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Amna Al Haddad (Eline Van Dam / Penguin Books).


The Week in Women: Stories for rebel girls, a bookstore’s striking statement, and J.K. Rowling’s war on trolls

March 10, 2017

Although most of the human population seems to be permanently glued to a smartphone (grumble, grumble, when we were kids etc.), the literary world made many-a-headline this week. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

A new book of bedtime stories hopes to inspire girls to defy gender norms. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls chronicles the achievements of 100 women from across the globe, some of them famous (Queen Elizabeth I, Malala), others less well-known (Amna Al-Haddad, a journalist-turned-weightlifter from the United Arab Emirates). The book was written by Italian authors Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, who told the BBC that they wanted to let young girls know “it is OK and even a good thing for women to break rules.” Yes, little ones! Don’t be suppressed by social constraints! (But when mom says it’s time for bed, it’s time for bed.)

To mark Women’s History Month, a feminist bookstore in Cleveland went through all 10,000 books in its fiction room and flipped around every male-authored work. By displaying the books backwards, the employees of Loganberry Books hope to highlight the current representation of women in the literary world—which, it seems, is disproportionately small—and call attention to women-authored books. Some have accused Loganberry of sexism and censorship, but the shop says it plans to leave the books as they are until the end of the month. Those who object to the shop’s approach can take their business to literally every other bookstore on the planet.

A Hollywood Reporter cover featuring CNN president Jeff Zucker and four other on-air personalities — Anthony Bourdain, Jake Tapper, Casey Neistat, and Kamau Bell — caused a stir this week after a producer at the network tweeted that the image represented “the future of media.” Many did not appreciate Josiah Daniel Ryan’s assertion that “the future of media” does not include a single woman, and his tweet went viral — in a bad way. If you need us, we’ll just be hanging out in a stagnant lady media time warp.

 J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series and prolific tweeter, jumped the gun on the detractors of International Women’s Day. “Happy #InternationalWomensDay,” Rowling wrote on Twitter, “or, as it’s often called on here, #WhyIsn’tThereAnInternationalMensDay.” She also noted that there is, in fact, an International Men’s Day on November 19. As the inevitable griping poured in, Rowling responded by sharing links to several articles by women writers. Sure, she stoked the fires a bit, but we certainly can admire a woman who knows how to poke fun at her trolls. (No, not this kind.)