Bibliotherapy: The Girls Guide to Books for Every Phase of Our Lives

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I'd be disappointed at its racism, then I'd reread it and be amazed by Margaret Mitchell's psychological insights.

Bibliotherapy: The Girl's Guide to Books for Every Phase of Our Lives

The last time I read it I was shocked to realize what an incredible bitch Scarlett was. Hmm, where had I been? Probably envying her gumption so much that I was willing to overlook her mean streak. Maybe next time I'll just delight in her quintessential badness.

Essay About Love and Literary Taste - Books - Review - The New York Times

Which brings me to the most important thing I learned from Gone With the Wind : Depending on where you are in your life, a great book, even if you've read it so often you've memorized sections, will always have something new to teach you. Just like that little girl with the cute little curl right in the middle of her forehead, when Dorothy was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad, she was usually about six sheets to the wind, evil-tempered, and had a tongue like a machete.

This is true of Dorothy's life as well as her writing. Both were either inspired or disastrous. Dorothy wasn't a great writer so much as she was a great character, and somehow the stories of her scathing wit and epic rudeness have become as complicated and important a masterpiece as any of the greatest works of her day. Perhaps what is so captivating about Dorothy Parker for women, in her day as well as our own, is that while her bons mots are glib, her subject matter deals openly and honestly with our greatest heartbreaks — lost dreams, faithless partners, the sting of rejection, the folly of infatuation, the endless, unquenchable thirst for love, and of course, sex.

The Portable Dorothy Parker , a compilation of her poems, epigrams, and short stories, is a record of Dorothy's take-no-prisoners outlook on life. It is less a literary anthology than a reference book for bad girls in training. Dorothy Parker was desperate, indulgent, vengeful, and more often than not just on the wrong side of sober, but she was also passionate and brave and honest and intelligent, and perhaps most important, she was funny.

When you're feeling downtrodden, turn to Dorothy for a reminder that there is nothing that can't be faced down with a show of bravado and a really good one-liner. Reality Check: Dorothy Parker's writing career began in , when after several unsuccessful attempts to be published in Vanity Fair , she finally hit on the voice that would catapult her into the public eye and typify the rest of her professional and personal life. The poem was called "Woman: A Hate Song. The piece was so venomous that the editor convinced Dorothy to publish it under a pseudonym. Apparently the literary public's palate at the time tended toward the carnivorous, and Dorothy's provocative poem was a hit.

Shortly thereafter Vanity Fair published the sequel.

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It was called, appropriately, "Man: A Hate Song. Dorothy's Darts You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think. I like to have a martini, Two at the very most. After three I'm under the table, After four I'm under my host! Look at him, a rhinestone in the rough. Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants.

He is beyond question a writer of power; and his power lies in his ability to make sex so thoroughly, graphically and aggressively unattractive that one is fairly shaken to ponder how little one has been missing. If a lady gets too upset, she goes to a doctor who will give her tranquilizers that will help get her back to being calm, kind, and patient.

If she gets too emotional, somebody will undoubtedly tell her to stop being hysterical. If she does get angry, she'll have to show it by crying. If she cries, somebody will tell her to calm down. For those who were paying attention, the codependent's creed, first described in in the pages of Codependent No More by Melody Beattie, sounded an awful lot like the good gir's rule book: focus on others needs, don't confront, lie in order to protect his feelings, and vehemently protest that you don't want to impose — why, you're perfectly happy sitting in that creaky wicker chair with the straw that pierces your back and smells faintly of cat.

Many of us find that we don't need an alcoholic lover to inspire us to take on the role of doormat. We lower our heads and pick up our boss's theater tickets, readily forgive our friend for standing us up for the third time, and let our brother-in-law ruin every holiday by insisting on watching the football game on TV at full volume — all in the name of being nice. We smile, we apologize, we forgive seventy-times-seven times, and we allow everyone to stomp on our heads with their jackboot demands.

It implies that they love too much, that they make foolish relationship choices, that they are controlling, intrusive, martyrs. It tells them that they need to be improved. And while we're at it, a refill on the almond tea and jasmine aromatherapy, okay? Too Good for Her Own Good may be a self-help book, but it's not aimed at making us better wives, mothers, lovers, workers, or friends. Instead, it's all about how to feel happier and more in control of our lives — the irony being that when we take care of our own needs, we find we have more energy for our relationships.

It's refreshing to read a book in which the authors acknowledge our tendency to hand over a pound of flesh without its even being requested. Bepko and Krestan trash "the code" that tells us we must always be lady bountiful — attractive, in control, unselfish, endlessly self-negating, and working at all our relationships at all times, while never complaining or feeling overwhelmed. In its place, they give us guidelines that acknowledge our own needs: Be comfortable. Be direct and unapologetic. Be responsive and firm.

And tell your brother-in-law that there's a TV in the basement for his viewing pleasure — and a lovely wicker chair for him to park himself in. Read this book when you need to get back into the driver's seat of your life. Really, once you conquer your fear of being a bad girl, you'll be amazed at how much better you feel. What part of no don't they understand? Are you trying to be a good girl, giving in to codependency, or are you just turning the other cheek? And is there any difference? Compulsions are a container for rage. Defoe's Moll Flanders was the ultimate at-risk youth in the days when being snatched by the gypsies was a step up in the world for a lot of poor kids from London.

Born to a mother on death row in Newgate Prison, Moll is a gentlewoman at heart who manages to survive with a sense of dignity, honor, and self-awareness that's astonishing given how little her world seems to care about her. So can you blame anyone for her wicked, wicked ways? Sure, she boffs her patron's son, dumps her kids with the relatives when her first husband dies, goes on a mad spending spree the first time she gets a little gold in her pockets and ditches her creditors, turns whore and thief, and ends up mugging prissy little schoolgirls who ought to know better than to walk the streets without a chaperone or at least a little training in martial arts.

Moll is, as she admits, quite a bad girl, but let's face it, the world of eighteenth-century England didn't offer her a lot of options, did it? And Moll is apologetic — sort of. Defoe's protestations that Moll's tale serves as a warning to young ladies everywhere may have satisfied his stodgier readers' objections to reading about a woman who defies all the rules of a so-called civilized society, but we aren't fooled.

He revels in the hijinks of this totally lovable pickpocket and whore. And for all Moll's excuses to the reader, you can't help being glad she had a chance to live life to the fullest and triumph in the end. Read Moll Flanders , and you'll realize you don't need to make up lame excuses to justify taking care of your own needs. The Inferior Sex The trouble with some women is they get all excited about nothing, and then they marry him.

Men invade another country. I'd meet the Devil before day and look him in the eye, no matter what the price. In Having Our Say , we meet two such people — centenarian sisters Sadie and Bessie Delany — but it's Bessie that really inspires a gal to develop her crotchety side. The maiden ladies, as they call themselves, tell the story of their lives and how they experienced racist America in the twentieth century.

As a piece of oral history, the book offers a fascinating glimpse of Jim Crow, Harlem in the s, rural African American life, and how two professional women, one a home economics teacher and one a dentist, managed to carve out careers for themselves despite racism and sexism. Washington, taught basic nutrition to the poorest of the poor, and managed their own home and finances until they were past one hundred years old.

And you've got to admire women who not only refuse to be enslaved by the reach-me-anywhere-anytime attitude of our cell-phone-infested era, but who won't even install a telephone. If people want them, they can just make the time to drop by like civilized guests. Now, as sisters, Sadie and Bessie got along so well because they complemented each other perfectly. Sadie, the teacher, led a life of quiet dignity, and when faced with blatant discrimination, she preferred to take the passive-aggressive route and play dumb, all the while secretly laughing at her tormenters.

Her sister Bessie, however, refused to temper her emotions, despite the consequences. She confessed, "I'm afraid when I meet St. Peter at the Gate, he'll say, 'Lord, child, you were mean. For whatever reason, Bessie just didn't have the temperament to follow the lead of her hero Martin Luther King, Jr. Her favored forms of protest were to yell, scold, or accuse. She even nearly got herself lynched once when, after a drunken white lout insulted her, she told him where he could get off.

Bessie's strength came from an unshakable sense of self. That's the way I was brought up. I'll tell you a secret: I think I'm better! I say to her, 'Bessie, don't you realize people don't want to hear the truth? For some, silent stoicism is the path. For others, it's choosing to be a bad girl. Sassing back without giving in to fear of reprisal allows them to fight for their rights and the rights of all people to be treated with respect. Both Sadie and Bessie Delany proved that a bad girl can be a very good thing, so read this when you need a little inspiration for your battles.

How are bad girls punished? What's wrong with passive-aggressiveness? It works pretty well, doesn't it? Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis Life's a banquet and some poor suckers are starving to death. Auntie Mame is not really Mame's story at all. It's the story of young Patrick, the scion of an elevated but eccentric East Coast lineage, who is orphaned at ten years old. Patrick is shipped off to his auntie Mame to be brought up in a world far removed from the stolid, country squire life that he enjoyed with his conservative father.

Although this is Patrick's coming-of-age tale, Mame, characteristically, steals most of the focus. Well, how can you ignore a woman in an embroidered golden silk robe, jeweled slippers, and a bamboo cigarette holder? Like the cocktails she sips in startling quantities from sundown to sunrise, Mame is intoxicating, extravagant, and one hundred proof. Yet despite this epic bad girl's extravagant fashion sense, her unorthodox philosophical views, and her unquenchable thirst for bathtub gin, Mame still manages to excel at all of the traditional roles normally reserved for good girls — i.

Read this one when you want to feel fabulous. Spending a few hours with Auntie Mame is like slipping on a pair of sequined slippers, pouring yourself a well-chilled martini, and nibbling bonbons. Dorothy Parker's suggestion for her own epitaph: Excuse my dust. I swear she was. Although we lived in a hypercivilized bungalow in Stamford, Connecticut, circa , and never rubbed elbows with the New York Gilded Age intelligentsia, I felt the atmosphere of Beekman Place nonetheless.

Sure, there was a swing set in the backyard, and one of those above-ground pools, and a front door with those little triangular inlaid windows, and avocado-colored appliances. But there was also chrome, and glass, and an Eames chair, and highballs, and of course, those cocktail dresses my mother used to wear with all those amazing sequins. And one Halloween I distinctly remember a bamboo cigarette holder. My mom was mesmerized by the New York mystique, and she communicated her fascination to me, so Mame fit right in with our mutual fantasy life, and we resonated like wind chimes to this book, each in our own way.

Well, we both had issues. And my mother had a bad girl streak a mile wide that her staunch Lutheran father did his best to restrain with stoic disapproval and a one-way ticket to a Lutheran college in North Overshoe. But my mother's rebellious spirit was unquenchable. And it includes lots of self-help books, which put me off - no, I don't think Men from Mars, etc , should be included in anyone's must-read book list at least, not someone whom I want to take book recommendations from.

Apr 20, Jonna Rubin rated it did not like it. Not at all useful. It was far too themed, and played like a bad It was awful, and I didn't gain any insights, nor did I gain any decent recommendations. I guess I never had a "Bad boy" phase with which to pair the perfect novel. And I have to ask, who does? View 1 comment. Shelves: books-about-books , goodreads-author , psychology , non-fiction , reviewed , biography , z , readbooks-female-author-or-illust , zz-4star. I do love the premise of lists of books to read while experiencing various moods. Aug 16, Jennifer rated it it was ok Recommends it for: Maybe a teenage cousin who isn't particularly fond of books.

Since I never seem to tire of reading books about books, this was at least an entertaining and light read. Lacking, but not so terrible that I couldn't slog my way through it. The authors did not strike me as true readers; rather as women who came up with a clever way to market books. They have a whole series of "Girl's Guide" books. I'm actually not even convinced that the authors have read more than a few of the recommended books, which are for the most part obvious and predictable.

Most of t Since I never seem to tire of reading books about books, this was at least an entertaining and light read. However, to be fair, I love being reminded of how much I love books and Bibliotherapy did accomplish at least this. I came away with the following lists. Books that I actually own and which are therefore already on my neverending to-read list but which I have not read as of yet: 1.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson 3. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky 4. Loewen 5.

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Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. Lawrence 2. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen 3. Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher 4. Peter at the gate, that he would say, "Lord, child, you were mean. Certainly some of the books in the first list, perhaps some in the second, probably not any in the third.

For the simple reason that my to-read list grows faster than I could possibly keep up with. Jan 20, SamZ rated it did not like it. I thought this sounded like a fun compilation of good books but instead found it to be a list of books that the author has thrown together around some stupidly named genres. Maybe I was just disappointed because none of the books listed sounded even remotely interesting except for the four I have already read. Or maybe it was the fact that I don't identify with ANY of the author's "stages of life. It I thought this sounded like a fun compilation of good books but instead found it to be a list of books that the author has thrown together around some stupidly named genres.

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It didn't. Dec 16, Elyse rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , books-about-books , womens-studies , female-author. It was fun reading about books I read long ago - way before I started tracking my books on goodreads. The Women's Room?

Bibliotherapy The Girl's Guide to Books for Every Phase of Our Lives

Read it twice! These authors considered The Women's Room a major man-bashing book - I don't remember that. Fun fun. Sep 10, Amber rated it did not like it Shelves: books-about-books. So I got the book because the title caught my eye. THe premise of the book is a good one. However, I was not at all pleased with the author's language or some of the quotes she used. I am not oppossed to a book having bad language I've certainly been known to use some myself , however, it does seem the author overused the language. It took away from the book. Not to mention, if you're going to talk about sex books and such that you don't have to be crude or over-the-top about the subject.

I love t So I got the book because the title caught my eye. I love the topics she chose, the synopsis and her sharing her "reading journal" or her thoughts. Topics she chose are bad girl book, bad boy books, coming-of-age books, taking care of business books and a ton of other topics. Most books I had heard of, some I didn't and of course I have read some of them.

If not for the language and use of bad quotes, it would be a good book. I really think they tried too hard. Aug 11, Lisa Rathbun added it.

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I definitely enjoyed the commentary on the classic books that were mentioned, but overall this book was extremely liberal and feminist and I couldn't relate to the voice of the author at all. Overall, disappointing. This one's not staying on my shelf. Sep 15, Sonja rated it it was amazing Shelves: own.

I loved every bit about every book! The sometimes snarky, always information filled, synopsis of the titles make me want to read most of them and I probably own quite a few of them already, now where to start Jul 13, sara rated it it was ok Shelves: library , litandmetalit , trulyterrible. As a book lover and a female, I expected to enjoy this, but early on I came across a slag of Women Who Run With the Wolves in this book which is one of my favorite go-to books of all time.

I will take many of their suggestions, but if they fall flat, I will know why. Jan 09, Sarah rated it really liked it. I've actually been browsing this book on and off for a month or two. I gave it to my sister a couple years ago and finally borrowed it back from her.

Bibliotherapy: The Girl's Guide to Books for Every Phase of our Lives. (Bibliotherapy)

I think it will give me a long list of books that I need to read. May 04, Becky rated it did not like it Shelves: got-it-cheap , nonfiction. But I only spent 14 cents on it, so eh. Nov 21, Heather rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction , books-about-books , zfemauth. Tries too hard. Pages are too cluttered and font often distracting. Chapters or "themes" obscure and reaching. I did enjoy the quotes though. Sep 28, Pamela rated it liked it. Very entertaining, although some parts are outdated. Nov 08, Hillary roberts rated it it was amazing. I have to admit I am a sucker for books that has list of other books. When I saw this book I just had to obtain a copy. It is interesting to note that books can be very therapic. I know I have some of my favorites to fall back on when I I have to admit I am a sucker for books that has list of other books.

I know I have some of my favorites to fall back on when I need a viewpoint on how to solve a problem. Many of my in real life friends are always asking me how can a work of fiction help me sole a real in life issue. I always respond that it can give one a different framework on how to handle issues. In the same vain this book gives the reader a list of books to help reconcile any issues they may be struggling with.

This review was originally posted on Adventures in Never Never Land Jan 26, Lisa rated it liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

I'm not sure this is the sort of book that's intended to be read all the way through. It's maybe supposed to be more of a reference guide kind of thing? I don't know. I'm just kind of a sucker for a quick book synopsis, and I enjoyed the authors' senses of humor, so I kept reading. I definitely found a few books that I now want to read, which I guess was the point.

Not exactly something I see myself reading again though. Jul 18, Elizabeth rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. This is one of those "if you are x, you'll like y" books - what we in the library world call "Readers' Advisory" - except that this particular readers' advisory is dedicated to a very specific subset of readers: women, especially the youngish sort that might identify with the slim and dreamy woman on the cover.

I was one of those young women except for the slim part when I initially read this book in I really didn't care that much for this book.