Scribbling Women Blog Tour: Marthe Jocelyn

I’m thrilled to be a stop on Day Two of Marthe Jocelyn‘s “Scribbling Women” blog tour. Marthe is celebrating the release of her latest book, Scribbling Women: True Tales from Astonishing Lives, published by Tundra Books.

In Scribbling Women, Marthe introduces readers to eleven tremendous and inspiring women, all of whom happen to be writers. They come from across the world, span centuries, and all had unique motivations for writing. I confess I had heard of only a few of these women before reading this book. Part of what makes this a satisfying and thought-provoking read is that it makes you wonder how many other women there must have been through history who wrote, for themselves, for others, for pleasure and other purposes. Jocelyn’s book is a window into the thoughts of extraordinary women, with such diversity of experience and perspective. And spirit – they’ve all got a lot of spirit. You cannot close this book without feeling overwhelmed by the gutsiness of these women, who prove that writing can be as bold and world-changing an act as almost anything you could think of. Each of the snapshot chapters moves at an engaging clip. Jocelyn includes a lot of research in a short space, and succeeds in making you curious to learn more about each of her subjects.

I think that it is definitely a book more for a reader in her early twenties, or very late teens, than for anyone much younger. The tone is accessible, but the language is sophisticated. I imagine that a particular interest in history would be required for a younger reader to pick it up. I think it would be the perfect high school (or university) graduation gift for a young woman who is considering what she wants to accomplish in her life, and the direction she wants to go next. You can tell that this book was a labour of love for Marthe, and that it was written by a woman who possesses a hugely curious mind, who loves to learn and is excited by the rich, story-filled expanse of history. It could very well make you want to pick up a pen and scribble a little yourself.

I asked Marthe to share her response to a question I had after reading her book: Considering what you’ve learned about your subjects through writing SCRIBBLING WOMEN, and your own experience as a scribbler yourself, describe the perils / rewards / challenges / motivators that many woman writers experience.

Here’s what she had to say:

“Being a writer as well as a woman used to arouse suspicion, dismissal, or even downright danger. There is no need, for instance, to designate a Men’s History Month, because their opinions and statistics dominate the records. Women’s history, until perhaps the last few decades, was traditionally hidden or subversive; quiet accounts locked in drawers or passed along as told stories.

But I have to admit that in my experience – in the comfort of contemporary North America – writing is no longer a perilous or audacious occupation. I do, however, have an aspect of a writer’s life to rant about… There is the commonly held belief that creating books for children is ‘adorable’ or ‘fun’. Writing a book is tremendously challenging, no matter who the audience. But a child reading a book, discovering a fact or a character or a world for the first time, is far more likely to be imprinted and inspired than anyone beyond his or her teen years. How foolish to suggest that such a responsibility is adorable. If we, the kid-writers, can snag a child’s imagination, we will provide the ‘grown-up’ writers with readers for life.”

Don’t you love that? There’s a rant I’ll stand behind. Thank you Marthe!

For more information about Scribbling Women, for the rest of the Scribbling Women blog tour schedule, and for details about how to enter an amazing giveaway where you could win a giant collection of Marthe’s books, visit Talking with Tundra.

14 thoughts on “Scribbling Women Blog Tour: Marthe Jocelyn

  1. Jennifer O.

    So true. I became the reader I am today because of the Ramona series. 24 years later, I can still remember specific incidents, hilarious situations, and dialogue from the book. That’s more than I can say for MANY books I’ve read in recent years.

  2. Pingback: “Scribbling Women” Blog Tour: Day 2 « Talking with Tundra

  3. Pingback: “Scribbling Women” Blog Tour « Talking with Tundra

  4. Teresa

    Great review! I think as women we often forget to celebrate ourselves and those who have come before us. This book reminded me to take a moment to do that.

  5. Sally Bender

    I am so in agreement with Marthe’s comment about writing for children. I often read, or hear, about uninformed teachers or university professors whose assignment is to write a book for children, as if it can be done easily and without a great deal of thought, revision or tender loving care. What nonsense! Let’s give kids wondrous books now (and always) as they take their first steps toward becoming lifelong readers.

  6. Pingback: Blog Tour: “Scribbling Women” True Tales From Astonishing Lives by Marthe Jocelyn

  7. Heather

    My children both got hooked on reading by grade 5, but my son took a break and now he’s slowly coming back around. I’m thrilled. Thanks for your review and Marthe’s comments.

  8. Martha S.

    i loved marthe’s book, but instead of being satisfied i am haunted by the thousands of scribbling women who did not make it onto her pages. it is a sad truth that not every woman’s quiet account will come out from the locked drawer.

  9. Marya Jansen-Gruber

    I could not agree more about writing for children. When you think about the books that most influenced you, what are they? I am willing to bet many of us would think of titles that were written for young readers. Pooh, Wind in the Willows, Babar, Madeline, The Secret Garden, Little Women are all books that had a profound effect on me, and they still have pride of place on my bookshelves.

  10. Marthe Jocelyn

    Thank you for saying that, Marya. I suspect that if you asked a room full of grown-ups what book was their childhood favourite, they could tell you not just the title but what the cover looked like, which scenes they loved best, where they were sitting while they read it and what snack they were eating. But ask the same group what book they read last September and they wouldn’t have a clue.

    Thanks for letting me rant on your blog, Elf! Great post!

  11. Christinabean

    The more comments and blog posts I read about Marthe’s work, the more I want to order this for our library. I hope that she has saved all of the stories she has come across with the possibility of writing a Scribbling Women 2 and sharing more stories.

  12. Rebecca

    I agree with you on the age-thing. While I think that younger readers can probably gain something from a reading, I feel like it’s more “powerful” for older readers – particularly young ladies who have an inkling about words.🙂 At 25, I found it to be just what I needed to remind me of *why* I’ve always been drawn to words …

  13. Jennifer

    Love this post and love the idea of this book. I think I’m going to have to go pick it up. Over the last couple years I have become incredibly passionate about promoting women’s rights and awareness about women’s issues. And I have been pushing myself to read more women’s literature. One thing that I have not necessarily done enough of is really read the women writers who were cutting edge: the ones who pushed the limits and in many ways fought for the rights that it is so easy to take for granted today. I think that this book sounds like a great gateway into that world. Plus as you mentioned, it is also inspiring to read about authors when you are an aspiring author yourself.

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