Red Stain on a Yellow Dress

“Serena’s going back to Maggie’s Farm but not for long. Where, after that, she doesn’t know, but it does not seem to matter. Because she knows now that it is over. Soon she will stop bleeding. She can go on with her life.”

In 2021, writer Julia MacDonnell published a collection, The Topography of Hidden Stories, which included a story particularly relevant at this historical moment. Recently, she described this story, “Red Stain on Yellow Dress,” as a “fictional meditation on what young women may have experienced in the epoch before the passage of Roe v. Wade” and added a warning that the story is “gritty and bloody, the way things used to be. Maybe you’ll weep when you read it, the way I did when I wrote it.”

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Celebrating AAPI Women Leaders; Lisa Cook Is First Black Woman on Federal Reserve Board

Weekend Reading for Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation. 

This week: celebrating AAPI women leaders and exploring AAPI women’s representation; most countries provide part-time childcare access from the age of 3; Senate confirms Lisa Cook to the Federal Reserve Board; in the workplace, “the selection of incompetent men over competent women is the number one problem we need to fix”; and more.

May 2022 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

Whether you read for knowledge or leisure, books are so important. May is a big month for new releases by women and writers of historically excluded communities; I’ve highlighted 60 of them here, but there are many more. I hope you’ll find some here that will help you reflect and act in whatever ways you can. 

Poetry for the Rest of Us 2022

April is National Poetry Month! Since my dormant love of poetry was reignited, I’ve found it so refreshing and inspiring to read beautiful collections each year and share my thoughts with you.

I’ve included these 66 poetry titles for a variety of reasons: because they are especially unique, because I wanted to shine a light on them, they are from debut authors, indie publishers, or because they stood out to me for any other reason. I hope you find collections that will have you reflecting on how poetry moves you, challenges you and represents you. 

Tracing the History of a Job That Shouldn’t Exist: The Role of Clinic Escorts in America’s Fight for Abortion Rights

Their actions started relatively quietly. But then came the megaphones, the screaming, the death threats and the outright violence.

Bodies on the Line by Lauren Rankin examines the role of clinic escorts in America’s fight for abortion rights, and chronicles the history of anti-abortion extremism.

April 2022 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

It’s the Spring Equinox as I write this, the sun is out and the temperature is rising. I feel spring coming and winter shedding its icy darkness for another year. I look forward to moving my reading outdoors, to feel the breeze and the soak in the sun. I always appreciate this time of transformation and renewal. These 41 books are bound to help you transform, forget, recall, reflect, reimagine, rebound and recombobulate. Happy spring reading!  

As Book Bans Target LGBTQ+ Writers and Writers of Color, Here’s What Banned Books We’re Reading

Talk (and action) around what books kids and young people should be able to read and when has been on the rise the last couple of years. Attempts at banning books in schools and libraries are occurring at a furious rate. 

Here’s a list of some of the most recent challenged and banned books by women, queer and trans writers and writers of color.

The Trailblazer Who Ensured Women With Breast Cancer Had a Choice

When Babette Rosmond published her book The Invisible Worm 50 years ago, it was a daring act of courage and a call to arms to all women with breast cancer, beseeching them to ask their doctors about treatment options instead of passively accepting a radical mastectomy.

The book was funny, as Rosmond manages to weave her dog’s sex life and her love of the Beatles into the story of her cancer. But it was serious as well. A patient—especially a woman—questioning male surgeons was revolutionary for the time. The Invisible Worm, she stated, was not solely about a lumpectomy but rather personal choice.

The Movie Star and Madame Salon: The Friendship of Anna May Wong and Bernardine Szold Fritz

In the mid-1930s, Anna May Wong was Hollywood’s preeminent Asian American starlet frustrated by a racist film industry. She connected with Bernardine Szold Fritz, a Jewish American writer and American salon hostess in Shanghai.

Today, 100 years after Anna May starred in her first leading role, The Toll of the Sea, stereotypes and casting white actors for Asian roles are still all too prevalent. Outside Hollywood, the U.S. is just beginning to recognize her groundbreaking achievements—Anna May Wong will be one of five American women to be featured on a U.S. quarter this year. It’s a start.