Ladies of Literature

Celebrating women writers among November’s releases

Compiled by Brian Lampkin

It’s November 2018. A month of real meaning for the future. This is also a month full of great new books by women. Let’s celebrate women writers as we anticipate a future with more and more women in places of power.

November 6: Beyond the Call: Three Women on the Front Lines in Afghanistan, by Eileen Rivers. A riveting account of three women who fought shoulder-to-shoulder with men in Afghanistan and worked with local women to restore their lives and village communities. They marched under the heat with 40-pound rucksacks on their backs. They fired M16s out of the windows of military vehicles, defending their units in deadly firefights. And they did things that their male counterparts could never do — gather intelligence on the Taliban from the women of Afghanistan.

November 6: Monument: Poems New and Selected, by Natasha Trethewey. Two-time U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey’s new and selected poems, drawing upon Domestic Work, Bellocq’s Ophelia, Native Guard, Congregation, and Thrall, while also including new work written over the last decade.

November 6: Grits: A Cultural and Culinary Journey Through the South, by Erin Byers Murray. For food writer Erin Byers Murray, grits had always been one of those basic, bland Southern table necessities — something to stick to your ribs or dollop the butter and salt onto. But after hearing a famous chef wax poetic about the terroir of grits, her whole view changed. Suddenly the boring side dish of her youth held importance, nuance and flavor. She decided to do some digging to better understand the fascinating and evolving role of grits in Southern cuisine and culture as well as her own Southern identity.

November 13: Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the “powerless” Woman Who Took on Washington, by Patricia Miller. In Bringing Down the Colonel, the journalist Patricia Miller tells the story of Madeline Pollard, an unlikely 19th-century women’s rights crusader. After an affair with a prominent politician left her “ruined,” Pollard brought the man — and the hypocrisy of America’s control of women’s sexuality — to trial. And, surprisingly, she won.

November 13. Becoming, by Michelle Obama. In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America — the first African American to serve in that role — she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the United States and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

November 20: Tony’s Wife, by Adriana Trigiani. From the Jersey shore to Hollywood, New York City to Las Vegas, the hills of northern Italy and the exuberant hayride of the big band circuit in between: Tony’s Wife tells the story of the 20th century in song. Adriana Trigiani is the bestselling author of seventeen books, and is cofounder of the Origin Project, an in-school writing program that serves more than one thousand students in Appalachia.

November 27: The Collector’s Apprentice, by B. A. Shapiro. Shapiro has made the historical art thriller her own: “B.A. Shapiro is back with a platinum potion of art, love and scandal, set against the big backdrop of Paris between the wars. If you can put The Collector’s Apprentice down, you’re made of stronger stuff than I am. I read it in one sumptuous sitting. This is a big story, from a big talent.” — Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean.  OH

Brian Lampkin is one of the proprietors of Scuppernong Books.

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