Editors' Picks

See the reviews our editors have chosen this month:

On Daring and Life   

 On Daring and Life

In July 1968 two sisters, both in their early 20s, said goodbye to family and friends and got on a train in Buenos Aires with $250 in traveler's checks and a goal: to get to the United States. The author, Alicia Beatriz Antico Anderson, says it best, "I wanted to embrace the unknown, to risk, to reach out to the worthy and positive charged side of life, the one I craved." On Daring and Life is a memoir written from journals and letters penned during the journey and chronicling the bold adventure taken with her sister Marta, 46 years ago. more...
The Muralist's Ghost   

 The Muralist's Ghost

The year is 1941 in Millvale, Pennsylvania. As fifty-two-year old Maxo Vanka paints on the ceiling of St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church, he is mindful that his beloved country of Croatia is being ravaged and its people persecuted by the Nazis. In fact, his latest mural that he calls Mati Croatia (Mother Croatia) aptly reflects his sentiment. The painted woman in chains is "a bleak reminder that Croatia was now embroiled, harness, bound...in a world war not of her making, but from which she was helpless to escape." more...
Balancing the Big Stuff   

 Balancing the Big Stuff

This book's subtitle sums it up nicely: Finding Happiness in Work, Family and Life. That's exactly what Liss and Schiffrin discuss in this timely and well-researched book that should be a must read for men and women alike.

Authors Liss and Schiffrin write that the key to all of life is "finding the sweet spot" where "not too much of any one thing, but just enough of everything" brings intrinsic motivation to an individual. more...
Death with All the Trimmings   

 Death with All the Trimmings

Key West, the southernmost island in Florida, reached by a series of causeways straddling the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic ocean, is as much a character in Lucy Burdett's Death with All the Trimmings as the characters themselves. While the people who populate this cozy mystery are fictional, the setting is genuine, complete with the town's popular haunts: Hemmingway House and its many-toed cats; and the mile-long Duval Street. more...
Sweet Survival   

 Sweet Survival

As soon as I read Sweet Survival described as two parts memoir and one part cookbook, I knew I had to read it for myself. Having read some of Laura Zinn Fromm's pieces on Huffington Post, I was fully prepared to like it, but I was surprised by just how enjoyable this book was.

Fromm's essays are all about family, friends, and food. Her take on life is original and inspiring, as she navigates through heady ups and dizzying downs that would have paralyzed many people. more...
An Appetite for Violets   

 An Appetite for Violets

With a hook that immediately drew me in, Martine Bailey opens An Appetite for Violets in April of 1773 at Villa Ombrosa in Tuscany, Italy. She left me wanting more as she peppered each page with just enough detail to plant seeds of doubt, curiosity, and intrigue. Unfortunately that feeling was short-lived.

By the second chapter, readers are taken back to Mawton Hall some six months earlier where they are introduced to the quirky guide for the remainder of the book—Biddy Leigh. more...
On Daring and Life
The Muralist's Ghost
Balancing the Big Stuff
Death with All the Trimmings
Sweet Survival
An Appetite for Violets

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Review of the Month


   Being Miss America, by Kate Shindle

Being Miss America, by Kate Shindle, is part of the Discovering America Series. I started it expecting a treacly tale of the rather vapid Miss America pageants I remember from days gone by.

Boy, was I wrong! The book is a beautifully written, searing history and exposť of the entire Miss America Organization. The author, who was Miss America in 1998, has gone on to a career in theater and, more significantly, has become an informed, respected AIDS/HIV activist. Her book has an interesting format with one chapter devoted to reportage and the next, written in italics, representing the personal ideas and experiences of the author.
more...

Helene Benardo    Reviewed by Helene Benardo
Helene is a retired teacher of English in New York City. "My happiest times were teaching my elective course in Women in Literature to seniors at The Bronx High School of Science, where I also did college mentoring. Now life is made up of reading, amateur nature photography, theater and the time to try out anything that catches my fancy."
more...


  

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Sarton Winners Announced


The Story Circle Network has announced the name of the 2013 Sarton Women's Memoir Award winner and finalists:
  • Tanya Ward Goodman, Leaving Tinkertown
  • Laura Gray-Rosendale, College Girl
  • Carole Garibaldi Rogers, Hidden Lives: My Three Grandmothers
  • Kayann Short, A Bushel's Worth: An Ecobiography
For information about the 2013-2014 competition...

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Our Favorite Authors


Suzanne Sherman   
Read Pat Bean's interview with Suzanne Sherman, author of 100 Years in the Life of an American Girl.

We're getting up close and personal with our favorite writers. Check out our author interviews to read what these great writers have to say.

Now you can listen to interviews with authors as well. Linda Wisniewski, previously on the editorial staff at StoryCircleBookReviews, talks about her memoir, Off Kilter. Go to our podcast page for the link, and check out all the other interviews there.

We have reviews of books by over seven hundred authors. You're sure to find your favorite here. If not, contact us and request a review or, better yet, join our team and write one.

We're looking for strong reviews of books by, for, and about women. If you'd like to join our review team, check out our guidelines.


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American Women in Their Cultural/Historical Context


Browse through our listing of books by women about American women in their cultural and historical contexts. At Story Circle, we are passionate about women's stories and are grateful to the authors who bring these stories to us. The books on this list deserve to be read and appreciated. They are books that matter, about strong women who have played significant roles in all fields of human endeavor. (Special thanks to Susan Schoch, who compiled this list for us.)

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Briefly Reviewed...


We receive more wonderful books than we can possibly review. Here is a selection of titles, briefly described, that represent the wide range of recently-published memoirs written by strong women who have been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale. Recommended!

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About Story Circle Network


This book review site is sponsored by the Story Circle Network, a non-profit membership organization that serves women who want to tell their life stories in diaries, journals, personal essays, poetry, and memoir. The Network is for every woman who aims to claim the power of her experience, who wants to map her journey, and who is determined to name herself. If you're that woman, please join us.
            
   
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Meet Our Reviewers


Judy Alter NovaStar reviewer Judy Alter is the author of two mystery series—Kelly O'Connell Mysteries and Blue Plate Café mysteries—plus the stand-alone, The Perfect Coed. In a long career, she has written fiction and nonfiction for adults and young adults, primarily about women in the American west, and garnered several awards. Judy retired as director of TCU Press, a position she has held for 23 years. She is a member of SCN and a coordinator of the May Sarton Literary Awards; a member of Sisters in Crime and the Steering Committee of the SinC subgroup, the Guppies; and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the Texas Literary Hall of fame. She edits her neighborhood newspaper and does third-grade at home with a grandson every school day. A single mother of four and grandmother of seven, she lives in Fort Worth with her lively Bordoodle puppy, Sophie. Visit her blog and her website.


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