Authors Jennifer Weiner & Emily Gould Show How To Channel Yourself On Social Media

If you, like us, live in NYC and love an event celebrating authors of every ilk, PEN DIY is totally worth checking out. Each month, PEN America Center hosts an author to speak o the craft of writing: “Building on oral traditions, parables, and the rich history of artists as unpretentious makers, PEN DIY celebrates how literature can be approachable yet unexpected, and how it can help us make sense of our lives.”

April’s PEN DIY, titled “How to be Authentic on Social Media,” will feature Jennifer Weiner, superstar author of novels such as Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and All Fall Down (the paperback version of which is due out April 7th).  Weiner is also a contributing writer for such publications as The New York Times.

Named one of Forbes’ “25 Working Moms to Follow on Twitter,” we’d say Weiner knows a thing or two about social media. Peep her profile for hilarious parental observations and live-tweet sessions of The Bachelor.

 Friendship author Emily Gould will host the event on Monday, April 6th at 8:00 pm. Tickets available here. BUSTies, make sure to enter promo code ‘tweet’ for a special discount!

See Why You're Going To Love Amber Tamblyn's New Book

Our lovely former BUST cover girl Amber Tamblyn has written some raw and thought provoking poems for her upcoming book, Dark Sparkler, out April 7th. The collection powerfully explores the lives of over twenty-five actresses who died before their time, including Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow, Sharon Tate, and Brittany Murphy. Want more? Take a look at Amber's interview with Janet Fitch in our latest issue and scroll down for book tour dates. 

And check out Tamblyn reading her poem, "Jane Doe," for us below: 

 

 

Image and video by Michael Lavine. Tour date information from amtam.com.

Spiderman's Gwen Stacy Spins Into Her Own Series

In 1973's Spiderman Universe Earth 616, Gwen Stacy dies in the infamous clash between Spider Man and Green Goblin. You would think that 40 years of comic book decay means the iconic character looks too ghastly to resurface, but that isn’t what writer Jason Latour and artists Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi decided. 

Despite being nervous about touching long-gone Gwen, Latour--who grew up idolizing white-male superheroes--realized that if she could escape her death, then she could truly become anything. He also saw his heroine as an important chess piece in the ongoing feminist revamp that will soon take over the comic world.

So from the grave rises Gwen Stacy, Earth-65’s very own radioactive female in her very own new book: Spider-Gwen. In Gwen's latest adventures, she must make time for her femme-fatale band, avoid the usual bad wrap from the Daily Bugle, and war with the newly conceived Vulture. With a new host of enemies and friends, witty-graffiti that slays the bad-guys’ egos, and a killer costume, we are pretty certain that you’ll be as ready to get your copy of Spider-Gwen’s story as we are. 

Image c/o illustrators

12 Empowering Children's Books To Add To Little Girls' Bookshelves

The books we read as children can have a huge impact on the weird humans we eventually become. Our beliefs, aspirations, and morals can all be attributed to the colorful pages we excitedly soaked in during our youth. So, whether you're buying a book for a friend's child, your own child, or for yourself (because why not? We would), make it a piece of literature that sustains and empowers women. Because, well, those little messages go a long way.

Here are 12 children's books we think every young girl should have:

1. Judy Moody - Written by Megan McDonald and Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

 

Wearing tiger-print pajama pants on the first of school? We so get it. Judy Moody wasn’t just moody—she was a normal kid who had a lot of feels, and weren’t we all? Nobody sings the third grade blues and inspires individuality better than Judy Moody.

2. Not All Princesses Dress In Pink - Written by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple; Illustrated by Anne-Sophie Lanquetin 

It's important to know that one can love baseball, roll around in the mud, and ride a bike, all while wearing a sparkly crown. This tribute to girl power encourages young people to break molds and fearlessly be themselves.

3. Madeline - Written and Illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans 

Oh, Madeline. Our favorite fearless french heroine was an outcast and a rebel in all the best ways. She had red hair, a weakness for “bad hats,” and she laughed in the face of tigers and hospitals. Not to mention, she made scars cool. Need we say more?

4. Imogene’s Last Stand - Written by Candace Fleming and Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter 

It’s not often that girls are depicted as having burning passions towards history... But then there’s Imogene, whose first words are “four score and seven years ago." In preschool she fingerpaints a path of the Oregon trail, and by grade school she is saving the historical society from being torn down. So, yeah, we’d want to be her best friend.

5. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon - Written by Patty Lovell and Illustrated by David Catrow 

This is a beautifully illustrated book about a (very) little girl who transforms her flaws into talents. Every little girl should be able to embrace their flaws, as characteristics that set us apart, and make us who we are.

6. The Princess Knight - Written by Cornelia Funke and Illustrated by Kirsten Meyer 

Ah, the classic tale of a princess who doesn’t want to get married, and just wants to become a knight. (We’ve all been there.) We love how this book shakes off the princess-meets-a-prince-marries-him-immediately standard, and instead shows girls they can fight (or joust) for whatever they want, no matter what society tells us. 

7. Matilda Written by Roald Dahl and Illustrated by Quentin Blake

The infamous bookworm and warlock Matilda taught us all a thing or two about the power of reading, pranks, and telekinesis. This classic not only encourages independence and individuality, it gives children power in a world ruled by adults.

8. Rad American Women A-Z - Written by Katie Schatz and Illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl

This catalogue of inspirational women belongs on every kid’s bookshelf. Alphabetically tackling gender, transgender, economic, and race politics in simple and straight-up terms this book will build a strong feminist foundation at any age.  

9. Harriet The Spy - Written by Louise Fitzhugh 

Harriet wants to be writer and a spy, dresses “like a boy,” and loves tomato sandwiches. Not to mention her best female friend is an aspiring scientist. But all endearingly quirky qualities aside, what we love most about Harriet The Spy is she is just a normal kid, dealing with social pressures in school and issues with her parents.

10. Grace For President - Written by Kelly S. DePucchio and Illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

Grace’s teacher is hanging up pictures of the Presidents when she asks an age-old question: “Where are all the girls?” That’s a helluva question to plant in young people’s minds, and we love any book that encourages young girls to shatter glass ceilings by crashing boy-clubs.

11. Miss Rumphius - Written and Illustrated by Barbara Cooney 

There’s something to be said for the quiet and confident independence this book fosters. Miss Rumphius grows up doing exactly what she wants, with only her personal values and the beauty of the world in mind. There's no mention of societies expectations—just a woman flying solo—and it doesn't get more empowering than that. 

12. The Paper Bag Princess Written by Robert Munsch and Illustrated by Michael Martchenko

Any children's book with a female heroine who tricks a dragon then calls her Prince a bum is alright by us. Now, usually usually wouldn’t encourage name calling, but, well, this Prince sounded like a real jerk and he deserved it. Every little girl should learn that she doesn't have to take anyone’s crap.   

 

Photos via Pinterest, Fablevision, Goodreads, Amazon, Wikipedia, Citylights, Quia, The Wonderist

 

6 Amazing 18th Century Lady Authors Who Aren't Jane Austen

 

Real talk: Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and George Eliot have monopolized the 18th and 19th century "groundbreaking female author" title. While we greatly respect their hustle, it should be noted that kickass female authors were around even earlier. We've put together a list of these women for your reading pleasure—women who set the foundation for the great works we know today and made it slowly more acceptable for women to be writers. Even though they received some uncool lady-bashing from later female novelists (lookin' at you, Willa Cather), it's time to reinstate them into our dialogue.

Frances Burney

Most likely the inspiration behind Jane Austen’s stylistic choices, Frances Burney was a novelist, diarist, and playwright whose works were hugely popular during her life, but whose mention would probably elicit a “who?” from most people today. Her many works include four novels: Evelina, Cecilia, Camilla, and The Wanderer. While all of her works richly explore the politics of female identity. Evelina might seem especially familiar: a young woman of lower ranking nobility attracts the attention of two men. One is a flirt, who tries to worm his way into the lady’s good graces, and with the other there is a shared attraction, but they struggle with misinformation and class barriers. Yeah, we'd say Jane was a fan.  

Aphra Behn

Regarded as one of the first novelists, Aphra Behn was not just an author, but also a spy for the British Crown. She, along with Delarivier Manley and Eliza Haywood, made up a group of female writers called  “The fair triumvirate of wit” (which, we must say, sounds like an awesome band name). Behn wrote and wrote in order to support herself, and at the time of her death she'd completed 19 plays—not to mention her poetry, translation, and novels. Unfortunately, despite her success, Behn died in poverty and was largely ignored by literary critics due to her vulgarity and “masculine” prose. She has some defenders, thankfully; to quote Virginia Woolf:

“All women together, ought to let flowers fall upon the grave of Aphra Behn... for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds... Behn proved that money could be made by writing at the sacrifice, perhaps, of certain agreeable qualities; and so by degrees writing became not merely a sign of folly and a distracted mind but was of practical importance” 

Delarivier Manley

Another member of the literary triumvirate, Delarivier Manley was mostly regarded for her political pamphlets. She was also well known as an author and playwright, and wrote satirical works about the Whigs and her husband. Her personal life was almost as novel as her written work: she was married to a bigamist, roomies with the former mistress of Charles II, and expelled by the duchess for flirting with her son. Manley offended people with her personality, her marriage, her quarrels, her obesity and her politics. In other words, she was just too much of a HBIC for people to handle. Many female authors have been (thankfully) campaigning to reestablish her importance in literary canon.

 

Eliza Haywood

The third part of the triumvirate, Eliza Haywood was something of the Nora Robers/E.L. James of her day. That's not knocking her, but rather showing how widely she was read during her lifetime and how much she wrote (over 70 works!). She is one of the founders of the English novel, writing works with both titillating romance and women’s rights issues that involved women who were sexually free. Her first novel, Love in Excess: Or, The Fatal Enquiry, gives the fallen woman character a positive portrait and does not condemn her for not being "virginal." "Fantomina; or Love in a Maze" is a short story about a woman who assumes several roles in order to seduce a man, who smirks as she fools the idiot time and time again. Feminist scholars have been bringing up Haywood’s work to showcase early transgressive female writing.

Maria Edgeworth

Edgeworth was an Anglo-Irish writer, whose life in Ireland had a profound impact on her political views and progressive ideology.  In her work she tended to address the issues of sex, gender, class, and even race. She advocated for equal education of boys and girls and for women to marry based on mutual affection; she said that it was better to be an old maid than to be in a bad marriage. She greatly believed in the importance of the individual and thought middle class women should be more politically involved. Her novel Belinda has one of the earliest depictions of an interracial marriage (though this was omitted in later publications). Towards the end of her life, she helped provide welfare for the poor and those affected by the Irish Potato Famine, and was made an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy.

 

Mary Wollstonecraft

This should be a familiar name for anyone who has taken a Women’s Studies class (the vast majority of our readership, perhaps?). Mostly known for A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Wollstonecraft was not just a philosopher, but wrote two feminist novels: Mary: A Fiction and Maria:, or the Wrongs of Woman. Both criticize marriage and the position that it inflicts upon women. In Mary, the heroine is forced into a financial marriage, but fulfills herself emotionally with two romantic friendships: one with a man and another with a woman. Maria, unfortunately, was published unfinished due to Wollstonecraft’s death, but is probably her most radical work. It features a woman imprisoned in an insane asylum by her husband who finds fulfillment in an affair with a fellow roommate. Her daughter, Mary Shelley, would also come to be a groundbreaking writer in her own right. She wrote a little book about a man who creates a monster, maybe you've heard of it?

Images c/co JASNA, Wikipedia

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