A Bookish Women’s History Month

19 Mar

I am still in the middle of the very long, but completely engrossing The Goldfinch, so I don’t have a book review this week. I can’t leave you hanging though! To make up for the lack of a book review, I started thinking of March themes I could write about. Books about spring? Too expected. National Nutrition month related books? Way too boring. National Brain Injury Awareness Month? Oh so depressing.

NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH! In honor of that worthy holiday, here are a few of my favorite lady characters and authors. If you want your daughter to grow up to be a slightly dorky, library type, throw some of these books at her.

Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

wrinkle in time madeleine l'engle

 

Meg is the character that all bookworm tween girls identify with. She is awkward, sometimes angry, and different, but also smart, caring and brave enough to kick some disembodied, evil brain butt. Meg shows how smarts and love win over looks, which, although now not a very revelatory thought, was a very comforting idea when I was twelve.

L’Engle’s ability to write about science and philosophy in a way that entranced even the least sciencey of kids is unparalleled. She  never talked down to her readers; instead she respected kids enough to believe that they could grasp crazy theories. I would really like to thank her for my knowing the word “mitochondria” before I ever took a biology class.

Ramona Quimby in The Ramona Series by Beverly Cleary

ramona quimby beverly cleary and cat

 

Oh, Ramona. It’s so tough to be Ramona. No one listens to her, she is perpetually in some sort of trouble with her parents or at school, and she has a bossy older sister. Ok, so sometimes I identified with that bossy older sister more than Ramona, but still, who doesn’t have a little bit of Ramona inside…especially when you get the urge to make a crown out of burrs you find in a vacant lot. Gah. I want to do that.

And Beverly Cleary! I love this lady! Her autobiography about her college years and her library school experience (oh yes, homegirl was a librarian) has been one of my life guides since I got it for my 11th birthday. She’s relatable, but awesome enough that you want to be her. Yes. My whole life is me trying to be Beverly Cleary. I also love the way she handles a cat.

Laura and Ma Ingalls in The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

little house illustrationlaura ingalls wilder

 

Aw, the original awesome lady series. As a kid who had a weird habit of fantasizing about living on her own, I was fascinated with the lives of the Ingalls girls. They survived blizzards, clouds of grasshoppers and prairie fires, while still having enough time to make molasses snow candy and play with a pig bladder balloon. How is this not the ideal life?! When I re-read the series as an adult though, I was more into Ma Ingalls, Laura’s mom. Living in the wilderness while her husband seemed to drag them all over the place must have been tough, but Ma is always super on top of everything. If I end up being a quarter as capable as her, I’m calling it a win.

And it’s hard to tell where the character of Laura Ingalls ends and the real lady begins, but she was able to write a series of beloved children’s books AND twist sticks of hay into firewood to keep her family from freezing. That puts you in a very select company.

Any lady writers that influenced you particularly? Or female characters? Share!

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2 Responses to “A Bookish Women’s History Month”

  1. Laura March 19, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    I haven’t read aaaaany of these book, and I know that I should! I feel like they’re all kiiiind of American children’s books which would explain why I haven’t read them yet, though.

    • ohdizzle March 19, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

      Oh no! It’s funny how little children’s culture travels between the UK and the USA. When I lived there, people were constantly referencing kids tv shows I’d never heard of.

      I think the best of these books for adults is A Wrinkle in Time. It’s weird, smart and very very good.

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