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Posted December 14, 2011
My first thoughts when I received this book is that it¿s absolutely stunning! This is a beautifully bound book and has wonderful pictures and quotations throughout. Nava Atlas spent a lot of time researching the authors in her book and went to great lengths to put each author¿s words and ideas in a way that makes sense to the reader. For those of you who own an e-reader, like me, I would highly suggest you purchase the hardcover book! It ¿s gorgeous, so inspiring to read about early female writers and what they did to become writers, their wishes/dreams, and other interesting tidbits about who they were. This is the kind of book that every book collector, new writer, bibliophile that has everything, and those who love history should own. I cannot give enough praise for this book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 31, 2011
Nava Atlas is a well-known cookbook author. The Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life is a departure but in it, she offers us the ingredients twelve famous female writers combined to serve up their writing lives. Through family problems, depression and social misconceptions, they wrote. They persevered in order to say what they were compelled to say. Because they did, we now know the works of Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bront?, Willa Cather, Edna Ferber, Madeline L'Engle, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anaïs Nin, George Sand, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edith Wharton and Virginia Woolf.
Atlas talks about the "universal yearning to set thoughts to paper." Literary Ladies explains how each writer showcased in the book made space in her life to accomplish that goal. It wasn't easy.
Harriet Beecher Stowe raised seven children and had to supplement her husband's meager income by publishing her articles. Yet, she found the time to produce Uncle Tom's Cabin, a book that rattled a nation.
Edith Wharton was on the other end of the economic ladder. The phrase "keep up with the Joneses" pertains to her family. It was Wharton's family with whom the elite struggled to keep up--both socially and economically. Although she had money, time and ability, her family thought the pursuit of writing was an embarrassment to their station in life and not worthwhile for a socialite. She still forged ahead to win a Pulitzer Prize.
The information about the authors comes from their diaries, letters, journals memories and interviews. From these sources, we learn about how they struggled to find and maintain their own voice, master uncertainty about their abilities and balance their family lives with the need to write. It breaks down forever the fallacy that writing is easy work.
Chapters in The Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life include Becoming a Writer, Developing a Voice, Tools of the Trade, Conquering Inner Demons, The Writer Mother, Rejection and Acceptance, Money-Matters and Farther Along the Path. At the end is a section on Sources, Notes and Acknowledgements which gives additional information for deeper study. The only thing the book doesn't have is an index, which would come in handy.
Nava Atlas not only wrote this book but also illustrated it, and did it well. She is an accomplished illustrator with work in several gallery collections. Writer, artist, cook, mother, she herself is an example of the persevering woman. But even as gifted as she is, Atlas said about her early writing life, "I thought I lacked ability when the writing got hard." It's so easy not to see the big picture.
Twenty-First Century women still have the same challenges as did the Literary Ladies. They must figure out how to write, get a publisher, make a living as a writer while raising a family and, in most cases, hold down a full-time job. Atlas's book motivates modern-day female writers to carve out time from the same twenty-four-hour day the Literary Ladies had to pursue their craft. The Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life offers them the ingredients and motivation to bake up their OWN literary masterpieces. That's why this book is so important to read.
Posted May 3, 2011
This informative book provides incredible history, perspective and inspiration from the likes of Jane Austen to Virginia Woolf. It also offers confirmation that yes, all writers are similar creatures. We all have doubts. We all have worries. We all have rejection letters. Even the ones who eventually made/make it Big Time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 23, 2011
I've read the books, biographies, and even seen documentaries on several of the authors featured in The Literary Ladies. I thought I knew them but this books opens a whole new world. The authors talking about themselves, their careers, even their fears in their own words. Don't miss this opportunity to get a peek into the world of 12 classic female authors.
The Literary Ladies is a book you won't be able to stop reading. You'll also find yourself dog-earing favorite quotes that seem like they're speaking right to you. How could famous authors have the same fears, worries, thoughts as you? Every writer, as well as those who simply enjoy the works of these authors, will enjoy this peek behind the curtain the life of a writer. For those who do write, these 12 ladies will become a personal pep squad! Don't miss it.