Excellent Blog
2007 Inspiring Blog
Rockin' Girl Blogger

Thursday Book Review: “Sex Wars, A Novel of Gilded Age New York,” by Marge Piercy; “Dewey, the Small-Town Cat Who Touched the World,” by Vicki Myron; and “The Double-Daring Book for Girls,” by Andrea J. Buchanan & Miriam Peskowitz

August 6th, 2009

Reviewed today:

It’s happened. I’ve finally found a book by Marge Piercy that I like even more than “Woman on the Edge of Time” and “Gone to Soldiers.” And I loved those books — they’re both on my top 15 list of my favorite books of all time. In “Sex Wars, A Novel of Gilded Age New York” (Harper Perennial, $14.95, 411 pages), Piercy gives us a novel set, roughly, from 1862-1916. I’ve always been fascinated by the period around and between the Civil War and the First World War. Must be all those readings of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” or my mom’s family’s obsession (and my unwillingness to get on board) with the Civil War. Piercy did a slam-bang job with historical accuracy, and has gifted us with a novel that features Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Victoria Woodhull and her sister, Tennessee “Tennie” Claflin and their clan, Susan B. Anthony, Anthony Comstock, and my new favorite fictional heroine, Freydeh Levin, who refuses to let life’s circumstances kick her ass.

Such a good book, I loved it. It’s sexy, it’s funny, it makes you understand the era in a whole new way. It’s as if Piercy time-traveled back to those days and let you sneak along, too. (Those of you who are fans of “Woman on the Edge of Time” know how well she handles a time-travel.) Great book, read it.

Dewey, Dewey, Dewey Readmore Books — awesome cat, awesome name. Who hasn’t heard the story of the fluffy orange kitty who was discovered in the library bookdrop one cold freezy morning in Spencer, Iowa, and went on to get local, national and international attention? Dewey’s story has now been committed to print in “Dewey, the Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World” (Grand Central Publishing, $19.99, 277 pages.) He lived in the library his whole life, bringing joy to the patrons and staff, but especially to the library director, Vicki Myron. Hers is an amazing success story, and this librarian was inspired by her no-nonsense approach, her chutzpah and her wisdom. (You will find the library’s website here.)

Ms. Myron’s motto:

“Find your place. Be happy with what you have. Treat everyone well. Live a good life. It isn’t about material things; it’s about love. And you can never anticipate love.”

Perfect. I love a good animal story, I must be honest here. This one was extra-satisfying.

I was hoping they’d do this, and they did! A young readers’ version of Dewey’s story will be released soon. (That’s what you get when you have a librarian in charge of things. Smiles.)

You’ve got yer “Daring Book for Girls,” yer “Wisdom and Wonder Pocket Daring Book for Girls,” yer “Pocket Daring Book for Girls, Things to Do,” and now comes the “Double-Daring Book for Girls” (Andrea J. Buchanan & Miriam Peskowitz, Collins Books, $18, 277 pages). Wacky Girl sez: “I like these ‘Daring’ books, they’re very good. Especially for when you’re bored.” And that, my friends, is high praise for a 10-year-old. Her favorite sections were the ones on jokes, art, and “making stuff,” like Japanese lanterns, sand castles, scarecrows and all kinds of cool projects. Here is their homepage.

“There’s fun stuff, uh-huh. It’s just fun.”

We took the book out in the yard with us when we were star-gazing last week — pretty cool.

Happy Thursday, and adieu.

— WM


  1. WackyMummy says

    ok, my question is: how do you find time to read so much??? i just can’t, but would love to…. maybe I AM facebooking too much!

    August 6th, 2009 | #

  2. WackyMommy says

    WackyMummy, my alter-ego — I am a fast reader, and I’m “forced” to read because of my job. Poor me, ha ha. A lot of the stuff I read is geared for little kids, babies and (my favorite, always has been and always will be) young adult readers. So I can cruise through that. I have my “guest critics,” my son and daughter. And honestly, when they were younger I sure wasn’t reading as much as I am now. I was falling asleep right after they did. (Sleep when the baby sleeps, clean when the baby cleans, dontcha know?)

    If I really like something and know the author (Twenties Girl, for instance), I give it a thumbs-up before I’ve finished it, cuz I know I’m in for a good ride. I try not to review stuff I don’t like, because who am I, y’know? It takes a lot to write a book, get it published, get it sold, and I’m not going to run anyone’s book down because I know books, even rotten ones, are labors of love. OK, back to reading… Oh, it’s also a great excuse to avoid making dinner!

    August 6th, 2009 | #

  3. Nan says

    Yay, more books for me to get in the Developed World!

    August 6th, 2009 | #

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.