Story Circle Book Reviews

                        reviewing books by, for, and about women

January 2012, Vol. 5, No 1

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 1200 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!

Writing Our Lives

Guided by Spirit

Inspired by Strong Women

Gladdened by Strong Girls (Moms & Grandmoms: Take Note!)

Our Favorite Authors

Gail Straub Read Lisa Shirah-Hiers' interview with Gail Straub, author of Returning to My Mother's House and the keynote speaker at SCN's 2012 National Women's Memoir Conference, "Stories from the Heart VI."

Our Reviewers and Editors Make News
  • Mary Jo Doig has joined our editorial team. About herself, she writes, "As I have grown to seek and find deeper levels of my own story, I find I am also passionate about reading and nurturing other women's stories. Writing book reviews helps me to deepen and share my experience with a book that has been particularly meaningful to me." Mary Jo has been an SCN member since 2001, has led the Internet Chapter Writing Circle 7 for seven years, has been editor of Story Circle Journal's "True Words From Real Women" for six years, and co-edited Story Circle's annual anthology in 2011.

  • Reviewer Sherry Wachter (writing as Bodie Parkhurst) has just released an illustrated, full-color edition of her memoir, Benchmarks: A Single Mother's Illustrated Journal for Kindle Fire. Wachter writes: "I want my books to be available to anyone who wants to read them, so I've made a policy of producing them in both paperback and Kindle versions. Because illustrations form a key part of Benchmarks, I'm happy that the new Kindle Fire provides a way to include them in color in the text."

  • SCBR Distribution Editor Barbara Heming's first mystery novel, Death Wins the Crown, a Hall of Fame Mystery, is now available on Kindle. To learn more and read an excerpt, go to Barbara's website.

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

Cover Stories

Stories From the HeartStories From the Heart VI. Plan now to join us at the Wyndham Hotel in Austin, Texas on April 13-15, 2012 for a unique and exciting event: the sixth national women's memoir conference of the Story Circle Network! Come, learn, share, celebrate with us as we honor our stories!

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.

Advertising your book at SCBR. We are now posting carefully selected ads on our website—books and writing-related activities that we're confident you will enjoy. If you are a new author, please consider StoryCircleBookReviews as a part of your promotional efforts. Promotion on our site will allow you to take advantage of SCN's growing reputation as a unique member of the international community of women writers. Details to come.

• 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!

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.

• Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Three Books from SCN

What Wildness is This
What Wildness
is This
KTS cover
Kitchen Table Stories
Starting Points
Starting Points

                Review of the Month                

This is Not the Ivy League

From Lynn Goodwin's review:
Imagine a windswept northern plain, a two-lane highway, and the ramshackle ranch buildings you see from the road. If you're curious about the lives and dreams of the people in such places, if you're curious about who moves on and who stays behind to run the ranch, and if you're curious about a woman forging her way in an academic world resistant to women, Mary Clearman Blew's This is Not the Ivy League is a must-read memoir.

Lynn Goodwin
Reviewer of the Month:
Lynn Goodwin

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.

The judging for the 2011 competition is now underway. The winning author's name and the title of her book will be announced at Stories from the Heart, the SCN National Memoir Conference, Austin TX, April 13-15, 2012.

True Words From
Real Women

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."
—Harper Lee

"All books are either dreams or swords."
—Amy Lowell

Read more thoughtful words from women writers.

Thanks to our advertisers for helping to support SCN


Who We Are

Story Circle Network

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.

    We appreciate your help in spreading the word about Story Circle Network. Please forward this e-Letter to anyone interested in books by, for, and about women. If a friend has forwarded this to you, add your e-address and click below to get your own subscription.

    To join any of our Story Circle Network e-Letter mailing lists, type your email address below, then click the 'Go' button:

    To unsubscribe: see link at the very bottom of this email.


    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