Tuesday, January 2, 2007

1991 - Best Books of the Year

If You Want to Write, Barbara Ueland
Encouraging in a sweetly funky sort of way. 179 pages.

The Rainbow, D.H. Lawrence
Beautiful writing about men and women and the matter between them. 467 pages.

Plant Dreaming Deep, May Sarton
Essays, wonderful technically, very quiet and careful by a poet and solitary woman living in New England. 189 pages.

A History of Their Own: Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present, 2 vol.s, Bonnie S. Andersen and Judith P. Zinser
Fascinating history of ordinary women’s lives as well as of outstanding individual women. 552 and 534 pages.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Bears reading over and over again. It’s a different book now than the one I read as a schoolgirl. 552 pages.

Little Women, Eliza May Alcott
Ditto. 643 pages.

A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Early Revolutionary American midwife’s life is reconstructed by bringing to life the economic and social background to her diary entries. Enjoyably lively writing. Pulitzer Prize awarded for this book by LDS author. 444 pages.

Stealing the Language: Women’s Poetic Tradition in America, Alicia Suskin Ostriker
How women’s language differs from men’s, at least as evidenced in their poetry in America. 315 pages.

Showings, Julian of Norwich, ed. Edmund Colledge, James Walsh and Jean Leclercq
Visions of Christ’s passion. A clear-sighted medieval woman living around the time of the Black Death, very ill and nearly dying, received what she called a showing of Christ’s atonement. She lived the rest of her life as an anchoress—living in a small cell built into the wall of the church where people could come and counsel with her. This is the book she wrote about her experience. I re-read this book for the beauty and stillness of her visions, for the lively quality of her thought and for the uniquely observed details she records. 384 pages (with commentary).

The Art of Eating, including Serve it Forth, Consider the Oyster, How to Cook a Wolf, The Gastronomical Me, and An Alphabet of Gourmets, M.F.K. Fisher.
Along with Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, this book transformed for me the necessary daily cooking into an enactment of the oldest human art and a grateful exploration of one of the most intimate and gracious aspects of creation—gathering and eating food. 749 pages.

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