From Publishers Weekly: The 10 Worst Mothers in Books
Archive for the ‘Women’ Category
Here’s a link to the latest “One for the Books” column on Moms’ Own Stories.
Found on Facebook:
The Guardian interviews author Sue Grafton.
The Guardian’s choice for the 50 most influential books by women
From the NCR Book Club: Three women review The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family By Madeleine M. Kunin
From Lynn Parramore at Alternet: Seven of the Craziest Myths About Female Biology of All Time (This is a MUST READ for women — and so funny, too!)
James Patterson tops Forbes’s list of high-paid authors, but this year’s list includes six women in the top 15:
- James Patterson ($94 million)
- Stephen King ($39 million)
- Janet Evanovich ($33 million)
- John Grisham ($26 million)
- Jeff Kinney ($25 million)
- Bill O’Reilly ($24 million)
- Nora Roberts ($23 million)
- Danielle Steel ($23 million)
- Suzanne Collins ($20 million)
- Dean Koontz ($19 million)
- J.K. Rowling ($17 million)
- George R.R. Martin ($15 million)
- Stephenie Meyer ($14 million)
- Ken Follett ($14 million)
- Rick Riordan ($13 million)
From National Catholic Reporter: A look at three books on “finding feminine connections to God in history, psychology, poetry”
From Tor.com: Liu Yang becomes China’s first woman in space. You go, girl!
From The New Yorker Page Turner blog:
“Last week, researchers unveiled new evidence suggesting that a long-disputed portrait does, in fact, depict a thirteen-year-old Jane Austen. The painting in question is a picture of a very pretty girl with dark eyes and pursed lips, wearing a cloudy-white Empire-waist dress. Since the late nineteenth century, members of a branch of Austen’s family have contended that it is a portrait of their famous ancestor—but historians have disputed the claim, saying that the style of the girl’s dress was not in fashion until Austen was twenty years old.
“The new evidence comes from early photos of the portrait (taken in 1910, before the painting underwent several restorations) that reveal Austen’s name, the name of the painter, and the date 1789, at which time Austen was thirteen. If the girl in the painting really is Jane Austen then the portrait is the only professionally painted likeness of her—and it joins a sketch by Austen’s sister and, possibly, an unauthenticated drawing discovered last year by the Austen biographer Paula Byrne, among the only known portraits of the author created during her lifetime. …
“… We shouldn’t need a picture to prove that Austen was not always grouchy, or that she took her writing seriously. Nor do we need a picture to prove that she was once thirteen years old. But our reading of Austen has been visually augmented, so that we are used to reading her texts along with Colin Firth’s barely raised eyebrows and Gwyneth Paltrow’s furrowed brow. Of all writers, she is one that we would like to visualize accurately, in the half-belief that if we could just get a good look at her, we would be able to see something more of her world.”
An interesting book review from National Catholic Reporter online on The Maid’s Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream by Mary Romero (reviewed by Jessica M. Vasquez).
“Mary Romero’s book The Maid’s Daughter is a rich and detailed sociological account of the lives of a live-in maid, Carmen, and her daughter, Olivia. The book is centrally concerned with the mother-daughter and employer-employee relationships in domestic service. The chief tension of the book is about how domestic service employment, engaged by many immigrants, is a launching pad for upward mobility yet is laden with expectation, obligation and fear — the mother’s fear that she might lose her daughter to the employers and the daughter’s fear that she might lose her mother to the employers. …” [Read more]
Be sure to read the comments, too.
I was offended when Ann Romney said she worked hard being a stay-at-home mom and knows “what it’s like to struggle.” Hmmm. While I realize that being a stay-at-home mom can take up all your energy, I would really like to see what she’d do if she had to work as intensely as I have had to, and as many hours, every day, for as many years as I have. Not to mention having to put up with the sexual harassment/innuendo and “glass ceiling” barriers, which is a job in itself.
Here’s a link to a brilliant take on the whole thing from National Catholic Reporter online: By Colman McCarthy
You can follow the plight of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious at the NCR website.
In other news, a nun has been denounced by the Vatican for putting her opinions in a book.
Here’s a link to the latest “One for the Books” column on Nuns in Fiction.
The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau
The Novice by Thich Nhat Hanh
Obedience by Jacqueline Yallop
Religion: Tensions building between women, Vatican leaders
By TERRY MATTINGLY, Scripps Howard News Service
In the beginning, there was the Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Women’s Institutes, which was established with the Vatican’s blessing in 1959 during an era of rapid growth for Catholic religious orders.
Then along came two cultural earthquakes, the Second Vatican Council and the sexual revolution. In 1971, the women’s conference changed its name — this time without the Vatican’s blessing — to become the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). Two leaders in this transformation later wrote that the goal was to become a “corporate force for systematic change in Church and society.”
The rest is a long story, ultimately leading to a blunt April 18 missive from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This long-expected Vatican broadside noted “serious doctrinal problems” in LCWR proclamations, characterized by a “diminution of the fundamental Christological center” and the prevalence of “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”
Conference leaders offered a terse response, saying they were “stunned by the conclusions of the doctrinal assessment” from Rome.
“Stunned” was the key word for legions of headline writers, whose work resembled this Washington Post offering: “American nuns stunned by Vatican accusation of ‘radical feminism,’ crackdown.” The Chicago Sun-Times went even further, proclaiming: “Vatican waging a war on nuns.”
Truth is, tensions have been building for decades between the LCWR leadership and Vatican leaders. Thus, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith missive stressed that its call for reform was built on a lengthy study of materials created by “a particular conference of major superiors and therefore does not intend to offer judgment on the faith and life of Women Religious in the member congregations.”
This particular investigation began in 2008 and Catholic leaders first discussed some of its findings two years later. The final “doctrinal assessment” document was completed in January 2011. Some of the specific events criticized in the Vatican document took place during the 1970s and ’80s.
It “certainly didn’t help matters” that there has been so much publicity about liberal nuns supporting White House health-care policies and new Health and Human Services regulations that require most religious institutions to include free coverage of all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives in their health-insurance plans, noted John L. Allen Jr., of the National Catholic Reporter.
Nevertheless, “it doesn’t withstand scrutiny for anyone to say that this conflict is about the bishops and Rome being upset about the sisters, [President Barack] Obama and birth control,” said Allen, in a telephone interview from Rome. Also, “no one is upset about all the sisters have done to abolish the death penalty, stand up for immigrants, care for the sick and help the poor. Rome praised them for that. … Frankly, his report could have been written 20 years ago. The real issues in this case are that old.”
For example, the Vatican noted that in 1977 the LCWR leadership openly rejected Catholic teachings on the “reservation of priestly ordination to men.” The women’s conference later published a training book suggesting that it’s legitimate for sisters to debate whether celebrations of the Mass should be central to events in their communities, since this would require the presence of a male priest.
In the ’80s, leaders in female orders backed the New Ways Ministry’s work to oppose Catholic teachings on homosexuality.
A pivotal moment came in 2007, when Dominican Sister Laurie Brink delivered the keynote address at a national LCWR assembly stating that it was time for some religious orders to enter an era of “sojourning” that would require “moving beyond the church, even beyond Jesus.”
With the emergence of the women’s movement and related forms of spirituality, many sisters would see “the divine within nature” and embrace an “emerging new cosmology” that would feed their souls, said Brink. For these sisters, the “Jesus narrative is not the only or the most important narrative. … Jesus is not the only son of God.”
A year later, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith opened its investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
The Brink address, noted the resulting doctrinal assessment, “is a challenge not only to core Catholic beliefs; such a rejection of faith is also a serious source of scandal and is incompatible with religious life. … Some might see in Sr. Brink’s analysis a phenomenological snapshot of religious life today. But pastors of the Church should also see in it a cry for help.”
(Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.tmatt.net.
“For two years I had lived under this terror that the Russians would send us to Siberia. So after living like that for so long, I thought — and many people did — that maybe it would be better under the Germans … Once the Germans took over, it was complete chaos. They were constantly issuing decrees. Every day, there was a different order. Jews couldn’t go here, couldn’t go there, couldn’t do this, couldn’t do that. There was no more school. There was an ordinance that whenever a Jew passed a German on the street, he had to take off his hat and get off the sidewalk.”
— From “Hiding Places: A Mother, a Daughter, an Uncovered Life”
by Diane Wyshogrod
(a true story set in eastern Poland during World War II)
“The choice that many people, looking in from the outside, think Amish young people have about whether they leave or stay in the community is a myth, at least in my experience. I certainly did not feel like I had a choice. It was as if I was being led down a long corridor, in which there was light ahead of me and darkness behind me, with someone representing the church firmly guiding me down that corridor in the direction of ‘joining church.’ To choose not to join, I would have had to wrench my elbow away from that someone, and run back into the darkness of the unknown.” …
“Not only are they not taking into account that times have changed, but they are denying that they have changed, which sometimes makes their way of life so restrictive that it becomes punitive. Much focus is put on punishing wrongdoers, as opposed to finding harmony in the community.”
— Saloma Miller Furlong in “Why I Left the Amish”
Here’s a link to the latest “One for the Books” column on people kept separate from the rest of the world.
Why I Left the Amish
I Am Forbidden
From the National Catholic Reporter comes a new blog, “Sisters Under Scrutiny.” The interesting entry from Robert McClory discusses the attitude of the Church toward women:
“The attitude toward women that prompted the Vatican crackdown on the LCWR was there in the beginning and it’s never been exorcised from Catholicism. It even got into the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians, for example, where the writer declares that women “should keep silence in the churches for they are not permitted to speak but should be subordinate. … If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husband.”
Today, we are assured by every credible Scripture scholar that this was inserted by some scribe after Paul’s death; it totally contradicts his attitude toward women and his acceptance of women as co-workers. In Romans, he commends an entire list of women, including Junia, whom he calls “prominent among the apostles.” Nevertheless, several putdowns of women got placed in the texts and have remained as stumbling blocks for the unwary. …” More
(LCWR = Leadership Conference of Women Religious)
Flavorwire offers 10 great science fiction books for girls.
And first ladies always get picked on — usually by the press. Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton — they all got bashed. Laura Bush had it fairly easy.
But this time, the first lady is being bashed by the author of a new book, “The Obamas.” I really don’t want to read the book, because this kind of blatant negative just-for-the-money putdown is anathema to me. So, instead, I’m going to show Michelle Obama in a positive light as often as I can.
(Photo of Michelle Obama from forcoloredgurls.com; the rest of the photos here are from the Associated Press.)
First lady Michelle Obama, center, poses for a photo with U.S. Army Staff Sergeants Keisha Whitmore, left, and Tyeir Pritchard-Davis after Obama announced an initiative for more research on veterans medical care during a visit at Virginia Commonwealth University, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, in Richmond, Va. The staff sergeants are based at Fort Lee in Petersburg, Va. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, P. Kevin Morley)
BET honorees, from left, Tuskegee Airmen Colonel Charles McGee USAF Ret. and Dr. Roscoe C. Brown Jr., athlete Beverly Kearney, director Spike Lee, singer Mariah Carey and musician Stevie Wonder, pose with First Lady Michelle Obama during the BET Honors at the Warner Theatre in Washington on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Dec. 14, 2011: President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)
Mary Ann Gwinn at The Seattle Times suggests women’s fiction favorites.
HuffPo lets us in on the facts: Busting myths about Marie Antoinette — 7 things she never did. (You would already know these things if you had read the excellent Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund.)