Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Reading Radar 7/5/2014

Recommended to me by a friend, Lance Greenfield, this has hit my wishlist. It's not on kindle and is a bit pricey for the word count. In the Wings: Stories of Forgotten Women.

In the Wings: Stories of Forgotten WomenA collection of historical fiction by students and friends of editor Bernadette Rule. These stories highlight the little-known lives of women, most of whom were connected to--and overshadowed by--famous men. Women featured are: Anne Hathaway, wife of William Shakespeare; Helene Boullé de Champlain, wife of Samuel de Champlain; Molly Brant, sister of Joseph Brant; Laura Secord, who played an important role in the War of 1812; Georgina Hogarth, sister-in-law of Charles Dickens; Marguerite Monet Riel, wife of Louis Riel; Bridget Boland; Alice Seeley Harris; Constance Lloyd, wife of Oscar Wilde; Edith Bolling Wilson, wife of Woodrow Wilson; Annie Taylor; Syrie Wellcome Maugham, wife of Somerset Maugham; Pilar Casals, mother of Pablo Casals; Lillian Bounds Disney, wife of Walt Disney, Rani Lakshmibai, the ruler of the state of Jhansi who led the Indian Rebellion of 1857; Bertha Fried Hirning, a pioneer in the Spirit River area of northern Alberta and Joan Douglas, daughter of Tommy Douglas.


Girl RunnerSpotted on Edelweiss and def on my wishlist, Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder. It's a novel chronicling the life of a woman athlete in the twenties. A must read.

Girl Runner is the story of Aganetha Smart, a former Olympic athlete who was famous in the 1920s, but now, at age 104, lives in a nursing home, alone and forgotten by history. For Aganetha, a competitive and ambitious woman, her life remains present and unfinished in her mind.

When her quiet life is disturbed by the unexpected arrival of two young strangers, Aganetha begins to reflect on her childhood in rural Ontario and her struggles to make an independent life for herself in the city.

Without revealing who they are, or what they may want from her, the visitors take Aganetha on an outing from the nursing home. As ready as ever for adventure, Aganetha's memories are stirred when the pair return her to the family farm where she was raised. The devastation of WWI and the Spanish flu epidemic, the optimism of the 1920s and the sacrifices of the 1930s play out in Aganetha's mind, as she wrestles with the confusion and displacement of the present.

Part historical page-turner, part contemporary mystery, Girl Runner is an engaging and endearing story about family, ambition, athletics and the dedicated pursuit of one's passions. It is also, ultimately, about a woman who follows the singular, heart-breaking and inspiring course of her life until the very end.


On my to-read for certain: The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella. It's about a woman wrestler!!! How cool is that?

A debut, coming-of-age novel in which a teenage girl from Philadelphia leaves her old life behind to become The Sweetheart, one of America’s most infamous female wrestlers.

It’s 1953 and seventeen-year-old Leonie Putzkammer is cartoonishly tall and curvaceous, destined to spend the rest of her life waiting tables and living with her widowed father, Franz, in their Philadelphia row house. Until the day legendary wrestling promoter Salvatore Costantini walks into the local diner and offers her the chance of a lifetime.

Leonie sets off for Florida to train at Joe Pospisil’s School for Lady Grappling. There, she transforms into Gorgeous Gwen Davies, tag-team partner of legendary Screaming Mimi Hollander, and begins a romance with the soon-to-be Junior Heavyweight Champion Spider McGee. But when life as Gorgeous Gwen leaves her wanting, she orchestrates a move that will catapult her from heel to hero: she becomes The Sweetheart, a choice that attracts the fans she desires but complicates all of her relationships—with Franz, Joe, Spider, Mimi (who becomes her fiercest competitor), and even with herself.

Angelina Mirabella’s surprising, affecting, and morally complex novel describes how a single decision can ripple through the lives of everyone around us. How Leonie sizes up the competition, how she triumphs, how she fails, and how she manages, somehow, to endure, holds promise: if she can, maybe we can, too. The Sweetheart showcases Mirabella’s breathtaking talent; it is daring, innovative, and powerful storytelling.


Her Promised RoadOn Shomeret's wishlist: Her Promised Road by Efrat Israeli.

Inspired by the chronicles of Golda Meir's early life, Her Promised Road gives voice to the story of Devorah Abramson, a woman like all others and yet compelled to heights that many could not endure. The year is 1931, and the heroine is sent to the United States on behalf of the Women Worker's Council in Palestine, to raise funds for Palestine's pioneer women giving their blood, sweat and tears to the revival of the Jewish National Homeland. Efrat Israeli guides the reader through the challenges, deliberations and passionate soul searching of a young woman in her early thirties - her natural desire to be loved, an obligation to family, and the urgency of the mission ahead; while questioning if her promised road is worthy of the heavy cost to her personal life... and heart. American Judaism, in the throes of a boiling revitalization post the massive immigration of the early twentieth century, is the significant backdrop to Devorah Abramson's climb. With insight, empathy and exuberance the author takes us along Devorah's missions, embraced in a plot rich with introspection, emotion and some of America's most fascinating figures of the period.

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