|Books About Women||
What's the purpose of this website????
I have always been an avid reader, ever since I was introduced to the magic world of books through Dick and Jane. In my reading journey, I found myself most often searching for books about real women--women who really existed and from whom I could learn about life. As a young girl, I can remember reading about Russian ballerinas and envisioning myself dancing in Swan Lake!
The first specific book I remember reading was Karen by Marie Killilea. This is a classic written in 1952. Somehow it spoke to me and I have been on the hunt ever since to read about women who once walked on this earth.
Through the years, I have made lists and lists of the books I have read. I have always wanted to share this resource with others who wanted to know more about real live women. I retired in the summer of 2011 from a long career in education and now have the time to do so. This website is the compilation of those lists. At this time there are approximately 230 books for you to investigate and enjoy! I add more as I read them.
There is a contact link on the home page for you to send me your comments and/or suggestions for books to add. I would love to hear from you!
My name is Diane Burke and I am retired from a long career in education both in K-12 and higher ed. I currently live in Chesapeake, Virginia with my husband, Joe.
Looking for specific book or woman?
Type in the name below and see if you can find it on this website. If you can't, send me an email on the comment page and I'll see if I can find her!
How this site is organized
No book is exclusively about one topic alone. My challenge was to decide to how to categorize the books so that you, the reader, could access them in some organized way. The ten categories listed on the home page are the ones I decided on. Each category has a home page with a list of the books and then a page that follows with a copy of the cover and an annotation about the book.(My apologies to all librarians who read these pages for the lack of the most accurate bibliographic annotations.) The second page in the home section lists all of the books currently listed on the site. Although I have read all of the books on the website, I did not write the annotations. They are from Amazon.com and are attributed to the author as stated on Amazon.
Check out previously recommended books in the MORE section of the website!
December Monthly Book Feature
Madame Fourcades Secret War
In 1941 a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of a vast intelligence organization—the only woman to serve as a chef de résistance during the war. Strong-willed, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country’s conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job. No other French spy network lasted as long or supplied as much crucial intelligence—including providing American and British military commanders with a 55-foot-long map of the beaches and roads on which the Allies would land on D-Day—as Alliance.Lynne Olson tells the fascinating story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself.
November Monthly Book Feature
River of Fire
Sister Helen Prejean
Sister Helen Prejean’s work as an activist nun, campaigning to educate Americans about the inhumanity of the death penalty, is known to millions worldwide. Less widely known is the evolution of her spiritual journey from praying for God to solve the world’s problems to engaging full-tilt in working to transform societal injustices. Sister Helen grew up in a well-off Baton Rouge family that still employed black servants. She joined the Sisters of St. Joseph at the age of eighteen and was in her forties when she had an awakening that her life’s work was to immerse herself in the struggle of poor people forced to live on the margins of society. This book is her sharing this transformation.
October Monthly Book Feature
The Education of an Idealist
Pulitzer Prize winner Samantha Power, widely known as a relentless advocate for promoting human rights, has been heralded by President Obama as one of America's "foremost thinkers on foreign policy."
In her memoir, Power offers an urgent response to the question "What can one person do?"—and a call for a clearer eye, a kinder heart, and a more open and civil hand in our politics and daily lives. The Education of an Idealist traces Power’s distinctly American journey from immigrant to war correspondent to presidential Cabinet official. In 2005, her critiques of US foreign policy caught the eye of newly elected senator Barack Obama, who invited her to work with him on Capitol Hill and then on his presidential campaign. After Obama was elected president, Power went from being an activist outsider to a government insider, navigating the halls of power while trying to put her ideals into practice. She served for four years as Obama’s human rights adviser, and in 2013, he named her US Ambassador to the United Nations, the youngest American to assume the role.
September Monthly Book Feature
Beneath the Tamarind Tree
In the early morning of April 14, 2014, the militant Islamic group Boko Haram violently burst into the small town of Chibok, Nigeria, and abducted 276 girls from their school dorm rooms. From poor families, these girls were determined to make better lives for themselves, but pursuing an education made them targets, resulting in one of the most high-profile abductions in modern history. Sesay delves into the Nigerian government’s inadequate response to the kidnapping, exposes the hierarchy of how the news gets covered, and synthesizes crucial lessons about global national security. This book is a gripping read and a story of resilience with a soaring message of hope at its core, reminding us of the ever-present truth that progress for all of us hinges on unleashing the potential of women.
August Monthly Book Feature
Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening
One of the things we need at this time in our country is a way for each of to connect with someone who is not like us. This would help us to see the world thru the eyes of "the other." This book is a true story of a unique friendship between two people who had nothing—and ultimately everything—in common.
Carol Wall, a white woman living in a lily-white neighborhood in Middle America, was at a crossroads in her life. Her children were grown; she had successfully overcome illness; her beloved parents were getting older. One day she notices a dark-skinned African man tending her neighbor’s yard. His name is Giles Owita. He bags groceries at the supermarket. He comes from Kenya. And he’s very good at gardening.
Before long Giles is transforming not only Carol’s yard, but her life. Though they are seemingly quite different, a caring bond grows between them. But they both hold long-buried secrets that, when revealed, will cement their friendship forever.
July Monthly Book Feature
The Yellow Envelope
The world we live in is full of terrible stories of man's inhumanity to man. Dinan's book is an antedote to these stories.
After Kim and her husband decide to quit their jobs to travel around the world, they're given a yellow envelope containing a check and instructions to give the money away. The only three rules for the envelope: Don't overthink it; share your experiences; don't feel pressured to give it all away.
Through Ecuador, Peru, Nepal, and beyond, Kim and Brian face obstacles, including major challenges to their relationship. As she distributes the gift to people she encounters along the way she learns that money does not have a thing to do with the capacity to give, but that giving―of ourselves―is transformational.
June Monthly Book Feature
Searching for Sunday
Rachel Held Evans
Rachel Evans died unexpectedly at the age of 37 in April. Her obituary was on the front page of the NYTs, quite an unusual occurence. This prompted me to find out more about her and to read her book. What she shares in her book is her journey to understand what we mean by Church and to find her place in it.
Centered around seven sacraments, Evans' quest takes readers through a liturgical year with stories about baptism, communion, confirmation, confession, marriage, vocation, and death that are funny, heartbreaking, and sharply honest.
A memoir about making do and taking risks, about the messiness of community and the power of grace, Searching for Sunday is about overcoming cynicism to find hope and, somewhere in between, Church.
May Monthly Book Feature
Between the world wars, no sport was more popular, or more dangerous, than airplane racing. While male pilots were lauded as heroes, the few women who dared to fly were more often ridiculed—until a cadre of women pilots banded together to break through the entrenched prejudice.
Fly Girls weaves together the stories of five remarkable women: Florence Klingensmith, a high school dropout from Fargo, North Dakota; Ruth Elder, an Alabama divorcée; Amelia Earhart, the most famous, but not necessarily the most skilled; Ruth Nichols, who chafed at her blue blood family’s expectations; and Louise Thaden, the young mother of two who got her start selling coal in Wichita. Together, they fought for the chance to fly and race airplanes—and in 1936, one of them would triumph, beating the men in the toughest air race of them all.
April Monthly Book Feature
If you are one of many who have had your ancestry traced by a genealogy service and received connections to long lost relatives, you have something in common with Dani Shapiro. In her case, however, her long lost relatives turned out to be a complete surprise. She found out that her father was not her biological father and this information forced her to unlock her true identity. Shapiro's book reads like a mystery as she searches to discover who she really is.
March Monthly Book Feature
If you are going through withdrawal because the PBS series Victoria has ended with no decision about another season, then this book may be for you. The book reveals what happened to Vicky, Alice, Helena, Louise, and Beatrice, the five daughters of Queen Victoria. Along the way, insights are provided about Victoria's life and how she decided the fates of her daughters. All of these sisters have descendants who have or still influence events that happen in Europe today.
February Monthly Book Feature
From the Corner of the Oval Office
Beck Dorey Stein
In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate D.C. outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers—young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president.
As she learns to navigate White House protocols and more than once runs afoul of the hierarchy, Beck becomes romantically entangled with a consummate D.C. insider, and suddenly the political becomes all too personal.
Against a backdrop of glamour, drama, and intrigue, this is the story of a young woman learning what truly matters, and, in the process, discovering her voice.
January Monthly Book Feature
All You Can Ever Know
Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as Nicole grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and as a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.
With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Nicole Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.
246 last edited 12-9-19