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Women Who Love Books Too Much: Bibliophiles, Bluestockings & Prolific Pens from the Algonquin Hotel to the Ya-YA Sisterhood

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This is a celebration of the special relationship women can have with books. It crosses the ages from Biblical scribes to women writers making a name for themselves in the 21st century.


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This is a celebration of the special relationship women can have with books. It crosses the ages from Biblical scribes to women writers making a name for themselves in the 21st century.

30 review for Women Who Love Books Too Much: Bibliophiles, Bluestockings & Prolific Pens from the Algonquin Hotel to the Ya-YA Sisterhood

  1. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    This book contains a series of biographical profiles of women writers from ancient times to the late 20th-century. (The book was published in 2000 when J.K. Rowling had only published 3 Harry Potter books). The book is arranged by topic: First Ladies of Literature, about women who broke the mold and became the first of some type of literature; Ink in Their Veins, about women related to famous men; Mystics and Madwomen, my least favorite section, suggesting that women writers are all a little cra This book contains a series of biographical profiles of women writers from ancient times to the late 20th-century. (The book was published in 2000 when J.K. Rowling had only published 3 Harry Potter books). The book is arranged by topic: First Ladies of Literature, about women who broke the mold and became the first of some type of literature; Ink in Their Veins, about women related to famous men; Mystics and Madwomen, my least favorite section, suggesting that women writers are all a little crazy; Banned, Blacklisted and Arrested, self-explanatory; Prolific Pens, writers who have published a multitude of books; Salonists and Culture Makers and finally Women Whose Books are Loved Too Much (adored authors). The writing style is very casual. There are no footnotes or citations but a bibliography is included in the end. It's obvious the author was only somewhat familiar with certain authors given the simplicity and minor errors in the profiles. The profiles are more casual than a wikipedia entry but similar in length and information. What the editor does very well is include women writers who are more obscure because of time period or subject matter. There are a number of Queer women profiled here as well. I would recommend this book to non-literature majors as a starting place to locate new potential favorite writers.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Interesting information about Bibliophiles, Bluestockings, and Prolific Pens. Love those words in the title. Did learn more about Pear S. Buck and several librarians who made a difference. Enjoyed this.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelly H. (Maybedog)

    I gave this book a five up until the last chapter when it kind of fell apart in my mind. Then, looking back, I realized that a four is more appropriate anyway which I'll explain below. The name is misleading because it's really about female authors throughout history, although I probably wouldn't have picked it up with a more boring title. The book is impeccably researched containing information about female authors throughout history, most of whom I'd never even heard of. The bits about each oth I gave this book a five up until the last chapter when it kind of fell apart in my mind. Then, looking back, I realized that a four is more appropriate anyway which I'll explain below. The name is misleading because it's really about female authors throughout history, although I probably wouldn't have picked it up with a more boring title. The book is impeccably researched containing information about female authors throughout history, most of whom I'd never even heard of. The bits about each other are just long enough and very interesting. I wish the excerpts were longer, though. The main drawback is that it is enormously weighted in favor of Western/European/American English fiction and poetry writers. There are a few French authors but most wrote in English. Most are white, as well. There are a number of African Americans but not nearly enough and some major African American authors such as Audre Lorde and Soujourner Truth are conspicuously absent. I think there is only one Asian writer and I don't recall any of any other race. Many groundbreaking feminist writers like Ursula LeGuin and other SF writers are just mentioned in a list of "other beloved writers," not acknowledging the huge challenges such writers had breaking into a male-dominated field. The worst part is the final section which is about authors who have legions of fans so most are modern day authors. But there is little to explain the choices. For example, Rebecca Wells, the author of the YaYa sisterhood books is included, I think solely so they could write on the cover "from the Algonquin Hotel to the Ya-Ya sisterhood." But despite its shortcomings, the book is well written and interesting. Each author is described with respect and admiration, even when their views weren't particularly popular. I do believe the author respects people of color and discussed lesbian and bisexual authors as positively as any others. I think she was just limited by her own worldview and language.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    With a title like this how could I not pick it up, especially since I found it at Half-Price Books? There are seven different groupings of women with short bios of each woman included. I enjoyed some chapters more than others and there is a large selection of women from every time period and geographic location (although it is clearly Anglo based). I had heard of maybe a little more than half of these women and enjoyed getting to know some women that I knew of, but had never read. Betty Friedan, With a title like this how could I not pick it up, especially since I found it at Half-Price Books? There are seven different groupings of women with short bios of each woman included. I enjoyed some chapters more than others and there is a large selection of women from every time period and geographic location (although it is clearly Anglo based). I had heard of maybe a little more than half of these women and enjoyed getting to know some women that I knew of, but had never read. Betty Friedan, Mary Baker Eddy, and Gertrude Stein were a few that interested me the most, since I knew so little about them. I didn’t realize that Gertrude Stein was buried at the Cemetery of Pere-Lachaise in Paris or else I would had looked for her when we were there last week. I’ll be talking about that cemetery in my Paris recap on Sunday. I thought the book was good, but considering the title, a little boring. I read it in snippets, so it took me a long time to finish. This would not have happened if I had been truly engaged. This book is gift sized and I do think it is a fun gift for a book lover, especially those who are interested in biographies of women.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    When I started reading this book I realized by page 7 that I would need to take notes, adding to my forever expanding wish list of books I would like to read some day, but by the end of the first chapter I gave up, too many authors! My solution, I photo-copied the index for future reference. There are many authors mentioned in this book that I have never heard of and many I have heard of, but whose work I've never read. I must remedy that! Some believe that this book is US-centric. I disagree. M When I started reading this book I realized by page 7 that I would need to take notes, adding to my forever expanding wish list of books I would like to read some day, but by the end of the first chapter I gave up, too many authors! My solution, I photo-copied the index for future reference. There are many authors mentioned in this book that I have never heard of and many I have heard of, but whose work I've never read. I must remedy that! Some believe that this book is US-centric. I disagree. Many authors from different parts of the world are mentioned in this book, but I won't argue that many parts of the world are left out. This is a good book overall and I would recommend it to anyone looking to add new authors to their libraries. I especially enjoyed the chapters entitled 'Ink in Their Veins,' and 'Banned, Blacklisted, and Arrested,' interesting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I know it may be hard to believe, but some of us are obsessed with books. And for those of us who are, it is even harder to believe that there are folks out there who don't like books. We recognize kindred spirits who display the common signs of book fever:frequent visits to the bookstore for no specific reason, an overflowing book shelf, and a search in the forum yields a huge list both as poster and content. I know it may be hard to believe, but some of us are obsessed with books. And for those of us who are, it is even harder to believe that there are folks out there who don't like books. We recognize kindred spirits who display the common signs of book fever:frequent visits to the bookstore for no specific reason, an overflowing book shelf, and a search in the forum yields a huge list both as poster and content.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Faith-Anne

    This book is truly a wonder. It packs a lot of interesting facts and tidbits about nearly every writer you can think of off the top of your head! Don't let it's small size fool you. It was the perfect book to bring on vacation. I could read it at leisure. The biographies were small enough that they could be read while on the bus. Perfect! This book is truly a wonder. It packs a lot of interesting facts and tidbits about nearly every writer you can think of off the top of your head! Don't let it's small size fool you. It was the perfect book to bring on vacation. I could read it at leisure. The biographies were small enough that they could be read while on the bus. Perfect!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pamela(AllHoney)

    I found this one at my local library. Just a bunch of short bios of various women throughout history who have contributed to the world of literature in some way. I thought it very informative of how women played a part in the literary world.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    I am glad to have been introduced - or reminded of - some great women authors through this compilation. The concise overviews of many writing careers were perfect small snippets of inspiration. However, the layout of the pages was consistently confusing - with some odd notation on each page that was simple the title of the book but kept fooling me into thinking it was some key fact highlighted on the side of the page. My eye kept traveling there each time I turned the page. Also, I was disappoin I am glad to have been introduced - or reminded of - some great women authors through this compilation. The concise overviews of many writing careers were perfect small snippets of inspiration. However, the layout of the pages was consistently confusing - with some odd notation on each page that was simple the title of the book but kept fooling me into thinking it was some key fact highlighted on the side of the page. My eye kept traveling there each time I turned the page. Also, I was disappointed not to have born and deceased dates outside of the text of each description. It was often hard to situate where each author fell unless they were someone I was familiar with. It is clear that Knight's passion is the salon - hosting group as they have much longer descriptions than other authors. I was also sometimes disappointed that when Knight cross-referenced other famous authors that any particular writer hung out with it was almost always a circle of men instead of highlighting women who interacted with other female authors.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Khalia

    I didn't anticipate that this book would be a collection of biographical sketches. Nonetheless, I count it as joyous blessing. I learned more of women from antiquity and the recent centuries. I hadn't learned of Enheduanna, Aphra Behn, Kathleen Raine, Grazia Deledda, Lucy Terry Prince,Barbara Tuchman, Jane Welsh Carlyle, and Meret Oppenheim. I had seen the name Enheduanna in a textbook on Mesopotamia during a history course. This book presents legendary women in an accessible fashion. Many times I didn't anticipate that this book would be a collection of biographical sketches. Nonetheless, I count it as joyous blessing. I learned more of women from antiquity and the recent centuries. I hadn't learned of Enheduanna, Aphra Behn, Kathleen Raine, Grazia Deledda, Lucy Terry Prince,Barbara Tuchman, Jane Welsh Carlyle, and Meret Oppenheim. I had seen the name Enheduanna in a textbook on Mesopotamia during a history course. This book presents legendary women in an accessible fashion. Many times, legends have their humanity snatched from them on the printed page. A reader empathizes with these women.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    It's more like 3.5 for me. While cute, part of it suffers from just being outdated since it was published in 2001 (for example, there are a lot of outdated websites... the entry on JK Rowling is outdated, etc.) It's more like 3.5 for me. While cute, part of it suffers from just being outdated since it was published in 2001 (for example, there are a lot of outdated websites... the entry on JK Rowling is outdated, etc.)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Salyer

    Okay read.. She seemed to focus on women who were really liberal. I really didn't want to know who was in love with whom.... Good long list of people though. I wish the author would have mentioned why she chose these specifically or included longer list of titles the women authored. Okay read.. She seemed to focus on women who were really liberal. I really didn't want to know who was in love with whom.... Good long list of people though. I wish the author would have mentioned why she chose these specifically or included longer list of titles the women authored.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Cute. Highlight books of women authors from the first female author to today.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    The best part was reading about women in the Dark and Middle ages who managed to read and write despite many obstacles in their way.

  15. 5 out of 5

    LA

    Interesting survey of the reading preferences of famous women in history.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sonja

    A must read for any bibliophile! This will part of my permanent collection.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

    An excellent listing of women writers.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mzbluestocking

    A book about my own kind. Of course, I loved it. Notes: The earliest female author was Enheduanna of Ur. Her works dated from 2500 BCE. Emesal- the distinctly female written dialect. "It has been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass."- Eudora Welty. "I walk where my own nature would be leading: it vexes me to chose another guide."- Emily Bronte "I won't be any properer than I h A book about my own kind. Of course, I loved it. Notes: The earliest female author was Enheduanna of Ur. Her works dated from 2500 BCE. Emesal- the distinctly female written dialect. "It has been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass."- Eudora Welty. "I walk where my own nature would be leading: it vexes me to chose another guide."- Emily Bronte "I won't be any properer than I have a mind to be."- Harriet Beecher Stowe "I was gravely warned by some of my female acquaintances that no woman could expect to be regarded as a lady after sh had written a book."- Lydia M. Child "The ability to control one's own destiny... comes from constant hard work and courage."- Maya Angelou "Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the sense shuts me from the sweet, gracious discourse of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness."- Helen Keller "Do you find it easy to get drunk on words?"- Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers "Are ya still alive, Djuna?"- e.e.cummings to Djuna Barnes "The usual masculine disillusionment is in discovery that a woman has a brain."- Margaret Mitchell

  19. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    A fun little book -- which I picked up on sale -- all about other women like me, women who love books too much. I have read snippets from it now and then and from what I can tell, I'm far from alone. And furthermore, this close-to-obsession I have with books is not just idle curiousity, nor greed, nor escapism, nor mere vanity, but springs from something deep inside me, a genuine desire to LEARN and to KNOW! Not everything about everything, but as much as I can about the things I am interested i A fun little book -- which I picked up on sale -- all about other women like me, women who love books too much. I have read snippets from it now and then and from what I can tell, I'm far from alone. And furthermore, this close-to-obsession I have with books is not just idle curiousity, nor greed, nor escapism, nor mere vanity, but springs from something deep inside me, a genuine desire to LEARN and to KNOW! Not everything about everything, but as much as I can about the things I am interested in, which -- sadly (in some ways) -- seems to be a LOT! Not a great book perhaps, but definitely worth the small price I paid for it. I have the hardback edition, but since the cover isn't featured here on Good Reads yet, and I prefer the pretty pictures, I'm going with the paperback edition.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I have been reading this for a bit now, in small increments. But I just ran across a quote that reminds me of bookcrossing, so...from page 69 "'I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins, I like the comradely sens of turning pages someone else turned, and reading passages some one long gone has called my attention to.' - Bibliophile Helen Hanff, on the joys of second-hand books, from 84, Charing Cross Road" anyway, isn't that sort of what bookcrossing is about, only instead of writing i I have been reading this for a bit now, in small increments. But I just ran across a quote that reminds me of bookcrossing, so...from page 69 "'I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins, I like the comradely sens of turning pages someone else turned, and reading passages some one long gone has called my attention to.' - Bibliophile Helen Hanff, on the joys of second-hand books, from 84, Charing Cross Road" anyway, isn't that sort of what bookcrossing is about, only instead of writing in the margins (though I occasionally find I do that too) we jot a journal entry or three, and pass the book on. I finally finished this. I read it slowly, at intervals. It is a book about many women authors. Women who changed the world as they knew it. Rebels. Thinkers. I enjoyed many of the stories, but some of them were a little dull.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Graceann

    I found this on my travels and thought it would be a natural for me (though I don't accept that there's such a thing as loving books "too much." That smacks of "get your nose out of that book" from when I was a kid). The premise is a pretty simple one - shine a light on women of letters ranging from the very obscure (Mary Manley) to the much beloved (Maya Angelou, Margaret Mitchell) and tell us a bit about their lives and styles. Throw in some excellent quotes from them and other literary women, I found this on my travels and thought it would be a natural for me (though I don't accept that there's such a thing as loving books "too much." That smacks of "get your nose out of that book" from when I was a kid). The premise is a pretty simple one - shine a light on women of letters ranging from the very obscure (Mary Manley) to the much beloved (Maya Angelou, Margaret Mitchell) and tell us a bit about their lives and styles. Throw in some excellent quotes from them and other literary women, and you've got yourselves quite a little book. The bios are separated into different sequences such as banned authors and prolific authors, etc. At the end there is a guide for setting up one's own book group. I ended up with some great quotes for my commonplace book, and some titles to add to my TBR.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Coleen

    6/1/07 - I have been carrying this book around in my file bag at work for the majority of this past school year, reading a few pages at a time here & there, when I have a few minutes to spare. Well, it took me a while, but I did make it through the whole thing, and the timing was pretty good, as I finished it this week, and school also ended this week. It's a very nice resource for giving the reader a brief glimpse into some of the world's most innovative women writers -- some I was pretty famil 6/1/07 - I have been carrying this book around in my file bag at work for the majority of this past school year, reading a few pages at a time here & there, when I have a few minutes to spare. Well, it took me a while, but I did make it through the whole thing, and the timing was pretty good, as I finished it this week, and school also ended this week. It's a very nice resource for giving the reader a brief glimpse into some of the world's most innovative women writers -- some I was pretty familiar with, some I had heard of but really didn't know much about, and many I had never heard of at all. It seems like a perfect book for any active BookCrosser. :')

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This was a book I found hard to read non-stop. There was so much interesting information about each of the authors that I had to take more time than usual while reading it. The bad editing was annoying and distracting. I enjoyed the quotes at the end of each author section. I especially liked the one from Emily Bronte: I'll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide. http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/4... This was a book I found hard to read non-stop. There was so much interesting information about each of the authors that I had to take more time than usual while reading it. The bad editing was annoying and distracting. I enjoyed the quotes at the end of each author section. I especially liked the one from Emily Bronte: I'll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide. http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/4...

  24. 4 out of 5

    jf

    Easy to read in small doses, which works for me these days. The book discussed some interesting women that I was not that familiar with, but there was a rather glaring error mixing up the plots of Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility in the Jane Austen bio that I'm surprised a "woman who loves books too much" would make. Easy to read in small doses, which works for me these days. The book discussed some interesting women that I was not that familiar with, but there was a rather glaring error mixing up the plots of Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility in the Jane Austen bio that I'm surprised a "woman who loves books too much" would make.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Val

    I found this book interesting, but missing some key authors. I had never heard of 95% of these authors yet there are so many more that could have been written about. I would probably never want to read those writings either just due to the content of them. I try to read a lot of wholesome Christian books, so this by far was not that, but I knew that when I started it. It was interesting.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lysia

    I found this book while waiting on line the night "Deathly Hallows" came out - nobody except me was prowling the women studies section, despite the fact that it was right next to where the line formed! This was fun to peruse while I waited, and in the end I bought it as well! I found this book while waiting on line the night "Deathly Hallows" came out - nobody except me was prowling the women studies section, despite the fact that it was right next to where the line formed! This was fun to peruse while I waited, and in the end I bought it as well!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    Interesting read - so many women writers unrecognized during their time. Many that I was not previously aware of -wonderful to read the mini-bios of the women. I plan to add several to my to-read list.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    This is pretty interesting--a compilation of mini-biographies of some of the best, brightest, most famous and most forgotten female literary minds ranging from our time and going all the way back to 2500 BC...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joan Colby

    . Delightful profiles of women writers through the ages grouped by categories. While one wishes that some who were merely noted were also profiled, such as Anais Nin, still this nearly illustrated volume is a fun and instructive read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Fenixbird SandS

    LOL...

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