Elevate Difference

Reviews by frau sally benz


Sometimes there is so much heavy reading material to get through, that what you really need is a short, light, fun book, and Beachcombers is just that. The novel centers on three sisters and their father and what they learn about themselves and each other in that time. Their mother died when they were young and the oldest sister, Abbie, took some of the burden of raising her younger sisters because her father was dealing with his grief.

The Hole in the Wall

I don’t generally read a lot of children’s literature, but I’m glad I stepped outside my normal routine and read The Hole in the Wall. Sebby and his sister Barbie live in a town that is practically deserted after Stanley Odum starts buying up the land to mine it. Their parents are constantly fighting, their older brother ran off a while back, and they’re pretty much opposites even though they’re twins.

Broken Glass Park

Broken Glass Park is the tough story of a young girl whose upbringing and current life situation is hard, to say the least. After a former abusive boyfriend murders her mother, Sascha has to take care of her younger siblings with the help of a guardian she doesn’t particularly respect. From her point of view, we’re taken through her grieving, her distrust and hatred of men, her failing schoolwork, and her experience as an immigrant.

The Romantics

Walking in to watch The Romantics, I feared it might be a movie that relies on star power to get by. Valentine’s Day is what came to mind, and even though the level of celebrity of the stars of The Romantics isn’t exactly the same (Katie Holmes and Anna Paquin aren’t quite Julia Roberts and Jessica Alba), I was nonetheless worried.

Starting from Scratch: A Novel with Recipes

In Starting from Scratch, Olivia Tschetter successfully defended her doctoral dissertation and lost her mother all in one day. The youngest of four siblings, Olivia moves back home to be with her father, to run away from her responsibilities at school, and to grieve. Her connection to her mother, who was an incredible cook, is food.

The Passage

Trying to explain The Passage is like explaining Lost or the Harry Potter series to an outsider.

No Permanent Waves: Recasting Histories of U.S. Feminism

As an undergraduate, my major was Women’s Studies, so I’ve read my fair share of feminist texts over the last several years. It’s hard to find one that offers a new perspective or, at least, a perspective different enough to satisfy both the expert and the novice.


Captivity is a historical novel based on the true story of the Fox sisters, who claimed they could communicate with the dead. Able to convince a group of people of their abilities, they garnered a following that would grow to become a religious movement known as American Spiritualism, or simply Spiritualism.

Songs for a Sinking Ship

Not many people have heard of April Smith, but I’ve become quite the enthusiastic fan. Her music combines elements of pop and rock, but her voice has more of a jazz quality that gives the end result a great mix and unique style. I loved her previous album, loveletterbombs, and I saw Smith perform live a couple of times, so when I heard she was raising money for a new album through Kickstarter, I signed right up to contribute.

The Last River Child

The Last River Child is the story of a town caught up in a legend: they believe there are children possessed by the spirit of the river meant to bring misfortune to everything around them. Everyone is taught to stay away from the river, but a young girl named Peg feels drawn to the river and refuses to believe the story.

Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex

If you’re looking for a book about anything and everything related to sex, look no further than Moregasm. It starts with the basics—getting to know the lay of the land on a woman’s body. It moves on to a thorough discussion of orgasms, masturbation, and toys; a chapter on men; an exploration of what can turn you on; a how-to on sex with the hand or mouth; penis-in-vagina intercourse; safe sex practices; and a question and answer section.

Finding Gloria: Nos/otras

In the spirit of Gloria Anzaldúa, Finding Gloria: Nos/otras is an independent zine featuring the words and art of various contributors. Anzaldúa was a writer, poet, and artist whose work focused mostly on her identities as a woman, Chicana, lesbian, and feminist. The title of the zine comes from Anzaldúa’s work.

The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader

I should probably start by saying that I absolutely love Gloria Anzaldúa. She was a writer whose work focused mostly on her identities as a woman, Chicana, lesbian, feminist, etc.—identities she insisted could not be separated from one another.

Tell Me Something True

Tell Me Something True is about a young woman, Gabriella, who spends a summer visiting family in Colombia and what she learns about her mother, Helena, upon discovering her diary. Helena died when Gabriella was only a baby, so the image Gabriella has of her mother is broken when she is confronted by the secrets her mother kept.

Feminist Agendas and Democracy in Latin America

The feminist experience of women in Latin America is not one that is often written about or discussed. Many discussions about politics in Latin America leave feminism out, as discussions of feminism in general are often limited to the U.S. and Europe.

All That Work and Still No Boys

In All That Work and Still No Boys, Kathryn Ma writes short stories with one thing in common: the Chinese American experience in California. This book is not for those who like conventional storytelling. Each chapter is the story of a person or family, sometimes related to another person or family in the book and sometimes not at all.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

When I started reading The Time Traveler's Wife, I was hooked right away. I don't read fiction very often, so it was a refreshing change of pace, and the concept was cool: a man with a genetic condition that makes him time travel, but he can't control it. The narration in the novel switches back and forth between the two main characters, Clare and Henry.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Shortly after I started reading The Time Traveler's Wife, I found out that there was a movie coming out, and was interested in seeing how the two would compare. Book-to-movie adaptations are generally thought to be letdowns, but I wanted to see exactly how a love story about a time traveler—from a book more than 500 pages long that shifts through time and narration—would look on film.

Twisted Triangle: A Famous Crime Writer, a Lesbian Love Affair, and the FBI Husband’s Violent Revenge

“Stranger than fiction” is the most accurate way to describe the premise for this book about married FBI agents. The wife has a lesbian affair with a crime novel author, and the husband kidnaps and later tries to kill his wife. And yet, it’s a true story!

Everything Changes: The Insider's Guide to Cancer in Your 20's and 30's

When I read the title of this book, it piqued my interest instantly. Let's face it: there is a lot out there about people over forty and their struggle with cancer, and even quite a bit about children with cancer. In fact, when I think of cancer, I usually picture someone the age of my parents and grandparents, or the boys and girls in ads for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. I don't picture myself or my fiancé, sisters, or friends.

Lessons Learned from WAM! 2009

This past weekend, I attended the [Women, Action & the Media](http://www.centerfornewwords.org/wam/" target="_blank) Conference (WAM!) in Boston. It was a great weekend that offered over forty workshops and panels, a film series, two keynote talks, and a "genius bar" allowing conference-goers to sign up for time with media experts throughout the conference. I started on Friday with the session PR: Getting Your Work Out There. It definitely set the tone for the rest of the conference—we'd be learning new skills, sharing our own experiences, and making new connections.

Women, Power and Politics

I received an email a while back from the International Museum of Women about their online exhibition entitled [Women, Power and Politics](http://www.imow.org/wpp/index). I've been having so much fun following links and exploring the site that I'm just now remembering I never shared it with you all. The first thing I noticed is that there was a lot of work put into this. The exhibition is broken up into Power, Biology, Appearance, Environment, Religion, Democracy, Voting, Election, Organizing, a Toolkit, and Your Voices.