Tag: Feminism

Bookstr's Three to Read 4/4/19: 'Madame Fourcade's Secret War,' 'Save Me The Plums,' & 'First'

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 4/4/19

March was Women’s History Month—but, while we appreciate the sentiment, we also know that women make history every month. In the entire world, men outnumber women only slightly, with a ratio of 102 men to every 100 women. We also know (or should know) that, in certain region, the infanticide of female children has impacted this figure. In the United States, women outnumber men. And yet, women’s stories are frequently placed into their own categories. Women’s stories are frequently deemed less universal. This week, we delve deeply into those stories: the professional, the political, and the historic. So often, women’s stories are all three of these things at once. (Let’s just note that these stories in particular share one more important quality—they’re damn good reads.)

So, although it may be April, here are Bookstr’s Three to Read: Women’s History edition. Why? Because we know it matters!





'Save Me the Plums' by Ruth Reichl


Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the risk (and the job) of a lifetime when she entered the glamorous, high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet, during which she spearheaded a revolution in the way we think about food.

When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. And yet . . . Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?

This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media–the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down.

Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams–even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be.



Women never have to apologize for their success. So it’s complicated to realize that we are often expected to. This book is a fascinating look at the career trajectory of an accomplished professional at the height of her power. Ruth Reichl asserts herself and her capabilities as she takes on a massive leadership role with talent and personality, inspiring all readers to not only live their dreams but also CRUSH them. Beyond the feminist elements of Reichl’s boss rise to success, Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir is a colorful story of big-time creative professionals, sure to add plenty of flavor (bad pun, accurate description) to your reading list. Reichl has also written a number of other successful books that draw upon her relationship with food, including the successful Delicious!: A Novel. As a bonus, this cover design is especially inventive—we look at the tantalizing first page of an open, glossy magazine, a nod to Reichl’s role in Gourmet that perfectly captures the feeling of such a prestigious publication. Also, we love food. We assume you feel the same.




'Madame Fourcade's Secret War' Lynne Olson



The dramatic true story of Marie-Madeleine Fourcade–codename Hedgehog–the woman who headed the largest spy network in occupied France during World War II, from the New York Times bestselling author of Citizens of London and Those Angry Days.

In 1941, a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour became the leader of a vast Resistance organization–the only woman to hold such a role. Brave, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country’s conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job. Her group’s name was Alliance, but the Gestapo dubbed it Noah’s Ark because its agents used the names of animals as their aliases. Marie-Madeleine’s codename was Hedgehog.

No other French spy network lasted as long or supplied as much crucial intelligence as Alliance–and as a result, the Gestapo pursued them relentlessly, capturing, torturing, and executing hundreds of its three thousand agents, including her own lover and many of her key spies. Fourcade had to move her headquarters every week, constantly changing her hair color, clothing, and identity, yet was still imprisoned twice by the Nazis. Both times she managed to escape, once by stripping naked and forcing her thin body through the bars of her cell. The mother of two young children, Marie-Madeleine hardly saw them during the war, so entirely engaged was she in her spy network, preferring they live far from her and out of harm’s way.

In Madame Fourcade’s Secret War, Lynne Olson tells the tense, fascinating story of Fourcade and Alliance against the background of the developing war that split France in two and forced its citizens to live side by side with their hated German occupiers.



Culturally, we’re fascinated with female spies and operatives: consider the sheer number of listicles starring Hedy Lamarr, film actress, inventor, and WWII radio operator. Perhaps its appeal comes from something inherent in the subversion of gender roles. War is a man’s game, pop culture and history dictates. But, if that were true, why are women so good at playing? The reality is that men are frequently the ones writing the history they populate, removing the narratives of these compelling women. In Madame Fourcade’s Secret War, Lynne Olson explores the multifaceted life of a fascinating woman—a woman whose motherhood (and womanhood) does not make her any less of a Nazi-fighting badass. Olson is a prolific writer of non-fiction, and you don’t have to take my word for it: former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright dubbed Olson “our era’s foremost chronicler of World War II politics and diplomacy.”




'First' Sandra Day O'Connor



Based on exclusive interviews and access to the Supreme Court archives, this is the intimate, inspiring, and authoritative biography of America’s first female Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor- by New York Times bestselling author Evan Thomas.

She was born in 1930 in El Paso and grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona. At a time when women were expected to be homemakers, she set her sights on Stanford University. When she graduated near the top of her class at law school in 1952, no firm would even interview her. But Sandra Day O’Connor’s story is that of a woman who repeatedly shattered glass ceilings–doing so with a blend of grace, wisdom, humor, understatement, and cowgirl toughness.

She became the first-ever female majority leader of a state senate. As a judge on the Arizona State Court of Appeals, she stood up to corrupt lawyers and humanized the law. When she arrived at the Supreme Court, appointed by Reagan in 1981, she began a quarter-century tenure on the court, hearing cases that ultimately shaped American law. Diagnosed with cancer at fifty-eight, and caring for a husband with Alzheimer’s, O’Connor endured every difficulty with grit and poise.

Women and men today will be inspired by how to be first in your own life, how to know when to fight and when to walk away, through O’Connor’s example. This is a remarkably vivid and personal portrait of a woman who loved her family and believed in serving her country, who, when she became the most powerful woman in America, built a bridge forward for the women who followed her.



It’s a rare biography that fully juxtaposes the human with the historic, the personal with the political. The New Yorker contributor Evan Thomas‘ First: Sandra Day O’Connor is one such work… and it’s worth putting first on your reading list. While the biography may center around O’Connor’s professional accomplishments, it also portrays her as a complex person. All of us craving that Game of Thrones content (specifically, the gossip and artifice of power dynamics) will feel the hypnotic pull of the Supreme Court’s political intrigue… without as much of the baggage of contemporary political discourse. There’s an inherent (if slightly voyeuristic) appeal in looking at the secret side of stories we’ve seen play out on the news, people we’ve seen on television made whole and complete. Thomas grants us access to rivalries hidden from the media, to the intimate accounts of friends and colleagues. This biography captures that same appeal of reality television—just with fewer beach hookups and parking lot fights. (By ‘fewer,’ we mean absolutely none. Just to clarify.)


20 Gloria Steinem Quotes to Empower You!

Happy 85th birthday to the great Gloria Steinem!

Gloria Steinem is one of the most influential and prominent figures in second-wave feminism and marched alongside greats like Dr. Maya Angelou. She made a massive contribution to American feminism from the 60s to the 70s, and continues to influence change in the era of #MeToo and Times Up. It may be her eighty-fifth birthday, but she is not slowing down, and has she is also heavily involved in these recent movements as well.


Image Via Elle


Not only is she a fierce political activist but also a writer/journalist with books like Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions foreword by Emma Watsonand her memoir, My Life on the Road.

Are you curious to know which books inspire her? Well thanks to an article from Early Birds Books, you can go through the list of books she reviewed and get inspired!


Here are twenty quotes from Steinem that I think are amazing and will definitely empower you.


Image via yahoo


1. “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”


2. “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”


3.‪”I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.”‬


4. “Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person.”‬


5. ‪”Don’t worry about what you should do, worry about what you can do.”‬‬


6. “Women have two choices: Either she’s a feminist or a masochist.”‬


7. “A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.”‬


8. “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”


9. “Women are always saying,”We can do anything that men can do.” But Men should be saying,”We can do anything that women can do.”‬


10. ‪”We are the women our parents warned us against, and we are proud.”‬


11. “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”


12. “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”


13. “Power can be taken, but not given. The process of the taking is empowerment in itself.”


14. “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”


15. “A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.”


16. “A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”


17. “Being misunderstood by people whose opinions you value is absolutely the most painful.”


18. “The most hurtful thing is not what comes from our adversaries, it’s what comes from our friends.”


19. “Perfect is boring: Beauty is irregular.”


20. “I started out life as a writer, and writers write in part because they don’t want to talk.”


What are your favorite quotes from this list? If you don’t have a favorite, which ones would you add?



Women, Small Presses Dominate Man Booker International Prize Longlist

Founded in 2016, The Man Booker International Prize exists to spread fiction in translation to worldwide audience. The Man Booker Prize itself, established several decades earlier in 1969, “guarantees a worldwide readership” and an enormous spike in book sales; the international version aims to offer the same visibility to an international author whose work may otherwise remain lodged behind the language barrier—tragically inaccessible to the general populace. The Man Booker International Prize aims to change that.


In 2019, translated fiction sales jumped 5.5%


Given the nature of the award, its winners are inherently diverse: drawn from throughout the world and writing in languages that may be less accessible to a Western audience. While some nominees are from Western Europe and South America, many are also from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Asia, regions whose languages are not taught as frequently in Western schools. The publicity surrounding this prestigious award typically grants its winner an international readership whose value cannot be understated—for instance, a novel written in Polish, a less widely-spoken language, may have an incredibly limited audience regardless of the quality of writing. Poland also has a lower population density than a larger country like China, further limiting the market of possible buyers.

This year in particular, the award’s diversity is more than a matter of geography. Women comprise eight of thirteen longlisted nominees, and all but two books are small press publications. In the age of self-publishing and indie bookstores—an age of increasing ability to shirk the confines of tradition—these nominations are deeply reflective of the increasingly diverse (and increasingly individualized!) nature of publishing. Of course, it’s a matter of geography as well—translated languages include Polish, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, French, German, Chinese, Swedish, and Dutch.


"More translated fiction is read now than ever in this millennium."


This year, the group of five judges is comprised entirely of women and people of color (though no women of color), each a respected academic or writer. The full list of nominees is now available; the shortlist is anticipated for April 9th. In the award’s tradition of respecting translation as an art form, both the author and translator will receive an even half of the £50,000 prize.

One author to watch out for is Olga Tokarczuk, whose Polish-language novel Flights won the prize in 2018. She’s up for a second consecutive nomination: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, has made the list for 2019.


All In-text Images Via Man Booker Prize Twitter.
Featured Image Via Penguin Books.

Comic Explores Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life Story

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a modern icon, a judge who has had untold positive impact on the United States’ justice system. Towards the end of last year, a biopic On the Basis of Sex was released, starring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer, and now Bader Ginsberg’s life story is becoming a graphic novel!


Image result for ruth bader ginsburg

Image via TMZ.


The novel is written by Debbie Levy, the New York Times bestselling author of the RBG picture book I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Markand illustrated by Whitney Gardner.


Image result for debbie levy

Debbie Levy (writer) | Image via Debie Levy Books


Image result for whitney gardner

Whitney Gardner. | Image via Pop! Goes the Reader.


Becoming RBG follows Bader Ginsburg’s life from her childhood in Brooklyn to her days as a student, and later, a Columbia Law School professor, as a lawyer and on to her tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The book then details Bader Ginsberg’s appointment to highest court in the land and work as a Supreme Court Justice.


Image via Amazon.


Check out this Bustle article for a first look at the graphic novel!


The writing is rather simple (it is a children’s book after all), and the art is super endearing! Great for kids, or anyone interested in history who doesn’t have the time for a full-length feature film or reading a lengthy book.



Featured Image via Red Pill Pundit.

7 Books That Empower Women

Amy Morin is the author of bestseller 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, and, most recently, 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do, published by Harper Collins and available now. 


My work as a therapist and as an author has focused on helping people build mental strength. And while building mental muscle is the same for both men and women, women face unique challenges. Consequently, we’re more likely to develop a set of counterproductive bad habits that weigh us down and hold us back.


I wrote 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do to help women let go of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that threaten to hold us back so I’m including it on my list.


I’m frequently asked to suggest books that empower women personally and professionally so I wanted to create a list of the books that can help women reach their greatest potential. You’ll notice many of the books aren’t specifically written for women—but they do address the challenges that women are more likely to face. Here are the top 7 books that can empower women to become their best selves:


1. Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, Ph.D.


Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon


While you might be quick to shut down a friend who tried to verbally abuse you, there’s a good chance you might talk down to yourself. Whether you call yourself names or you beat yourself up when you make a mistake, the conversations you have with yourself matter.  Filled with exercises and action plans, Self-Compassion will teach how to develop a productive inner dialogue.


2. Dare to Lead by Brene Brown


Image Via Goodreads

Image Via Goodreads


When asked to draw a picture of a leader, most people draw a male figure. Dare to Lead can change that by showing everyone what a great leader actually looks like. You’ll learn how to sharpen your leadership skills and you’ll discover how to develop the courage you need to step up and help others reach their greatest potential.


3. 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins


Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon 


If you’ve wasted hours trying to talk yourself into doing something you didn’t want to do, you’re not alone. Studies show women are more likely to ruminate (or think too much). Fortunately, the 5-Second Rule will give you the kick you need to get up and take action—even when you don’t feel like it.


4. Becoming by Michelle Obama

Image Via Goodreads

Image Via Goodreads


Michelle Obama’s memoir has taken the world by storm—for good reason. She’s a compelling storyteller who knows how to inspire others. Reading about how she overcame challenges in childhood and along the way to the white house will help you develop better strategies for reaching new heights in your own life.


5. Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling


Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon


A light and easy read, Why Not Me? offers insight into what it’s like to be comfortable in your own skin. Through a series of personal stories and essays, actress and comedian Mindy Kaling shares her struggles and triumphs in love, friendship, and the working world. This book will challenge you to learn how to laugh at yourself as well as how to develop confidence that can be seen a mile away.


6. This Is Me by Chrissy Metz


Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon


Chrissy Metz, the fan favorite star of This is Us, radiates self-love. Her book (which is part memoir, part prescriptive) will show you how she beat the odds and overcame adversity. More than a feel good story, however, This Is Me will teach you practical skills that will help you learn to love yourself.


7. 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do by Amy Morin


Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amy Morin


You could have all the good habits in the world, but it only takes one bad habit to hold you back. 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do identifies the most common habits that keep women stuck. Each chapter offers mental muscle building exercises and clear takeaways for giving up counterproductive bad habits, so you can work smarter, not harder, at becoming your very best.



Featured Images Via Amazon, Goodreads and 123RF.com