Story Circle Book Reviews

                        reviewing books by, for, and about women

April 2012, Vol. 5, No 4

We provide a review venue for small presses, university and regional presses, and for women authors whose books may not be reviewed elsewhere. If you're looking for strong, insightful, well-written books by women of strength and courage, you'll find them here. With over 1300 reviews and a team of sixty-some reviewers, Story Circle Book Reviews is the largest and most comprehensive women's book review site on the Internet. For previous issues of our monthly eletter, go here.

Book Report

Editors' Picks:
Every month, our editors choose remarkable books by and about special women. Here are our choices for this month:

Here are some of the other books we've enjoyed. You will, too!

About Mothers

About Adventurous Women

About Inspiring Places

About and for Writers

Our Favorite Authors

Gail Straub Read Lisa Shirah-Hiers' interview with Gail Straub, author of Returning to My Mother's House.

Our Reviewers and Editors Make News
  • Judy Miller will be participating in "Listen to Your Mother," which is a national series of readings (10 cities across the U.S.) celebrating Mother's Day. She auditioned for and made the Northwest Indiana cast and will read "Souls Speak" on May 10. To find out more, go here.

  • Colorado Authors' League just announced that Story Circle member and Telling HerStories blogger Susan J. Tweit's feature article on the joys and travails of home solar power, "Rays That Pay," for Audubon Magazine is a finalist for the 2012 Colorado Authors' League Awards.

  • Judy Alter's 1994 novel, Libbie, a fictional account of Libbie Custer's years with General George Armstrong Custer, is now available for e-readers. Judy's latest mystery, No Neighborhood for Old Women, launched as an e-book April 8 and will be available in print by May 1.

If you're interested in joining our review team, go here for all the details.

Cover Stories

• SCN is proud to announce the opening of the second annual Sarton competition. The Sarton Memoir Award will be granted to an outstanding woman's memoir published in 2012 in the United States or Canada. It is named in honor of May Sarton (1912-1995), distinguished American poet, novelist, and memoirist. For full details of the competition, including guidelines and application form, visit the Sarton Memoir Award website. You'll also want to check out our scoring rubric, so you can see what our team of judges will be looking for.

Advertising with SCN. As you plan the marketing campaign for your book, writing program, or writing-related workshop or conference, please consider Story Circle as a partner in your promotional efforts. Story Circle provides a unique voice and a wide range of services for women readers and writers. Partnering with us allows you to target your promotion efforts and take advantage of SCN's growing reputation in the international community of women writers. Depending on your budget, you can choose from five packages.

SCN Online Classes: The Story Circle Network offers the only online lifewriting program designed exclusively for women. We teach general writing skills, organization, and critical editing, as well as technical skills in book design and development, online marketing, blogging, and other Internet-related activities. Through our Mentor Program, we can connect you with a helpful mentor who will provides you with individually tailored, constructive assistance designed to help you strengthen your writing, sustain your efforts, and complete your projects. For full class listings, faculty bios, enrollment, and more, visit our website.

HerStories and One Woman's Day. SCN hosts two blogs and dozens of bloggers. The HerStories bloggers are a dozen women writers and teachers who regularly share their passion for the how-to and why, the art and craft of lifewriting. The One Woman's Day bloggers share occasional stories of the special days of their lives. If you're a member and would like to contribute to OWD, visit the blog and see how to get involved.

• Here at SCBR, we always receive more wonderful books than we can possibly review. So we've created a new feature on our website: a section called Briefly Reviewed, 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 for your reading pleasure!

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                Review of the Month                

Blue Nights

From Mary Jo Doig's review:
Joan Didion has been a successful author who was married to another well-known author, John Gregory Dunne. I first became acquainted with her writing in 2007 when I read The Year of Magical Thinking, about Dunne's sudden death in her presence and her powerful account of her subsequent year of grieving. Less than a year later their only child, an adopted daughter named Quintana Roo, died.

Mary Jo Doig
Reviewer of the Month:
Mary Jo Doig

Gated Grief Lost Edens

SCN is pleased to announce the winners of the Sarton Memoir Award, named for May Sarton, distinguished American memoirist, poet, and novelist. Leila Levinson was awarded first place for Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma (Cable Publishing, 2011). Jamie Patterson was awarded second place for Lost Edens: A True Story (Beaver's Pond Press, 2011). Full story here. Congratulations to our winners!

Thanks to our advertisers for helping to support SCN
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True Words From
Real Women

"Books are like lobster shells. We surround ourselves with them, then we grow out of them and leave them behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development."
—Dorothy L. Sayers

Read more thoughtful words from women writers.


Three Books from SCN

What Wildness is This
What Wildness is This

Kitchen Table Stories
KTS cover

Starting Points
Starting Points

Who We Are

Our mission: The Story Circle Network is dedicated to helping women share the stories of their lives and to raising public awareness of the importance of women's personal histories. We carry out our mission through publications, a web site, classes, workshops, writing and reading circles, and woman-focused programs. To join us, see our online membership form.

Our Newsletters: We publish four monthly e-Letters:
  • This monthly e-Letter brings you information about book reviews and features. You'll find archives here.
  • The monthly Story Circle National e-Letter brings you writing tips, quotes, and Story Circle news.
  • The Online Class e-Letter brings you information about women-only writing classes.
  • The monthly Internet Chapter e-Letter is sent only to members of the Internet Chapter; it features chapter news and events.


    To read this e-Letter on our web site, click here:

    This e-Letter is written and edited by Peggy Moody & Susan Wittig Albert. It is a publication of the Story Circle Network, (P.O. Box 500127, Austin TX 78750-0127). ©2012 Story Circle Network

          voice: 970-235-1477