I've gotten to a point where the number of books I'm "currently" reading has overwhelmed me. This is because I've been trying to read for "fun" in between reading for class. So instead of waiting another year or three to review this great books, I'm just going to tell you to go get a copy now. I think I've read enough of each of these to give my thumbs up. So what am I trying to read?
A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique & American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s by Stephanie Coontz [IndieBound :: Powells]
I love Coontz. She's written some of my fave books and this is certainly going to join them as a favorite. Coontz visits with women and a few men who read "The Feminine Mystique" to see how the book touched their lives. She also revisits the facts Friedan uses in the book as well as the reality that was the 1960s. I'm only a few chapters in and it's fascinating. I'm not only a fan of women's history, but a fan of re-examining that history to peel back a few layers to figure out what really went down. Coontz takes a bold stand to say the feminist revolution would have happened without "The Feminine Mystique" and I'm sure there are those who will say she is wrong. But so far, Coontz is making her case quite well. A must read.
I met Mary over the summer and have taken time here and there to connect with her passionate and strong character Nonna. This YA fiction book takes us on a journey where Nonna is a young woman gifted with amazing art skills, yet she lives in a time where young women only aspire to their arranged marriages. When we meet Nonna, she was disguising herself as a young man in order to apprentice under a great artist. When her secret is revealed she somehow finds another artist to take her under his wing. It's a tale we all are familiar with, but it's the journey you want to invest in. Imagine that, a YA book with a smart and strong young woman as the main character!? While I stalled half-way through this book, I did peek at the end and was fairly happy with it. This will be a great summer re-read.
Jane Addams is a huge figure in Chicago, but many of us only know Addams after she arrived in Chicago. Knight walks us through the youth and education of Addams. What I most identified with was her yearning for a path not taken. She spent most of her early life considering "what if..." a lot. I'm sure most of us have done or still do that. I like to be reminded that even the mightiest of our heroes didn't walk a well plotted out path. Knight also shows us the intellectual journey Addams struggled with. As a woman of means, she struggled with her place in the working class fight. When she settled in Chicago, she had one point of view. With each meeting, event and incident, Addams reexamines her beliefs, strengthens some and adjusts others. Knight presents them all in a manner that asks the reader to do the same.
Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn Atwood [IndieBound :: Powells]
This book just arrived and due to my backlog (see above) know I won't get to anytime soon. This YA book is organized in small chapters about 26 women who fought against the Nazis during World War II in their own way. So I picked a few random women, read their stories and was blown away. The bravery and courage was expected, but the manner their stories were told was not. The introduction does an excellent job at discussing how the stories are not of names that should all be in history books, but are a sample of the every day women who did what they could to resist the hate that swept across the world. While some may say that they should be in history books, I prefer to take this as an example for the young people in our lives that they don't need to be President of the USA or leading an army to make a difference.
My apologies to the authors for not doing a full scale review of your books, alas my schedule has been so chaotic that your books did not get the attention they deserved.
Disclaimers: In order of appearance, I requested a copy from the author, the author requested a review, the author offered a review copy and a publicist offered a copy.
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