Southern Women: Wit Wisdom Stereotype

Southern Women:
Wit * Wisdom * Stereotype

Sunday, July 11, 2010 — 4pm

Join the conversation. The Women’s Book Salon at the Mandeville, LA – Barnes & Noble is not like a normal book club. It is a bi-monthly event where everyone can read what ever book appeals to them on the topic of the month. Then for an hour or so on a lazy Sunday afternoon we get together and talk and talk.

For July, our topic is Southern Women, defined however you like. There are lots of books on the topic, or just come and tell us what your mama used to say. The point is for people who love to read and talk about books to have a place to come and talk with a conversation starter.

Here are some titles to get you started:

A Southern Belle Primer: Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma by Maryln Schwartz

The Southern Belle’s Handbook : Sissy LeBlanc’s Rules to Live By by Loraine Despres

Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On!: What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters that the Rest of Y’all Should Know Too by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should): Timeless Secrets to Get Everything you Want in Love, Life, and Work by Ronda Rich

We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle by Celia Rivenbark

Bless Your Heart, Tramp: And Other Southern Endearments by Celia Rivenbark

Suddenly Southern: A Yankee’s Guide to Living in Dixie by Maureen Duffin-Ward and Gary Hallgren

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle by Olivia deBelle Byrd

The Education of the Southern Belle: Higher Education and Student Socialization in the Antebellum South by Christie Farnham

Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On!: What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters that the Rest of Y’all Should Know Too by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Swag: Southern Women Aging Gracefully by Melinda Rainey Thompson

What Southern Women Know about Faith: Kitchen Table Stories and Back Porch Comfort by Ronda Rich

Bless Your Heart, Tramp: And Other Southern Endearments by Celia Rivenbark

The Southern Woman: Selected Fiction (Modern Library Classics) by Elizabeth Spencer

The Grits (Girls Raised In The South) Guide to Life by Deborah Ford

Sarah Morgan: The Civil War Diary Of A Southern Woman by Sarah Morgan Dawson

Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady by Florence King

Some Day You’ll Thank Me for This: The Official Southern Ladies’ Guide to Being a “Perfect” Mother by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays

Ar’n’t I a Woman?: Female Slaves in the Plantation South by Deborah G. White

Red Clay, Blue Cadillac: Stories of Twelve Southern Women by Michael Malone

Scarlett Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: SOUTHERN WOMEN IN THE CIVIL WAR ERA (Women in American History) by Laura F. Edwards

Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays

Somebody Is Going to Die if Lilly Beth Doesn’t Catch That Bouquet: The Official Southern Ladies’ Guide to Hosting the Perfect Wedding by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays

The Southern Lady: From Pedestal to Politics, 1830-1930 by Anne Firor Scott

The Belle Gone Bad: White Southern Women Writers and the Dark Seductress (Southern Literary Studies) by Betina Entzminger

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Flowers as Marketers

Surviving with fascination in the Amazon jungle, and on Amazon.com. I like the way this short article describes the business of flowers. Reading it I could hear echos of the PBS special the Botany of Desire (based on the book), and at the same time imaging daffodils in business suits planing out commercials.

This Year is 2010 — Reading Challenges

First — Reading Challenges!

A Personal One: create a reading map of the world. I wanted to do this last year, but I let myself be defeated by not locating a software I like using. This year, I believe that paper and pencil is going to be the way to go.

The Science Book Challenge: I’ve science books in my TBR pile that despite my interest in them keep getting pushed to the bottom in order to read that next piece of fiction. This Challenge is for 3 books in a calendar year.

Women Unbound:This sounds like a good challenge. Read a set number of books fiction or non-fiction that fall into the category of Women’s Studies. I’m going to try the Bluestocking level: read at least five books, including at least two nonfiction ones.

So that is 7 reading slots spoken for. Lets hope this year that I read more then 44 books.

Soulless

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate #1) Soulless by Gail Carriger
This book was really funny. You will be laughing in the first couple of pages. I loved it. It has been awhile since I’ve read a werewolf or vampire novel that I’ve like, because they all seemed to be running together. This one was refreshing. With a Victorian setting,  great banter, mad scientist in steampunk style, horrid hats,  and really neat characters. You have to met Alexia, oh, and her butler is priceless too.

Opposing Rections

There is some overlap in two of the books I’m am currently reading. What I find so shocking about this is how long it took me to notice and the fact that my reactions to both are so different. The first book, which I’m listening to on my iPhone, is Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships by David Levy and the second book, which I’m actually reading also on my iPhone, is Like Clockwork: Steampunk Erotica ed by J. Blackmore. (I have not finished either book yet.)
Love and Sex with Robots is a non-fiction exploration about the development of A.I. and robotics and projections about how human will interact with them on a personal level, not solely as cold or indifferent machines, but as partners and lovers. The whole time I’m listening to this book I’ve so many thoughts bouncing around in my head at once it is almost hard to concentrate on the narrators voice. First, I’m fascinated by the discussion of what is currently being done in this area of research. Second, I keep thinking about all the examples of what he is talking about in my very limited sci/fi reading and viewing ( Data, from Star Trek / Bicentennial Man – the Robin Williams movie). Thirdly, there is this unconscious and sort of unexplainable ugh factor when the author goes from today’s reality into some future scenario of ‘and they all lived happily ever after’. My mind which is keeping up and internal monologue of ‘hey that’s neat,’ ‘I never knew that,’ and ‘wouldn’t it be cool’ is suddenly brought to a screeching halt with a matter a fact explanation of how future parents will just pop over to a robot shop to have a spouse built for their dear baby it the futuristic incarnation of arranged marriages. Screeching halt might not be enough to cover the sort of unexplainable mental recoil going on there.

So that’s where I am, listening to this book with a mixture of scientific curious and horror. I am trying to figure out what is bothering me so much. I’m pretty sure it isn’t the sex with robots part. Sex/Porn led to advancements and or mass use of VHS, the Internet, and probably lots of other things too, so I’m told. I get that or at least think I do. It is the love and marriage bit, I think am pondering (oh and the fact that ‘arranged marriage’ is still going to be going strong in an age where people have their spouses built custom). The more I tried reasoning this out. The more sci/fi examples I remembered, but they were from TV and film. Data had his Lt. Yar and I hate Bicentennial Man because it is depressing ( and THAT is do to the fact that they die!) What literature examples did I remember? I am sure there are tons. I know people have been writing about robot and human interaction of over a hundred years. Levy even cites several examples in his book, but I can’t think of any I’ve read.

That’s when it hits me that I’m reading a collection steampunk erotica called, Like Clockwork. A collection of short stories about love and sex with or around robots. My reaction to this collection so far has been positive for the most part. The stories are steamy ( no pun intended?) and entertaining. While not every entry may be my cup of tea, I haven’t experience the same mental recoil as I have when some of the same ideas are presented in the non-fiction book. I was a little shocked to realize this, and I’ve been trying to reason it out in words for days.

Maybe I’ll have a better understanding once I finish both books. It may be just the differences in the labels. Non-fiction, even the conjecture feels more imposing then the fiction that can be enjoyed and then brushed off at will. I also wonder if my reaction would be different, if my method of consuming these books where different. One of the topics Levy discusses is attachment and relationships with devices such as computers and smart phones paving the way for this generation to be even more accepting of robots in the future. I am listening to an audio book and reading an e-book on the same device – a device that I carry around with me almost all the time and use for multiple other services as well. Do I love my iPhone? I like it a lot as a tool, but I don’t expect it to like me back. (Totally unrelated I usually assume most electronic devices hate me; then again that is probably so I don’t have to accept the blame for operator error.) How would my reactions differ if I had paper copies of both books? The only other ‘meta’ experience I had with an audio book was listening to Feed by M.T. Anderson on a portable CD player with headphones. It almost felt like having a ‘feed’ and was definitely and interesting experience.

I am looking forward to finishing both books, and I needed to get these ideas out there mid-read so that I could come back to them afterward. I am curious to know if Levy will win me over with his ideas, not that I’ve realized that these are things I’ve already accepted in works of fiction. Will the fiction go to far and weird me out as well. Maybe as an experiment I’ll check out the paper copy of Love and Sex with Robots. It wouldn’t be the first time, I’ve switched back and forth between audio and paper. Feel free to leave comments, observations, suggestions, etc.

Misty Dreams by Charlotte Parker

Misty DreamsReleased Today! Misty Dreams by Charlotte Parker. I had the pleasure of reading some of the rough drafts of the is book years ago and am very excited to finally see it in print. This is Charlotte Parker’s third novel. Besides being a fabulous author, Ms. Parker is also the Chair of EPICon, a writers convention, taking place in New Orleans this year.

For more information about Misty Dreams check out the author website here or purchase it at BN.com here.

Kickstarter

I discovered Kickstarter a while back and liked the idea. There are many weird and wonderful project that people are striving to do. These are the three that I chose to support in efforts to explore this medium. I am interested in what it might mean for publishing. In an age where all the mainstream news seems to be have moved from Print-on-Demand (POD) to E-Books. Here are people looking to craft small personal editions of their work. For me POD books lack some of the sensual pleasures that I get from selecting and reading a physical book due to their often bland and clumsy assemblage and E-books lack all of them. I’m intrigued by these Kickstarter projects and for how ever much I choose to pledge, I can watch someones work unfold. I hope you check them out and I wish them good luck.