Review: The 4% Fix

Title: The 4% Fix
Author: Karma Brown
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: December 15, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

How to find guilt-free time for what you really want to do, and why it matters

Do you feel like you’re always busy, even as your to-do list continues to grow?

Do you think you can’t keep up as it is, let alone add another thing to your plate?

An award-winning journalist, avid reader and new mom, Karma Brown dreamed of writing her first novel. But between diapers and tight deadlines, how could she? Like so many of us, she felt stretched taut and hyper-scheduled, her time a commodity over which she had lost control. For Brown, the answer to this problem was to rise earlier every day and use that time to write. Although she experienced missteps along the way, after committing to her alarm clock and an online community of early risers, she completed a debut novel that became a national bestseller.

In The 4% Fix, Karma Brown reveals the latest research about time management and goal-setting and shares strategies that have worked for her as well as for others. Refreshingly, her jargon-free approach doesn’t include time-tracking spreadsheets, tips on how to squeeze in yoga exercises while cooking dinner, or methods that add bulk to those never-ending lists.

How will you use this one hour—only 4% of your day—to change your life?

Review:

In the 4% Fix, bestselling author Karma Brown tells her secret to success. She gets up early in the morning and uses that early hour to write. An hour of your day is 4%, so if you get up an hour earlier every day, you can use that hour to write or complete any hobby or task that you want to get done, but can’t find time during your regular day. That hour can be used for any project or skill, not just writing.

The arguments against the 4% fix were also described in this book. Some people say “I don’t have time,” so that’s why you get up an hour early and use that time for your task or project. I’m guilty of arguing, “I’ll be too tired.” The solution to that is to go to sleep an hour earlier. I’m a night owl, so it’s difficult for me to get to sleep earlier, however I do notice an increase in my productivity when I do get up earlier in the morning.

I listened to the audiobook edition of this book. The conversational style made it feel like a friend was telling me her tips and tricks to success. There were interesting anecdotes about Karma’s life and examples of other successful people, which proved how these strategies can turn you into a success.

The 4% Fix is a great read for anyone who wants to find some “extra” time in their day!

Thank you HarperAudio for providing a copy of this book.

Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown

Have you read The 4% Fix? What did you think of it?

Review: Talking to Canadians: A Memoir

Title: Talking to Canadians: A Memoir
Author: Rick Mercer
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 2, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Canada’s beloved comic genius tells his own story for the first time.

What is Rick Mercer going to do now? That was the question on everyone’s lips when the beloved comedian retired his hugely successful TV show after 15 seasons—and at the peak of its popularity. The answer came not long after, when he roared back in a new role as stand-up-comedian, playing to sold-out houses wherever he appeared.

And then Covid-19 struck. And his legions of fans began asking again: What is Rick Mercer going to do now? Well, for one thing, he’s been writing a comic masterpiece. For the first time, this most private of public figures has turned the spotlight on himself, in a memoir that’s as revealing as it is hilarious. In riveting anecdotal style, Rick charts his rise from highly unpromising schoolboy (in his reports “the word ‘disappointment’ appeared a fair bit”) to the heights of TV fame. Along the way came an amazing break when, not long out of his teens, his one-man show Show Me the Button, I’ll Push It. Or, Charles Lynch Must Die, became an overnight sensation—thanks in part to a bizarre ambush by its target, Charles Lynch himself. That’s one story you won’t soon forget, and this book is full of them.

There’s a tale of how little Rick helped himself to a tree from the neighbours’ garden that’s set to become a new Christmas classic. There’s Rick the aspiring actor, braving “the scariest thing I have ever done in my life” by performing with the Newfoundland Shakespeare Company; unforgettable scenes with politicians of every variety, from Jean Chretien to George W. Bush to Stockwell Day; and a wealth of behind-the-scenes revelations about the origins and making of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Made in Canada, and Talking to Americans. All leading of course to the greenlighting of that mega-hit, Rick Mercer Report . . .

It’s a life so packed with incident (did we mention Bosnia and Kabul?) and laughter we can only hope that a future answer to “What is Rick Mercer going to do now?” is: “Write volume two.”

Review:

Rick Mercer is one of my favourite comedians. He has hosted satirical news shows, such as The Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, as well as many Canadian awards shows. In this memoir, he talks about his early life and how he got into show business. He’s had a fascinating career that has led him to becoming one of the funniest Canadian entertainers.

My top 3 favourite comedians are from Newfoundland: Jonny Harris, Mark Critch, and Rick Mercer. The beginning of this memoir was set in Newfoundland during Rick’s childhood. I traveled to Newfoundland a couple of years ago and I have family who lives in Newfoundland (in Bishop’s Falls which also got a little cameo appearance in this memoir). Canada, and particularly Newfoundland, are such small places that even one of my English university professors was mentioned in this book. All of the Canadian references really made me feel connected to this book.

I’ve watched both of Rick’s shows since I was a child. I’ve been a fan of his for as long as I can remember. Many of his best jokes were in this memoir, including his segment called Talking to Americans. He would interview Americans and tell them made up things about Canada that they believed. I remember watching one episode where he told people in an American city that Canada was going to start using the 24 hour clock. They congratulated the country on adopting this way of counting time. This was some of his classic comedy, that made me laugh out loud many times while reading this book.

Talking to Canadians is a hilarious Canadian memoir!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rick Mercer Final Report by Rick Mercer

Son of a Critch by Mark Critch

Have you read Talking to Canadians? What did you think of it?

Review: David Copperfield’s History of Magic

Title: David Copperfield’s History of Magic
Author: David Copperfield, Richard Wiseman, David Britland
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An illustrated, illuminating insight into the world of illusion from the world’s greatest and most successful magician, capturing its audacious and inventive practitioners, and showcasing the art form’s most famous artifacts housed at David Copperfield’s secret museum.

In this personal journey through a unique and remarkable performing art, David Copperfield profiles twenty-eight of the world’s most groundbreaking magicians. From the 16th-century magistrate who wrote the first book on conjuring to the roaring twenties and the man who fooled Houdini, to the woman who levitated, vanished, and caught bullets in her teeth, David Copperfield’s History of Magic takes you on a wild journey through the remarkable feats of the greatest magicians in history.

These magicians were all outsiders in their own way, many of them determined to use magic to escape the strictures of class and convention. But they all transformed popular culture, adapted to social change, discovered the inner workings of the human mind, embraced the latest technological and scientific discoveries, and took the art of magic to unprecedented heights. 

The incredible stories are complimented by over 100 never-before-seen photographs of artifacts from Copperfield’s exclusive Museum of Magic, including a 16th-century manual on sleight of hand, Houdini’s straightjackets, handcuffs, and water torture chamber, Dante’s famous sawing-in-half apparatus, Alexander’s high-tech turban that allowed him to read people’s minds, and even some coins that may have magically passed through the hands of Abraham Lincoln.

By the end of the book, you’ll be sure to share Copperfield’s passion for the power of magic.

Review:

This book is a journey through magical history. Each chapter features one of twenty-eight magicians over the last few centuries who contributed to the history of magic. These magicians used the latest technology to create their illusions, and many of these illusions are still performed today.

Many of the props used in these historical performances are kept in David Copperfield’s history of magic museum. It sounds like a fascinating place to visit. There are props and costumes from the last two hundred years in the museum. Some of the tricks are still a mystery today because the magician’s secret was never revealed.

One thing I found fascinating about this book is that many of the illusions created at least a century ago are still used today. The illusion of sawing someone in half was created in the early 1900s, and it is still a popular performance today. David Copperfield took these illusions to another level by performing them on himself rather than an assistant. It’s amazing how even with our advances in technology, these illusions are still captivating audiences today.

David Copperfield’s History of Magic is a fascinating and entertaining book!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read David Copperfield’s History of Magic? What did you think of it?

Review: We Are One: How the World Adds Up

Title: We Are One: How the World Adds Up
Author: Susan Hood, Linda Yan (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book, Nonfiction
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts–and unity and connection are most important of all–in a beautifully illustrated counting book with a timely message. 

One can be one thing all on its own–one star, one stream, one stick, one stone. But those on their toes, those using their smarts, know one can be more than the sum of its parts.

Consider the two slices of bread that make up one sandwich, or the three lines of poetry that form one haiku, or even the ten years that form one decade. From one to ten, from sandwiches to centuries, every part is necessary to the whole. In this fascinating concept book, a simple rhyming narration aimed at younger children is complemented by informational panels about subjects like the four compass points, the five acts in Shakespeare, the seven colors of a rainbow, or the nine innings in baseball. Award-winning author Susan Hood and debut children’s book illustrator Linda Yan offer a mind-expanding look at early math concepts such as part/whole relationships, fractions, and addition–while underlying themes of cooperation, peace, and kindness make this beautiful volume one to be enjoyed by anyone at any age.

Review:

The world is made up of “ones.” You can have one stick, but a bunch of sticks makes one pile. Many other numbers can create one too. Two slices of bread make one sandwich. Seven colours make one rainbow. This picture book explains the way that numbers, and especially the number one, make up the whole world.

This was a fascinating book. The world is made up of the same numbers. Things found in nature and man-made things all consist of numbers. There were examples from around the world, such as Haiku poems from Japan (one poem with three lines) and Shakespeare plays from England (one play with five acts).

The story was told in rhyming lines that were illustrated on the page. Each page also had more in depth details about the history of what was mentioned on the page. For example, it explained how Braille is made up of six dots in different formations to create the language, and how the seasons come from the way the Earth tilts as it circles the sun. These facts could be interesting for some older children who would also like this book.

We Are One is a beautiful and educational picture book!

Thank you Candlewick Press and Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When Elephants Listen With Their Feet by Emmanuelle Grundmann, Clémence Dupont

Double Take!: A New Look at Opposites by Susan Hood, Jay Fleck (illustrator)

Have you read We Are One? What did you think of it?

Review: Questions for Rebel Girls

Title: Questions for Rebel Girls
Author: Rebel Girls
Genre: Nonfiction, Children’s
Publisher: Rebel Girls
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 19, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Questions for Rebel Girls sparks lively discussions with more than 500 kid-friendly questions inspired by real rebel women from the best-selling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series.

Jane Goodall devoted her life to studying chimpanzees. If you dedicated your life to one type of animal, what would it be?

When cyclist Alfonsina Strada began racing, she was so unstoppable that newspapers nicknamed her “the devil in a dress.” What would your cycling nickname be?

Celia Cruz is the Queen of Salsa music. Beyoncé is a pop superstar. Roxanne Shante is an amazing rapper. And Joan Jett is all about rock and roll. If you could be a singing sensation, what type of music would you sing? If you could perform a duet with anyone in the world, who would you pick? 

If you could meet any woman from any country and any time in history, who would it be? What would you ask her? 

Would you rather ask questions or answer them?
 Luckily, with Questions for Rebel Girls, you can do both!

Girls love to explore their feelings, uncover their personality, and decode the world around them. One way to do that is to explore their answers to provocative questions about anything and everything. Questions for Rebel Girls introduces readers to extraordinary women throughout history and asks them to imagine themselves in similar scenarios. Designed to ignite exciting discussions between little rebels and their siblings, friends, and grown-ups, Questions for Rebel Girls is packed with more than 500 entertaining and thought-provoking questions—including some questions submitted by young fans of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.

Review:

This book is filled with questions and small bios for the Rebel Girls who have been featured in the other Rebel Girls books. There were one or two lines of a biography and/or a quote from each successful woman on almost every page. These women were athletes, actors, scientists, CEOs, and writers, among other professions from around the world. Each of these women have left a mark in their profession.

There were multiple questions on each page. These were thought-provoking and conversation-starting questions. There were a lot of this-or-that or would-you-rather questions that were a lot of fun to think about. Others would require more thought, such as “How do you communicate besides using words?” and “What is more important— to be popular, successful, or loved?” These could be great questions for parents or educators to use when discussing these topics with kids.

Questions for Rebel Girls is a great thought-provoking children’s book!

Thank you Rebel Girls for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women by Rebel Girls

Rebel Girls Champions: 25 Tales of Unstoppable Athletes by Rebel Girls

Have you read Questions for Rebel Girls? What did you think of it?

Review: Rebel Girls Champions: 25 Tales of Unstoppable Athletes

Title: Rebel Girls Champions: 25 Tales of Unstoppable Athletes
Author: Rebel Girls
Genre: Nonfiction, Children’s
Publisher: Rebel Girls
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 12, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Rebel Girls Champions: 25 Tales of Unstoppable Athletescelebrates the stories of 25 phenomenal women in sports all written in fairy tale form. It is part of the award-winning Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series.

This paperback collection showcases some of the most beloved stories from the first three volumes of the New York Times best-selling series Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. It also features brand new tales of game-changing athletes and their drive, resilience, and sportsmanship. In Rebel Girls Champions, young readers can win the World Cup with Megan Rapinoe, flip and tumble with Simone Biles, and land breathtaking snowboard tricks with Chloe Kim. 

Coming out directly after the Tokyo Olympics, Rebel Girls Champions will include the most thrilling anecdotes from the 2021 Games.

The exciting, easy-to-read text is paired with colorful full-page portraits created by female artists from all around the world

Review:

This book gives descriptions of 25 women who are accomplished athletes. These women have broken records and made changes in their sports.

The stories in this book were very current. Many of the athletes mentioned appeared in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. Those games were referenced multiple times, including Hidilyn Diaz, a weightlifter from the Philippines who broke an Olympic record, and Simone Biles, an American gymnast who made the tough decision to take care of her mental and physical health and step back from the Olympics.

This is an inspiring children’s book!

Thank you Rebel Girls for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women by Rebel Girls

Questions for Rebel Girls by Rebel Girls

Have you read Rebel Girls Champions? What did you think of it?

Review: Never Say You Can’t Survive: How to Get Through Hard Times by Making Up Stories

Title: Never Say You Can’t Survive: How to Get Through Hard Times by Making Up Stories
Author: Charlie Jane Anders
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: Tor
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 17, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From Charlie Jane Anders, the award-winning author of novels such as All the Birds in the Sky and The City in the Middle of the Night, this is one of the most practical guides to storytelling that you will ever read.

The world is on fire.
So tell your story.

Things are scary right now. We’re all being swept along by a tidal wave of history, and it’s easy to feel helpless. But we’re not helpless: we have minds, and imaginations, and the ability to visualize other worlds and valiant struggles. And writing can be an act of resistance that reminds us that other futures and other ways of living are possible.

Full of memoir, personal anecdote, and insight about how to flourish during the present emergency, Never Say You Can’t Survive is the perfect manual for creativity in unprecedented times.

Review:

This book is about using your personal struggles to write. It referenced the pandemic, and the way it has changed the way we write. Some people were more creative and inspired last year, while others couldn’t write at all. Writing can be a therapeutic way to express your feelings, or it can be an act of resistance.

I appreciated how current the writing tips were in this book. There were many references to the way our lifestyles have changed in the past year. Even if they weren’t personally impacted by Covid, everyone had to alter some part of their lifestyle. Though I’m not ready to read a fictional book set during the pandemic, this writing book was so informative for writing in 2021.

There were references to a variety of types and styles of stories. There were plenty of science fiction examples, such as Doctor Who and Star Trek, but there were other types of stories as well, like The Baby-Sitter’s Club. A wide range of authors were also mentioned, from Neil Gaiman to Alyssa Cole. I loved seeing all of these familiar works referenced in this writing book.

There were so many great writing tips in this book. I highlighted many passages in my digital copy, which I’ve never done before. I will have to get a physical copy to reference while I write, because I know I will be returning to this book again and again during my writing career.

Never Say You Can’t Survive is a fabulous writing book!

Thank you Tor for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody

Have you read Never Say You Can’t Survive? What did you think of it?

Review: When Elephants Listen With Their Feet

Title: When Elephants Listen With Their Feet
Author: Emmanuelle Grundmann, Clémence Dupont
Genre: Picture Book, Nonfiction
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: March 16, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Explore the wild and wonderful world of animal senses! Featuring engaging text from ethologist Emmanuelle Grundmann, inviting art from illustrator Clemence Dupont, When Elephants Listen with Their Feet is a lively nonfiction book that encourages curiosity about – and respect for – the animals with which we share our planet.

Humans experience the world through sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. But what if you had the compound eyes of a fly, the whiskers of a cat, or a whale’s ability to sense magnetic north? There’s a whole world of surprising senses out there, and fascinating adaptations that have allowed animals to make use of them. We can’t interpret the faint vibration of an elephant’s faraway stomp, but learning how they keep in touch with family across the wide savannah helps us understand that we are more alike than different.

Review:

This picture book is about the amazing things that animals can do with their bodies. It goes through all five senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell) and the unique ways that animals use the senses to interact with the world around them.

There are some animals, such as the golden mole, who don’t have eyes, but are able to “see” the world around them with scent. Elephants can communicate with stomping their feet and sending vibrations through the ground across long distances. Felines use their whiskers to sense the environment around them in the dark. Foxes use the earth’s magnets to hunt, always facing north-east to jump on their prey.

I didn’t know most of these fun animal facts before reading this book, so I found it fascinating. I think adults and children will enjoy this beautiful picture book!

Thank you Pajama Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Sunny Days by Deborah Kerbel and Miki Sato

Have you read When Elephants Listen With Their Feet? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer

Title: The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer
Author: Dean Jobb
Genre: Nonfiction, True Crime
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 13, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

“When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals,” Sherlock Holmes observed during one of his most baffling investigations. “He has nerve and he has knowledge.”

In the span of fifteen years, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream poisoned at least ten people in the United States, Britain, and Canada, a death toll with almost no precedents. Structured around Cream’s London murder trial in 1892, when he was finally brought to justice, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream exposes the blind trust given to medical practitioners, as well as the flawed detection methods, bungled investigations, corrupt officials, and stifling morality of Victorian society that allowed Cream to prey on vulnerable and desperate women, many of whom had turned to him for medical help.

Dean Jobb vividly re-creates this largely forgotten historical account against the backdrop of the birth of modern policing and newly adopted forensic methods, though most police departments still scoffed at using science to solve crimes. But then most police departments could hardly imagine that serial killers existed—the term was unknown at the time. As theChicago Tribune wrote then, Cream’s crimes marked the emergence of a new breed of killer, one who operated without motive or remorse, who “murdered simply for the sake of murder.”

Review:

In the late 1800s, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream killed at least 10 people in Canada, the United States, and Britain. He often murdered women through botched abortions and altered prescriptions. One thing I found strange was that he would give women pills, but then leave before they actually died, so he was left to assume they died. His fatal mistake was blackmailing wealthy men into believing they were the ones who murdered these women.

I’m not a huge true crime fan, but I find Victoria serial killers fascinating. These murders happened in fairly recent history, only about 150 years ago, yet they were able to get away with so much. There wasn’t the tracking data, such as fingerprints and DNA to keep track of past offenders or to identify suspects. Since the women he preyed upon were often prostitutes, the police didn’t spend much time investigating their deaths. It was amazing how Dr. Cream could murder, mostly undetected, across three countries for many years.

The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream is a fascinating look at this Victorian serial killer.

Thank you Algonquin for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb

About the author

Dean Jobb is an award-winning author and journalist and a professor at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he teaches in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction program. He is the author of eight previous books, including Empire of Deception, which the New York Times Book Review called “intoxicating and impressively researched” and the Chicago Writers Association named the Nonfiction Book of the Year. Jobb has written for major newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune, Toronto’s Globe and Mail, and the Irish Times. He writes a monthly true-crime column, “Stranger Than Fiction,” for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. His work as an investigative reporter has been nominated for Canada’s National Newspaper and National Magazine awards, and Jobb is a three-time winner of Atlantic Canada’s top journalism award.

Have you read The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream? What did you think of it?

Review: Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers

Title: Why She Wrote A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers
Author: Lauren Burke, Hannah K. Chapman, Kaley Bales (illustrator)
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 20, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In Why She Wrote, dive into the fascinating, unexpected, and inspiring stories behind the greatest women writers in the English language.

This compelling graphic collection features 18 women—including Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Anne Lister, and more—and asks a simple question: in a time when being a woman writer often meant being undervalued, overlooked, or pigeonholed, why did she write?

Why did Jane Austen struggle to write for five years before her first novel was ever published? How did Edith Maude Eaton’s writing change the narrative around Chinese immigrant workers in North America? Why did the Brontë sisters choose to write under male pennames, and Anne Lister write her personal diaries in code?

Learn about women writers from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, from familiar favorites to those who have undeservedly fallen into obscurity, and their often untold histories, including:

• The forgotten mother of the gothic genre
• The unexpected success of Little Women
• The diaries of the “first modern lesbian”
• The lawsuit to protect Little Lord Fauntleroy
• The personal account of a mastectomy in 1811
• Austen’s struggles with writer’s block
• And much, much more!

Why She Wrote highlights a significant moment from each writer’s life and retells it through engaging and accessible comics, along with biographical text, bibliographies, and fun facts. For aspiring writers, literary enthusiasts, and the Janeite who has everything, this new collection highlights these incredible women’s hardships, their influence, and the spark that called them to write.

• GREAT GRAPHIC NOVEL FOR ALL AGES: Librarians and teachers recommend graphic novels for readers of all ages, especially beloved nonfiction titles like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, Sisters, and Guts. Immerse yourself in the stories of these fascinating women through the fun, approachable, and dynamic medium of the graphic novel!
• CELEBRATION OF WOMEN WRITERS: Want to read more books by historical women writers, but aren’t sure where to start? The stories and bibliographies of the women featured in Why She Wrote is an inspirational deep dive.
• OVERVIEW OF WOMEN’S HISTORY: Add it to the shelf alongside other collections of women’s history, including Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky, Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu, and Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights by Mikki Kendall and A. D’Amico.

Review:

This nonfiction book tells the stories of 18 famous women writers, including Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Beatrix Potter, and Louisa May Alcott. Every section had written biographies which were followed by a graphic novel depiction of part of the author’s life. Each little biography described their writing careers. These included why they started writing and any controversy that their books caused.

Feminism was a popular theme in these biographies. Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the featured authors, and she was one of the first women who was called a feminist. Their status as women was often what drove their passion for writing. Some authors, such as Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote to bring her family out of poverty. Others, such as Anne Lister, weren’t popular in their time but became famous years after their death.

As a writer, I found the publishing history of these authors fascinating. Jane Austen sold her first novel for £10, which was a fortune to her. Louisa May Alcott received a percentage of royalties from Little Women, which made her and her family famous. After Beatrix Potter published her books, she spent her time searching for the bootleg merchandise that was sold with her characters names on them to protect her brand. These women all had such different publishing experiences, but they all had to work very hard to have their voices heard.

This was such a fun set of author biographies!

Thank you Chronicle Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Mary, Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey, Júlia Sardà (illustrator)

The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell

Have you read Why She Wrote? What did you think of it?