Book descriptions

Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life by Nava Atlas

Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life: Inspiration and Advice from Celebrated Women Authors Who Paved the Way by Nava Atlas (2011) is now available as an audiobook (updated and expanded) produced by Blackstone Publishing (2023).

The desire to put pen to paper has been described by many writers as an obsession that can’t be denied. Perhaps best expressed by author Anaïs Nin, who writes, “You write out of a deep inner necessity. If you are a writer, you have to write, just as you have to breathe…”

In Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing LifeNava Atlas presents a treasury of intimate glimpses into the unfolding writing process across fifteen brilliant careers in women’s literature and relates their struggles, striving, and successes to those experienced by women writers today. 

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A Strange Journey: Tove Jansson and The Moomins

The Moomins (Mumintroll in Swedish) were the most famous creation of Finnish-Swedish author and artist Tove Jannson. Though this beloved creator wrote and illustrated many other works for both children and adults, the names of Tove Jansson and The Moomins will be forever linked.

The family of round, white fairytale creatures — which resemble hippopotamuses first appeared in 1946, and were the central characters in a total of nine novels, four picture books, and a comic strip that ran for more than twenty years.

Although Tove was a prolific illustrator, painter, and writer for adults, the Moomins are her enduring legacy, beloved across Finland and the world, and still hugely popular today. Read More→

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The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall (1928)

Since its first appearance in 1928, The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall (1880 – 1943) has spurred much discussion and controversy. The semi-autobiographical novel about a young woman’s coming to terms with her lesbian identity, and perhaps more to the point, her maleness, caused a furor when first published in England.

Once denounced as immoral, it has also been praised as a courageous work of literature. It shocked some members “proper” society and served as an awakening to others who felt isolated by repressive social mores. 

The Well of Loneliness is a semi-autobiographical story of Radclyffe Hall’s own life. Shockingly candid for its time, this novel was the very first to condemn homophobic society. Read More→

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Books by Rachel Carson: Before and After Silent Spring

Through the gracefully written books by Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964), the noted American marine biologist, conservationist, the public was gifted with a view of the natural world. Undoubtedly, her research and writings shaped the environmental movement.

She wrote eloquently in her nonfiction works, conveying how every living entity interacts with the broader web of life. Though Rachel Carson is known more as a scientist and environmentalist than as a writer, there’s no question that her passion for literature fueled her impassioned writings.

Silent Spring (1962) was her best known work, boldly opening awareness of the harmful use of pesticides. She also wrote three volumes about the oceans, which became known as the “Sea Trilogy” and a book that encouraged families to discover the wonders of nature together. Read More→

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The Six Brilliant Novels of Jane Austen (plus Sanditon)

It’s a testament to an author when a relatively small body of work endures through the ages. The six brilliant novels of Jane Austen have not only stood the test of time, but have continued to be adapted for film and television (not to mention fanfiction by other authors, a list far too vast to enumerate).

With six exquisite novels displaying compassion, humor, and insight into the travails of the sexes and social classes, Jane Austen’s place in literary history is forever secured.

Despite the popular portrayal of her as all charm and modesty, she was a writer and observer of human nature with full mastery of her gifts. She cared deeply about getting published and being read, despite myths to the contrary.  Read More→

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