Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Title: Sunset of the Sabertooth
Publication Info: New York : Scholastic, 1996.
Another “Jack & Annie” read aloud to my daughter. This time our heroes travel to Ice Age Europe and encounter Cro-Magnon people, a wooly mammoth, and a sabretooth tiger, all while wearing their bathing suits! Brrr…
This is another fun, well-written, and historically informative story for children and the grownups who read to them.
Author: Kate Beaton
Title: Step Aside, Pops : A Hark! A Vagrant Collection
Publication Info: [Montreal, Quebec] : Drawn & Quarterly, 2015.
The brilliant webcomic Hark! A Vagrant is collected in glorious print. Beaton’s comics tend to focus on historical and literary references with various levels of absurdity, so as a History/English major with fondness for absurd comics, they appeal to me. This collection includes biographical comics of people you should know such as Sara Josephine Baker and Ida B. Wells. Then there’s the history of the invasion of Canada by Irish-American Fenians and the role of the bicycle in liberating women. Have you ever wondered about the basic nuttiness of Wuthering Heights or wondered what became of the guy in the beginning of Janet Jackson’s “Nasty Boys” video? These things are analyzed here. And the popular misconceptions of feminism are pilloried in the series “Strong Female Characters” and “Straw Feminists.” But I probably bust a gut the most reading “Founding Fathers (in a Mall)” and its sequel “Founding Fathers (Stuck in an Amusement Park).”
Recommended books: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Author: Jill Lepore
Title: The Secret History of Wonder Woman
Narrator: Jill Lepore
Publication Info: Random House Audio (2014)
Previously Read by Same Author:
The story of Wonder Women begins as a creation of William Moulton Marston, a something of a quack psychologist previously known for inventing the lie detector test. Marston worked closely with his wife Elizabeth Hollaway and Olive Byrne who lived with them in a long-term relationship (and continued living with Holloway after Martson’s death). Through Byrne they were also connected to her aunt Margaret Sanger who looms large in this book and the history of Wonder Woman. Lepore shows how the triad’s interests in feminism and unconventional sexuality are expressed through Wonder Woman comics which contains themes of ruling with feminine love and bondage and submission. Lepore relates an interesting history of Marston, Hollaway, Byrne, Sanger, and others in the women’s rights movements of the 20th century, and Wonder Woman’s unexpected role in the center of it all.
Recommended books: The Mad World of William M. Gaines by Frank Jacobs, Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and Other True Stories by Pagan Kennedy
Author: Leslye Walton
Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Publication Info: Somerville, MA : Candlewick Press, 2014.
This is a story about a girl born with wings. The novel details three generations of her family’s life filled with heartbreak, tragedy, and little touches of magical realism on every page. It’s basically what would happen if Laura Esquivel or Isabel Allende were transported to the Pacific Northwest. While the quirkiness can get overbearing at times, this is an engaging story with a lyric beauty. And while the climax is horrific, the finale is optimistic.
Recommended books: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides