the newly fluid movement of adaptation--their relationships with spouses, children, and friends, their ever-evolving work, and their gender--Bateson shows us that life itself is a creative process. Well-formulated and passionate ... Offers nothing less than a radical rethinking of the concept of achievement. -- San Francisco Chronicle Fascinating ... A masterwork of rare breadth and particularity. -- The Boston Globe
Vagina: A New Biography
Naomi Wolf - 2012
Heralded by Publishers Weekly as one of the best science books of the year, it is a provocative and deeply engaging book that elucidates the ties between a woman's experience of her vagina and her sense of self; her impulses, dreams, and courage; and her role in love and in society in completely new and revelatory ways sure to provoke impassioned conversation.A brilliant and nuanced synthesis of physiology, history, and cultural criticism, Vagina: A New Biography explores the physical, political, and spiritual implications of this startling series of new scientific breakthroughs for women and for society as a whole, from a writer whose conviction and keen intelligence have propelled her works to the tops of bestseller lists, and firmly into the realms of modern classics.
All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation
Rebecca Traister - 2016
It was the year the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent; and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890–1980), had risen dramatically to twenty-seven. But over the course of her vast research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: The phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change—temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more. Today, only twenty percent of Americans are married by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960.
Virgin: The Untouched History
Hanne Blank - 2007
She tackles the reality of what we do and don't know about virginity and provides a sweeping tour of virgins in history--from virgin martyrs to Queen Elizabeth to billboards in downtown Baltimore telling young women it's not a "dirty word." Virgin proves, as well, how utterly contemporary the topic is--the butt of innumerable jokes, center of spiritual mysteries, locus of teenage angst, popular genre for pornography and nucleus around which the world's most powerful government has created an unprecedented abstinence policy. In this fascinating work, Hanne Blank shows for the first time why this is, and why everything we think we know about virginity is wrong.
Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy
Barbara Ehrenreich - 2003
But for every female executive racking up frequent flier miles there are multitudes of women whose journeys go unnoticed. Each year, millions leave Mexico, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and other third world countries to work in the homes, nurseries, and brothels of the first world. This broad-scale transfer of labor associated with women's traditional roles results in an odd displacement. In the new global calculus, the female energy that flows to wealthy countries is subtracted from poor ones, often to the detriment of the families left behind. The migrant nanny or cleaning woman, nursing-care attendant, maid eases a "care deficit" in rich countries, while her absence creates one back home. Confronting a range of topics, from the fate of Vietnamese mail-order brides to the importation of Mexican nannies in Los Angeles and the selling of Thai girls to Japanese brothels, a diverse and distinguised group of writers offer an unprecedented look at a world shaped by mass migration and economic exchange. Collected and introduced by bestselling authors Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild, these fifteen essays of which only four have been previously published reveal a new era in which the main resource extracted from the third world is no longer gold or silver, but love. Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of New York Times bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and The Worst Years of Our Lives, as well as Blood Rites. She lives near Key West, Florida. Arlie Russell Hochschild is the author of national bestsellers The Time Bind and The Second Shift. She live in San Francisco, California.
Whoredom In Kimmage: The Private Lives of Irish Women
Rosemary Mahoney - 1993
This beguiling account of Irish life transcends that nation's small shores through the power of Mahoney's great storytelling gifts.Before the phenomena of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, and Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization, Rosemary Mahoney traveled to Ireland in response to the growing feeling that changes were taking place, and that those changes directly involved women. Her ideas are animated in brilliantly crafted scenes, taking the reader from Dillon's tiny pub in Corofin to a lesbian pub in Dublin, from a Legion of Mary meeting to a classroom full of boisterous schoolgirls determined to drive their teacher, S'ta Keatin', over the edge. Here, too, are scenes with Ireland's first woman president, Mary Robinson, and the country's preeminent woman poet, Eavan Boland. But most memorable, and perhaps most prescient of the recent enchantment with literature about the Emerald Isle, are Mahoney's pitch-perfect ear for Irish bluster and warmth, her eye for detail, and people so real and unforgettable you'd think they were having a cup of tea with you.
The Underground Girls of Kabul: in Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan
Jenny Nordberg - 2014
A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as "dressed up like a boy") is a third kind of child – a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom. The Underground Girls of Kabul is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents' attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults. At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America's longest war. Divided into four parts, the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan, but who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty, only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth. The Underground Girls of Kabul charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere.