The Literary Ladies Guide: Review & Giveaway!!!

The Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life

Have you ever been asked the old question “If you could invite 12 people—living or dead—to dinner, who would they be?” Author Nava Atlas’s latest book, The Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life, is the literary version of that dinner party. Using their letters, memoirs, journals, and interviews, Atlas has compiled writing advice from a dozen successful female writers. Her “dinner party” includes Lousia May Alcott, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Willa Cather, Edna Ferber, Madeleine L’Engle, L.M. Montgomery, Anais Nin, George Sand, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf. This inspirational book is also punctuated with photographs, letters, drawings and other illustrations.

I had the pleasure of reading the Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life.  The book is crammed full of loveliness. I was excited to see the center cover text “Inspiration and Advice from Celebrated Women Authors Who Paved the Way.” Immediately I got comfortable and started reading. It was so much fun. I have to admit, I don’t read the classics these days, but they’re where I started, In college a proessor made a joke and it went over my head. As a classic over achiever, I approached him after class to ask about the joke. He told me it was a reference to a classic, Wuthering Heights. I bought it on my way home and came back for more. I got a list from the professor of all the books I needed to read. That year was filled with everything from A Tale of Two Cities to Lady Chatterly’s Lover, Fanny Hill, and Pride and Prejudice. I was enchanted and my reading obsession took off into a full on frenzy for more material. 

My writing obsession came later, but those classics are etched in my heart and mind forever. They are where it started for me. So, reading the Literary Ladies Guide to Literature was so much fun. I smiled and hooted for those women who had it so much harder that we do and they persevered! They felt like I do. They said things I say, thought things I think about the industry, writing, publication and our private minds. The feeling was wondrous. To read something I think and know Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte experienced the same thing is overwhelming and humbling and a blessing to be sure.

I think every woman writer needs this book. Lucky us, the fabulous author of this compilation, Nava Atlas has given me a copy to give to you. So, please leave a comment here if you’re like the opportunity to read it as well, and I’ll send this book to one randomly chosen commenter. 

I’d like to leave you with this quote from The Literary Ladies Guide, it was given by Willa Cather in an interview with the Lincoln Daily Star , 1915. I think it hits home and you’ll all be smiling in a few moments. She gets us.

The business of writing is a personal problem and must be worked out in an individual way. A great many people, ambitious to write, fall by the wayside, but if they are the discourageable kind it is better that they drop out. No beginner knows what [she] has to go through with or [she] would never begin.”

Amen sister.

We have no idea when we begin, yet, once we have begun, for those of us truly bitten by the writing bug, we cannot stop. We will carry on, persevere, power through and triumph.

Leave a comment for your chance to win this book.

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6 comments to The Literary Ladies Guide: Review & Giveaway!!!

  • Ash

    I was fortunate enough to review “Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife” by Nava when I was writing for Moms without Blogs – loved it and Nava! So happy to see this new project come to fruition.

    I’m mired down in self-doubt right now, but isn’t that a constant state for “writers?” Your post yesterday and the review today has given me a much-needed kick in the pants. Thank you for that.

    Go Nava!

  • Sounds like a great read! It can be hard to keep plugging away, but (hopefully) worth it.

  • I’d love to read this book! It sounds like just the encouragement I need to finish my manuscript:)

  • Great quote by Cather! So hard to keep writing and staying encouraged. This book sounds great!

  • My daughter-in-law often says, “I believe that’s a personal problem.” So I chuckled at the quote. When my d-i-l uses that phrase the hearer has no doubt that she means to go do something about it.

    I’ve tried saying it, but I don’t have the right inflection in my voice like her’s OR maybe I just don’t look stern enough. SMILE!

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