In this collection of eight short stories, author Carmen Maria Machado explores the lives of women through a journey into psychological realism, fantasy, horror, and more. In “The Husband Stitch”, a husband attempts to remove the green ribbon tied around his wife’s neck — her only secret. In “The Resident”, a writer has trouble reckoning with her childhood trauma while vacationing in isolation at an artists’ retreat. In “Especially Heinous”, the show Law and Order: SVU is reimagined with doppelgängers, insanity, and the ghosts of raped and murdered girls. Through the presentation of intensely
Many of you may be familiar with Piper Kerman’s story but I’ll give you a quick summary: in 1993, 24 year old Piper smuggled money for her then-girlfriend who was involved in an international drug ring. Following the money smuggling incident, she cut off all ties to the people involved and got started on a new life. However, her past caught up to her and Piper was indicted for her involvement in 1998. Six years later, in 2004, she was sent to Danbury, a minimum-security facility to serve 15 months. Piper ended up serving 13 months, and detailed her experience in this book.
It is important
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes is historical fiction at its very best! Set in 1939 Southern Kentucky, the lives of five strong female characters come together to form and operate the Packhorse Library, where they deliver by horseback, books, magazines and newspapers to those living in remote, rural areas.
One of the main characters, Alice, an Englishwoman, marries an American and is brought to Kentucky where she hopes to start a new, dazzling life with her husband. That is not to be the case. Alice finds living with her husband and her father-in-law to be stifling and oppressive. Alice
The Buddha in the Attic is a short novel depicting the lives and struggles of Japanese mail-order brides arriving in America in the years leading up to World War II. It is not one central story that follows a single character--or even a few. Instead, the author uses the first person plural narrative style (through the use of "we" and "our") to tell the stories of countless, mostly nameless women. The narrative begins on the boats, as the young girls share their dreams for the unknown future, and continues with their lives in America as they struggle to adapt to a new land and a new language
Women in Clothes is a mélange of interviews, conversations, photos, illustrations, and other miscellanea on the subject of--you guessed it--women in clothes. While I don’t think it’s meant to be read cover-to-cover, that’s what I did. I was fascinated by what women had to say about their relationship to clothes, to dressing, to image, to practically all imaginable facets of the subject. It’s such an intimate and yet mundane subject; whether or not we choose to actively engage with clothes, we are making choices every single day on how to present ourselves and how we want to feel.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is a fast-paced murder mystery with lots of twists and turns throughout. It is July 2013 and Rachel, a middle-aged single woman, commutes by train to London every day. She has memorized everything about the trip, from the stops to the landscape, and has become particularly fascinated by a happy couple she sees almost everyday. But then one day she sees something new and she cannot let it go. And then the rug is pulled out from underneath her when her dreamy couple becomes one of London's most intriguing headlines.
The similarities between this novel to
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Most people know that these words were said by Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the moon. Many books have been written and movies made about the early years of space travel and the first astronauts. Except for old articles in LIFE magazine, much less has been written about the wives of those astronauts. Lily Koppel has addressed this lack of information in her book The Astronaut Wives Club. The book describes how the wives were expected to be the “perfect American wife.” Their own hopes, dreams and goals were to be
In The Book of Heaven, Patricia Storace creates the mythology of an alternate universe, but one the reader recognizes, as if through a veil, from its allusions to Greek legends and Old Testament stories. It is different from anything I’ve read and therefore hard to describe. Although the sections hinge on central themes, such as of the oppression of women and the nature of God and of love, they can be read in isolation. Each section presents the tale of a different woman, eulogized in the stars themselves in this world Storace creates. Her writing is contemplative; reading it is a meditation
This memoir explores the life of Waris Dirie, recognized by many for her work as a model, and by others for her advocacy for human rights and a battle against female genital mutilation. The reader follows her from her early life as a nomad in the deserts of Somalia, to her difficult and sometimes dangerous journey to Mogadishu and eventually London. Working there as an underappreciated maid for her own family, she is "discovered", and sets off on an equally nomadic life as a model. Throughout her journey, Waris has to face the world with her own wits and tenacity. The best part of this story
In The Husband's Secret the lives of three Australian women are intertwined in ways they would never have thought possible. For years, the tragedy of a teenage daughter’s death has haunted one of the women and unknowingly affected another. The third woman, faced with a marital earthquake, takes her young son to her hometown of Sydney. There, the three women interact, bringing the past into the present and altering all their lives forever.
Moriarty brings humor and wit to the drama and trauma these middle-aged and elderly women are living through. Fans of Maeve Binchy will likely enjoy the
This debut novel takes a slightly different look at plantation life at the turn of the 19th Century. At its onset, Lavinia, a seven-year-old orphaned Irish indentured servant, is taken to live with black slaves in the Kitchen House of a Virginia tobacco plantation. She is put under the care of Belle, the illegitimate daughter of the plantation owner. She embraces Belle and the other slaves as her family. Later she is accepted into the white world of the “big house,” and finds herself torn in her love and loyalties. The narration of the book alternates between Lavinia and Belle, providing
This book had great potential, and many great moments, but doesn’t deliver in the end. After a night out with her four single girlfriends, Julie decides to travel the globe interviewing single women for a book about dating in different cultures. It’s a great premise, except that Julie gets air sick every time she flies and is too shy to talk to strangers on her own. Fortunately, one of her friends is able to fly across the world to each country she visits to hold her hand. And in every country she visits she immediately hooks up with a young swinger who invites her to parties every single
“Life is a work in progress” and Joan Anderson’s autobiography A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Life encourages us to take time to reflect. Joan has been married many years and she and her husband have raised two sons to adulthood. One evening Joan’s husband comes home from work and tells her that it’s time to pack her bags, his job is requiring them to, once again, move. This time Joan resists. Her life has been dedicated to husband and sons. Now she needs time for herself. What follows Joan’s decision is a year spent alone in a rustic family cottage on Cape Cod. Anderson
In this well written, concise autobiography, Carmen Bin Laden goes beyond the usual "ain't it awful" stories about women's lives in the Islamic world. With eloquence showing deep reflection, she tells the history of the Kingdom and explains the conditions of women who practice Wahhabi Islam or who live under its power.