Book descriptions

A New Orleans Author in Mark Twain’s Court : Letters from Grace King’s New England Sojourns

Grace King’s life (1852 – 1932) spanned two wars, various epidemics, disruptive politics, and fluctuating economics. Her literary career began in 1885 when two northern editors came to New Orleans to write up the south and find local writers at the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition.

Richard Watson Gilder of Century Magazine challenged King to write her first short story, and Charles Dudley Warner placed it and then mentored her into the publishing world.

Over almost five decades, King wrote short stories and novellas, biographies and histories, genealogy, and a memoir. Her path reflected the shifting changes in taste. As with other women writers whose works disappeared from the literary canon, she is again receiving attention for her sensitivity and knowledge of a particular time and place. Read More→

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Charlotte Brontë Before Jane Eyre by Glynnis Fawkes

Knowing how obsessed I am with all things Brontë, my brother thoughtfully gifted me with Charlotte Brontë Before Jane Eyre, a graphic biography by Glynnis Fawkes.

Charmingly told and skillfully drawn, this book for readers of all ages focuses on the most famous of the brilliant literary sisters, Charlotte Brontë, from her early years to the moment she sends off the finished manuscript of Jane Eyre to a prospective publisher. Said she: “It’s sent. Now there’s nothing but forlorn hope.”

Of course, the legions of fans of Jane Eyre know how this turned out, though fewer readers know of the trials that beset the Brontë sisters — Charlotte, Emily, and Anne — from their childhoods to their premature deaths. Glynnis Fawkes captures their spirit and sorrows. Read More→

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Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell

If you or someone you love is both an Emily Dickinson aficionado and an avid gardener, Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell is a book to treasure. This 2019 publication (Timber Press, Portland, OR) is a full color, lushly illustrated homage to an enigmatic woman who was not only a brilliant poet, but a keen observer of the natural world around her.

Organized by season, this gorgeous book is revised from an edition first published in 2004, by an author whose expertise in gardens dovetails with an avid interest in classic women authors who cultivated them. From the publisher: Read More→

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6 Literary Gift Books for 2019 Holiday Giving and Beyond

For the book-lover in your life, here are a half dozen literary gift books — all related, directly or fancifully — to a few of the beloved literary ladies on this site. These 2019 publications (with the exception of the Brontë collection boxed set, late 2018), offer some fresh takes in homage to (or by) some of our favorite authors.

Here you’ll find a beautiful, full-color book on Emily Dickinson’s affinity for gardens and botany; a new collection of words of wisdom from Toni Morrison; quotes from Agatha Christie’s amateur sleuth Miss Marple; a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from the standpoint of Charlotte Lucas; a fun compilation of Austen-inspired cocktails; and a beautiful boxed set of the Brontë sisters most iconic novels. 

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Books by Zora Neale Hurston: Fiction, Folklore, and More

Zora Neale Hurston (1891 – 1960), the African-American author and anthropologist, was a natural storyteller. Presented here is a survey of books by Zora Neale Hurston’s — fiction,  ethnographical collections, and other writings.

Her love of story resulted in an array of novels and short stories as well as collections gathered from the oral traditions of the Black cultures of the American South and the Caribbean.

Zora made a name for herself during the Harlem Renaissance movement of the 1920s, when she began producing novels, short stories, plays, essays, and a modest output of poetry. Upon graduating from Barnard College in 1928, she embarked on a parallel career as an anthropologist. Read More→

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