Story Circle Book Reviews

                        reviewing books by, for, and about women

July 2012, Vol. 5, No 7

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!

Women Who Map Our Worlds

Women of Other Times

Women Who Live with the Wild

Women in Search of Peace in the Heart

Our Favorite Authors

Leila Levinson
Leila Levinson
   Jamie Patterson
Jamie Patterson

Our Reviewers and Editors Make News
  • Susan J. Tweit taught a creative writing workshop for Colorado Art Ranch's inaugural Green River "Floatposium," July 6-9. She also spoke at TEDx in Homer, Alaska, on July 26. TED is the invitation-only digital channel that calls itself "Ideas Worth Spreading."

  • New members of our SCBR review team: Mary Daniels Brown, Olga Livshin, and Jill Day. Welcome! And welcome back from an extended leave of absence: Susan Ideus.

  • SCBR is on Pinterest! We post the books we review to our new Pinterest board. Follow us, so you can stay posted on the very best in books by, for, about women!

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

Cover Stories

• SCN has announced 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.

Story Circle Editorial Service. We can help you find the editor who is just right for your project. Your manuscript deserves respect, careful attention, and an editor who understands your needs and goals. Our service is unique...designed just for you.

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                

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
by Anna Quindlen

From Judy Alter's review:
I have always believed that a really good book should leave you in a slightly different place than you were when you started it—moved, somehow, emotionally, intellectually, whatever. Anna Quindlen's Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake did that for me. I will be pondering bits and pieces of the book for a long time. Twenty-five years ago, Quindlen began writing a column for the New York Times called "Life in the 30s" about ordinary women and how they lived. Now, at sixty she looks back and reflects on what she learned in the intervening years.

Judy Alter
Reviewer of the Month:
Judy Alter

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

"We are authors, all of us, concerned with beginning, with making, with sources and substance."
—Diane Wakoski

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