Women in Bed

Women In Bed ReviewsTitle: Women in Bed: Nine Stories

Author: Jessica Keener. She is also the author of the novel Night Swim.

Genre: Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Readers: Lawyer Rochelle, nonprofit director Kimberly, at-home parents Marina, Dana and Megan V.

Summary: This collection of nine stories thematically addresses variations of love – love of self, family, and sexual relationships – from loneliness and isolation, desperation and rejection – to need and passion, forgiveness and, finally, to love found.

Our Take: We like Keener’s style, even if we don’t always like the open endings of her stories.

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A Wilder Rose

Title: A Wilder Rose

Author: Susan Wittig Albert. She is the author of several historical novels, including The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Readers: Blogger From Grind to Whine Stacey, metrics analyst Mary, stay at home parents Shawna and Marina, and lawyers Cait and Abby R.

Summary: In 1928, Rose Wilder Lane—world traveler, journalist, much-published magazine writer—returned from an Albanian sojourn to her parents’ Ozark farm. Almanzo Wilder was 71, Laura 61, and Rose felt obligated to stay and help. To make life easier, she built them a new home, while she and Helen Boylston transformed the farmhouse into a rural writing retreat and filled it with visiting New Yorkers. Rose sold magazine stories to pay the bills for both households, and despite the subterranean tension between mother and daughter, life seemed good.

Then came the Crash. Rose’s money vanished, the magazine market dried up, and the Depression darkened the nation. That’s when Laura wrote her autobiography, “Pioneer Girl,” the story of growing up in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, on the Kansas prairie, and by the shores of Silver Lake. The rest—the eight remarkable books that followed—is literary history.

But it isn’t the history we thought we knew. For the surprising truth is that Laura’s stories were publishable only with Rose’s expert rewriting. Based on Rose’s unpublished diaries and Laura’s letters, A Wilder Rose tells the true story of the decade-long, intensive, and often troubled collaboration that produced the Little House books—the collaboration that Rose and Laura deliberately hid from their agent, editors, reviewers, and readers.

Our Take: Lovers of Little House may find their dreams shattered when they read this novel of the truth behind how the books were written. Those who are big time LH gurus may find nothing new here. While some of our readers found the book to enrich their Little House love, others were more disenchanted.

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Duplex

Title: Duplex

Author: Kathryn Davis. She is the author of several previous novels, including The Thin Place.

Genre: Literary Fiction, Fantasy

Readers: Professors Michal and JoLee, stay-at-home moms Dana and Marina, and teacher Shannon.

Summary: Mary and Eddie are meant for each other—but love is no guarantee, not in these suburbs. Like all children, they exist in an eternal present; time is imminent, and the adults of the street live in their assorted houses like numbers on a clock. Meanwhile, ominous rumors circulate, and the increasing agitation of the neighbors points to a future in which all will be lost. Soon a sorcerer’s car will speed down Mary’s street, and as past and future fold into each other, the resonant parenthesis of her girlhood will close forever. Beyond is adulthood, a world of robots and sorcerers, slaves and masters, bodies without souls.

Our Take: Our readers all agree that this unusual book is mystifying, strange and otherworldly. Some loved it but others didn’t.

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They Used to Call Me Snow White

Title: They Used to Call Me Snow White… But I Drifted: Women’s Strategic Use of Humor

Author: Gina Barreca. She is the author of several works of non-fiction focusing on women.

Genre: Nonfiction

Readers: Stay-at-home mom Marina, prosecutor Rochelle, retiree Sulyn, teacher Ninian and publishing professional Gigi.

Summary: Snow White became an instant classic for both academic and general audiences interested in how women use humor and what others (men) think about funny women. Barreca, who draws on the work of scholars, writers, and comedians to illuminate a sharp critique of the gender-specific aspects of humor, provides laughs and provokes arguments as she shows how humor helps women break rules and occupy center stage. Barreca’s new introduction provides a funny and fierce, up-to-the-minute account of the fate of women’s humor over the past twenty years, mapping what has changed in our culture and questioning what hasn’t.

Our Take: This re-release is definitely more of an academic feminist tome than a light romp. Our readers were intrigued but wish the new edition had more current examples in it.

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If You Could Be Mine

Title: If You Could Be Mine

Author: Sara Farizan. This is her first novel.

Genre: Young Adult, Romance

Readers: Stay-at-home moms Marina, Katie and Colleen B.; attorney Elizabeth H. and non-profit director Kimberly.

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.

Our Take: This debut novel shows promise and takes a unique look at a teenage romance. Some of our readers found it rewarding but others thought it didn’t live up to its premise.

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