(*T* -- denotes reviews/submissions by Tavia)
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Books by Title: U - V - W
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Vamps and Tramps by Camille Paglia|
She is a
smart, sharp, feminist, and with much to say about the media and
cultural evolution and psychology and sociology and how these things
affect society's attitudes toward women and women's attitudes toward
themselves, etc. See her column in Salon Magazine
Vamps: An Illustrated History of the Femme Fatale - by Pam Keesey
Pam Keesey's she takes a long look at the strong woman and how society
has treated those who don't bow to society "norms."
In one chapter, she looks at the church and its
"documentation" of witchcraft, the Malleus
Maleficarum, which stated "All witchcraft comes from
carnal lust, which in women is insatiable." She delves
into why rites and rituals associated with Goddess worship
were a direct threat to the authority of the church.
In other chapters, she pays tribute to silver screen vamps
such as Theda Bara, Sharon Stone, Marilyn Monroe, Rita
Hayworth and many others.
Venus In Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch|
The protagonist of this book is a 19th century Eurobitch who gets to have exchanges like this: Hapless admirer - "Have you no pity for me?"
Wanda, the Venus in Furs - "'No!' she replied proudly and mockingly, 'but I have the whip'." Some of the writing is execrable (Severin, the narrator, repeatedly refers to himself as a "supersensualist", always italicized), but the payoff in savage quotes and brutal sex makes it worthwhile. The first impression of Wanda is of a merely astoundingly direct woman who immediately informs her new lover that she probably won’t take long to cuckold him ("I don't like deceptions, I am honest, but what man exists who can support the burden of truth"). By the triumphant end, she is a dominatrix so effective that her uber-masochistic slave finally whines, "You are more heartless than I imagined." Ah, that Victorian porn!
The Violin - by Anne Rice|
Triana Becker is a woman at the edge of sanity, and then Stephan the Austrian
Demon tries to push her over. Instead of succumbing to his torments,
Triana fights back. She steals his magic violin, and gains mastery over
all his power for herself. With the violin, she becomes a great musician.
Even when Stephan confronts her and attempts to regain his powers, she
sends him into the next world and keeps the power for herself.
The Vows and Honor trilogy - by Mercedes Lackey|
Tarma and Kethry, the heroines of the Vows and Honor trilogy (The
Oathbound, Oathbreakers, and Oathblood) are certainly in control of
*their* own destinies. Both overcome hardship--Tarma is raped and her
clan destroyed, Kethry sold into marriage to an ambitious and abusive
politician--and get back their own, never taking no for an answer, but
it's more than rape and revenge. Over and over, the sworn sisters prove
that they *are* in control and they don't need to be set up on pedestals
or protected by big, strong men. Tarma swears off sex and romance
entirely, not because she thinks she's been scarred by her experience but
as a pledge to her Goddess, and when a Bard gets the wrong idea and tries
to coax the 'sweet warm girl inside' out of her she has him packed off,
bag and baggage, to a foreign country with nary a qualm. Kethry, a
sorceress, weilds a blade bound to woman's Need, bespells a rapist to
look completely like a helpless woman and drops him in the middle of his
own men in Artemis's classic style, and when she finds the man she
decides is right for her she all but clubs him over the head and drags
him off, and settles down--to teach young men and women to use magic or
the sword, and not lose one ounce of her inner bitch even after having
half a dozen children.
The War Against Women - by Marilyn French
It also contains the quote said by Pauline Bart..."No
man ever died of an erection--though many women have."
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Wake Up, I'm Fat! - by Camryn Manheim & Rosie O'Donnell|
Camryn Manheim tells it like it is, being a "fat girl" in today's society
that's obbssesed with weight. The book is filled with countless anecdotes
about how her life has changed (probably for the better) because of her
weight. Her family and friends reactions, (her parents use to bribe her
when she was little to lose weight). But the book isn't just about being
fat. It's about self-acceptance and not giving a damn when people have a
problem with the way you look. It's about saying "Look, this is who I am.
It's who I'm going to be for the rest of my life. You have a problem?
Deal with it. Everyone else does." P.S. For those of you who might not
know, Camnryn Manheim is the actress from "The Practice" who yelled "This
is for all the fat girls!" when she won her Emmy)
The Well of Loneliness - by Radclyffe Hall|
(Novel) - The story of a cross-dressing female known as Stephen, touted as the first American "lesbian" novel. Sex actually hinted at. --HB Bookclub nomininee
West With the Wind - by Beryl Markham |
Beryl was a remarkable woman. She grew up in Africa
and played with native tribe children as she grew, having
experiences some of us could only dream of. She learned
how to fly a plane and flew trans-Atlantic at
one point. What's great about this book is her
writing; she writes so colorfully and vividly you
imagine yourself there, and she tells a story
with such passion. She was so ahead of her time; even
Hemingway admired her. It's a great book about a
remarkable woman. She had a fantastic life, and
she did it all by her own determination, not by the
help of some man (though there were some pretty supportive
ones in her life).
We The Living - by Ayn Rand|
Add this one to your list of Ayn Rand books. Living in
Russia at the beginning of Soviet domination, Kira is a
student of architecture. As her life is destroyed
little by little, she relies on her own strength and
does what she must to survive under the communist regime.
If you liked Dagny and Dominique, this book is for you.
Ayn Rand considered this to be her most autobiographical
What’s a Girl Gotta Do? - by Sparkle Hayter|
From the cover: "Nothing is going right for Robin Hudson, a spunky, sexy, ‘slightly rumpled, third string reported in Rita Hayworth's body.’
Her husband has left her for a prettier and much younger woman; she's been demoted to the tabloidesque Special Reports
unit at the All News Network after an on-air faux pas at the White House; and a blackmailer knows some of her worst
secrets. To top it all off, Robin becomes a suspect in a brutal murder..." --HB Bookclub nomininee
The Wheel of Time - by Robert Jordan (Fantasy)|
Seven books so far (700 pages each av.) and more to come.
Not only are women the only people able
to use "magic" (the One Power), they are also EQUAL, without question, to
the men. Many of the female characters are HBs to the core and every woman
in the series has at least some HB qualities. (But, as Mr. Jordan so puts it,
all the main female characters are based in his wife... figures :)) The women
in the series are used to fighting for what they want (and paying the price
if need be). Read about (just to mention a few names here) Siuan Sanche,
Nynaeve and Moiraine in the series and tell me if they aren't REAL HBs!
When She was Bad - How and Why Women get away with Murder - by Patricia Pearson|
Patricia Pearson is a Canadion journalist, who generally focusses on law reports.
She quotes a number of case studies, partly cases she has followed
herself, including research about women and crime. What actually enrages her
is the tendency to excuse women's atrocities, make them 'rather deranged
passive little robots' instead of women taking responsibility for their
actions. The book is splendid lecture, very intelligently set up, very
Where I'm Coming From/Where I'm Still Coming From - by Barbara Brandon|
Andrews and McMeel, 1993/1994 (ISBN 0-8362-8016-4, 0-8362-8051-2)
These books compile comic strips by the only nationally syndicated black
female cartoonist. The dialogue is wonderfully funny, and though some
characters might be a bit more enlightend than others, they're all
articulate, opinionated, and raucous.
Where the Girls Are - by Susan J. Douglas|
"Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media" is both a
comical and critical look at how the media has represented women for the
past 50 years and highlights feminist triumphs over such sexist
stereotypes existing in music, advertising, television, and movies.
Douglas is a smart, funny writer and this book is a must-read for anyone
interested in feminist pop culture.
White Oleander -by Janet Fitch |
This expanded version of a short story follows the intertwining lives of
mother and daughter. It portrays a young girl, Astrid, and her ensuing
life-struggles after the imprisonment of her mother, Ingrid Magnussen.
Without giving away too much of the plot, I would like to STRONGLY
recommend this book to any HB. It will draw you in, and you find yourself
for rooting for young Astrid as the obstacles in her life force her to
draw out the inner bitch. As the story will reveal, she hasn't cornered
the market, and it was her mother's ice-queen, Norse-woman legacy for her.
Both main characters are extremely well-written, right up to, and
through their inevitable confrontation. Truly a thought-provoking,
inspirational novel about a young woman finding her inner strength, and
being true to herself in the end.
Whoredom in Kimmage : The Private Lives of Irish Women - by Rosemary Mahoney|
From Amazon.com: "Rosemary Mahoney traveled to Ireland in response to the growing
feeling that changes were taking place, and that those changes directly involved women. Her
ideas are animated in brilliantly crafted scenes, taking the reader from Dillon's tiny pub in
Corofin to a lesbian pub in Dublin, from a Legion of Mary meeting to a classroom full of
boisterous schoolgirls determined to drive their teacher, S'ta Keatin', over the edge. Here,
too, are scenes with Ireland's first woman president, Mary Robinson, and the country's
preeminent woman poet, Eavan Boland. But most memorable, and perhaps most prescient
of the recent enchantment with literature about the Emerald Isle, are Mahoney's pitch-perfect
ear for Irish bluster and warmth, her eye for detail, and people so real and unforgettable
you'd think they were having a cup of tea with you."
Whores of the Court- By Margaret A. Hagen|
The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of the American Justice System.
Even if you don't agree with everything this experimental psychologist
has to say, you can't deny that she's a total, razor sharp Heartless Bitch.
If you ever felt skeptical of psychotherapy or psychiatry, here's a book
that will move your skepticism into the realm of rightous condemnation.
If you've ever felt somewhat dissatisfied with therapy, now you'll know why.
And if you think psychotherapy will save everyone from the depressed to rapists
and killers, here's your wake-up call. This book reminds us of the scientific
method, and how psychotherapy has never even come close to becoming a scientific
practice, no matter what therapists want us to believe.
She makes beautiful distinctions between what she calls "Arrested Feminists" and the rest of us.
Arrested Feminists think that women are eternal victims that must be sheiled from society and
blame everything on all the mean daddies in the world. Mature Feminists make sure sexism doesn't
keep us from our goals as human beings. She also shreds the hell out of Battered Woman's
Syndrome - her point is that women who kill their batterers are willfully destroying
the enemy when the government refuses to protect them - they don't have a "mental
Who Stole Feminism? : How Women Have Betrayed Women - by Christina Hoff Sommers |
Sommers debunks many of the myths perpetrated by the extreme gender
and sheds light on why so many women have difficulty in embracing the
concept of "feminism" as popularized in the media. If we're going to
change things, we need to do it with the truth, not through false
statistics and hyperbole. I thought this book was a great eye-opener.
Wicked - by Gregory Maguire (highly recommended)|
"Wicked" is about the life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West.
When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank
Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about
her archnemisis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did
she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil? A little
green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous
Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly and misunderstood creature who
challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.
The Wild Girls Club : Tales from Below the Belt - by Anka Radakovich|
Former sex-columnist for Details magazine, Anka takes on a wild foray into life
in the singles and dating scene. From "Amazon.com":
"A collection of essays, articles, and observations provides a hilarious, audacious study of men, relationships, and sex in the 1990s, covering topics ranging from aphrodisiacs and phone sex to the male anatomy and personal dating traumas."
The Wild Mother - by Elizabeth Cunningham|
The story of Adam, Eve, Lilith and her children in a more modern setting.
Lilith is a wild woman grown up in a land solely inhabited by strong
women all descended from the Lilith. Adam has an affair with her, and
they have two children. When things turn messy she leaves. Adam
becomes utterly obsessed with having her and controlling her, and tricks
her into coming back by dangling her daughter (who is has Lilith blood in her),
in front of her nose. He traps her and submits her to humiliation, but
she finds some interesting ways to get back, and ultimately escape. Not
a complete heartless bitch, but nevertheless entertaining and inspiring.
Wild Women: Crusaders, Curmudgeons, and Completely Corsetless Ladies in the
Otherwise Virtuous Victorian Era - by Autumn Stephens|
(Conari Press; ISBN 0-943233-36-4)
Uppity Women of Ancient Times - by Vicki Leon
(Conari Press; ISBN 1-57324-010-9)
These feature a whole bunch of very cool, bite-sized bios of women both
famous and shoulda-been famous.
Wild Words from Wild Women - compiled by Autumn Stephens|
(Conari Press; ISBN 1-57324-038-9)
>From the Cover: "An Unbridled Collection of Candid Observations & Extremely Opinionated Bon Mots.....
>From tart to terrorist, stripper to senator, B-girl to big name VIP,
these down and dirty dishers exclaim on love, sex, politics and the benefits of a
frankly macha mouth."
Wilt, The Wilt Alternative, Wilt on High by Tom Sharpe|
The Wilt books are about a wimp. His wife, Eva, is the HB character here. She is scatterbrained, illogical, prude and more than a bit bourgeois - but what Eva wants, she states. And at a pinch (there are many pinches in Tom Sharpe's plots) she comes into her own, plows through any resistance and rescues her beloved wimp.
Wired Women: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace - edited by Lynn Cherny
and Elizabeth Reba Wise|
Seal Press, 1996 (ISBN 1-878067-73-7)
This collection of essays by women involved in all aspects of the cyberspace
biz is terrific; topics range from fandom and female geekdom to online
"romance" to issues of censorship and pornography.
Writing a Woman's Life - by Carolyn G. Heilbrun|
From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Jesse Larsen -
"In this concise and eloquently written feminist classic, Carolyn Heilbrun examines English-language fiction, biography, and autobiography written by and about women, confirming her suspicion that the truths of female experience have been altered to assure that literature conforms with a predetermined and narrow definition of woman. Prior to 1970, "biographies of women made certain facts unthinkable," facts like the existence of anger, rage, an open desire for power, or deeply felt sexual passion of any kind. According to Carolyn Heilbrun, when people with drive and ambition have no models, no exemplars, no stories to guide, they must make choices outside "safety and closure, which have always been held out to women as the ideals of female destiny, [but] are not places of adventure, or experience, or life." Some women have dressed like men, others have taken men's pen-names like George Sand/Aurore Dudevant and George Eliot/Marian Evans. Countless others have made choices which deny both personal and social truths about what it means to be a woman and condemn themselves to the "ultimate anonymity, to be storyless." This book is about more than just literature however; it's about the pain caused when human desire and drive are denied, and about the choices all women have to make to find the courage to be fully alive people with stories."
The Witch Books - by Terry Pratchett. |
(Equal Rites --sometimes also spelled Equal Rights for some reason)--,
Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies and Maskerade), include some
of his best (female) characters ever. The two oldest witches (bitches?) are
brilliant HBs, and even the soppy Magrat discovers her inner bitch in Lords
and Ladies. For all of you HB's who haven't read Pratchett yet, I only ask
what kept you so long???
Wizard's First Rule & The Stone of Tears - by Terry Goodkind (Fantasy)|
A really nasty bitch in this one captures the main male character,
Richard, by using his power against him, and breaks him. The main female
character, Kahlan, is an especially powerful woman and dispenses a
wicked justice on her rapists. In the second book she leads an army of
young men to defeat an enemy with tenfold their experience and numbers.
Woman on the Edge of Time -by Marge Piercy |
An engrossing story about a hispanic woman in the 1970's. Connie Ramos
is able to communicate with the year 2137, although she lives in the
1970's. The future contains 2 totally different worlds, one good and
pure; the other a rigid form of our society. She is thrown into a
mental hospital and struggles to defeat the doctors that are trying to
force her into a brain controlling operation.
The book is absolutely wonderful, it speaks out on so many levels. It
touches the treatment of women in society, minorities, mental
patients, the environment, there does not seem to be anything missed!
Women and Desire: Beyond Wanting to be Wanted - by Polly Young-Eisendrath
Provocative and vital, this groundbreaking book delves into the complex
world of female desire and discovers that, sadly, women often want to be
wanted rather than to be fully engaged with life.
Instead of being able to know what they really want or who they really
are, women have been conditioned to accept images -- the good daughter,
the nice friend, the ideal boss, the perfect mother -- to define
themselves through reflections from others. As a result, self-direction,
self-determination, and self-confidence are undermined from adolescence
through old age. A double bind comes to surround female desire: a woman
is damned as "the bitch" if she is direct and self-determining; but she
is confused and indirect if she plays the Object of Desire.
Dr. Young-Eisendrath shows us how to break out of this double bind so
that we can encounter the challenges of choice and responsibility for
our own desires. She wisely uses mythological and personal stories to
help us take control of our sexual, relational, material, and spiritual
lives. If you feel confused, resentful, or trapped in a life that does
not seem to be fully yours, then you can find a clear path to your true
self, once and for all, with the help of Women and Desire.
Women & Madness - by Phyllis Chesler |
Written in 1972, Chesler, a qualified psychologist and concerned feminist, brings and
impassioned indictment against a century of psychiatric theory and
practice. She calls upon the personal and moving testimony of women
of all ages and social backgrounds who have been institutionalized
or privately treated. The book poses many thought-provoking ideas about the
causes of "female" mental disorders, and the general state of
a society which (STILL!) allows women a much narrower range of "acceptable"
behavior than it does men.
The Women Men Don't See - By Dr. Alice Sheldon, writing as James Tiptree, Jr.|
Dr. Alice Sheldon was a psychologist (or psychiatrist? i'm never sure)
who wrote science fiction under the pseudonym
of James Tiptree, Jr. Sheldon, like many early
women writers, deliberately concealed her identity
because she feared an unfavorable reaction to
her work, and not without reason. As James Tiptree, jr.,
she won many awards for her work, both hugos and nebulas
(popular SF awards given to writers judged by a
panel of their colleagues). At one such presentation,
where Robert Silverberg (I believe) was granting the
awards, someone remarked that James Tiptree jr.,
was actually a woman writing as a man. Silverberg
asserted that no woman could have written the
magnificent piece that won that particular award.
The following year, Dr. Sheldon turned up in person
to receive her award.
The story "The Women Men Don't See" is chilling.
required reading for all feminists.
Women on the Margins : Three Seventeenth-Century Lives - by Natalie Zemon Davis|
(History) Martin Guerre author "here retrieves individual lives from historical obscurity. Equally remarkable though very different, the
three women profiled here--one a Jewish merchant and mother of twelve,
one a Catholic mystic visionary, and one a Protestant painter and naturalist--left behind memoirs and writings that make for
spellbinding tales." --HB Bookclub nomininee
The Woman's Book of Revenge - by Christine Gallagher |
A collection of mostly true and delicious tales of how our fellow sisters were able to humiliate, denigrate and annihilate their fallen Romeos. This celebration of the time-honored tradition of revenge also includes guidelines for planning revenge and how to access wonderful revenge products and services.
The Woman Source Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women - by Ilene Rosoff (Editor) |
A jam-packed source book reminiscent of The Whole Earth Catalog that delves into almost everything we do, use, think, and say as women. Here are resources to help you fix leaky faucets; celebrate being female; meditate on culture, race, gender and society; or overhaul a humdrum life. The book is a gold mine of feminist publications, tools, and toys linked to hundreds of topics, including food, dwellings, homelessness, work, women's lives and achievements, money, music, sickness, spirituality, parenting, and laughter. Wonderfully brassy, bellicose, and thought-provoking--if sometimes didactic--this far-reaching guide offers a great selection of mainstream and alternative tools for life.
The Women Who Hate Me- by Dorothy Allison|
--very angry poetry
Women Who Run With the Wolves -
by Clarissa Pinkola Estes phD|
This is a book that should be issued to all females over the age of ten. It provides a really great in depth annalysis of the female role in folklore, and how many mores about sex and life in general for women came about, and the damage they have caused. It's a handbook for getting touch with your inner lobo.
The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets - by Barbara G. Walker|
HarperSan Francisco, 1983 (ISBN 0-06-250925-X)
This is an extremely cool reference book, with over 1,000 pages of intriguing
and well-written entries on topics ranging from Artemis to vagina dentata and
beyond. Great for browsing or for research.
The Women's Room - by Marilyn French|
The story of one woman's life, from her oppressed childhood
to her failing marriage and finally her divorce. The protagonist, Meera,
leaves her husband after he cheats on her but unfortunatly
loses custody of her children. She goes back to school (after
having left University because of getting pregnant), and meets
some other pretty spactacular women with similar problems.
This book deals with issues such as women's sexuality,
racism, homosexuality, rape, "girl power," divorce, difficulaties
with children, losing friends to suicide and drugs...the list goes
on. It covers just about every major and contraversial topic
This book is relevant to HB because even though the main character
has been through so much shit in her life, she still manages to
succeed and find happiness and teach her daughter to value
Women, Sex, and Rock 'n' Roll: in their own words - edited by Liz Evans (non-fict)
The World Split Open : How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America - by Ruth Rosen Viking|
For anyone who wants a thorough introduction to the modern American women's movement, this is it: a rousing story of the revolution by a history professor who participated in its struggles. Ruth Rosen introduces her book by reminding readers of discriminatory practices that were common in pre-1960s America: "Harvard's Lamont Library was off-limits to women for fear they would distract male students. Newspaper ads separated jobs by sex; bars often refused to serve women; some states even excluded women from jury duty; no women ran big corporations or universities, worked as firefighters or police officers." She then proceeds to delineate the changes that make such discrimination seem unthinkable today. Her research takes in popular books, magazines, newspaper articles and television, the details of politics and law, and the individual liberation stories of not only famous feminists and thinkers but many lesser-known women as well.
Written on the Body - by Jeanette Winterson|
"Winterson chronicles the consuming affair between the narrator, who is given neither name nor gender, and the beloved, a
complex and confused married woman. At once a love story and a philosophical meditation." (--New York Times Book
Review.) --HB Bookclub nomininee
Tell us about more books we should add to this list.
Be sure to add some kind of short review or commentary about the book as well
as the title and author!
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