Category Archives: Books

Woman-themed coloring books for International Women’s Day

colorfulwomeninhistoryWomen’s History Month kicked off with a bang of the gavel, thanks to SheKnows‘ Ruth Bader Ginsburg coloring book. Since today is International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate by highlighting more coloring books fueled by girl power!

Dover Publishing has a fantastic selection of women’s history coloring books. Famous Women Aviators features 44 women of air and space like Amelia Earhart and Sally Ride, while Famous African-American Women showcases Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King, and more. There’s also Famous American Women, covering Susan B. Anthony to Oprah Winfrey; Famous Women of the Civil War; America’s First Ladies; and, for a bit of swagger,  Pirate Queens: Notorious Women of the Sea. Color in famous female pirates like Huang P’ei-mei,who had a fleet populated with 50,000 plunderers who answered only to her, and you’ll have a sudden urge to wear a sword and an eyepatch to your next office meeting.

On Etsy, you’ll find Coloring Outside the Kitchen,  a hand-created labor of love created by teacher/librarian/artist Casey Landau, which rounds up a host of outstanding women, including Annie Oakley, first African-American female millionaire Madame C.J. Walker, artist Frida Kahlo and many more.

Author and illustrator Lisa Graves has created her own coloring books on Amazon: Colorful Women in History and The Witches. Both celebrate the true stories of women’s triumphs and challenges through the ages. Want something in a different size? Try Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace, a fun, body-positive coloring book by Theo Nicole Lorenz which shows women kicking butt and taking names in the final frontier.

 

 

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Filed under Books, History, pop culture, Space, Uncategorized, women

Tip of the Hat to James Tiptree, Jr.

tiptreeJames Tiptree Jr. was a science fiction author in the 1960s and 1970s but the author wasn’t a junior, a Tiptree or even a James. That was the male pen name for Alice B. Sheldon, who was born this day in Chicago, 1915. Sheldon was a well-traveled child who, by age seven, racked up a trip to Africa in her life experiences. She went on to write, paint, earn a degree in experimental psychology, conduct photo-intelligence for the Army Air Forces and later join the CIA.

That list alone would make her notable, especially since women’s right to vote was newly awarded in 1920 and society still expected women to stay at home and tend to their families until the labor shortages during World War II.  Sheldon had written columns and reviews occasionally, but she wanted to delve deeper into the science fiction world. That world was mainly written by men. She knew she would face gender bias and she wanted success more than attention, so she picked her new last name from the label on a marmalade jar and constructed her new identity. As Tiptree, she wrote tech-savvy, hard sci-fi short stories, and was seen as a man’s man with a keen sense into the woman’s mind. Since her life thus far had been comprised of typically male experiences like guns, strategy and the military, it was the only way she could follow the old literary axiom, “Write what you know.” She did, with authority and determination, and earned the respect of the science fiction field in the process, producing more than 60 short stories, novellas and novelettes. Her story “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” won a Nebula Award in 1977 and was a co-winner of the Hugo Award that same year.

Her ruse worked until 1976 when she made a comment about the passing of her mother, also a writer, and her true identity was discovered. She continued writing under the Tiptree name and an additional name, Raccoona Sheldon, until her death in 1987. Five years later, the James Tiptree,Jr. Award was created to honor her, and is presented each year for a science fiction or fantasy work that explores how the world understands gender. Although Sheldon became Tiptree because , in her words from an 1983 interview, “I’ve had too many experiences in my life of being the first woman in some **** occupation,” she still managed to make history and break new ground.

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Ray Bradbury, 1920-Forever

Ray Bradbury’s physical body passed away today at the age of 91. But his words? They will live forever, just as he wished. Keep him immortal by reading your favorite work of his today. He wrote a little of everything, from cornerstone science fiction to vampires to an excellent book on writing itself, so you have a lot to choose from.

You can also remember him by watching this terrific 1963 TV show, “Ray Bradbury: Story of a Writer” at Archive.org. It provides a peek into his process, and his passion and quirkiness comes through in spite of the 1960s Hollywood veneer.

Thanks, Mr. Bradbury, for thrilling us and inspiring us.

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Wendy Pini Day

Photo credit: Elfquest.com

Happy Birthday to Wendy Pini, one half of Warp Graphics and creator of the comic we all got into after we read the LOTR books: ElfQuest.

Wendy is a trailblazing inspiration for female artists everywhere; she started her art career on the con circuit in the 1960s, and became a professional illustrator for science fiction magazines during the 1970s when there weren’t many women in the business. She and her husband struck out on their own in 1977 with ElfQuest, which proceeded to magnetically attract every single award imaginable in the following years.

Of course, she’s done other things besides ElfQuest, like the stunning (NSFW) re-visualization of Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death, along with other projects through the years. While the ElfQuest movie may no longer be happening, Wendy still has more stories to tell in the world she created, which suits her fans just fine. What? You’ve never read ElfQuest? We won’t ask what’s wrong with you, we’ll just give you this: a link to the official ElfQuest site, complete with a free digital archive of the comic online. It may be her birthday, but you get the present.

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Piggy for Your Thoughts? Pratchett Pens In Wodehouse Prize

Never fear, literary geeks, if you work hard, write 50 books and achieve worldwide fame, you, too, can win a pig. The porcine honor is part of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award, named after treasured British humorist P.G. Wodehouse.  Pratchett won the nod for his latest Discworld novel, “Snuff,” an extremely satisfying tale of Sam Vimes trying to take a vacation. The Wodehouse award is quite a catch, with or without livestock; Pratchett has snagged every award imaginable, including a a knighthood, yet this is the first time the author made it off the prize’s short-list.

In addition to having a local pig named after him, he also receives a case of champagne and a collection of Wodehouse novels in case he wants to brush up on his humor writing. We have to wonder, though, if the newly an-oink-ted Pratchett pig will start sharing tales in the mud wallow of wizards, witches and werewolves.

 

 

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