A less-than-salacious look at the National Enquirer’s founding family.
THE HEROINE’S BOOKSHELF Life Lessons From Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder
What to do when you’re stuck in bed with a cold, facing a crisis of faith or dealing with a bad breakup? Erin Blakemore offers a few unorthodox prescriptions: Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables,” Zora
Neale Hurston’s “ Their Eyes Were Watching God” and Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre.”
While acknowledging that reading the classics can be “ the terrain of milquetoasts and mopey spinsters,” Blakemore finds comfort and inspiration in revisiting the tales of literature’s leading ladies and exploring the lives of the women who spun them. In “ The Heroine’s Bookshelf,” Blakemore rereads 12 of her favorite books, written in simpler times but certainly not freer ones.
Indeed, from Alice Walker’s battles against prejudice and partial blindness in the American South to Colette’s struggle to get her own name — rather than her husband’s — attached to her work in fin de siècle Paris, these writers’ biographies certainly informed their writing and vice versa. Finally, Blakemore adds another heroine to her cast of characters: herself. She reflects on times when she identified with these fictional friends, and she aligns their stories with contemporary women’s struggles.
Blakemore makes a charming case for rereading, but will modern readers spend time with her reflections on the classics and then go back to the originals? The milquetoasts and the mopey spinsters, perhaps. Everyone else might be more tempted to get to know some new heroines in fiction written for these times.