Monday, August 27, 2007

Great Site for Booklovers

I have always loved books. Always. I just cannot remember not reading. In 3rd grade, I found a tattered copy of Gone With the Wind in the neighbor's trash and read it with fascination. My grandparents presented me with my own hardback edition the next year. Nancy Drew, Ramona, Black Beauty, dog stories ... I devoured them.

Like many kids, I used books to escape the cruddy stuff in life (growing up in a steelworking family in the 1980s generated lots of cruddy stuff). The downside to this was my concept of womanhood was shaped by a lot of throwback references. I wasn't smart like Nancy or keen like George or pretty like Bess. No one invaded West Mifflin in my lifetime, forcing me to survive on my wits and dig for root vegetables. The girls in the juvenile fiction books wore cashmere sweaters and pearl necklaces on their dates. I didn't even know what cashmere was. And none of the boys ever picked me to dance. (Don't feel bad - Ledcat always picks me to dance now.)

But, there were always books to be read. And, eventually, I met real live feminists in grad school and learned a whole new concept of being female. And read more books, minus the cashmere and quarterbacks.

I'm a big fan of the library and usually check out far more than I can read in the allotted time. I always wished for a "queue" like Netflix offers for videos. Ta da! My friend and fellow Society member, Ehrrin, turned me onto this site

What books shaped your girlhood? Actually, recognizing that not everyone in this group had a girlhood, what books first shaped your idea of being female?


  1. The first book that I read that shaped my idea of being female was Katharine Hepburn's "Me". No Sue, I am not being a jack-ass. Since the age of 7, I have been obsessed with Katharine Hepburn (or as I refer to her, Kate). When I was 11 her autobiography was released..."Me:Stories of My Life". Seriously, Katharine Hepburn made me believe that strength, intelligence, athleticism, beauty and power were ALL quatlities of being feminine. All of her best traits were qualities generally associated with being masculine and yet she was this divine, feminine Goddess who pulled it off and made other women believe that they could do so as well.

    Seriously, the book changed my life. I re-read it every year...

    I expect a full report on my desk by noon Friday, Kerr.

  2. Oh man, I always have overdue library books.

    One of the most important books I've ever read, and I'm not kidding, is "Harriet the Spy" by Louise Fitzhugh. I randomly found it in a closet in my house when I was nine years old, no real explanation on how it got there. Harriet's honest, gutsy personality struck a cord with me, and I really believe it was what influenced me the most when it came to being a writer.

  3. It's hard for me to single out books from my childhood. I read constantly - 4 or 5 books a week, up to 3 in a day - so it was a more general benefit. What I do remember having an impact, though, were the old magazines given me by a family member from the reception area of a beauty shop. While my chosen content was surely less innocuous than anyone suspected, I was able to explore contemporary women's issues and obtain answers in a pre-internet, Catholic, rural atmosphere limited in information resources.

    Thank you for this wonderful alternative to constantly creating Amazon wish lists! :)

  4. Thanks, Ehrrin!!! I'm addicted to and I've recruited five new people so far (beyond this blog). Last night, Ledcat shut out the lights on me and went to bed b/c I was so engrossed in finding books to review. :-)

  5. I'm with you! I'm totally addicted to that site, and I love that you get to see your friends' books and what they thought of them. I've gotten lots of great book ideas, and as a result have about 16 books checked out the library now...