(*T* -- denotes reviews/submissions by Tavia)
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Books by Title: M - N - O
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Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling - by Elanor Clift|
You might be familiar with Elanor Clift, the writer for Newsweek and lone woman on the McLaughin Group. She, along with Tom Braziatis have written a book on women in United States politics.
The Madwoman's Underclothes : Essays and Occasional Writings - by Germaine Greer|
Here is what The Los Angeles Times Book Review says about The Madwoman's Underclothes: "Brilliant, witty, entertaining, incisive, always informed, the essays cover the diverse topics that are the history of the women's movement and our contemporary world. Greer's range is enormous."
MANKILLER by Wilma Mankiller, Chief of the Cherokee Nation, and also an honorary bitch.|
This book details her growth as a woman and her ascendance to the presidency, set against the backdrop of the history of the Cherokee Nation.
Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States 1880 - 1917 - by Professor Gail Bedermans|
A ground-breaking study that not only women
but men should read.
Mark Twain's Book for Bad Boys and Girls - by Mark Twain, R. Kent Rasmussen (Editor) |
Acknowledging the fact that he isn't female, and that Mark Twain
isn't his real name, I still believe he defined the true persona of all Heartless Bitches out there:
Having a backbone does not make a person cruel, (unless intended of
Twain was just a very assertive and observant guy, giving us some beautiful
quips on life, (personal fave: "It's not the bullet with your name on it
that you have to worry about, it's the round marked "To Whom It May
This book typifies his satirical style with witty essays and tongue-in-cheek
observations on the joys of misbehaving.
The Matador series - by Steve Perry|
This (science fiction) series includes: The Man Who
Never Missed, Matadora(!), The Machiavelli Interface, The Albino Knife(!),
Black Steel, and Brother Death.
He has also written/cowritten several stand-alone SF novels.
Perry creates strong female characters who are just as smart,
ass-kicking, sexual, assertive, did I mention ass-kicking?, hero-saving,
and (gasp!) important to the plot as any leading man/gun-toting himbo ever
dreamed of being. These books are a good read, and an excellent break from
Okay so this isn't exactly a book, but how can we possible leave out the
High Priestess of Heartless Bitches?
Euripedes' "Medea" has got to be the prototype Heartless Bitch. No one
gets out alive except her. This is the classical model of sexual,
political, and emotional betrayal and the revenge that is so completely
exacted by a woman who rewrites the rules to a "Man's" Game. An important element
of the play is that she *did* leave her
two-timing husband alive to deal with the fact that his new wife, his
father-in-law, and his children were all dead. She leaves him alive to
suffer while she drives away in a chariot pulled by dragons.
Symbolic note: "Medea" in Attic means "Balls", and she does tell Jason in the original
that he doesn't have any. Foreshadow much?
Memoirs of a Geisha - by Arthur S. Golden|
(Novel) -- Received acclaim as example of a male novelist writing in a convincingly female voice. --HB Bookclub nomininee
Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen by Alix Kates Shulman|
This book follows the life of Sasha, a woman of fierce independance who gets stepped on and rolled over by various people. From the book:
"He seemed to feel that the known was better than the unknown, that another man would prove no better for me than this one, and a crazy nymphomaniacal penis-envying castrating masochistic narcissitic infantile fucked up fridgid bitch like me was lucky to have hooked any man at all."
Men Are Not Cost-Effective: Male Crime in America - by June Stephenson, Ph.D|
HarperPerennial, 1991/1995 (ISBN 0-06-095098-6)
I had to buy this one just for the title. This book is stuffed with all
manner of frightening and infuriating statistics that outline the epidemic
conditions under which we live. Opening with a chapter titled "They Start
Young," the book goes on to examine such topics as murder, rape, white-collar
crime, environmental destruction, hate crimes, gang activity, and
governmental crime. From the back cover copy: "Men fill up prisons. They
drive oil tankers onto rocks in pristine wilderness areas. They skip out on
their kids. They loot S&Ls in Brooks Brothers suits and convenience stores in
T-shirts. Men commit the most crime in America, outnumbering women in prisons
94 to 6. Yet women are expected to pay their unfair share for this
essentially male pursuit. June Stephenson has an idea: a tax on men." Though
I found some of the author's conclusions to be rather shaky and ancillary to
the facts she presents, this is a valuable book.
Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film - by Carol J.
Princeton Paperbacks, 1992 (ISBN 0-691-04802-9)
I found a good deal to disagree with in the author's thesis that the
perpetually female victim/heroines of modern slasher pics are bona fide
heroes and not just half-nekkid targets of frustrated male aggression who
manage to escape at the last minute, thereby confirming the psycho-killer's
status as a failed male--she also swears that the pimply pubescent males for
whom these movies are made are expected to actually identify with these
females--but it IS an interesting, thought-provoking read on a topic that's
been begging for treatment for decades. It also has a cover that ought to go
a long way toward clearing a good space around you on public transportation.
Microserfs - by Douglas Coupland|
This fictious account of Computer Geeks in the '90s has several strong
women characters. Especially delightful is the online GirlGeek club,
"Chyx" that they create and popularize.
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Native Tongue, Judas Rose, and Earthsong - a trilogy by Suzette Haden Elgin|
(The first two are very hard to find, but if you hit
up the used bookstores relentlessly, you can probably find them.)
In an alternative future, women have had had their rights revoked
through bogus research that "proves" women are genetically inferior to men.
They live in a society where women are demoted to the status of children; needing a male
guardian, lacking the right to vote, unable to work or
travel without the permission of father or husband.
"Native Tongue tells" the story of the fight back, through the women
of the "linguist" family houses. ("Linguists" are neccessary to
communicate with the alien civilization/empire which has contacted
earth for trade). While a somewhat black view of an alternative
future, it poses some interesting questions about whether language
shapes culture or vice versa (Elgin has a degree in linguistics).
On the downside, the last book degenerates into rather silly premises,
and the male characters throughout the entire series are simply too
flat - every last one is horrible, duplicitious and unredeemable. This
makes the story a bit hard to stomach and take terribly seriously.
Never-the-less, it is a good SF read, with some assumption-challenging
In addition, check out The history of Laadan for more information on the
new society-shaping "language" that develops in the course of the books. Last,
but not least, I heavily recommend being patient and reading the books in
order, since they will make a lot more sense (even though it's a lot easier to
get Earthsong than the previous two).
Naughty Bits - by Roberta Gregory|
Fantagraphics Books, 7563 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
There are a few compilation TPBs out as well as reprints and current issues.
(If you're looking in a comic book store for this one, you'll have to go to
the back, where all the other "outre" and NC-17 comics--you know, like
Cherry, Hate, Milk & Cheese--are hidden.) Bitchy Bitch, the main character,
is constantly furious, refreshingly vicious, almost completely unpleasant;
flashbacks to her younger years go a long way toward explaining how she got
to be that way. (The multi-issue treatment on "free love" and abortion in the
1960s, for example, is a frightening cautionary tale.) Bitchy rumbles and
rages at everything, from her idiot co-workers to her own insecurities.
Oh--and she's got an impressive array of sex toys, too (some of them residing
in the veggie crisper).
The Nawal El Saadawi Reader - by Nawal El Saadawi|
A collection of Saadawi's non-fiction writing since the 1980 publication of her book on Arab women, The Hidden Face of Eve, and shows the full range of her extraordinary work. The Nawal El Saadawi Reader explores a host of topics, including women’s oppression under Islam, women in African literature, the sexual politics of development initiatives, the nature of cultural identity and problems facing the internationalization of the women’s movement.
Nervous Conditions - by Tsitsi Dangarembga|
It's a young girl's coming of age story set in 1960's Africa during colonization. She is at first shocked by her wealthy cousin's scandalously independent behavior (talking back to her father, smoking, and demanding the same privileges as her brother) then inspired by it. As she matures, she begins to question the interlocking oppression of colonization and traditional patriarchal society. As she gains her own voice, her cousin begins to deteriorate into hopelessness and anorexia. The central character, however, continues to flourish, and you can't help but be inspired to tears at the end of the book.
Nobel Prize Women in Science : Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous
Discoveries - by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne|
From Kirkus Reviews:
Add to the genre of books on the sociology of women in science this first-rate compendium of
bios of women who got the Big One-- and a few who came close. Some are familiar (Marie
Curie, who got it twice) and some have been covered in recent books (Rita Levi-
Montalcini--In Praise of Imperfection, 1988). What's gratifying is that Bertsch (physics
writer-editor for the Encyclopaedia Brittanica) neither preaches nor screeches but allows the
facts- -documented in interviews with and in records of the women--to speak for themselves.
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Obsession - by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker|
"Obsession" is non-fiction written by John Douglas, former head of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit. He was the man who brought the science of "profiling" serial killers to resepectability and was the model for Clarice Starling in "The Silence of the Lambs". The details of some of the cases he's worked have become world famous including Ted Bundy, The Hillside Strangler, the Green River Killer, Robert Chambers, and Ed Gein (the model for both Norman Bates in Psycho and Jame Gumm in The Silence of the Lambs). I finished this book and knew it was perfect for this page.
Douglas writes movingly and poignantly about the many incomplete male monsters who currently walk our streets like real human beings. He also profiles their victims and the victim's survivors, letting us realize that these women aren't statistics or names, but that they're real people who had lives and families, and deserve to be mourned.
More than that, though, if being a bitch means Being In Total Control Honey, Douglas offers some common sense suggestions and solutions to let both men and women take back control of their streets, their homes, their fears and their lives. He writes profiles in everyday heroism that put most people's petty problems to shame.
Douglas's common sense opinions on much of the legal and psychological mumbo-jumbo that have been viciously launched at women for centuries will resonate in mind of any Heartless Bitch. His stock in trade is violent crime, and he's not shy about sharing his thirty years of experience. Some of the topics include:
Rape - "Rape is NEVER acceptible, no woman ever 'asks' for it - yet I'm shocked when 25% of Girls and Boys surveyed believe that forced sex is OK under certain circumstances. Yes is yes, no is no, where's the ambiguity?"
Domestic Violence - "A restraining order is not a bulletproof vest, but it does serve two functions. First it lets a slow and dense justice system know that at least one judge has looked at the case and said 'Yes, this woman has cause to fear, her complaint is valid.'Second, it lets a woman begin to take control of her life back, it's the first step in getting out. Let me emphasize that, if your in a bad situation - GET OUT! Nothing else matters."
Psycho-babble and Early Parole for sex offenders and killers - "If you're one of those good-hearted-in-general types who wants to give these guys a second chance in society I ask you this, 'What's your acceptible failure rate?'"
The insanity defense - "In my thirty years I've seen very few killers who were truly insane, and they're usually the easiest ones to catch. We have to stop excusing the inexcusable and insist that people be held accountable for their actions. Why do we allow raw cruelty to masquerade as mental illness? They do it because they like it, because they get off on it, and most importantly, because they choose to do so, it fills a large hole in their existence."
Put simply, this book is a must read for anyone tired of the ultimate scum, killers who whine that they're 'victims'. Bullshit! Get over it! Plenty of people have shitty childhoods, they don't make lampshades of human skin. Most importantly, though, is the realization that knowledge is power, and safety and security are much easier to acheive with the information you're entitled to have. Obsession will simultaneously scare and inspire you with the depths and the heights that human beings can reach.
Office Politics : The Woman's Guide to Beat the Systems Gain - by R. Don Steele|
From the author:
Brutal honesty about women in the workplace. No feminist pap about
equality and justice. Just hardass reality. I wrote it for my daughter
when she asked about the corporate jungle from age 14 on, starting at
McDonalds and ending at McDonnell-Douglas age 25. How to beat the system
of old boys.
Operating Instructions : A Journal of My Son's First Year - by Anne Lamott|
"The most honest, wildly enjoyable book written about motherhood is surely Anne Lamott's account of her son Sam's first year. A gifted writer and teacher, Lamott (Crooked Little Heart) is a single mother and ex-alcoholic with a pleasingly warped social circle and a remarkably tolerant religion to lean on. She responds to the changes, exhaustion, and love Sam brings with aplomb or outright insanity. The book rocks from hilarious to unbearably poignant when Sam's burgeoning life is played out against a very close friend's illness. No saccharine paean to becoming a parent, this touches on the rage and befuddlement that dog sweeter emotions during this sea change in one's life."
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