Y’all know I’m a book lover–one of final few philistines who doesn’t own a Kindle or an iPad. For those of you who still like to wrap up a book to place under the tree, I asked the BookWoman herself to recommend her favorites for giving this holiday season. And Susan Post, owner of BookWoman bookstore, graciously obliged. Make sure to pick up your copies at BookWoman, one of the best homegrown retail stores in Austin, at 5501 N Lamar. (Note to Santa: please add these titles to my wish list!)
Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. $15.95. Vintage Books.
Several of our customers have commented that reading this book has changed their lives, so it goes to the top of my “must read” list. Half the Sky would be good for fathers, sons, uncles, brothers as well as sisters and nieces and anyone interested in a peaceful and just world. Half The Sky is a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. With these Pulitzer Prize-winning authors as our guides, we are taken on journey through Africa and Asia to meet an extraordinary array of women and girls struggling under profoundly dire circumstances–and an equally extraordinary group that have triumphed. Through their stories, the authors help us see that the key to progress in our world lies in unleashing women’s potential–and they make clear how each of us can help make that happen. Fiercely moral, pragmatic, and inspirational.
Cleopatra: A Life. Stacy Schiff. $29.99. Little Brown.
Her palace shimmered with onyx and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than 40 years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. A gifted biographer, Schiff is able to strip away 2,000 years of prejudices and propaganda in her elegant re-imagining of the Egyptian queen who, even in her own day, was mythologized and misrepresented. No one will think of Cleopatra in quite the same way after reading this vivid, myth-busting and provocative book. One of the “10 Best Books of the Year” according to the New York Times. Recommended for entrepreneurs and anyone interested in herstory & politics, amazing women, or anyone who just wants to read one of the best books of the year.
Frida Kahlo: Her Photos. James Oles, Horacio Fernandez, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Frida Kahlo. $45. Editorial RM.
What a wonderful and charming book this is! Beginning with the gorgeous cover–a photo of Frida at age 20, taken by her father, more 500 black-and-white and sepia photographs from Frida’s recently uncovered trove are reproduced most lusciously. The richness and fullness of her daily life–with Diego, her family, and friends–is evident and fascinating. I find myself wanting to pick it up again and again. Recommended in particular as a gift for sisters and mothers and art lovers and bookstore owners.
The Sylvia Chronicles: 30 years of Graphic Misbehavior from Reagan to Obama. Nicole Hollander. $19.95. The New Press.
All through the 1980’s and ’90’s I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest Sylvia comic strip. Sylvia breathed some sanity into my life. She was a cat lover and ardent feminist who said things no one else could say. If you missed Sylvia the first time around, or failed to notice that she has never stopped commenting on fashion, food, sexual mores, and political hypocrisy, you can catch up now with this collection, which includes commentary by Hollander. And what will amaze you the most is that, however much things change, they also seem to stay the same. Recommended for anyone interested feminism, politics, comics or anyone who just might want a good laugh.
As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis Devoto–Food Friendship & the Making of a Masterpiece. Joan Reardon, ed. $26.00. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Oh l? l? . . . More than 200 frank, bawdy, funny, and exuberant letters exchanged between Julia and Avis DeVoto, her friend and unofficial literary agent, memorably introduced in the hit movie “Julie & Julia,” are in print for the first time. They chronicle the blossoming of a unique and lifelong friendship between the two women and the turbulent process of Julia’s creation of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, one of the most influential cookbooks ever written. I would recommend this collection for mothers, aunts, sisters, and anyone interested in culinary history or fascinating women.
Room: A Novel. Emma Donoghue. $24.99. Little Brown.
I’ve loved all of Emma Donoghue’s earlier books, especially Slammerkin and Kissing The Witch: Old Tales In New Skins. Her talent has matured, and and her vision has risen to give us beautifully imagined characters. According to the New York Times, which selected Room as one of the “10 Best Books of 2010”: “Donoghue has created one of the pure triumphs of recent fiction: an ebullient child narrator, held captive with his mother in an 11-by-11-foot room, through whom we encounter the blurry, often complicated space between closeness and autonomy. In a narrative at once delicate and vigorous — rich in psychological, sociological and political meaning — Donoghue reveals how joy and terror often dwell side by side.” Also short listed for the Booker Prize. Recommended for anyone who loves a good novel.
The following four books will prompt, bend, and twist your mind to get your creative impulses moving. All by designer Keri Smith, these books have become perennial best sellers at BookWoman. They are recommend for everyone: Teen, tween, and everyone in between.
Living Out Loud: Activities to Fuel a Creative Life. $17.95. Chronicle Books.
Youthful enthusiasm and playfulness are key to discovering who you are and what you love to do. Living Out Loud is the perfect prescription for a creative jump start to your life.
Wreck This Journal. $12.95. Perigee.
For anyone who’s ever wished, but had trouble starting, keeping, or finishing, a journal or sketchbook, here comes this illustrated book that features a subversive collection of prompts, asking readers to muster up their best mistake abilities to fill the pages of the book (and destroy them).
Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes. $13.95. Perigee. The only three rules you’ll find in this book: 1. Do not try to make something beautiful. 2. Do not think too much. (There is no “wrong”) 3. Continue under all circumstances.
Tear Up This Book: The Sticker, Stencil, Stationery, Games, Crafts, Doodle, And Journal Book For Girls! $9.95. American Girl.
Girls will discover dozens of fun ways to be creative with this book, which is packed with projects. Lots of games, crafts, journal-writing activities, and sticker fun. For girls 8-11.