Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2016 – The End (For Now)

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-nine authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

Well, another year of Her Story: Ladies In Literature has come to an end and once again I sit here at a loss for words, with eyes full of tears and a heart full of love. It’s no secret that Her Story means a great deal to me, and with thirty-seven participants and nearly 13,000 views over the course of this year’s series, it reached an audience far greater than I ever could have imagined possible. More important than mere statistics, however, is what this number represents. In a world increasingly defined by uncertainty, turmoil, ignorance and suffering, it’s comforting to know that literature remains one of the great unifiers and allows us to feel a little less alone. The book blogging community is just that – a community – and never was this more apparent to me than by how warmly readers of all ages and backgrounds embraced and welcomed these essays into their lives. Please know that I read and treasured every comment, every tweet, and every email sent to me over the last month and I’m sure every author who participated was equally touched. Having readers and authors alike be inspired to share their stories, confess their insecurities, and confide in me about the heroines that have touched their lives is a more valuable gift than I could ever have asked for, and I’m so very grateful.

To Anna-Marie, Linda, Maurene, Kathryn, Laurie, Tanaz, Sarah, Roshani, Janet, Abby, Jenn, Bridget, Paula, Lily, Alexandra, Sharon, Ashley, Christina, Susan, Whitney, Lindsay, Sarah, Melissa, Lauren, Harriet, Jennifer, Brittany, Heidi, Sandhya, Kathleen, Jonah Lisa, Tehlor, Julia, Kathleen, Destiny, Karen and Katherine: Thank you. I am inspired by your creativity, thankful for your voices, and humbled by your participation and support. Absolutely none of this would have been possible without you and I will never be able to express the depth of my gratitude for all you’ve done. I strongly encourage readers to pick up the work of these thirty-seven brilliant women. After all, you never know where you just might find your heroine. I would also like to extend a special ‘thank you’ to Dahlia Adler and Wendy McLeod MacKnight who have been tireless supporters of Her Story and have helped to share posts at every available opportunity. You are the brightest and sparkliest of stars and I hope I’m one day worthy of the tremendous amount of support, kindness and friendship each and every one of these women have shown me.

Missed an opportunity to read any (or all) of the Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2016 essays this year? No problem! Below, please find a list of all thirty-seven posts to explore at your leisure. Happy reading!

“This is the debt I owe Lux Lisbon and Tita de la Garza and the sisters they let me borrow: they taught me what my mother had wanted me to know all along, that I was a girl worth watching.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Thanks to Louretta Hawkins — the “Lou” in The Soul Brothers and Sister Lou — the little girl fell in love with books and became a lifelong reader. She eventually became a writer, too. But that’s another story for another day.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“In ten years, I want readers to have memories of way more Asian American characters than just her. There are so many different stories to tell.

But Claudia Kishi? She’ll always be the coolest.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“I love that she gets to continue to be who she is (awkward and shy and prickly) and to love what she loves (Simon Snow) even as her world opens up. She gets her happy ending.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“I want to create characters like Scarlett, girls who are flawed and real and a mess of emotions. Girls who sometimes shove the messes they make under the rug and proclaim that tomorrow is another day. Girls who don’t always get a neat, tidy, happy ending.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Jane Eyre taught me that strength can sometimes simply mean accepting your weaknesses. That sometimes, your hardships are nothing more than stepping stones to something greater than you ever could have imagined.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“In the journey to being a debut author, I was asked constantly who I was as a writer and what story I was telling. I kept doubling down on myself and my stories in the world’s scariest gamble, and it was due, in part, to the confidence I gained from Ree Dolly’s existence in literature.

Other books built my voice, but Ree gave it sound.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Of all the princesses I grew up reading about, she never had a traditionally happy ending. There is no love for her. No joyous Bollywood-esque wedding. And yet she still had victory. Her one consuming goal in life came true because she broke against what was expected and she carved her own path. What she did was frightening and scary, but it was brave too. The male world had failed her, so she saved herself.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Maybe Cassandra is a girl out of time, like I was. In any case, she taught me that you can figure out who you are by writing it all down, and it’s no coincidence that my own book is about a girl who does the same thing.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“I’ve learned in many contexts throughout life that she had her priorities straight: you can do big things tomorrow, but not unless you survive today.

So go ahead, all those who are oppressed, enslaved, endangered: speak fiction to power. Particularly when it’s holding a gun (or a scimitar).”

Read the rest of the post here!

“There is still a nagging voice in the back of my head that whispers about how life would be less scary if I just went back to a day job, cut back on this whole silly writing thing, became more social, got married, acted more like a “normal human.” But then I think of Luna Lovegood, and I remember that the world needs oddities, that the people I’m meant to be with will love me for who I am, and that it’s better to have a few real friends and remain true to myself than to adhere to society’s expectations just so I can feel “popular” or “normal” or “safe”.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Meg March helped me shut down those doubts. She wasn’t a failure for having chosen a quieter path. No one accused her of squandering herself and her talents. Despite her own comparisons to wealthy friends and wrestling with her vanity and pride, Meg chose the quiet life not because it was easy but because she was fulfilled in doing so.

I love the Jos and Amys and Beths in my life. I relish their stories, their adventures, and their dreams.

But I’m proud to be a Meg.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“I knew that I wanted to be a woman who took charge of all her beginnings and endings.

I’d never be the wife of a missionary; I’d never allow a partner to make my decisions for me. But like Orleanna Price, I would search for my agency and voice, and her story made me realize that choosing a women’s college, as unique or commonplace a decision it may seem, had been my first real step in the direction.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Junie B. Jones gave my children a love of reading, and an appreciation of strong, girl characters. She played an important role in my own path toward writing, in learning how to create flawed but likable characters, and in realizing that you’re never too old to read for ANY book.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Tabitha will always be one of my favorite characters. She reminds me that being me is okay. That being “unlikeable” doesn’t mean I’m an inherently terrible person, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences to my mistakes, and it doesn’t mean that I’m forever defined by my mistakes, that I can’t work through them and try to make them as right as possible.

It simply means that I am a fully-formed person, blood beneath in my veins, air in my lungs.

I am a girl, beautiful and flawed and real.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“In a world where extroverts often get the last word in, Emily was my first example of how there can be power and strength in quiet. There are moments when I need to call on my inner–Anne for sure, but most of them time, I’m thrilled to be an Emily.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Meg saves Charles Wallace in the end because she is stubborn, and rude, and won’t give in, but mostly because she loves so strongly. And 10-year-old me knew, without a doubt, that I would’ve been able to do that too. Even though I was ugly and disliked and uncertain, if the three Mrs. W’s had called on me, I could’ve won. Because I was stubborn and smart and loved strongly, just like Meg.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Comics, Ghost World in particular, drew me back into the world of books. But now I wanted to make my own art and tell my own stories, with the hope that I can be lucky enough to give someone else their very own Enid.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“To nurture a strong woman means to foster a strong child. To encourage a daughter to speak up, you let her talk back. To encourage a daughter to ask why, you teach her to ask tough, embarrassing questions. To encourage a daughter to pick apart the rules and systems that she is asked to abide by, you teach her to unravel authority — even your authority — even if it means being labeled disrespectful, or misbehaved, or (gasp!) annoying. To encourage a daughter to let her imagination run wild, you let her tell lies.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Reliving Sabriel’s journey, watching her take control no matter what horror was thrust upon her, reminded me that any darkness can be overcome at a time when I needed to hear that message most. “

Read the rest of the post here!

“For Mia, living will mean having to face feeling hollow. Snow will remind her of the car accident when it’s billowing from the sky like thick pixie dust. The smoke of pipe tobacco will remind her that her father is never coming back.

Life has no guarantees, which makes choosing so hard.

Life or death.

Funny how so many choices can feel that way, even when they’re not.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Like my girl, I’m going to work hard, even when the Harrys and Rons of the world tell me that one person’s efforts don’t matter — and that no one person can change the system.

Like Hermione, I won’t give up. We are Gryffindors, hear us roar!”

Read the rest of the post here!

“…An extraordinary girl, Lennon “Lennie” Walker, saved me – with love, with joy, with a belief in the world still being dazzling after pain, a raw-honest-wide-open heart and optimism about love. She saved me with lasagnes and music and pot plants and hilarity. (And, yeah, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.) Made me feel like maybe, I could fly.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Rose resented the burden of taking care of her parents. She was bitter about the poverty she suffered as a child, and blamed her poor teeth on lack of proper nutrition when she was little. But she took her duty seriously, and that’s why she encouraged Laura to write up a juvenile fiction story based on her childhood. Rose saw book publishing as an easy way to make money, and hoped that if Laura was successful then the Wilder’s financial problems would be solved.

The rest, as they say, is history.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“What By The Sword taught me was that, despite what the world wants from you or the way the world reacts, you can make your own decisions. You don’t have to say yes to the prince. You can have casual sex and still be a good person. You can save the day and still be vilified for it. You can only do the things that are right for you, that make sense for you, and damn the world’s opinion. You can be your messy, willful self no matter what anyone else thinks.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“As one pest to another, I felt certain that even if no one else could Ramona would understand, and that made all the difference. Our young lives weren’t fair, but we would come out on top in the end.

And you know what? We did.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“One of the things I’ve learned about life as I’ve gotten older? There is no such thing as failure. I was so afraid of getting things wrong as a teen, but the best thing about life is that it’s all about getting things wrong, learning how to make them right, and having fun in the process.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“I should say here that one of the reasons I loved Zan was that she was so, well, kind of, sometimes, well…okay: mean. She’s bossy, she’s not nice to girls who prefer to dance, or to cheerlead. For Zan, sport is everything, and she sees no reason why the girls can’t have what the boys have. And if it isn’t given to her, she’ll take it.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Elizabeth Bennett — careless, insouciant, bordering on rude — gives voice to her inner thoughts. She says what she thinks, and in giving expression to her thoughts and feelings she gave me permission to do the same, telling me it’s okay to have strong opinions and to express them. What you say might ultimately be a mistake but speak your mind anyway. It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“I have love in my life. I’m still “big for my age”…whatever that means…but it matters less, because I’m strong, beautiful and loved too. My own journey has been a lot like Kel’s, but we both came out the other side.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“It helped take my mind off of some of my pain and I spent time with my daughter who had missed me so much while I was away. Telling the story to my daughter reminded me of the joy of using one’s imagination.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Here’s what I learned as I followed Ella’s story (again and again and again until finally I convinced my mom to buy me two copies of the book — one to look pretty on the shelf and one to read until it fell apart). I didn’t want to live in perpetual fear of Trouble. I wanted to try new things. I wanted to say what I was thinking. I didn’t want to be perfect; I wanted to be free.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“Mrs. Frisby is a mouse among rats, but she’s also a woman among men.

Ultimately, that’s what makes her so remarkable: that time and again, she enters spaces in which she isn’t welcome or invited, demanding to be heard. Through will and courage, she succeeds. In fact, as the story progresses, Mrs. Frisby becomes not just a friend to the rats, but an ally. In the end, the rats and the Frisbys end up saving each other.”

Read the rest of the post here!

“I wanted to be like Aly. I wanted to be both feminine and masculine, androgynous in ways that I didn’t think my world would allow, defiant and surprising for those who underestimated me, and competitive with only myself.”

Read the rest of the post here!

2 responses to “Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2016 – The End (For Now)”

  1. Dahlia Adler says:

    <3<3<3 Thanks so much for such a wonderful series; can't wait to read the posts I missed!

  2. Lorraine says:

    Thanks for organising Ladies in Literature. It’s been great!
    Lorraine recently posted…Weekly MiscellanyMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge