Yes, I know this is late, but technically I did start one of these books on International Women’s Day, soooo I’m reviewing both books here because I think they complement each other well!
I received advance reader’s copies (ARCs) of both of the following books—though I will not admit how long I have had them, as it’s quite embarrassing. Anyway, since these versions are just proofs and not the final versions, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.
Over the past week, I read Girl Squads by Sam Maggs and Monster, She Wrote by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson. The former tells of famous groups of women who have improved their societies in various ways—whether through innovations in science, success in war, art, sports, and so on. The latter records women both known and unknown who have contributed, influenced, and established the horror and speculative fiction genres.
Girl Squads is a very interesting read—I had never heard of lots of the women talked about. These mini biographies seem well researched, full of detail, and are written in a casual, engaging way. The women profiled are diverse and lived in all different time periods, came from different backgrounds, and impacted the world in different ways. I wish sometimes that the profiles had been more in depth, but I suppose that means the book did its job in making me want to learn more about some of these remarkable people.
I also really liked Monster, She Wrote. It shows how integral women writers have been to horror and science fiction, from some of the originators of the genres like Margaret Cavendish and Mary Shelley, to recent writers like Anne Rice and Sarah Waters. This doesn’t just have brief biographies, it also suggests the most important works by each writer—you know, so we can add several dozen books to our to-read lists. I do wish there had been more diversity, but considering this book is a compendium of authors writing in the English language, for English speakers in English-speaking countries, I suppose I can see why they are mostly white. Still, this book does talk about some writers of color, as well as queer writers, which is great to see.
In the end, both of these books are excellent and entertaining resources about women who have affected history in various ways. If you’re looking for books about influential ladies, whether literary or otherwise, check these out!
Girl Squads overall rating: 8.5/10
Monster, She Wrote overall rating: 8.5/10