The Rain Began with a Single Drop

Book review: Daring to Drive, by Manal al-Sharif Book Depository It is an amazing contradiction: a society that frowns on a woman going out without a man; that forces you to use separate entrances for universities, banks, restaurants, and mosques; that divides restaurants with partitions so that unrelated males and females cannot sit together; that same society expects you to get into a car with … Continue reading The Rain Began with a Single Drop

Life After Liquor: Essays On Quitting Drinking

Book review: Nothing Good Can Come from This, by Kristi Coulter Amazon Booze is the oil in our motors, the thing that keeps us purring when we should be making other kinds of noise. Kristi Coulter’s essay “Enjoli”, named after a perfume ad indicating women should be able to work and still keep it sexy for their men, got a lot of traction online and led … Continue reading Life After Liquor: Essays On Quitting Drinking

Women’s Voices Tell the Stories of Russia at War

Book review: The Unwomanly Face of War, by Svetlana Alexievich Amazon Yet another book about war? What for? There have been a thousand wars—small and big, known and unknown. And still more has been written about them. But…it was men writing about men—that much was clear at once. Everything we know about war we know with “a man’s voice.” When I came to polish up … Continue reading Women’s Voices Tell the Stories of Russia at War

A Group Biography Tells Women’s Stories from the French Resistance

Review: A Train in Winter, by Caroline Moorehead (Amazon / Book Depository) They had spent the months in Romainville very close together and it was as a train full of friends, who knew each other’s strengths and frailties, who had kept each other company at moments of terrible anguish, and who had fallen into a pattern of looking after each other, that they set out for … Continue reading A Group Biography Tells Women’s Stories from the French Resistance

Ladies of Cryptography: The Women Who Broke War’s Codes

Book review: Code Girls, by Liza Mundy Amazon I’m in some kind of hush, hush business. Somewhere in Wash. D.C. If I say anything I’ll get hung for sure. I guess I signed my life away. But I don’t mind it. Code Girls, author Liza Mundy’s history of the women who worked tirelessly cracking codes to aid the American Army and Navy in World War II, opens … Continue reading Ladies of Cryptography: The Women Who Broke War’s Codes

An Unusual Coming of Age in L.A.

Book review: We Are All Shipwrecks, by Kelly Grey Carlisle If you read history, you could learn where the ideas you took for granted actually came from and, what I found oddly reassuring, that the world had always been a terrible mess. Kelly Grey Carlisle had an unconventional childhood, to put it mildly. In 1976, at three weeks old, while she lay in a dresser drawer … Continue reading An Unusual Coming of Age in L.A.

Culinary Biographies of Six Surprising Women

Book review: What She Ate, by Laura Shapiro (Amazon / Book Depository) Culinary historian and longtime Newsweek writer Laura Shapiro examines the lives of six very different women through the lens of their relationships to food, cooking, and culinary culture in this lively, readable group biography. “Tell me what you eat,” wrote the philosopher-gourmand Brillat-Savarin, “and I shall tell you what you are.’ It’s one of the most famous aphorisms in … Continue reading Culinary Biographies of Six Surprising Women

Perspectives On Paris

Book review: A Paris All Your Own, edited by Eleanor Brown (Amazon / Book Depository) “My time in Paris was like no one else’s ever.” “In the end, I think Paris kept us married for an extra five years.” “I should probably write an article for a women’s magazine about this: ‘Lose Weight While Eating Your Feelings in Paris!’” A Paris All Your Own is a … Continue reading Perspectives On Paris

Real Life Essays with a Little Raunch

Book review: We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby Samantha Irby is the Chicago-based blogger behind the popular, ultra-honest, hilariously confessional blog Bitches Gotta Eat. She opens her personal essay collection with a piece about how she’d fill out an application to be a Bachelorette contestant. It’s a pretty wonderful, hilarious introduction, and you can imagine what you’re in for with her from there. Her … Continue reading Real Life Essays with a Little Raunch

Ladies of the City of Light’s Darkest Days

Book review: Les Parisiennes, by Anne Sebba (Amazon / Book Depository) Anne Sebba writes in her extensive history of the lives of Parisian women during WWII that it’s our task to understand, not to judge. And the women whose lives are covered range across such a broad spectrum, from those with selfless motives and actions to those who didn’t act as honorably as might be … Continue reading Ladies of the City of Light’s Darkest Days