fiction

Double Rainbow: Finding Autism in Popular Fiction

Of course one doesn’t have to go finding autism in popular fiction—it’s the subject of intense cultural fascination right now, so it’s just there, everywhere. In novels like Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and Jodi Picoult... Read more »

In the Frame: Female Artists in Literature, From Bront

Great artists don’t just have to exist in galleries. Books have given us some really inspirational pre- or post-feminist characters that are good at art, and this liberates them either emotionally or physically. What unites them is their independent thinking, as they are determined to go... Read more »

We're All Mad Here: Mental Illness in YA Fiction

Young adult literature features a number of depictions of mentally ill characters, from authors who both bother to do their homework and take the time to present their work well and authors who don’t seem to feel that research and sensitivity are necessary. In YA especially, depictions of... Read more »

Bibliobitch: Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls

Alissa Nutting’s Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls is a collection of bizarre and wonderful stories about the difficulty of bodies and the possibilities that arise when their inhabitants transcend them. Nutting, who is the... Read more »

Adventures in Feministory: Dorothy Allison

I am in awe of feminist author and activist Dorothy Allison. Born in South Carolina in 1949 and now living in California, Allison has attracted numerous accolades in the last thirty years for her six published books. (They include Lambda Literary Awards, ALA Awards for Lesbian and Gay Writing and... Read more »

Iconography: Independent Women

We're going to leave the 19th century soon, but not before we've covered a certain breed of independent woman literary icon. At a time when divorce was the height of scandal, Louise Mallard and Nora Helmer were literary characters who looked to a better life without their husbands. And they... Read more »

Iconography: Ursula K. Le Guin, the Model of a Modern Mythmaker

I love Ursula K. Le Guin's writing so much. Who better with whom to finish our trip into feminist science fiction? And how to pick just a few of her works to write about…?! Read more »

Bibliobitch: Daddy's by Lindsay Hunter

As a big fan of the strange short work by writers like Gary Lutz and Lydia Davis, I was drawn to... Read more »

Bibliobitch: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Books that use food as a gateway to emotion can be pretty unbearable (hi again, Eat, Pray, Love). Thankfully, Aimee Bender's new novel is more like one of the fairy tale rewrites I wrote about a few weeks ago than one of those... Read more »

Push(back) at the Intersections: Stieg Larsson, Feminist Hero?

What makes a work feminist? It’s worth answering that before we begin. In some circles, depicting strong female characters resisting sexism is feminist. That’s not enough for me. To qualify as a feminist work, I think that something actively needs to include an anti-oppression message,... Read more »

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Hot Under the Bonnet: The cooptation of Amish culture in mass-market fiction

Dubbed “Amish romance novels,” “Amish fiction,” or the more waggish “bonnet rippers,” these novels just one entry point into the varying images of Amish communities in U.S. popular culture. Read more »