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The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder Hardcover – October 19, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Marketing consultant Blakemore finds that in moments of struggle and stress she revisits her favorite childhood women authors and their plucky heroines for respite, escape, and perspective. Jane Austen, who broke off an engagement and threw away her last chance at a respectable marriage, poked fun at polite society and its expectations of women in her novels, and she created a self-assured, self-respecting protagonist in Pride and Prejudice's Lizzy Bennet--who also doesn't need a man to complete her even if Lizzy does get a rich, handsome husband in the end. As Blakemore pushes against the boundaries of her own life, she also identifies with selfish Scarlett O'Hara, who, lacking in self-awareness and oblivious to the emotions of others, shoulders life's burdens and moves ahead, "her decisions swift, self-serving, and without compromise." The Little House on the Prairie series reminds Blakemore that when we focus on people and life instead of on material possessions, we learn to acknowledge what really counts. She finds inspiration, too, in Little Women, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Color Purple, and Anne of Green Gables, and offers some nuggets of wisdom, but for the most part, her observations are familiar and pat. (Nov.) (c)
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"...Blakemore makes a charming case for rereading." (The Washington Post)
"A slender volume, The Heroine's Bookshelf packs a lot of information into its 200 pages and will be right at home on any literature lover's bookshelf." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"To readers' delight, each chapter examines a leading lady's fictional journey and her real-life creator's own narrative, underscoring both the parallels and contemporary application of meaningful life lessons." (Boulder Daily Camera)
"...a helpful and entertaining conversation starter at book groups." (Book Group Buzz [American Library Association])
"...a frothy literary latte; rich and sweet and deeply satisfying." (Austenprose.com)
“[A] delightful guide to what the heroines of some of the great novels by women writers, and those writers themselves can teach us about life.” (Beatrice.com)
“If you’re stumped for your next pleasure book and want to submerse yourself in a literary past sprinkled with powerful, independent women like Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott, Blakemore’s book provides the perfect portal.” (New York Press)
“Blakemore finds comfort and inspiration in revisiting the tales of literature’s leading ladies and exploring the lives of the women who spun them. [She] makes a charming case for rereading.” (Washington Post)
Top customer reviews
My book club read this and I would not suggest it as something to be read as a book club. There isn't a whole lot to discuss from it (besides which books you've read and haven't read). I would suggest someone to read this if they are looking for something to read for their book club.
The Heroine's Bookshelf by Erin Blakemore
This book is a book for book lovers. The author chronicles major female characters (Jo March, Scout Finch, Jane Eyre) and details what these characters have taught her and brought to her life. She ends each character section with recommendations of when to read these books and what other books readers may enjoy. It was a nice, quick literary read.
It's educational but also thought-provoking. I want to loan it to my friend's teenage daughter so she can get a good idea of some of the classics with a female point of view. In the age of the internet, I'm afraid too many young women only know about Jane Austen if Gwynnie Paltrow is attached to the movie.
This is a fun and easy read, while still giving you food for thought and an appreciation for what women authors have gone through in order to get their words in your hands. I highly recommend it to any age and either gender!
If I could have, I would have taken off half a star for the "Read this book when..." section at the end of each chapter. Really too "lite" for the kind of thinking that has gone into each author/heroine pairing. But I liked that there are suggestions for further reading at each chapter's end. Women authors deserve to be read more widely!
Overall, a job well done in an honest, enthusiastic voice. Looking forward to more from Erin Blakemore.
I've gotten bad about reading, with the internet and life and all my other distractions, I hardly ever crack a book anymore. This book has rekindled my affection for my old literary friends and has reminded me of the value of escaping to the world of books.
I've taken to bringing the book with me most places I go. It's small and light, so it fits easily in my purse. And as I am sitting at my favorite cafe I'll read a chapter or two. I took it with me to the spa for a day of relaxation and rest and indulgence, and it is just the right balance of easy read and interesting ideas to help pass the time.