Subject: Women Who Have Accomplished Something

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education by Malala Yousafzai

Published in 2013 this is the little girl you read about. Malala was born in the Svaat Valley of Northern Pakistan and raised in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Her father was a teacher and felt that girls should receive an education. Her Mother was traditional and illiterate.

They were near where Osama Bin Laden was hiding while the U.S. was searching for him and the Taliban was in the area. Because of her education Malala was outspoken and a fatwa was placed on her. Someone shot her in the eye and there was little medical care in the area. Luckily, she ended up in British care and her vision and life were saved.

One of our members grew up in India and was familiar with the history and explained history of the area and customs of the area and was pelted with questions, all answered. Very enlightening.

This book is in the Teen Non Fiction section at the Grover Beach Library, but we all agreed it was a book for all ages.

Khadija Tul Kubra – A Short Story of Her Life by Syed A.A. Razwy

Khadija Tul Kubra was from Syria, involved in caravan trade and a very rich woman.  She suggested marriage to Mohamed, who was an orphan.  He asked his mentor/father figure, who told him it would be a good marriage.  So they were married and he was monogamous with her till her death.

When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mohamed, he told her about it and she felt he should do as the Angel told him and gave him the money to carry out his vision. Mohamed did not believe in subjugating women, he felt they had a valuable place in our lives. What changed happened much later and what the Koran says is highlighted in the book.

This sparked another discussion of the value of women.

Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats by Julia Child

Julia the cook always had a cat around somewhere and these delightful stories and accompanying pictures is a peaceful book to enjoy.

It is being donated to the Grover Beach Community Library.

A Stricken Field by Martha Gellhorn

Printed in 1946, this is a fictionalized history of a female war correspondent, Martha, herself, who wrote about the Spanish Civil War for newspapers and “Collier’s” magazine. She then went to Sudetenland, which was invaded by Hitler. They were in the early stages of democracy, but when invaded the rules changed often. There was turmoil and concentration camps. Historians have often been surprised at how haphazardly things change. Our reader found a parallel to the Ukraine situation currently in the headlines.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Our heroine is one of the blue people of Kentucky (Google it). Her name was Cussy Carter, nicknamed “Bluette.” Many people lived in the ‘hollers’ of the hills of Kentucky. There were no schools, so they were jobless, illiterate and lived in very primitive conditions. During the depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt hired women to traverse these hills on horseback and distribute books to the people. These women were often the only communication some had with the outside world. Imagine the impact they had on people’s lives. A fascinating book that gives you much to think about.

This book is available at the Grover Beach Community Library, Fiction section 

The Women Who Wrote The War by Nancy Caldwell Sorel

This book is the story of women correspondents and photographers during WWII. They put their lives at risk for their chosen profession and there was much discrimination for being “where they didn’t belong.” But some women were not made for ‘motherhood’ and instead made to document history. Martha Gellhorn, whose book is mentioned above, was one of many. Not all are spoken of in the book, but it gives a wonderful idea of women who marched to a different drummer. A worthwhile read.

This book is available at the Grover Beach Community Library,  Biography section.

Straight On Till Morning: the Biography of Beryl Markham by Mary S. Lovell

This is the story of the first woman, Beryl Markham, to fly from Europe (Ireland) to North America in 1936. She also flew reconnaissance for the British in some of the wars that touched Africa, and more notably Kenya. Markham was born in England in 1902 and her family moved to Kenya in 1906 where her father farmed and trained racehorses.  Her mother and younger brother went back to England two years later and, since she lived in the backcountry and her father was busy, he left her to native houseboys to be raised. She spent much of the time in the bush with the natives, could speak Swahili and other native tongues and learned their ways. It is said she was an excellent spear thrower and tracker. The only education she received was when she visited a countess that lived many miles away. However, she taught herself and had an extensive library.

When she was taught to fly she passed a rigid, mechanics test (you had to be able to fix your own plane), and mathematics to plot a course of travel. She did all this.  She began a sort of competition with her flight instructor, who made several flight records, and that led to her trip across the ocean. She made it, crash landing in Nova Scotia, where later investigation found she had run out of gas due to a gas line freezing. There is a lot of adventure in this book.

This book is at the Grover Beach Community Library in the Biography section.

The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe

This is a fictionalized true story of Anita Hemmings who graduated from Vassar in 1897.  Black people were not allowed at Vassar at that time. The question of ancestry was asked on the application and she said she was of English and French heritage, which was partially true as her parents had been born into slavery and were of mixed race. The tale of her graduation is interesting and in the acknowledgement at the end the author states which parts were fictionalized.

Unfortunately this was a paperback book, so it will eventually be in one of our book sales. The next one is September 27th.


Next Meeting: May 12th at the Grover Beach Community Library, 240 North 9th Street, Grover Beach.  Time: 10:30 a.m.

Subject: Unusual Libraries or Unusual Bookstores  Fortunately there have been many books written lately on these subjects.  Can you find and older one?

– Fran Strausser