Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Woman + Noteworthy = Actress

"Mummy, I don't want to be an actress or a singer!"

I came across this display for International Women's Day in one of the Newcastle branch libraries. I like displays in libraries -  it makes a change to see the front covers of books displayed prominently, and it's nice to use a collection of books to commemorate events of regional, national or international importance.

However, I was rather shocked by the books that had been chosen for the display as the majority of them were biographies of actresses, with two popular singers (Rihanna and Jessie J) and a royal. Where were the politicians, the explorers, the craftswomen, etc? As the library (which will remain nameless) is a branch library, I understand that they are limited in their choices by a small circulating stock. But, with a bit of imagination  it is possible to make a more fitting display from the titles readily available in that particular library. From the books I noticed on the shelves whilst browsing and from a subsequent search of the catalogue, I have made my own virtual display:

  • Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen of France, Queen of England  - Ralph V. Turner
  • Liberty Belles: Six Women and the French Revolution - Lucy Moore
  • Off the Beaten Track: Three Centuries of Women Travellers - Dea Birkett
  • Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men After the First World War - Virginia Nicholson
  • Women of the War Years: Women in Britain 1939 to 1945 - Janice Anderson
  • Ingrid: A Personal Biography - Charlotte Chandler
  • The Catherine Cookson Companion - Cliff Goodwin
  • Agatha Christie: The Finished Portrait - Andrew Norman
  • Moral Disorder - Margaret Atwood
  • Letter to my Daughter - Maya Angelou
  • What Makes Women Happy - Fay Weldon
  • Backwards in High Heels: The Impossible Art of Being Female - Sarah Vine and Tania Kindersley
  • Tate Women Artists - Alicia Foster
  • Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 - Stella Rimington
This is not my castaway choice of women's writing/ writing about women, as I could only choose titles that were available in that library. I tried to make the list varied and populist, and I think these titles would celebrate the spirit of International Women's Day much more than the current uninspiring display.

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