Category Archives: Books

Women’s History Month is better with a signed copy of THE RADICAL HOUSEWIFE!

Happy Women’s History Month, everyone! To celebrate, I’ve partnered with Goodreads to give away three signed copies my award-winning memoir The Radical Housewife !  Just click on the giveaway widget on the right of your screen to enter.

Why three? Because of these three pioneering women:

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Oops, wrong file..! Sorry Bananarama, I meant THESE pioneering women:

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But let’s be honest, though RBG is certainly Notorious, she never recorded anything as amazeballs as “Venus.” EVERY WOMAN’S A ROLE MODEL IN MARCH!

And you have until the end of March to enter. Good luck!

 

Summer reading 2015

 

Summer is a marvelous time to settle into the nearest nylon-webbed chair and catch up on all your reading. And I don’t mean just any reading–I mean FUN reading! Summer is a time for cornball genre fiction that you wouldn’t dare read in December. It’s for putting aside the classy graphic novels in favor of comic books.

Sadly, I am not taking my own advice because I thought it would be “fun” to join my son in reading the summer assignment for his upcoming AP English Literature class. I enjoyed Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, but Atonement was so awful it made me want to make Ian McEwan beg for MY forgiveness. Right now I can safely say that I am the only parent at Lake Harriet reading Jane Eyre and not The Girl on the Train.

 

comic

 

 

I KNEW IT!

While I’m not reading anything terribly fun, I’ve written some stuff lately that I know you’ll like, in both analog and digital iterations.

Read on your screens:

“What Do ALL Women Want?” Minnesota Women’s Press, May 2015 issue

As a parent of a certain age, I haven’t had the stamina to watch award-worthy films since the 20th century, so when “The Lego Movie” was snubbed for Best Animated Feature, I knew I would probably skip watching the Academy Awards in February….but I witnessed my Twitter timeline explode with the news that Patricia Arquette used her 30 seconds in the worldwide spotlight to call for “pay equity once and for all.” Wow! When was the last time you heard someone talk about pay equity on television? Network television?

“Stuck in the Middle With Shingles,” The Mid, June 8, 2015

Since my family failed to support me, I turned to Google, good old nonjudgmental Google, and entered the search terms “hot rash back lumpy.” The amateur diagnosis? Shingles.

Shingles?

I am too young for shingles!

Yet when the nurse practitioner at the Minute Clinic took a peek, the first word out of her mouth was “herpes.”

Herpes?!

I am too old for herpes!

“Better Known Than Unknown” Mamalode, June 11, 2015

Mothers assume we are well-equipped to manage the balance between risk and reward, between health and hazard, but one rainy August afternoon I tipped the scales so far they broke—to protect my son from dust mites, I nearly drove him into a funnel cloud.

 

Read in paperback:

 

“A Dose of Surreality,” from Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness, 2nd Edition, edited by Tina Beitler, Kristi Campbell, and Lisa Nolan

With all the grace of a reanimated corpse, I lurched across the tilting hardwood floor and was struck with panic: had I been terribly mistaken in my interpretation of that afternoon’s events? Was I on a lower plane of existence, not higher? Had divine judgment been handed down upon me when I wasn’t paying attention? Was it my fate to spend eternity suffering from vertigo while being screamed at by a hysterical, sleep-deprived toddler?  All for the crime of sometimes letting the kids have yogurt made with high fructose corn syrup??

Available NOW from Monkey Star Press! Warning: may make you extremely sleepy

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“Of Woman Grown,” from Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF?!, edited by Shannon Day and Tara Wilson

I had so little left to enjoy these days: no alcohol, no caffeine, no regular bowel movements.  Dr. Farber handed me a pamphlet titled Pregnancy Nutrition And You, a title that already implied that the two were in opposition to one another. Even worse, the beaming mother in the pamphlet photograph didn’t look puffy and bloated like me; with only her belly distended, she looked like she’d just had her fill of unlimited breadsticks at Olive Garden.  A dangerous thought entered my dizzy, hormonal brain: maybe the pregnant do not have free reign to consume massive amounts of foods that sensible people restrict, like Laffy Taffy, glazed donuts and Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Popcorn Now With Extra Butter.

Available NOW from Tipsy Squirrel Press! Warning: may make you extremely thirsty

martinis

 

What are YOU reading this summer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of my best friends are trollops

It may not look like much, but believe me when I tell you that room 201 in Myers Hall is made of magic.

Cropped 2nd Myers

This tiny dorm room, on the campus of Carleton College, is where I lived from September 1991 to June 1992. In this room I laughed, cried, listened to “Nevermind” and “Bandwagonesque” nonstop, drank myself silly, crushed hard, had my heart broken, even studied occasionally.

Directly across the hall from 201 was another magical room, 236 to be exact. It housed two women who became  my lifelong friends: Liz, who passed away in 2007, and Gillie, with whom I attended our 20th college reunion last spring. That’s her on the left. I swear we did not plan to dress in matching v-necked navy tops, but that’s just what happens when people know each other for more than two decades.

Gillie is a smart, thoughtful, and talented writer of nonfiction essays, a mom of two, a bagpipe widow, and something of a stinky chooch trollop. I don’t know if she shaves above the knee, but I do know that she has a fabulous essay in this new anthology, released TODAY by Blue Lobster Book Company:

 

CroppedTrollops

Gillie was able to prevail upon the publisher to give me an advance copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Honestly? I would walk through fire for Gillie, but luckily, I didn’t have to. The book is good!

MY HONEST REVIEW:

First things first: I love the word “trollop.” It signals nonstop hilarity to me, and while Only Trollops Save Above the Knee has hilarity aplenty, it also has a great deal of heart.

When Ramona Scarborough revealed that her remarkable mother passed away, I felt a little lost too. I loved traveling to the Holy Land with the very wise Czarina Irina of Iuka. I felt the pain of Patricia Walsh’s nana, desperately worried that athletics would damage her granddaughter’s vulnerable “female organs.”

My favorite essay, Gillie Bishop’s “Criticize Your Child to Better Self-Esteem,” is a funny and very intelligent analysis of the ways mothers and daughters must balance deep love with painful honesty. What do you do when your non-musical daughter wants to be a songwriter? When your sensitive, gentle, elephant-loving daughter fails to grasp that a life in zookeeping might be better suited for her practical, scientific older sister? Bishop’s keen observations of three generations of well-meaning women will strike a chord in anyone attempting to improve on the mistakes of the past.

This book could have had a few other titles: “It’s Only Hair,” “Don’t Return Anything Under Fifty Dollars,” “Baby, You Need to Pluck Your Eyebrows,” “If You See a Needle in the Sand, Don’t Touch It,” or what must have been editor Crystal Ponti’s runner-up, “Nobody Likes an Old Dick.”  No matter the title, this is a wise, funny collection that anyone with a mom (that is, everyone) will appreciate.

Yay!

Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee is available today on Amazon in ebook or paperback. Order it with The Radical Housewife to complete THE BEST MOTHER’S DAY GIFT EVER!!

 

Mothers Day Stamp

This may be a vintage stamp, but the deadline is the same: May 10 is indeed this year’s Mother’s Day. Eek.

Take it from me: MOMS LOVE BOOKS. Start shopping NOW!

 

Radical homemakers vs. radical housewives

This post was first published on May 20, 2010, but is relevant today because a search for MY book, “The Radical Housewife: Redefining Family Values for the 21st Century” might lead you down a different path. And we wouldn’t want that!

 

Book Kitchen

Here’s the cover you need to look for, kids! Just for fun, I took this picture in my messy kitchen. Told ya I’m a housewife, not a homemaker!

 

A note from one of the publishers at the Minnesota Women’s Press reminded me of my long-delayed intention of talking a bit about a fellow Radical Shannon out there: Shannon Hayes, she of the Radical Homemaking book and series of articles in Yes! magazine. I appreciate her ideas (for the world needs MORE radical Shannons in it, not fewer) but she and I have totally different practices and goals.

Hayes’s subtitle is “reclaiming domesticity from a consumer culture.” As a committed pinko, I like anything that questions the status quo. Capitalism exists to make us all desperately unhappy sheep. The short term consequences are increased L’Oreal and Bud Lite sales–long term consequences are entrenched classism, racism, and sexism.

Hayes’s book site states that “it is the story of pioneering men and women who are redefining feminism and the good life by adhering to simple principles of ecological sustainability, social justice, community engagement and family well-being.” Elsewhere, she writes: “in essence, the great work we face requires rekindling the home fires.”

And that’s where we part ways.

It starts with the word “homemaker,” one that I have always found problematic. How does one MAKE a home? I haven’t a clue. Is it by washing the floors? Baking from scratch? Quilting? Gardening? Reading bedtime stories? Nurturing relationships? I clean my home. In the interest of sustainability, I recycle and compost like a maniac, carry my cloth bags with me, bike it up, etc. etc. But I don’t think that keeping a coop of chickens or canning the beans from my garden is the way towards a more just world.

For one thing, “rekindling the home fires” implies turning inward, reaffirming the family as the basic unit of society, just like the folks at the Christian Coalition. Now, I don’t know if Shannon Hayes is religiously motivated. But once you start turning inwards, towards a unit that looks like you, talks like you and thinks like you, you start getting out of touch with the complex systems that conspire against the people who DON’T look like you!

Feminism is about fighting oppression in all its forms. That means we must work outward, not inward. This is why I must place Radical Homemaking on the Mommy Wars spectrum, despite its fine intentions. Examples of Radical Homemakers, the author included, have only been well-off, highly educated white women.  “The Opt-Out Revolution,” anyone?

A discussion on the subject at Bitch led me to the blogger Vegan Burnout, who wrote: “to frame the choice between working a soulless 9-to-5 or building a backyard chicken coop and learning to can tomatoes as the only feminist options is reductive and insulting.” It’s easy to choose your choice when you have so many choices to choose from that when you do choose, your choice is automatically THE BEST ONE! It’s the Opt-Out argument from 2003 all over again.

So why did I pick the Radical Housewife moniker, then? Because I find the word “housewife” really funny. That’s why. When I’m asked to fill in the box marked “occupation,” I say I’m a writer and an at-home parent. The damn home can make itself for all I care.

Sorry, Radical Shannon. I just don’t buy it (anti-capitalist pun intended).

 

If YOU’RE in the mood to buy, why not get a copy of The Radical Housewife from these fine retailers? 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Powell’s 

Your local indie store (via IndieBound)

 

A Thanks Giveaway!

 

Reasons I loathe Thanksgiving:

  1. The school holiday is unneccessarily long
  2. Christmas crap everywhere
  3. Start of six months of winter

Reasons I love Thanksgiving:

  1. Pie
  2. Pie
  3. Pie

And the winner is: PIE! So I LOVE Thanksgiving! 

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I have a lot to be thankful for, especially this year, THE YEAR OF THE BOOK. I wrote a book and Medusa’s Muse published it. As a sweet friend reminded me, “it only took you five years of anguish and hard work!”

 

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“Shannon!” you gasp, shocked to your liberal core. “You didn’t write a book to make money! You wrote a book to be FAMOUS!”

 

call me oprah

 

I kid, I kid.

I am VERY thankful that I had the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream. How many people can say that? And in nine days I’ll be a guest in the lovely home of very dear friends, eating massive amounts of pie. Life is pretty damn good.

So why not share that good fortune with you? Enter below to win one of two copies I’m giving away as a THANK YOU to everyone who’s been a part of this arduous but amazing process. Winners can get their copies personalized for themselves or for the winter holiday gift recipient of their choice! And who wouldn’t love seeing The Radical Housewife under their tree/menorah/Festivus pole? Well, maybe not the great-aunt who belongs to Concerned Women for America: she might not like all the swearing!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

 

This book thing is actually happening

 

You’d think after five years of work I wouldn’t be surprised that I wrote a book, and yet….
MOMSLAPTOP - Reading RHW

 

…I guess I am.

The copy I’m reading is merely a proof, the kind of thing that authors parse for EVERY TINY LITTLE ERROR until it makes their publishers want to murder them, even from a thousand miles away. So far I’ve only found a couple, a few more glaring than others. I’m trying not to lie awake at night obsessing about them, instead reminding myself that to do so would be missing the forest for the trees, and in this case the forest is MY GODDAMN BOOK.

While print copies are not yet available, the ebook is ready for downloading on KindleKobo, and Nook. And I’m already getting some reviews, including this absolutely bananas post from Renia Carsillo that includes her favorite quotes:

 

Bitch

 

 

And NO we are not related–in fact, we have never met. That will change in the virtual realm when I join Renia and her readers in a Google hangout to talk about the book on August 22. I hope you’ll join us to dish on the book and all things feminist parenting.

Those who join my mailing list will be the first to get the scoop on when print copies are available, as well as where I’ll be doing my first signing. BIG HINT: it’s in Minneapolis, but it’s not at my house (thank gawd).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to write edit read.