I have a new job, which is why I've been under a bit of blog silence recently. I have a new commuting route as a result, and it involves only two stops on the subway. That's just enough time to read but not to read anything in-depth, so I'm focusing on the "bite-sized" books from my bookshelf.
That Takes Ovaries!
The first bite-sized book was a collection of real women's stories: anecdotes about daring adventures, everyday acts of rebellion, and confrontations big and small. A very inspiring read - it was very easy to relate to the storytellers and to picture them as your own mother, sister, or friend. It has also spawned a series of open mike events that can be found on the website.
Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
I'd picked this up at a book sale - I knew it was an acclaimed children's book from when I used to shelve at the library, but it came out after my own childhood, so I'd never read it. Charlotte is a thirteen-year-old American girl sailing from London back to New England. She is meant to travel with several other families, but through bad luck she winds up traveling alone - just herself on the ship with a surly crew and an infamously cruel captain. Cue: Floggings! Mutiny! Guns! Cross-dressing! Murder! Oh my god AWESOME. I couldn't believe how enaging this book turned out to be. Hooray children's books!
Listening for the Crack of Dawn
I'd picked this one up ages ago when I was volunteering at a local storytelling bookshop, but I'd never gotten around to reading it. My loss! Storyteller Donald Davis writes short tales about his childhood in Appalachia of the 50's and 60's, amusing and bittersweet. It's a world I've never experienced: life on a farm, drive-in theaters, all of the neighborhood kids chipping in to buy themselves a single bicycle, typhoid shots, and Americana. Most of the stories will make you laugh, though there are a few chillers and serious tales that will stick with you. The final story, especially - that one made my jaw drop.
Booty: Girl Pirates on the High Seas
Yah, pirates! This collection of short profiles is cutely illustrated and loads of fun to read. Educational, as well - I'd heard of most of the high-profile women pirates (Mary Read, Anne Bonny, Grace O'Malley), but the book also included plenty of others who were completely new to me.