Books to Read
closed book “The true University of these days is a Collection of Books.”
— Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), The Hero as a Man of Letters
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Women Books: eternal feminine, lead us above...
Barbara G. Walker, Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets Barbara G. Walker, Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (1983), Harper San Francisco, ISBN: 006250925X: Do you know... Where the legend of a cat's 9 lives comes from? Why "mama" is a word understood in nearly all languages? How the kissing custom began? Why Cinderella's glass slipper was so important to the Prince? The answers to these are given in this feminist encyclopedia. This sourcebook, 25 years in preparation, focuses on mythology, anthropology, religion, and sexuality to uncover what other references leave out or misrepresent. Walker presents the fascinating stories behind word origins, legends, superstitions, and customs. There are 1350 entries on magic, witchcraft, fairies, elves, giants, god and goddesses; the mystical meanings of sun, moon, earth, sea, time & space; ideas of the soul, reincarnation, creation & doomsday; ancient & modern attitudes toward sex, prostitution, romance, rape, warfare, death & sin, and more. This is a revolutionary book that offers a rare opportunity for both men & women to see our cultural heritage in a fresh light, and draw upon the past for a more humane future. Avg. Review (12): 4 stars
Barbara Walker, Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects Barbara G. Walker, The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects (1988), Harper San Francisco, ISBN: 0062509233: This comprehensively, profusely illustrated dictionary presents the feminist history and relevance of many common symbols of Western civilization. Features 753 entries organized according to the shape or nature of the symbol discussed. 636 black-and-white line illustrations. At the top of each page are drawings of the symbols discussed on that page. This well-organized volume is fascinating reading with a feminine focus. Thus, “poppet” is not just a doll, but one used by witches as a proxy for the person they wanted to harm. “Vase” symbolizes the Earth Mother's womb, and according to Walker, the Greek word for vase, “pithos”, was mistakenly translated as “pyxis”, box, in that tale about Pandora. Avg. Review (1): 5 stars
Kevin Markey, 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century Kevin Markey, 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century (1998), Meredith Books, ISBN: 0696208237— This luxurious book celebrates 100 extraordinary women of the 20th-century. Selected by a team of several top women historians and the editors of Ladies' Home Journal, the 100 women are grouped in seven categories: activists & politicians, writers & journalists, doctors & scientists, entrepreneurs, artists & entertainers, athletes, and pioneers & adventurers. There is a pictorial 14-page timeline highlighting women's achievements year-by-year including women statistics by the decade: U.S. female population: 37.2 million (1900) to 127.6 million (1990); women's life expectancy: 50.7 years (1900) to 79.1 years (1990). The book is profusely illustrated with more than 200 photos. The short bio that accompanies each woman is highlighted with a quote that summarizes their vision. The foreword by Barbara Walters and introduction by Myrna Blyth (Editor-in-Chief, Ladies' Home Journal) tell about women's great stride in this century and how these heroines will influence women's lives in the new millennium. Avg. Review (3): 3 stars
Deborah Felder, 100 Most Influential Women of All Time Deborah G. Felder, The 100 Most Influential Women of All Time: A Ranking Past and Present (1996), Citadel Press, ISBN: 0806517263The 100 Most Influential Women Of All Time is part of Citadel Press's acclaimed "100" series. As provocative as its predecessors, this book is sure to generate controversy, debate, and discussion as readers eagerly scrutinize the list and each woman's ranking. With the aid of women's studies professors from leading U.S. colleges and universities, Felder, author of several children's books, has ranked 100 social reformers, women's rights activists, scientists, educators, labor leaders, politicians, rulers, religious leaders, artists, performers, and sports figures who have inspired and changed the world. Profiles include Eleanor Roosevelt (1) Marie Curie (2), Virgin Mary (10), Simone de Beauvoir (15) Elizabeth I (16), Rosa Parks (17), Coco Chanel (50), Sandra Day O'Connor (86), Lucille Ball (100). There are also 49 honorable mentions who didn't make the list. Avg. Review (3): 4.5 stars
Simone de Beauvoir, Second Sex Simone de Beauvoir, Second Sex (Reissue 1989), Vintage Books, ISBN: 0679724516: Simone de Beauvoir wrote this controversial work of self-discovery to confront the question "What is a woman?" This triumphant and genuinely revolutionary book began as an exceptional woman's attempt to find out who and what she was. It ended up shocking, infuriating, and galvanizing millions of readers and dramatically revising the way women talk and think about themselves. Forty-six years later, it retains all of its vitality and passion. The book is sub-divided into two sections, "Facts and Myths" and "Woman's Life Today," in which she examines and documents such subjects as The Data of Biology, History, Myths, The Formative Years, Situation, Justification, and Towards Liberation. This work was selected by Martin Seymour-Smith as among The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written. Avg. Review (2): 5 stars
Wendy Harcourt, Women Internet Wendy Harcourt (Ed.), Women Internet: Creating New Cultures in Cyberspace (1999), Zed Books, ISBN: 1856495728: This is the first major analysis of the emerging cultural characteristics of women's activities on the internet worldwide. It brings together anthropologists, communications experts, development workers and media analysts and women's movement activists to ask: are women caught in the net or weaving it themselves? The first half of the book reflects on the type of cyberculture women are creating including the borders, exclusions and silences they encounter. Part two presents women forging new frontiers, working with the new communication and information technologies in their local and global settings. Throughout, the emphasis is on the dynamism of culture and of communication the contributors demonstrate how the internet can be used to empower women to negotiate the global and make it a local space and, conversely, to inform and change global cultures. 4 stars
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