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1. Quicksands: A Memoir
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2. When All the World Was Young :
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3. A Room of One's Own
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4. Longman Anthology of Women's Literature
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5. The Writing Life
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6. Teaching a Stone to Talk : Expeditions
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7. Savage Beauty : The Life of Edna
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8. The Feminization of American Culture
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9. The Book of Margery Kempe
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10. The Cambridge Companion to Nineteenth-Century
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11. Russian Women Writers (Women Writers
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12. Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin :
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13. Women, Autobiography, Theory:
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14. Flannery O'connor's Sacramental
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15. Victorian Women Poets (Essays
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16. Without Reservations : The Travels
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17. The Wave in the Mind : Talks and
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18. The Genres and Genders of Surrealism
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19. Joining the Conversation : Dialogues
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20. The Princessa : Machiavelli for

1. Quicksands: A Memoir
by Sybille Bedford
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 1582431698
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Sales Rank: 9581
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Book Description

Beginning in 1956 with the publication of A Legacy, the highly acclaimed Sybille Bedford has narrated-in fiction and nonfiction-what has been by turns her sensuous, harrowing, altogether remarkable life. In this memoir, her first new book in over ten years, she provides the moving culmination to an epic personal story that takes readers from the Berlin of World War I, to the artists' set on the C™te d'Azur of the 1920s, through lovers, mentors, seducers, and friends, from genteel yet shabby poverty to settled comfort in London's West End. Whether evoking the simple sumptuousness of a home-cooked meal, or tracing the heartrending outline of an intimate betrayal, she offers both "a deliciously evoked return to worlds" (John Fowles), and spellbinding reflections on how history imprints itself on private lives. ... Read more


2. When All the World Was Young : A Memoir
by Barbara Holland
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Asin: 1582345252
Catlog: Book (2005-03-02)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Sales Rank: 32869
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The author deemed "a national treasure" by the Philadelphia Inquirer finally tells her own story, with this sharp and atmospheric memoir of a postwar American childhood.

Barbara Holland finally brings her wit and wisdom to the one subject her fans have been clamoring for for years: herself. When All the World Was Young is Holland's memoir of growing up in Washington, D.C. during the 1940s and 50s, and is a deliciously subversive, sensitive journey into her past. Mixing politics (World War II, Senator McCarthy) with personal meditations on fatherhood, mothers and their duties, and "the long dark night of junior high school," Holland gives readers a unique and sharp-eyed look at history as well as hard-earned insight into her own life. A shy, awkward girl with an overbearing stepfather and a bookworm mother, Holland surprises everyone by growing up into the confident, brainy, successful writer she is today. Tough, funny, and nostalgic yet unsentimental, When All the World Was Young is a true pleasure to read.
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Delightful
An absolutely delightful book that brings back so many memories. I've often wondered how any of us survived child hood. I had about as much trouble with school as she did, as she called it "The Long, Dark Night of Junior High School." We didn't have a junior high school, but I certainly thought high school was a bitch.

I was struck by her story of wanting to ride on the back seat of a bus. She was in the South at the time, and this forced the African American women to stand. But she didn't know. There weren't any signs, just 'everyone' knew.Where I lived there were signs. I remember riding on a bus with our "negro" (the word at the time) baby sitter. She sat behind the sign, my brother sat just in front of her, with the sign in the middle. My brother and I played with the sign until the ultimate authority in the world, the bus driver came back and said, "leave the sign alone kid." We sat perfectly still for the rest of the trip.

This book is not a typical autobiography. It's a series of little stories from a time when the world was different. It wasn't as easy a world as one would have liked, but she made it through.

My life was much the same, I wish I could write like she does.

5-0 out of 5 stars Memoir of the times as well as the person
A misfit, bookish, lonely child beset by terrors and bewilderment, Barbara Holland grew up to look back on her pre-mid-century childhood with wicked hilarity and affectionate humor, but not a shred of sentimentality. Growing up in the Washington DC suburbs during World War II, graduating high school in 1950, Holland, author of 14 non-fiction books, reanimates a bygone world when "the Father's chair" was sacrosanct and mothers never sat at all but fussed endlessly over their families. Except for her mother, who belonged in a category all her own: "Mothers and my mother."

Holland's mother is brilliant, attractive, talented, and about as unmaternal as a mother of five can be. A skilled carpenter and artist who believes her place is in the milieu she's least suited to - the home- she emerges as a complex, sympathetic character with dozens of quirks (not all of them endearing), who shuns housekeeping for murder mysteries.

Holland's stepfather, on the other hand, receives no such complex attention. He's a monster with only two dimensions, cold and brutal, and at long last Holland has her revenge on him. She calls him " `Carl,' since that wasn't his name." "Just thinking his name brings him back too vividly and I can even remember his smell, not noxious but sharp and distinct like a whiff of danger in the forest." Her real father was lost to divorce early on and nobody explained things to children in those days. Lucky for her, her grandmother anchored her childhood, a constant, if undemonstrative presence, with whom she spent most of her weekends.

Holland, writing as an adult, with an adult's horror and sympathy, appears comfortable with the elasticity and vagaries of memory. She conveys the immediacy of the child's world - the acuteness of perception, vulnerabilities and emotion - and accepts the large blurry patches from which islands of vividness emerge, inking the spaces with evocations of the daily round. Her chapter headings evoke the past with Dickensian humor, beginning with: "In Which the Chairs & Domestic Habits of Fathers Are Explored, & Nick Is Born."

She was five when Nick, her younger brother, appeared. "I was horrified....He howled when Carl was trying to read his paper; he howled at night when Carl needed his sleep. He fouled his diapers and made outrageous demands on Mother's time and attention, even during dinner. He was totally ignorant of the danger he was in; how could he know? He just got here." It was her job to save them both from being cast out of the house into the street. "Apparently Mother didn't understand the danger either. She had, as I said, a great capacity for refusing to notice."

School was the bane of Holland's existence, second only to Carl: "School & I Struggle with Each Other, Plus Hard Times with the Old Testament." The social maneuvering baffled her, numbers were a threatening mystery, each day was a looming dread. Reading, however, was a miracle, and she read voraciously, "shucking the self gladly like a shirt full of fleas."

In elementary school she was called on to read the Bible to her class each morning. A methodical child, unfamiliar with the Bible, she prepared herself by starting at the beginning. The "sheer meanness of God" shocked her. She cried hardest at the fate of Lot's wife: "Struck down for a moment's homesickness." "I wanted no more of God. He was Carl on a cosmic scale. When He put His foot down, everyone died."

Then came war, a time of change. A girl from California came to class wearing Bermuda shorts, a Northern family descended with a white housekeeper, Republicans moved into the neighborhood. Food deteriorated but children, just as they had before the war, "ate what was put in front of them, without comment, and barely noticed." Mother went to work. "Fathers, by definition, came home from the day's work exhausted and surly. Mother came home sparkling all over as if from a light fall of snow."

In school there were air raid drills and in Florida, where she spent summers, German submarines prowled the waters, sinking oil tankers, and fighter planes practiced offshore. "In Washington the war, though great fun, was largely imaginary; on Florida's east coast it was actually happening."

After the war there was Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee, which put the fear of State into many of their friends and neighbors, though not Holland's socialist grandmother, who resigned from teaching rather than sign the loyalty oath. There was also polio and the nuclear threat, which progressed from backyard shelters to evacuation to the end of life on earth.

"The Long Dark Night of Junior High School," ended with the blossoming of a wonderful, intense friendship, her first with a soul mate, and high school brought a succession of bad-boy boyfriends, then after graduation she fell into a stultifying depression. But Holland leaves us on a high note, "In Which I Am Saved Again & Live Happily Ever After:" saved by a job - nothing special about it, except the independence of a paycheck, no small thing, then or now.

Holland draws us into a time when big families were the norm, mothers stayed home and had black household help, children roamed at will, and people ate creamed chicken and pineapple upside down cake. In school history was male, girls weren't expected to do math or allowed to take shop and Latin was still offered. Funny, poignant, even savage, Holland's memoir will inspire you to seek out her other books, which cover a wide range of subjects from the irreverent presidential short takes of "Hail to the Chiefs," to "They Went Whistling," a wry and lively account of history's forgotten females, and "Gentleman's Blood," a sharp-witted history of dueling.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Cultural Reflection
My sister Sally H. S. says, "Had Barbara Holland stayed at BCC high school, instead of leaving as a sophomore because she flunked gym, we would have been in the same home room. . . she writes about sledding down Meadow Lane, and she went to Rosemary School.She does a great job of capturing the atmosphere of suburban Washington in WWII."

5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
What a terrific read! Here is a girl who slayed many a dragon, surviving to become a brave, funny and rocky-smart lady who writes like a dream. The fascinating personalities who people Barbara Holland's world are portrayed with precision and compassion. A noble work, highly recommended. ... Read more


3. A Room of One's Own
by Virginia Woolf
list price: $10.00
our price: $7.50
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Asin: 0156787334
Catlog: Book (1989-12-27)
Publisher: Harvest Books
Sales Rank: 10127
Average Customer Review: 4.04 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Surprisingly, this long essay about society and art and sexism is one of Woolf's most accessible works. Woolf, a major modernist writer and critic, takes us on an erudite yet conversational--and completely entertaining--walk around the history of women in writing, smoothly comparing the architecture of sentences by the likes of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen, all the while lampooning the chauvinistic state of university education in the England of her day. When she concluded that to achieve their full greatness as writers women will need a solid income and a privacy, Woolf pretty much invented modern feminist criticism. ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Witty and Intelligent Argument on Behalf of Female Writers
Virginia Woolf is a writer of intelligence and grace. A Room of One's Own is a skinny little treasure of a book with words and wisdom that will stay with the reader long after it is read. The essay contained in the book is the result of two papers that Ms. Woolf read to the Arts Society at newnham and Odtaa at Girton (England) in October of 1928. She was asked to speak about the topic of "Women and Fiction", and after doing so, she expanded her papers and later published them as this book.

Woolf begins the essay by writing, "I soon saw that [the subject of women and fiction] had one fatal drawback. I should never be able to come to a conclusion. I should never be able to fulfil what is, I understand, the first duty of a lecturer- to hand you after an hour's discourse a nugget of pure truth to wrap up between the pages of your notebooks and keep on the mantelpiece for ever. All I could do was to offer you an opinion upon one minor point- a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction... At any rate, when a subject is highly controversial- and any question about sex is that- one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opionion one does hold. One can only give one's audience the chance of drawing their own conslusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker."

It is in this straightforward and honest manner that Woolf writes about women and fiction. Although the speech was given and the book was published in 1929, all of its points are still important for women- and especially women writers and artists- today. In A Room of One's Own Woolf examines classic literary works of the past and wonders why most, until the 19th Century, were written by men, and why most of the works published by women in the 19th Century were fiction. She comes to the logical conclusion that women in the past had little to no time to write because of their childbearing and raising responsibilities. There is also the fact that they were not educated and were forbidden or discouraged from writing. When they did begin to write, they only had the common sitting rooms of Elizabethan homes to do so in, which did not provide much solitude or peace of mind, as it was open to any interruption and distraction that came along.

Woolf argues passionately that true independence comes with economic well-being. This is true for countries, governments, individuals, and writers, especially female writers. Without financial security it is impossible for any writer to have the luxury of writing for writing's sake. It is also a very inspiring book for any aspiring write to read. I end this review with Virginia Woolf's own hopes for women in the future:

"... I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream."

(If you liked this review, please read my other book reviews under my Amazon profile...)

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful but Out of Date
When I read this book the first time I was enthralled. We really take for granted the position our mothers and grandmothers worked so hard to ensure for us. I forget how close in time we are to when women couldn't vote or attend male universities.

Virginia Woolf was provided a room of her own to be able to create the work that has become so influential in twentieth century writing. In an ideal world everyone would be allowed to artistically express themselves without having to be in the "real world." I know that since I graduated from college and have been working 40-50 hour work weeks, I am less inclined to read or write. I don't feel like I can let that be my excuse, though, just because it would be easier to write if I could spend all my time doing it. The request that women have money and a room seems very upper-middle-class and out of touch with the way life was even in Woolf's time.

In spite of those criticisms, I am so glad I read this book. It made me feel empowered as a woman and a writer. This is a must read for anyone trying to understand the history of feminism.

1-0 out of 5 stars Room better left unvisited
Although this critique might be viewed by my professors as academic suicide, I shall plunge headfirst and hope that the branches of tolerance break my fall. I do not like A Room of Ones Own. I understand the concept of stylized writing, but the content of the book does nothing to draw in the reader. Certainly, Woolf's mastery in writing should be applauded on its merit; however, I am not progressed far enough in my education to fully appreciate Woolf's subtleties. There is nothing in A Room of One's Own that remains once the book is closed, although the pages are full of wonderful ideas. The presentation of these ideas; however, are uninteresting and handled in a very preachy manner. It is my opinion that such revolutionary ideas should have been shot forth from a canon rather than whispered in a library

4-0 out of 5 stars Virginia Woolf: an advocate and speaker for women
A Room of One¡¦s Own is an essay, which is ¡§based upon two papers read to the Arts Society at Newnham and the Odtaa at Girton¡¨ in 1928.Virginia Woolf, an advocate and speaker for women, gives a really good and important lesson to females. She challenges the norm and tradition of the patriarchal society. By questioning the phenomenon of the society, Woolf clearly points out the insufficient opportunities for women and the deprivation of talented women in different ways, especially in education and work. For the essay, Woolf invents Shakespeare¡¦s sister, Judith, and tells us the life of Judith. She shows us that society overlooks the talent of women; thus, a lot of intelligent women are not recognized in the world. She urge people to open their eyes, take a serious look at women and praise them for their talents.
The other important message that Woolf brings to women is about freedom and the ways to strive for it. Adequate income and a room of one¡¦s own are the two essential factors for a woman to earn freedom. These basics can free women from getting nothing but children. Women can have more choices besides staying at home and doing housework; life will be different if one has her own space. I think Woolf¡¦s Essay is indeed a timeless lecture for every woman. As a woman, I think we should use our knowledge to strike for freedom and opportunities for ourselves and our next generations, just like Virginia Woolf challenges the norm and system of the society.

4-0 out of 5 stars Every writer must read this...and create your own room.
This is a testament to writers everywhere. Write, write, and write is what you must do to become published, but you must have your own space to do so. Virginia Woolf's testament to that resounds just by the fact that her writing has survived various generations to still be read today. ... Read more


4. Longman Anthology of Women's Literature
by Mary K. DeShazer
list price: $77.20
our price: $77.20
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Asin: 032101006X
Catlog: Book (2000-12-22)
Publisher: Longman
Sales Rank: 173791
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Book Description

Offering readers key women's writings from the eighth century to the present, this global and multicultural anthology includes selections written in English by women from Great Britain and the U.S. as well as Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Croatia, Ghana, India, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa.Organized thematically, the anthology emphasizes five important topics for women writers finding a voice, writing the body, rethinking the maternal, identity and difference, and resistance and transformation. Pivotal works of feminist theory by Woolf, Cixous, Showalter, hooks, Trinh, and others are also included.For those interested in women's literature. ... Read more


5. The Writing Life
by Ellen Gilchrist
list price: $28.00
our price: $18.48
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Asin: 1578067391
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Sales Rank: 67253
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Book Description

Celebrated author Ellen Gilchrist has played many roles---writer and speaker, wife and lover, mother and grandmother. But she never tackled the role of teacher.

Offered the opportunity to teach creative writing at the University of Arkansas, she took up the challenge and ventured into unknown territory. In the process of teaching more than two hundred students since her first class in 2000, she has found inspiration in their lives and ambitions, and in the challenge of conveying to them the lessons she has learned from living and writing.

"The Writing Life" brings together fifty essays and vignettes centered on the transforming magic of literature and the teaching and writing of it. A portion of the collection discusses the delicate balance between an artistic life and family commitments, especially the daily pressures and frequent compromises faced by a young mother. Gilchrist next focuses on the process of writing itself with essays ranging from "How I Wrote a Book of Short Stories in Three Months" to "Why Is Rewriting So Hard?"

Several essays discuss her appreciation of other writers, from Shakespeare to Larry McMurtry, and the lessons she learned from them. Eudora Welty made an indelible impact on Gilchrist's work. When Gilchrist takes on the task of teaching, her essays reveal an enriched understanding of the role writing plays in any life devoted to the craft. Humorous and insightful, she assesses her own abilities as an instructor and confronts the challenge of inspiring students to attain the discipline and courage to pursue the sullen art. Some of these pieces have been previously published in magazines, but most are unpublished and all appear here in book form for the first time. ... Read more


6. Teaching a Stone to Talk : Expeditions and Encounters
by Annie Dillard
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
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Asin: 0060915412
Catlog: Book (1988-09-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 26788
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Here, in this compelling assembly of writings, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard explores the world of natural facts and human meanings. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Seeing Life With Her Eyes Open
A couple of months ago, I happened upon the wholly enchanting For the Time Being by Annie Dillard. Following up on that, I just read this Teaching a Stone to Talk, and I will certainly be continuing to explore the work of this amazing author.

Teaching a Stone to Talk is a collection of essays that contains some true masterpieces. My personal favorite is the first, "Living Like Weasels," in which Dillard encourages us, and points for us the way, to remember how to live. Others are almost equal. "An Expedition to the Pole" cleverly and poignantly compares the journeys of arctic and antarctic explorers with the goings on in a tiny church congregation searching for God. In "God in the Doorway," Dillard expounds on an encounter with a woman and uses it to illuminate on the nature of God's love.

Teaching a Stone to Talk is a truly amazing work. Whether she is writing about nature, an eclipse, or about a conversation with a small boy, Dillard manages to mesmerize the reader with her words and humor, and she blows the reader away with her wisdom and insight.

5-0 out of 5 stars Contains some of her finest essays
I remember a paradoxical statement about the Bible that I heard attributed to Karl Barth: "The Bible is not the word of God, but it contains the word of God." Well, TEACHING A STONE TO TALK is not Annie Dillard's finest book (that distinction belongs to either PILGRIM AT TINKERS CREEK or AN AMERICAN CHILDHOOD), but it contains her best work, i.e., some essays that are as good as anything that she has ever written. Almost inevitably, as in most collections, some of the essays aren't nearly as strong as the best, but the good ones make this slender volume essential reading for any fan of Ms. Dillard.

My personal favorite among the fourteen comprising this book is also the longest, "An Expedition to the Pole." I consider myself to be a deeply religious person, but I also find church services to be almost unbearable (much like one of my literary heroes, Samuel Johnson). In this essay, Dillard contrasts her experiences in an utterly dreadful church service with many of the attempts in the nineteenth century to mount expeditions to reach the North Pole. The attempts of those adventurers are simultaneously tragic and laughable, in that their goal was so vastly beyond their means. The implication is that the same is true in worship: we attempt to worship god, but our efforts are clumsy and fall far short of the mark. There is nobility in both, and certainly Dillard doesn't want to imply that worship is futile. But the parallels are there. It is a brilliant essay.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Luminescent Feast for the Sentient
Her Pilgrim at Tinker Creek won the Pulitzer for non-fiction in 1974, establishing her reputation for magical writing and eyes that see the world in a special way that open ours when she describes what she is seeing. In this 5th book she continues her exploration of the world and translating it into human terms and meanings. Don't dismiss Dillard's narratives as simple excursions into nature with lessons or morals tacked on. Dillard's descriptions are powerful. You not only see the total eclipse she watches from a Washington hillside; you feel its aura, shudder in the morning chill, sense the mixture of awe, wonder and even momentary fear as the crowd screams.

Annie Dillard writes with an eye for splendor and for suffering, with a sense of amazement and of loss. She witnesses events: the sun eclipses, a deer struggles at the end of a rope, a weasel meets her eye. There is a man burnt, a flight of wild swans circling, a young girl who vows never to change, a band of polar explorers who drift on ice floes. Annie Dillard is an explorer, in the world and on the page.

Teaching A Stone To Talk: Expeditions and Encounters is a collection of stunning personal narratives that stretch from eastern woods and farmlands to the Pacific northwest coast, to tropical islands and rivers.

4-0 out of 5 stars Teaching a Scientist to Write
Albert Einstein himself once said, "The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." A scientist is not more intelligent than a layperson, but rather thinks differently. A talented scientist thinks of every aspect of life in terms of science and facts and hypotheses and theories. A talented scientific writer thinks of science in terms of people and society and relevance and literature. Annie Dillard, the author of Teaching a Stone to Talk, achieved the status of "talented scientific writer" by infusing each of her words with science, literature, and importance.
After reading only the first few paragraphs of this book, it was evident that Annie Dillard was an excellent writer, regardless of what she was writing about. After reading a few more paragraphs, I realized that this was going to be a good book for more than its literary merits. The science aspect of Teaching a Stone to Talk is written in the form of a concentration, not an overwhelming theme. This book is very effective in that it examines so many areas of long-studied and complicated science and still manages to present each one in simple terms. I am not a scientist by any means and I understood every last scientific reference and technological term. More importantly, I understood them not as pages of facts, but as human-interest stories.
Each of the book's 14 chapters was split into two consecutive sections: one concerning the science and one concerned with the people. For example, the second chapter, "An Expedition to the Pole," takes turns telling about research expeditions to Polar regions and the congregation of the author's church. Although the two topics seem completely unrelated, the author points out that both the members of the expeditions and the members of the congregation are searching blindly for something and are too often concerned with their own petty issues. This organization is well structured and seems a natural progression.
The facts of the book are not presented as theories; they are presented as observations. The previous studies of scientists are cited and discussed in detail, and they are also validated by the author's own experiences. For instance, after the author tells the history of polar expeditions, she tells the story of her own voyage to the Arctic Circle and the occurrences she observed. Dillard describes each detail of her voyage so that the reader may experience second-hand what he or she will most likely never experience first-hand.
I did not learn about science from the book Teaching a Stone to Talk. I learned about the most important, fundamental foundation of science: observation. The author observed nature and its land and creatures, but she also observed people and their habits and expectations. This book is a true reflection of the significance of science in everyday life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing adventures........
.......as can only be expressed by Annie Dillard.

This collection of Dillard's travels and experiences will simply make you want to go out and experience each for yourself!

You will long to find yourself in the midst of a solar eclipse: "The grasses were wrong; they were platinum. Their every detail of stem, head and blade shone lightness and artificially distinct as an art photographer's platinum print. This color has never been seen on earth. The hues were metallic; their finish was matte. The hillside was a 19th century tinted photograph from which the tints have faded...............The sky was navy blue. My hands were silver." Reading Dillard's words has simply made me promise myself that I will not pass from this life without having witnessed the wonder of a solar eclipse.

The remainder of Dillard's expeditions and encounters are equally amazing. Travel with her words and come to know the terrors of the North Pole, the sheer tenacity of weasels, the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands, the journeys of mangrove islands, fantasic mirages over Puget Sound and much more. Dillard brings each to full life through her descriptions and her thoughts on each. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a sense of curiosity and adventure! You'll love it! ... Read more


7. Savage Beauty : The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay
by NANCY MILFORD
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 0375760814
Catlog: Book (2002-09-10)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 17263
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Thomas Hardy once said that America had two great attractions: the skyscraper and the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. The most famous poet of the Jazz Age, Millay captivated the nation: She smoked in public, took many lovers (men and women, single and married), flouted convention sensationally, and became the embodiment of the New Woman.

Thirty years after her landmark biography of Zelda Fitzgerald, Nancy Milford returns with an iconic portrait of this passionate, fearless woman who obsessed America even as she tormented herself. Chosen by USA Today as one of the top ten books of the year, Savage Beauty is a triumph in the art of biography. Millay was an American original—one of those rare characters, like Sylvia Plath and Ernest Hemingway, whose lives were even more dramatic than their art.
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Reviews (42)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book as intoxicating as its subject
A phenomenon when she burst onto the literary scene in the Twenties, Edna Millay, I believe, would herself be pleased with this phenomenal biography. I discovered Millay's poetry when I was in high school in Kansas in the Fifties, the Beatnik era, but in Kansas, I certainly knew no Beatniks. Millay became my muse, the poetic string connecting me to another world beyond the endless fields of corn and wheat. I visited her home in Greenwich Village, read all of her poetry, and can still quote long passages from memory.
Savage Beauty, a large book, does ample justice to the large personality of Millay, chronicling her life and lifestyle, both of which were 'unconventional,' in every sense of the word. Such was the impact of this genius, this 'force of nature,' that she willfully created her persona, in the process lifting herself and her dependent family out of poverty and onto the front pages.
The intensity of her poetic works is mirrored in the intensity with which she lived her life. Her short signature poem 'I burn my candle at both ends; it will not last the night. But ah my foes and oh my friends, it gives a lovely light' became a slogan for an era - and even more, a definition of her own life, at the end of which she did, indeed, flame out in an excess of living.

3-0 out of 5 stars Renascence woman
"Renascence" has always been one of my favorite poems. Did you know Millay wrote it when she was only twenty? Milford includes other interesting little tidbits, as well as a detailed analysis of the woman who burned her candle at both ends. Yes, she died young, a drug addict and an alcoholic. Milford also includes her affairs with men and women, her problems with money, and her health problems, but I found the family relationships most interesting (Lots of pictures).
Millay's mother kicked her feckless husband out of the house, as did her grandmother (who was killed by a runaway horse)hers; all three of the Millay sisters were poets (Norma, the least ambitious of the three, writes a sonnet to rival Edna's best towards the end of the book). The youngest sister, Kathleen, was a sad case. Although she published a couple of novels and several books of poetry, she was jealous of Edna, hounded her for money, and did her level best to embarrass her in print. Millay's mother was the true inspiration for Edna. She read the girls poetry, wrote some of her own (publishing toward the end of her life). She validates B.F. Skinner's theory on parental inspiration and Edna gave her credit.
We also see the writer as performance artist. Edna wins a contest and is invited to read for literary societies in her home town, during which time she wins the support of a woman who sponsors her application to Vassar. According to Milford, Millay was an electrifying reader and became famous largely because of her book tours. She even did radio during a time when poetry was given its due.
Millay also wrote plays and even a book for an opera, all of which did well. She was a true Renascence woman.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read!
This is one of the best books I have read in several years. It is magical, provocative,and educational - a true treasure. I've never been interested in reading biographies, but after reading this, I've realized what I've been missing.

I also disagree with one reviewer that Edna St. Vincent Millay is "obscure" to most living Americans. I think many easily recognize her name - and even if they don't, this book is a fabulous way to learn about an otherwise unfamiliar individual.

5-0 out of 5 stars Promiscuity and tenderness
The first poem of Millay's I read was "The Spring and the Fall", shown to me by a jr. high school friend. Edna St. Vincent Millay has always somehow been with me since then, especially since I began teaching her poems in my English classes more than a decade ago.

What really motivated me to buy this book were student questions about Millay's life that I couldn't answer based on the meager materials I had at hand; for example, 'Why did Millay's mother ask Millay's father to leave the family?' and 'How could Millay write such tender poetry when she was so promiscuous?'

I'm glad to say that this book provided answers to these and many other questions I'd never have thought to ask. Milford's work helps the reader begin to know the very complex personality behind the poetic genius and tenderness - as well as the nymphomania and utter self-centeredness. Millay had electrifying charm, and it probably is very difficult not to use this to personal advantage when one has it.

Milford also delves into some of the origins underlying Millay's life choices by describing her family life and relationships in considerable detail. Since a very young age, Millay had to be the strong one who held things together in her family, and she was perhaps never able to find someone strong enough to look after *her* in the same way - she held the upper hand in almost every relationship she had, and this paved the way for abuse of her formidable personal power.

Millay was so indulged by the world and herself that she must have felt either invincible or simply fatalistic as she slid ever more deeply into what could only be called debauchery, and later serious chemical dependence.

The side biographies interwoven into the book are fascinating as well - how Millay's husband Eugen consciously chose to indulge and put up with Millay as a path to his own self-realization, which he built on the excitement of being near the vortex of Millay's poetic and emotional tempests. There are George Slocombe and George Dillon, two men who succeeded in truly captivating Millay for extended periods of time. And then there's the ongoing comic relief provided by descriptions of the author's interactions with Millay's one surviving (at the time of the writing) sister Norma, who in spite of a disinclination to write otherwise once penned a quite brilliant sonnet in a desperate - and successful - attempt to get Edna's attention when Edna was largely ignoring her. Norma later expressed anger at 'what it took' just to get Edna to answer her letters. And then there's the different levels of competition among the four Millay women, Edna, her mother Cora, who also aspired to being a poet, Norma, who reluctantly provided the author with access to Edna's papers, and the youngest sister Kathleen, who wrote very good poetry that came at the wrong moment from the wrong family.

This book is exhilarating. It's just the kind the more mundane among us read to find out about lives we will never and would never ourselves live.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I had no idea Ms. Millay had led such a fascinating and tumultuous life. This is wonderfully written and not at all dry like you'd expect. ... Read more


8. The Feminization of American Culture
by Ann Douglas
list price: $32.00
our price: $32.00
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Asin: 0374525587
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Sales Rank: 399547
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This classic of modern feminism is an ambitious attempt to trace certain present-day values back to cultural shifts of the 19th century. Historian Ann Douglas entwines the fate of American women, most notably those of the white middle class, with that of clergy marginalized by the rise in religious denominations and consequent dilution of their power base. No longer invited to wield influence in vital (some might say traditionally masculine) political and economic arenas, clergy were pushed toward more feminine spheres and rules of expression. Likewise, as growing numbers of middle-class white women lost their place as the indispensable center of household production, and many lower-class women became easily replaced industrial cogs, a none-too-subtle shift in perceptions about women's strengths and abilities occurred. Women lost voting rights and other legal privileges; barred from healing and midwifery, they were also less likely to appear in other increasingly male professions. Academies for wealthier girls imparted skills deemed to entice and soothe men without taxing supposedly tiny feminine brains; when Emma Willard offered geometry lessons to girls in the 1820s, one opponent harrumphed: "They'll be educating cows next." Douglas chronicles the rise of an overwhelmingly sentimental "feminization" of mass culture--in which writers of both sexes underscored popular convictions about women's weaknesses, desires, and proper place in the world--with erudite and well-argued scholarship. --Francesca Coltrera ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars masterly
One can only imagine the work that has gone into this staggering piece of intellectual history - whose axis is the unforeseeable and fateful rise of the female public in American intellectual life, and contemporaneously the collapse of the old, muscular style of Protestant religiosity and intellect - from the kind and number of sources the author uses. She has apparently trawled through reams and piles of obscure newspapers and magazines, familiarized herself with writing most of us would be glad to avoid, learned to distinguish the various strands of an intellectual and publishing life which is, to modern America, as alien as imperial China or early Sumer. The result is tremendous: not only a resurrection of a past age that does it honour and justice (if anything, one seems to perceive, in this female scholar, a certain sympathy - even nostalgia - for the utra-male, activist, iron-faced world of the old Puritan thinkers, post-Jonathan Edwards and his likes), but a flood of light on the origins of our (not exclusively American) world and society. This simply cannot be praised too much; future historians will not be able to prescind from it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not a feminist polemic, nor "cultural criticism"
This is foremost a history, and has a focus rather more restricted than its title would suggest, surveying the careers and lives of thirty women and thirty (male) ministers involved in the "feminization" of northeastern Victorian America. The author convinced me in arguing for the significance of said feminization, but I felt burdened by all the biographical minutiae. One has to ignore reams of trivia to grasp the larger themes hinted at in the titles of the chapters (e.g., "The Escape From History," "The Domestication of Death). Where the author breaks the tedium with an impassioned commentary, she seems to be writing a different book altogether. But Douglas's treatment of the theme is original and even-handed, and her short biography of Margaret Fuller compensates for the tiresome church histories. ... Read more


9. The Book of Margery Kempe
by JOHN SKINNER
list price: $19.00
our price: $19.00
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Asin: 0385490372
Catlog: Book (1998-05-18)
Publisher: Image
Sales Rank: 349326
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The first autobiography written in English--by a brewery owner, Christian mystic, and mother of 14 named Margery Kempe, who died in the 15th century--is now available in a lively, modern translation by John Skinner. It begins with her stark conversion experience, heralded by a vision of Christ in her bedroom one night. The story follows Margery through pilgrimages across Europe and to the Holy Land, through a heresy trial in England, and her burgeoning mystical life. Similar in many ways to Showings by Julian of Norwich and the Confessions of Augustine, The Book of Margery Kempe is a beautiful description of medieval daily life and religious experience. --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars I expected more...
Another book I read for class. I knew a little about Margery Kempe beforehand, like she had 14 children. I didn't know that the first autobiography ever written in English was so boring. I felt like Margery repeated herself, over and over. I wanted more details about her life- about her husband, her children, and her pilgrimages. I don't think I would pick this up unless you are specifically interested in early Christianity writings.

5-0 out of 5 stars A medieval woman's spiritual journey through life
Margery Kempe lived from about 1373~1440s, and she really LIVED.In this book, accorded by many to be the first autobiography in English, a scribe records the tale of her life, but most specifically the aspects of it that relate to her spirituality.She was outspoken, controversial, courageous, annoying, devout, and eccentric and all of these aspects shine through into the book, even through the cloudy filter of a male religious scribe who may have 'polished' her words to make her sound more orthodox.

Margery began life as the daughter of the mayor of Lynn in England, and made a well-suited marriage.After the birth of her first child, she went mad due to some pent-up guilt and an unsympathetic confessor, and during this madness was spoken to by Jesus.This moment changed her life, and snapped her out of the madness.She continued with her worldly ways with failed attempts at entrepenurism and her delight in the physical side of marital relations... but after aobut 20 years she felt the pull of God and decided she needed to devote herself entirely to him.

Margery went about a long process of procuring chastity from her husband and set off on pilgrimages world wide.She was known for her loud, uncontrollable weeping fits that occured at random and caused many to claim she was a heretic.However, she stood trial before the Archbishops of England, on multiple occasions, and was never once convicted of heresy, and in fact often impressed the higher church officials with her knowledge of doctrine and the Bible.She went through many struggles in her life, but her deity was always there communicating with her or helping her through the cruelty of others, assuring her that all her pain on earth would only increase her joy in heaven.

Some reader bewares: Margery was hated for a *reason*, you can see this in so many of the encounters that she has, it is so easy to imagine how nagging and annoying having a prim, preaching, all-knowing person along with you on a long voyage all day long would be; or how alarming it would be to have some woman in hysterical fits day after day in the middle of your church when you were trying to pray.Margery comes across as arrogant in some ways - but if you had the unshakable knowledge that your deity loved you and you were going straight to heaven, wouldn't you be a tad uppity too?She was humble though, for example she spent weeks living in a hovel serving a beggar woman while in Rome, and she returned home to nurse her dying husband when he had a fall.

If you are interested in medieval studies, in women's history or feminism, in mysticism or religious history, this is a must-read for both its historical significance and its entertainment value.Its being taught at college campuses across the country now, so its gaining in recognition.Don't skip the introduction because its extremly informative, but the chapters can be read out of order because they are only loosely chronological and very short.In her time people either loved or hated Margery Kempe, and the same holds true today, so pick up the book and see which side you're on!

5-0 out of 5 stars Deserves more exposure
As the earliest piece of English writing (in the sense of first-hand account of life rather than fiction) this book is irreplaceable.
I was quite surprised at the readable quality of the book, compared to other medieval writings. True, the book was dictated to an amanuensis by Margery, but that makes it all the more surprising - dictation generally does not have the flow that one's own writing has.
.
There are some drawbacks ... the book is written with hindsight, and the facts are necessarily clouded by time and memory, but what does come across is that Margery was a sick woman, mentally, physically and spiritually.
She makes it very clear that she abhors the carnal side of marriage, yet dwells upon it at great length, as if 'the lady doth protest too much'.
Her frequents outbursts of wailing and self-abasement come across as an extreme form of PMS or hysteria brought on by self-denial.
Her excessive praying strikes one as an excuse for anything that she doesn't want to deal with normally.

As others have pointed out, she was well-to-do, had a thriving business, was not molested by her husband (apart from his alleged sexual demands, which do not seem excessive) yet spends an inordinate amount of time bemoaning her fate and her husband's demands on her.

Putting that to one side, there is a lot in this book to make one re-think our views of medieval life and the specifically the role of women.
For a woman to have a good business-head; have her own means of support; dictate conditions of marriage to her husband; travel as and when the mood took her; this doesn't sound like your archetypal medieval goode-wyfe...

Maybe this book should be more widely read ???

4-0 out of 5 stars The First Autobiography in English
My Medieval class is keeping me very busy reading about women in the 14th century. First, I read about Julian of Norwich and her book, "Revelations of Divine Love", which I found to be very wordy and dense. "The Book of Margery Kempe" was easier, in that the theological development is embryonic, and therefore easier to understand, and the reader gets more information about Margery and her personal life.

Margery Kempe lived in England in the 14th century. The daughter of a well-to-do who served as mayor of his town, Margery seems to have had high expectations for her life that weren't realized. She married a man who had money problems, had fourteen children, and ran a brewery business that failed. After the birth of one of her children, Margery had a vision of Christ, and her life was forever changed. The bulk of the book details her various pilgrimages and adventures, as well as detailed accounts of her discussions with Christ.

While this is quite a colorful book, in an emotional sense, Margery doesn't come across as a very sincere person, which is what one would expect from a bride of Christ. One small incident that comes to mind is when Margery is praying for one of her religious instructors to get well. She doesn't pray that he will get healthy for his own sake, but so that she will be able to talk to him again. This theme of self-centered behavior runs throughout the book. Problems are seen not as tests of her faith or spirit, but as personal attacks on Margery, and they are something to be confronted instead of endured, although Margery pays lip service to the concepts of patience and humility.

What got Margery into so much trouble in the first place was the expressions of her intimate dialogues with Christ. Margery would weep, cry, roar and scream whenever God willed her to do this. Of course, this often happened in church and at meals. This often infuriated people, who were convinced that Margery was faking her behavior. Some of the fits do seem to be descriptions of temper tantrums more befitting a child. Margery also had some fits in which she turned blue and twisted from side to side. The classic child tantrum! Another annoying habit was her constant talking about God, Christ and all the spiritual things that those two figures entail. It's not hard to imagine that this would have gotten old fast.

The book reads quick and the endnotes are very helpful in providing dates and places, as well as biographical information on some of the important people that Margery encounters in her travels. The timeline at the front of the book helps keep events in order, as Margery dictated her story to a priest, and her memory doesn't always place events in the right chronological order.

I read the Penguin edition and found it to be most enjoyable. Anyone interested in Medieval history or Christian mysticism should certainly give this one a spin.

5-0 out of 5 stars Correcting Previous Mistakes
Just wanted to point out: Margery Kempe was actually extremely wealthy, not "lower class." There is evidence that John Kempe married her for her money. She was the operator of a brewery, which also provided agreat deal of income. Lower class medieval women usually didn't have themeans to travel around evangelizing. ... Read more


10. The Cambridge Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Women's Writing (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
list price: $24.99
our price: $24.99
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Asin: 0521669758
Catlog: Book (2001-11-15)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 397675
Average Customer Review: 1 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Providing an overview of the history of writing by women in the period, this companion examines contextually the work of a variety of women writers, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rebecca Harding Davis and Louisa May Alcott. The volume provides several valuable tools for students, including a chronology of works and suggestions for further reading. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

1-0 out of 5 stars Caveat lector: do NOT buy this book
I began reading this book with great anticipation, looking forward to a pleasant evening learning more about a sadly-neglected subject; women's writing in 19th century America.

About two thirds down the first page of the historical timeline, one eyebrow went up. Three seconds later the other eyebrow joined the first eyebrow. By page 20 I was ready to ask for my money back.

This book is riddled with so many errors of fact, grammar and spelling (a character in one of Mrs. E.D. E. N. Southworth's novels is described as "fighting duals")that I can't believe it made it past the fact-checker and the copy-editor. I have to ask myself the question: If the editors couldn't be bothered to catch these minor, silly mistakes, how can I have any confidence that the rest of the information they are imparting is accurate?

Messrs Bauer and Gould should be ashamed of themselves for allowing such a slipshod piece of work to make it into print. ... Read more


11. Russian Women Writers (Women Writers of the World)
list price: $315.00
our price: $315.00
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Asin: 0815317972
Catlog: Book (1998-12-01)
Publisher: Garland Publishing
Sales Rank: 840617
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Book Description

A unique contribution to women's studies and Russian literature, this collection of critical/biographical articles and translated excerpts focuses on the literary, cultural, and political contexts of the writings of 71 Russian women authors from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. In its exploration of culture and tradition, this two-volume set is the most ambitious representation of women's writing in Russian in this format, including diverse genres of writing and introducing authors previously neglected in scholarly studies. Most of the translations appear in English for the first time; some are published here for the first time in any language.
This comprehensive work explores a number of issues of concern to the study of women's literature. What role does women's writing have in the canon of Russian literature, and how did it evolve? What has been its relationship to literature by male contemporaries? Why did many of these authors experience declines in popularity? Why have others enjoyed recognition among the greatest writers in the Russian tradition, despite the enigma of their lives? Is there a continuing tradition in the prose of Russian women writers? In offering answers to these and other questions, this encyclopedic project supplies fresh new material for future research and analysis.
... Read more


12. Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin : Writers Running Wild in the Twenties
by MARION MEADE
list price: $26.95
our price: $16.98
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Asin: 0385502427
Catlog: Book (2004-05-18)
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Sales Rank: 43057
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book for the summer
Fun and light, this is a perfect beach read. Marion Meade is a terrific writer and brings the four women back to life. Learn all about the parties, the gossip, and their outlandish lifestyles...

5-0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, Juicy and Thoroughly Entertaining
Sex. Drugs. Booze. Wild parties. No, it's not another rock-and-roll band tell-all. It's Marion Meade's intelligent, juicy and thoroughly entertaining BOBBED HAIR AND BATHTUB GIN.

Meade's latest effort recounts in luscious detail the lives, loves, closeted skeletons and tormented souls of Zelda Fitzgerald, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker and Edna Ferber --- literary figures whose stars burned brightly and whose legends took form in the period in American history bracketed by the end of World War One and the beginning of the Great Depression.

BOBBED HAIR AND BATHTUB GIN is divided into eleven chapters, each covering a single year from 1920 to 1930. The four women form the core of the narrative, which spirals outward as it advances through the decade of the Roaring Twenties to include a host of figures that swarmed around New York City's journalism, theater and publishing hives. Variously entwined and entangled with the women at the center of the giddy gin- and hormone-fueled maelstrom are dozens of familiar names, including Robert Benchley, Alexander Woollcott, and other members of the notorious Algonquin Roundtable; H. L. Mencken; and of course, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Meade's exhaustive research and crisp writing have produced a work that is at once a fascinating history of the American literary scene in the Twenties and a sensational beach read, a thinking-person's soap opera. A welcome antidote to the assorted dullards and contrived situations of reality television, BOBBED HAIR AND BATHTUB GIN delivers smart, extraordinarily talented real people, human beings with the obsessions, neurosis and psychological baggage that are part of the requisite chemistry of artistic genius, literary or otherwise.

In their twenties during the Twenties, Zelda Fitzgerald, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker and Edna Ferber were, like their contemporaries, people who gleefully ignored inconvenient laws and problematic social conventions. They were at various times heartbreakers and heartbroken. The men in their lives acted either as the hero/protector, or like navigationally challenged birds that fly into windowpanes.

As a kind of who's who of American writers of the era, BOBBED HAIR AND BATHTUB GIN offers a compelling portrait of a unique period in American cultural history. While many of the real-life characters in this wonderful book ultimately found something less than happy endings, one feels perhaps a greater sense of loss for the passing of an era when print was king and writers were revered as stars in their own right. (It must also be observed, however, that they were also the subjects of a level of public interest and scrutiny that made Scott and Zelda the Ben and J-Lo of their day.)

H. G. Wells, who makes a brief appearance at a party in BOBBED HAIR AND BATHTUB GIN, was, of course, the author of THE TIME MACHINE. In a profound and thoroughly engaging way, author Marion Meade has provided readers with the means to travel back to 1920 and witness the lives of four women whose voices, vices and literary virtues added to the roar. It is a journey well worth the effort.

--- (...)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly entertaining
This is a delightful read to be sure. With prose that sparkles and mirrors the era, the four talented and eccentric ladies are brought into full relief.

5-0 out of 5 stars Take a Trip Back to the Twenties
Marion Meade's new book Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin is like manna from heaven for aficionados of the Roaring Twenties.

Seventeen years ago Meade wrote What Fresh Hell is This? It remains the definitive Dorothy Parker biography; now she expands on the 10 most exciting years of Parker's life, along with Edna Ferber, Zelda Fitzgerald and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

The subtitle of Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin is "Writer's Running Wild in the Twenties" and it is an exciting read that zeroes in on one decade in the lives of the four women and those close to them. There are other, longer, and deeper biographies and autobiographies of the quartet, but this book digs beneath the surface about what made them so unique, powerful and passionate about what they did.

Meade had a real challenge before her. The reader knows how all four will end up post-1930. The task was to shine a spotlight on the crucial years when all four came into their own and were either on their way up, or down, professionally or personally. Some of the tale is humorous, often tragic, but always fascinating. Anyone who's read about these women before is sure to learn something new that bigger books might have overlooked.

If you're reading Bobbed Hair and happen to be a lover of writers, history, old books and the theatre, then you might know what's around the corner for all of these women. The stock market crash of 1929 is looming. The Depression is on its way. Prohibition will end. Adolph Hitler is coming to power. And yet the book brings these women and their cohorts so vividly to life, like it was only yesterday that they were creating new material and turning up in the gossip columns. ... Read more


13. Women, Autobiography, Theory: A Reader (Wisconsin Studies in American Autobiography (Paper))
by Sidonie Smith, Julia Watson
list price: $29.95
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Asin: 0299158446
Catlog: Book (1998-07-01)
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Sales Rank: 461624
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Book Description

Women, Autobiography, Theory is the first comprehensive guide tothe burgeoning field of womens autobiography, drawing into one volumethe most significant theoretical discussions on womens life writing ofthe last two decades. The authoritative introduction by Sidonie Smithand Julia Watson surveys writing about womens lives from the womensmovement of the late 1960s to the present. It also relates theoreticalpositions in womens autobiography studies to postmodern,poststructuralist, postcolonial, and feminist analyses.The essaysfrom thirty-nine prominent critics and writers include many consideredclassics in this field. They explore narratives across the centuriesand from around the globe, including testimonios, diaries, memoirs,letters, trauma accounts, prison narratives, coming-out stories,coming-of-age stories, and spiritual autobiographies. A list of morethan two hundred womens autobiographies and a comprehensivebibliography of critical scholarship in womens autobiography provideinvaluable information for scholars, teachers, and readers.

Thereis no other reader like this one on theories of womens autobiography,despite the now wide-ranging approaches to this field. . . . It has themerit of combining within the genre of autobiography criticism many ofthe critical issues that have been paramount during the past twodecades, incorporating and going beyond what both feminism and culturalstudies have attempted. Important and timely.Franoise Lionnet,Northwestern University ... Read more


14. Flannery O'connor's Sacramental Art
by Susan Srigley
list price: $20.00
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Asin: 0268017808
Catlog: Book (2005-01-30)
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
Sales Rank: 193262
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15. Victorian Women Poets (Essays and Studies)
list price: $50.00
our price: $50.00
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Asin: 0859917878
Catlog: Book (2003-10-09)
Publisher: D.S.Brewer
Sales Rank: 1029170
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Book Description

The specially commissioned essays in Victorian Women Poets, written by scholars from Britain and North America, offer revisionary readings of canonical poets and bring into focus re-discovered writers. The volume both engages critically with the political and aesthetic agenda behind the project of recovery, and also presents a pioneering approach to reading poets who have slipped out of the canon. The work of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti is re-assessed and given surprising and innovative literary, political and intellectual contexts that will change the way we interpret their poetry. Writers of emerging significance, such as Theodosia Garrow Trollope, Augusta Webster, Mathilde Blind, Michael Field and Margaret Veley, are given prominence in groundbreaking analysis that situates their writing within the wider debates of the period. The themes interwoven throughout the essays - literary history and canonicity, political poetics, nationhood, print culture, and genre - provide a radically new understanding of Victorian women's poetry that maps an agenda for future research. JOSEPH BRISTOW, SUSAN BROWN, GLENNIS BYRON, ALISON CHAPMAN, NATALIE M. HOUSTON, MICHELE MARTINEZ, PATRICIA PULHAM, MARJORIE STONE.ALISON CHAPMAN lectures in English literature at the University of Glasgow. ... Read more


16. Without Reservations : The Travels of an Independent Woman
by ALICE STEINBACH
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 0375501886
Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 417868
Average Customer Review: 3.73 out of 5 stars
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Book Description


Paris

Dear Alice,

Each morning I am awakened by the sound of a tinkling bell. A cheerful sound, it reminds me of the bells that shopkeepers attach to their doors at Christmastime. In this case, the bell marks the opening of the hotel door. From my room, which is just off the winding staircase, I can hear it clearly. It reminds me of the bell that calls to worship the novice embarking on a new life. In a way I too am a novice, leaving, temporarily, one life for another.

Love,
Alice


In the tradition of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea and Frances Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun, in Without Reservations we take time off with Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Steinbach as she explores the world and rediscovers what it means to be a woman on her own.

"In many ways, I was an independent woman," writes Alice Steinbach, a single working mother, in this captivating book. "For years I'd made my own choices, paid my own bills, shoveled my own snow, and had relationships that allowed for a lot of freedom on both sides." Slowly, however, she saw that she had become quite dependent in another way:"I had fallen into the habit . . . of defining myself in terms of who I was to other people and what they expected of me." Who am I, she wanted to know, away from the things that define me--my family, children, job, friends? Steinbach searches for the answer to this provocative question in some of the most exciting places in the world: Paris, where she finds a soul mate in a Japanese man; Oxford, where she takes a course on the English village; Milan, where she befriends a young woman about to be married. Beautifully illustrated with postcards Steinbach wrote home to herself to preserve her spontaneous impressions, this revealing and witty book will transport readers instantly into a fascinating inner and outer journey, an unforgettable voyage of discovery.
... Read more

Reviews (60)

3-0 out of 5 stars good not great
I think my main problem with Without Reservations was that I was expecting something else. I looked forward to the author's detailed travelogues of Venice, Paris, and Oxford, to see these places through her alleged journalistic penchant for detail. When she describes that she has no experience in traveling abroad, I expected a tale about her foibles and discoveries about the different cultures where she planned to reside. What I found was that Steinbach DOES have reservations -- about her self-esteem, about her place in the world, of her sense of self, of how others define her and how she defines herself. I think the disappointment came from my hoping for a travelogue where the focus is on art, culture and external experiences. Still -- as the book progresses she relaxes more and more into her own skin and she learns how to let go, stop deliberating over every move and just go with whatever life has in store for her. Her physical travels begin to parallel her journey of self-awareness and confidence. The more far-out she perceives an event to be, the more she loosens up to have fun and find out about herself and who she is, from a love affair with a Japanese gentleman to developing unexpected and immediate friendships to dancing all night with her Oxford classmates. Maybe my incessant reading of travel books and cookie-cutter expectations put a damper on my total enjoyment of Steinbach's book. I found it interesting, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone looking for a straight-forward detailed travel memoir.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Read
Having heard about Steinbach's book on public radio, and being a divorced mother of a grown son, with my own love of travel, and some experience traveling on my own, I was anxious to find out how the author's experiences compared to my own. I got so much more than I had expected, and was sorry to have the book end. "Without Reservations" is non-fiction but reads like a novel in many ways. She is a fine story teller, and her descriptions of all that she observed in her travels, (from the distinctive and unpredictable rooms she rented in small European hotels, to the views of an amazing Italian countryside, as well as the wide array of interesting, yet unexpected short-term relationships she developed along the way) were vivid and very entertaining. I would have liked a little follow-up regarding her life since her travels which took place back in 1993, but this is a minor complaint. I highly recommend this book!

4-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Woman of Independence and Adventure
I purchased "Without Reservations" after returning home from a quick trip to Europe. You see I had left my heart there and I needed a quick fix while pining away at home waiting for yet another friend to venture out and dare get a passport.

Alice Steinbach writes with a capturing style about her adventures abroad (England, Paris, Italy etc..) all alone. For once a woman who believes in experience over fear! She is a mother, divorced, successful and still desiring a fulfilling life. I admire her spirit and enthusiasm for life. While capturing her inner fears she relies on her wit and knowledge to overcome what would leave most of us sitting at home cowering in a corner.

Ms. Steinbach meets interesting people along the way, a fashionable older woman in Paris, a Japanese man who shares her love of Monet, a young student eager to grow and many others. She inspires one to want to reach out and learn something from the others around us, not for gossip, but for true wealth of character. I believe after reading this book I will no longer seek the security of familar travel partners but instead search for a lesser known commodity, me, a suitcase, a destination and a dream! Sounds exciting to me!

5-0 out of 5 stars Carpe Diem
Who doesn't dream of quitting her job and traveling the world? Alice Steinbach wangles a leave of absence from her job and goes to Europe -- the dream with training wheels. Even though she has the security of knowing her home and job are waiting for her and she goes to countries that are comfortably strange, it is still a big leap for her. She makes the most of it and tells a great story.

Steinbach seems to make friends everywhere she goes. She travels with the attitude of a college student backpacking through Europe, hooking up with temporary friends at each stop. She treats her affair with Naohiro like a summer romance, intense, but sure to be temporary. Sometimes you forget that she is a middle-aged woman with two grown sons and a responsible career back home.

And that is the point. She wants to see who she is when the responsibilities of adulthood are stripped away. Is the young woman who wasn't afraid to take chances still there somewhere? Who is Alice Steinbach when she is not defined as "mother" and "reporter"? In nine months of travels through Paris, Britain, and Italy, she gradually sheds her inhibitions and fears, and gets reacquainted with living for the day.

Without Reservations is an upbeat, sometimes bittersweet, narrative of what feels like a prelude to a bigger leap. I am looking forward to her next book, Educating Alice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully layered tale of travel and life
I just finished this book and will miss spending time following Ms. Steinbach around on her travels,reading her musings on her life and the world around her. It is a book that will resonate with women who have empty nest. I completely identified with her; having 2 sons myself, 2 cats and terminal wanderlust. She writes so eloquently of how she feels when her children are grown and independant. It's her personal journey to find out how she fits into this new life-without-children. She christens it by taking time off to travel for 9 months alone to discover, who she is, was and who she will become. Even though most people will not be able to do as she did, it does not affect the enjoyment of the book. It is written in a very warm style and you will end the book wishing that in your travels, you will bump into her. ... Read more


17. The Wave in the Mind : Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination
by URSULA K. LE GUIN
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1590300068
Catlog: Book (2004-02-17)
Publisher: Shambhala
Sales Rank: 35066
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Collection of Non-fiction Essays, Story-Teller Style
I love (almost) all of Ursula K. LeGuin's fiction. She is a wonderful storyteller whose rhythmic prose struck me and stuck with me even before I gave much thought to the idea of rhythm in prose. (Having children and reading aloud brings a new dimension to story telling.) Her imagined worlds and characters resound deeply with me, and she has earned my trust as one of the consistently best authors I have read.

This non-fiction collection is just as thought-provoking as her best stories. I had to be careful not to "gobble it up" by reading too fast. I'm sure that I will read it again and again. It gives much hope to an aspiring fiction writer whose story hasn't arrived yet. (Turns out I'm just too young; maybe next year.)

I had also worried that perhaps I had read too much to ever be creative in writing; maybe if I begin to write something original, it will come out with inadvertently plagiarized bits of Dispossessed, Lord of the Rings, and Little Women, since those seem to get stuck in my head. The admonition of Ms LeGuin that all good writers ought to read, and read a lot, comforts me. All these years I've just been fertilizing my imagination.

Although I have never met her, it seems that through some of her essays, the separation that exists between her writing and her self narrows, and the humor and wisdom and brightness (luminousness, luminosity??) of her personality shines through. I hope someday that one of the highlights of my life might be knowing her for an hour.

There is always the possibility of a writing workshop, but I really wish I could have heard her "moo"... ... Read more


18. The Genres and Genders of Surrealism
by Annette Shandler Levitt
list price: $59.95
our price: $59.95
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Asin: 0312120508
Catlog: Book (2000-01-01)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Sales Rank: 449969
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Book Description

Surrealism is the only movement in the arts which was more than a new way of looking at and interpreting the world: it was a philosophical stance, a creative rebellion against society. This fresh look at the varied dimensions of the Surrealist movement places it centrally within Modernism. This is the rare book to consider virtually all of Surrealism’s genres. In addition to members of the original group, Annette Shandler Levitt appraises its most memorable outsiders, notably some distinctive women artists and writers. She shows us also that the impact of Surrealism continues to be felt today, and that to understand it fully is to see Modernism at its most vital, its most enduring.
... Read more

19. Joining the Conversation : Dialogues by Renaissance Women
by Janet Levarie Smarr
list price: $70.00
our price: $70.00
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Asin: 0472114352
Catlog: Book (2005-01-31)
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Sales Rank: 488523
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20. The Princessa : Machiavelli for Women
by HARRIET RUBIN
list price: $10.95
our price: $8.21
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Asin: 0440508320
Catlog: Book (1998-03-09)
Publisher: Dell
Sales Rank: 79011
Average Customer Review: 2.98 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A legacy of leadership for women only.

For centuries men have used the lessons of Machiavelli's The Prince to gain and hold power. Today's women, struggling to succeed in a man's world, must learn a crucial lesson of their own: men and women are not equal--and that is a woman's greatest strength. From the wars of intimacy to battles of public life, whether confronting bosses, competitors, or lovers, the greatest power belongs to the woman who dares to use the subtle weapons that are hers alone.

This provocative work urges women to claim what they want and deserve, offering a bold new battle plan that celebrates a woman's unique gifts: passion and intuition, sensitivity and cunning. It draws from history's legendary female divas and poets, saints and sinners, artists and activists--who, armed with a desire for justice and a spirit of outrageousness, achieved their impossible dreams. Their lasting legacy is codified in The Princessa: act like a woman, fight like a woman, and life will be yours to command. ... Read more

Reviews (42)

4-0 out of 5 stars Yikes! Y'all either love it or hate it, don't you?
While reading The Princessa, I found certain ideas about power made me very uncomfortable, which is usually a sign that something is hitting a nerve. I absolutely adored this little book, and like another reader, keep picking it up to go over pieces of it. Obviously, you can't please all of the people all of the time, but I'm amazed at the vehemence with which certain reviews wrote. I thought Rubin's expression of ideas was fascinating, and I think she's a fine writer. I also liked the manner in which she presented these ideas about women and power; like a myth, like a story, like a fairy tale. Seductive but deadly.

I'd save my griping for the drivel John Gray writes; I mean, how many times is he going back to his word processor to "fix up" Mars and Venus?

5-0 out of 5 stars You either love it or you hate it....
I loved it. Harriet Rubin is a visionary for those of us that still believe (or wish to believe) that the path of the heart (combined with the good sense of a skillful mind) has the potential to be the most winning combination in business, as in life. Not for the faint-hearted or those who cannot think outside the box.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Business Tips
I enjoyed this book. Although the author takes too long to get to most of her points, it is a very insightful book and has ideas about power tips to use in the jobplace such as how to act in meetings, where to sit to attract attention, and dealing with staff. I would recommend it to a reader interested in advancing her place in business with the warning that a lot of "skim reading" is needed.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is not a how-to book
I, too, am amazed at the differences in the reviews. I go with the "read-4-times-a-year" group. This is not a how-to book with step-by-step instructions on how to get and keep power. Perhaps that is why people are so violently opposed to it: they think Rubin is telling women to cry to get their way. I read it more like: it is okay to cry, if you have tried everything else and that has failed.

I find it quite meditative and like to read a chapter here and there at night. I usually sets me off analyzing situations I have recently encountered. And I must say, many of her insights are quite helpful.

I recommend this book to every woman I encounter who had just taken a step up the power ladder!

5-0 out of 5 stars Rx - Reread 4 Times Annually
An affirming little tome, Rubin continues to bolster those of us who just want to do good business - and are surprised when our best intentions don't speak for themselves. With wit, character studies and a bit of mystery, she continues in this writ to draw our best selves out of us - the ones that want to win at the boys' game but have a little girl's sense of play about the rules.

I find myself bringing this book out when I have been broadsided and need to regain my bearings in this mannish world of business-as-baseball ethics and practices. And I bring it out to add to the underlines already there, because with each re-read there are more messages, more thought-provoking phrases and more challenges to the greater good that I have missed in readings past.

It's a mysterious book; don't think you'll get all the illustrations and diatribes with the first read. But know that it was written just for you, wherever you find yourself having to 'best' instead of 'win' for the sake of good business. ... Read more


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