In my book Baby, You Are my Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall I talked about the importance of the gay women’s bar (and gay men’s bar) as sacred space for pre-Stonewall homosexuals—how the community space of the gay bar was the only public space for pre-Stonewall homosexuals and how it galvanized and concretized a community that had no other way of connecting. It was “home.”
I was so fortunate to do two readings and signings for People Called Women, the feminist bookstore from Toledo, Ohio — and Ohio’s only feminist bookstore — when they brought their “traveling bookstore” which goes to feminist events (they also have their mortar and brick store in Ohio J which I was thrilled to visit) to Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival last week. I was thrilled that we were able to sell out of all the copies of my book that People Called Women brought “to the land” (Michfest). I was thrilled that so many women showed up to our event, told stories about early bar life, cried, shared hugs and created community — and bought books. It felt radical and “old school” feminist. It felt like something I have missed – that connection with a feminist bookstore–for Los Angeles lost our women’s bookstore in 1999 —15 years ago.
For many of us who came of age post-Stonewall in the mid 70s, 80s and late 90s, the gay women’s bookstores—or rather feminist bookstores — were these sacred “home” spaces. They were our “alternate church,” as I so label the pre-Stonewall bars.
I “came out” as a lesbian and as a feminist — in 1979. One of the first places I visited was New Words Bookstore in Cambridge, MA. New Words really did feel like that—“new words,” like parting the curtain onto a brand new world where I had access to language that finally made sense—a new way of communicating—that is what feminism felt like — like being able to talk and be heard and understood for the very first time.
When I moved west to go to graduate school with my then partner the very first stop we made in 1987 was the women’s bookstore — Sisterhood Bookstore — where we perused the bulletin boards for housing listings and events so that we could get connected to our community. Sisterhood Bookstore, in Los Angeles, CA, operated for approximately 26 years from 1972-1999, and then had to close it doors.
In A People’s Guide to Los Angeles, authors Laura Pulido, Laura R. Barraclough, and Wendy Cheng assert that Sisterhood Bookstore extended the spaces available to the burgeoning feminist and women’s liberation communities by extending the spaces of small and friendship driven “women’s centers” and “women’s resource centers” into the more available, democratic space of bookstores. For it is true that anyone can visit a bookstore, find out where it is located, go and hang out and talk to folks and gently ease into a community. Bookstores are not in a secret or hard to find location necessarily. After opening it was said the “L.A. women’s movement had relocated there,” and that the bookstore provided the space not only for buying feminist books and materials but also was an important site for “consciousness raising,” “political activism” and a space where one could form relationships with those of like mind—feminists, and women involved in women’s liberation.
Much like gay bars—except not as hard to find as pre-Stonewall bars—the feminist bookstores of the 70s through the mid 90s were spaces that numbered over 120 in the U.S. and Canada and now number only 13.
The remaining stores have survived despite Amazon and e-books…why? It has been suggested that not only are they places to buy books—but they are community centers—as the gay bars pre-Stonewall were. And for many women they are still considered, in their surviving communities, “the only space,” a phrase I heard over and over again from all of my informants regarding pre-Stonewall gay bars—they were “the only space” that pre-Stonewall folks could gather. Although there were many feminist spaces such as women’s centers, and coffeehouses and hotlines and health centers — the bookstores, as stated of Sisterhood Bookstore earlier, quickly became the locus of the community—they had regular hours, were open regular times, and one could just walk in and find not just literature but community and a calendar of events that one could connect into in any given community in the U.S.
Where did they go? Some were forced out. Why did Sisterhood Bookstore close? Without a doubt it was because Borders opened across the street from them. I’m happy to say that co-owner (and friend) Simone Wallace is quoted as saying she could “dance on their grave” (of Borders Books) after they were forced to close shortly after opening across the street from Sisterhood.
It is a well known fact that these large stores placed themselves on top of indie bookstore locations and competed with them for business, taking away their established clientele—and also luring new business. I remember going to a closing sale at Sisterhood and we didn’t know that it was going to happen — but we were there across the street (I was with my friend Lisa Hartouni, herself a former manager of the indie Midnight Special Bookstore) when the Sisterhood sign came down. It felt like watching a funeral.
And of course it is not just women’s bookstores that are closing — bookstores are closing and the very existence of materials such as “books” on paper, rather than e-books, becomes a frequent dinner conversational topic. Will books become dinosaurs—mighty but eventually disappearing—missed, but not mourned?
What has allowed some stores to stay open is a myriad of factors—if they were not forced out. What has helped some stores is the a priori mandate of the feminist bookstore –community involvement in more than buying books—but in actual community building around buying books and community functionality. It is an activist agenda that includes events and community gatherings. For example, Bluestockings Bookstore in New York City has a calendar of events for nearly every night of the week, and advertises itself not just as a bookstore but as “an activist center.”
Another example of this is that People Called Women is unveiling this week (August 20th) their lending library called Steinem’s Sisters (Archives). Why would a bookstore operate and celebrate a lending library—when they have to sell books, not lend them, in order to survive? Perhaps for feminist bookstores surviving has as much to do with keeping a community involved and mobilized, as it has with turning a profit.
I would love to do a book tour that was just visiting the 13 remaining feminist stores—and if we can swing it — we might just try and do that. For anyone wanting to also visit and patronize these sacred feminist community spaces while these 13 (a magical number) still exist—here they are:
- Antigone Books* (Tucson, AZ)
Established in 1973, Antigone Books is the oldest feminist bookstore in the country.
- Bloodroot (Bridgeport, CT)
Selma Miriam and Noel Furie co-own Bloodroot, a vegetarian restaurant and bookstore.
- Bluestockings (New York, NY)
Kathryn Welsh founded Bluestockings, a collectively owned and volunteer-run bookstore and cafe, in 1999.
- BookWoman* (Austin, TX)
BookWoman opened in December 1974 and will celebrate its 40th anniversary at the end of this year. Current owner Susan Post, who started out as a volunteer, has been with the bookstore since its inception.
- Charis Books and More* (Atlanta, GA)
Sara Luce Look and Angela Gabriel co-own Charis Books and More, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in November.
- Common Language* (Ann Arbor, MI)
Opened in 1991. Common Language’s biggest sellers include lesbian fiction, gay studies, trans studies, women’s studies and children’s books, particularly those children’s books that spread a message of diversity.
- In Other Words (Portland, OR)
In Other Words was founded in 1993 by Johanna Brenner, Kathryn Tetrick and Catherine Sameh. (It’s also where the feminist bookstore sketches are filmed for the TV show Portlandia.)
- Northern Woman’s Bookstore (Thunder Bay, ON)
Margaret Phillips is the owner of Northern Woman’s Bookstore, the only feminist bookstore in Canada.
- People Called Women* (Toledo, OH)
Owned by Gina Mercurio (above), People Called Women opened in 1993. The bookstore specializes in multicultural children’s books, non-fiction, memoirs, lesbian fiction and romance in addition to mainstream books.
- A Room of One’s Own Books & Gifts* (Madison, WI)
Owned by Sandy Torkildson, A Room of One’s Own offers new and used books in conjunction with Avol’s Bookstore.
- Wild Iris Books* (Gainesville, FL)
Wild Iris Books, which opened its doors in 1992, is co-owned by Cheryl Krauth and Lylly Rodriguez.
- Women and Children First* (Chicago, IL)
Established in 1979, Women and Children First was listed for sale by owners Linda Bubon and Ann Christopherson last October. (They are currently in negotiations with a buyer and anticipate a seamless transition.)
- Womencrafts (Provincetown, MA)
Womencrafts, which opened its doors on the tip of Cape Cod in 1976, is owned by Kathryn Livelli.
*Denotes stores that also sell books through their websites.
What do feminist bookstores mean to you, dear readers of Feminism and Religion? I’d love to hear your stores and comments.
Marie Cartier is a teacher, poet, writer, healer, artist, and scholar. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting) from UCLA; and an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University. She is also a first degree black belt in karate, Shorin-Ryu Shi-Do-Kan Kobayashi style. Ms. Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.
49 thoughts on “Feminist Bookstores and the Disappearance of Sacred Space by Marie Cartier”
Do I ever relate to this essay.
It was at Mama Bears Bookstore in Oakland that I found the first issue of WomanSpirit magazine and bought The Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas and an early manifesto by Z Budapest. It must have been there that I learned of a workshop with Hallie Mountainwing (Igleheart Austin) and the rest is history.
It was also in feminist bookstores that feminists “found” newly published feminist books, which is one of the main reasons our books had such high sales in those days!!!
Feminist bookstores were also a reason why the (not church or synagogue related part of the) Women’s Spirituality movement took off. You could read Womanspirit Rising in a church study group but you could also find it and Beyond God the Father–you have reminded us where.
Thanks for reminding us what we have lost.
loved mama bears…did a reading of a play of mine there! thank you for your post! i was out of town without a phone and unable to respond earlier. yes i irst saw women’s spirituality books at a feminist bookstore- including those of mary daly. i ended up moving to boston and auditing a year of classes with her…the door to the feminist bookstorr was the door that opened all others for me…
What a bright new topic for FAR, excellent post, Marie!! Your thoughts jolt me back to a time when I first began to explore an interfaith bookstore in Greenwich Village in NYC, absolutely “sacred home” space for me and I used it, again and again, as “alternate church.” Thanks for those new terms of belonging!! Your photo looks a lot like the front of my old store too — my first archway into feminist theology!!
thank you for writing and for helping to frame the conversation with these “new words”…what was your old store?
Hi Marie, it was simply called the East West Bookshop!!
thanks for your reply! any herstory on that store you want to share here?
The store after many years of success finally went out of business because the rents in that area began to skyrocket. Interesting that you are pursuing the topic, Marie, because if it weren’t for your post, I would never have shared how important the many hours I spent in that store were for me, and it is delightful to share those memories, thank you so much for the opportunity.
In terms of herstory, the bookstore was actually what inspired the website I’ve maintained in one form or another since the mid 1990’s, called Early Women Masters, East and West (earlywomenmasters.net). To the degree that my site encourages women to study the history of women in the arts and spirituality, or to become part of that history, that influence essentially roots back to the bookstore, which provided a ton of inspiration and source material for my own research. A few examples of the type of books I first came in contact with at the East West Bookstore include:
(1) “Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women,” by Jane Hirshfield, 1995
(2) “Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion,” by Carol P. Christ, 1992
(3) “Dreaming the Dark” by Starhawk, 1982
(4) “Chiyo-ni, Woman Haiku Master,” by Patricia Donegan and Yoshie Ishibashi, 1998
(5) “Immortal Sisters: Secret Teachings of Taoist Women,” by Thomas Clearly, 1996
And many more fabulous books, I would never have known were out there otherwise.
thank s so much for sharing your story!
I love this post. I used to live on the North side of Chicago and Women and Children First is my favorite bookstore. I still make a point of shopping there every time I go back to visit. It was a huge influence on me as a young woman on her own for the first time in a strange place. You are right that these are more than places to shop. It’s about the people. These stores provide a way to connect. We need so many more.
love women and children first! such a community central spot…absolutely got me “grounded when i first visited chicago
Wonderful post, Marie! The photos also got me right “into the story”.
I was sure there were some feminist bookstores in Vancouver, BC. I didn’t do an in-depth study – just went with the first one I found. I’m sure there are more.
seems to embody all you mentioned about community!
Once I get settled more in my new city I must go exploring! The “old quarter” of cities usually have the more interesting book stores.
the feminist bpokclub sou nds great…is it connevted to a feminist bookstore? please post if you can add to the list above and yes! i love the photos my friend megan took!
I love feminist bookstores – though so often I have to settle for the feminist section in bookstores. And actually, my favorite are used bookstores, where I inevitably find some wonderful treasures. Those shelves have been the place where I have encountered powerful life-changing works – writings from radical feminists. Radical Feminist Journals from the 70s are my absolute favorite! Thanks for this list of surviving bookstores, Marie!
thanks for adding to this conversation xochitl! yes! i appreciate those shelves in whatever bookstore i’m in but…it’s just not the same, right!? we want the whole store. thx for bringing used bookstores into the conversation! just did a reading here of my book at gatsby books– fabulous store where people hung around and talked for hours after the reading….drinking coffee and lemoncello!
I love that you publish this list here Marie. I have been in some great used book stores, but like Xochitl, I usually find myself perusing the ‘two whole shelves’ dedicated to women’s studies and gender studies in larger book stores. I wish there was a store like this near me.
I have found some peace (though not community) in a couple of ‘new-age-y’ book stores, particularly Alexandria 2 in Pasadena. These don’t replace the kinds of stores you talk about above that are places of activism, community and books– but I do feel a comfort in these spaces surrounded by so many images of the feminine divine.
dear sara- agreed! I often as well find myself perusing two shelves (and wishing for a whole store)
…I recently found out that the very amazing and center of the diverse metaphysical community in los angeles – the Bodhi tree bookstore- recently closed its doors. so sad– agreed! “new-agey” bookstores have been wonderful centers of connection as well.
As one of the younger participants here and one from the central Midwest Bible Belt, I am sad to say that I’ve never been to or seen a feminist bookstore. :( I did buy my first copy of We’Moon at Peaceworks in Columbia, MO though, which is a peace activist bookstore that had a large feminist section/display.
love we’moon! I use it every year and adore the “womyn” who put it together– you can find out more about them at: http://www.wemoon.ws/ it’s on my “bucket list” top visit their “land” someday!!
I’ve bought one every year since that first copy from the Peace Nook in 2003! I actually coordinate a bulk order with my friends every year now and I love that here in our little Midwestern town there is a group of women all with their We’Moons! :)
tnot sure why i can’t reply to your comment- hope you get this one…hat is so great!! you all should think about submitting to them for publication– your group that all orders the we’moon and how it affects your being in community all having the same datebook– musawa I think ( the founder/creatirix0 I think would be very interested to hear your story!
sorry for misspellings!! can’t edit it any longer and then it popped up–!
but their subject for next year is great transformation/the tower card– how did we’moon affect your community? just a thought– let me know if you need more info. firstname.lastname@example.org :)
Old Wives Tales in San Francisco, Mama Bears in Oakland, CA plus friends who shipped books to me overseas from feminist bookstores in Texas. All were community centers and places where you could meet all the great feminist authors in person. I met Merlin Stone, Jane Rule, Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Judy Grahn and so many other great feminist authors at all these bookstores. Author continue to be the great feminist heroines, I find that nothing represents my life as a lesbian better than a book. Movies don’t represent my political point of view, but authors will always feel the most real, and therefore, I continue my love affair with feminist authors worldwide….
Buy a feminist book today!
loved mama bears…did a reading there of my first poetry book and also a reading of my play…what an amazing community space!! so sad to see it close– it really hung in there for a long time…and agreed! I met so many of the women you mention above as well because I knew the path to the feminist bookstore and that is definitely a marvelous gift I received from my association and continued association with the feminist bookstore….and thank you for loving authors and feminist books!
Marie, call Jodi at Belladonna Womens Center in Berkeley CA to book a reading &/workshop. XO Jayne 4 http://www.womensheritageproject.ning.com
thank you!! I will!
Jayne- I did reach out to belladonna via their message function on fb– waiting to hear back from them! thanks for the heads up!
Call Jodi at Belladonna (Womens Center) in Berkeley CA to schedule a reading &/or workshop. There is also a womens center on the UCLA’s campus – Miriam Robbins Dexter could probably give you more info about scheduling something there. CIIS in San Francisco has both a bookstore & extension program that would probably carry your book with a reading & coordinating a workshop or class there. XO Jayne 4 http://www.womensheritageproject.ning.com.
thank you Jayne!! did you talk to Jodi at belladonna? should I sue your name? please email me off list if you have more details: email@example.com
Page One in Pasadena was our place. I even got to sing at a backyard concert there. It had classes in Dianic craft and was the best place for feminist pagan books. Got my first copies of the Spiral Dance and Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries there and fliers for the west coast women’s music festival. I miss it.
I remember page one! yes- definitely remember when I first got my hand son the spiral dance and holy book of women’s mysteries…I was performing with a feminist theater company and the director brought in starhawk to do a workshop with us…yes. music festivals, theater companies, bookstores– was an entire “circuit’ of ways to stay connected to feminism and they all involved so much a sense of community
thanks for continuing the conversation!
Thank you so much! I so enjoyed this article—a total nostalgia trip.
Here in Canada we had several women’s bookstore collectives. For a country with such a small population we were rich with it. I was a member of two collectives in the 70″s and 80’s, Everywoman books in Victoria, BC and Common Woman books in Edmonton, Alberta. I cut my teeth at Common Woman Books in Edmonton, when I was just 21.
In Edmonton, it was the centre of everything feminist. We organized, demonstrations, take back the night marches, international woman’s day parades. women’s dances, and all kinds of conferences. We were the only feminist bookstore in Alberta so we took our books to small towns and to any feminist event. We brought women like Kate Millet, Barbara Ehrenreich, and musicians like Holly Near from the US to Edmonton. We toured exiled Soviet feminist, Tatyana Mamonova. We helped promote our Canadian woman writer’s like Alice Munroe, Jane Rule, Betsy Warland and Margaret Attwood. We organized concerts with Ferrron and Heather Bishop from this bookstore. Jennifer Berezan did her first concert organized by Common Woman Books. I looked after the woman’s music the spirituality section, and the art section. Even when we started a women’s centre, the bookstore remained the centre of everything. Anyone coming from out of town always stopped in, just as I did when I moved to LA ,checking out Sisterhood Books immediately.
In Edmonton, I remember ordering the very first Motherpeace tarot cards and how we excitedly open the box . I did a group reading on the spot. The books of Marija Gimbutus, Carol P. Christ, Merlin Stone, StarHawk and Z Budapest changed women’s lives. From these books we saw that there was a time when we had equal status. That it was women who governed the spiritual realm. I was finally able to acknowledge a side of myself that I had kept hidden for years.
At Common Woman’s, it was interesting to watch the coming together of left-wing politics and women’s spirituality. So many of us had come from the left—the Trots, the Anarchists the Marxists etc. I remember leaving my Marxist study group for a much more satisfying women’s collective at the bookstore. We all knew how cocooned we were by that warmth of womanspirit. The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, as thick a book as Karl Marx’s, Das Kapital.
Did we ever expect to see these spaces and the feminist movement disappear? I mourn the loss of the Women’s movement daily. Every time a feminist bookstore closes, it is like a death in the family and new ones are not being reborn. Outside of Oakland and San Francisco, where does the average feminist find her connections on a daily basis in her own city? How do we get this back?
agreed. i’m not sure how you retrieve sacred space once it disappears..i love your question set:
Did we ever expect to see these spaces and the feminist movement disappear? Did we ever expect to see these spaces and the feminist movement disappear?
…and I would argue with the closure of spaces like mama bears that women in oakland/san fran may also be asking these questions..
Yes, yes, yes! It was because of Sisterhood bookstore in L.A. that I found all the many books on feminist spirituality that meant so much to my life and my spiritual path. In Sisterhood bookstore I found not only books on feminist spirituality, but also on women’s history, feminist theories, and fiction by women — all of which I doubt I would have found elsewhere. In my memory, books like The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, and When God Was a Woman just sort of fell on my head as I browsed the shelves, demanding to be read.
I also met friends, bought ceramic mugs celebrating women, put up flyers, and was commissioned to create a theatre piece for the 75th anniversary of women gaining the vote. It was a place to hang out, to find others of like mind, to find authors and books that mainstream bookstores did not carry, and most of all, to become aware of all that I hadn’t known was out there.
My (gay, male) friend in grad school, with whom I was co-teaching a course, was the one who suggested we put our textbook orders through Sisterhood, instead of the college bookstore, and I was both ashamed I hadn’t thought of it, and so happy to support the store and get our students inside an independent bookstore, and a feminist space.
I remember when Borders opened across the street; I noticed they had a good women’s studies section — mostly, I think, to compete with Sisterhood. Somehow, I doubt they maintained that section that well once Sisterhood closed … And the Borders staff would never have been as knowledgeable as the staff at Sisterhood, nor would Borders create the same atmosphere of women’s space. I miss Sisterhood, and I miss feminist bookstores in general. Online communication can do many things, but it cannot create that physical space where you know you can go, for connection, for a gift, for a new book you hadn’t heard of yet, and for communion ….
I love the idea that books were “falling on your head’ in the women’s bookstore– particularly those of women’s spirituality! I often felt that way browsing through the store– and “took chances” on authors I had never heard of because something inspired me like a book falling off a shelf as I walked by)..the feminist bookstore (and I LOVED sisterhood) just seemed that kind of “magick”
agreed…online communication can not give us the kind of community Kerry that we both would have right now if we were having this conversation in sisterhood!! :)
I’m SO privileged to live in Madison, WI, where we have one of the 13 feminist bookstores left in the US!!! Sandy Torkildson has struggled to keep A Room of One’s Own Alive. In fact, a few years ago, there was a fundraising drive, to which I gave generously, and a while back, she created a pledge for members (because you can become a member of the bookstore) that we would buy $X more that year. Without this store, I would be much less knowledgeable about feminism. The saleswomen are well-read and can point me in the right direction about all sorts of topics.
In the early days (mid 1970s), the Bookstore (notice the capital letter) was just one of many centers for feminism. But that’s because we were lucky to have one of the earliest Women’s Studies Programs in the country, plus many activists working on Rape Crisis Centers, Women’s Shelters, a feminist science fiction convention, women’s health, women’s work access (although some of these were later).
When I looked over your list, the cities where these institutions still exist are either big or have universities and colleges — Madison has the largest university in WI, with one of the best-known Women’s Studies Programs in the country, plus several other colleges; Bridgeport CT has 8 colleges; Thunder Bay ON (not a really big town) has a university and two colleges; Austin TX has the University of Texas and 26 other colleges; Ann Arbor houses the University of Michigan plus 6 other colleges; Portland OR has a bunch; Gainesville FL has the charter FL university (and probably other colleges as well). And then there’s the outlier — Provincetown, MA — but when hasn’t Provincetown been an outlier!! So I think that the fact that Women’s Studies books are sold in these stores may have been a big factor in their continued existence.
I agree- Bookstore (notice the capital letter)…:)
yes. I agree that if a bookstore or rather the Bookstore could connect with a university and sell text books it was a great and viable way to supplement the financial stability. But this did not work for all bookstores (obviously) sisterhood had a whole room devoted to ucla texts for the women’s studies programs…but that could not compete with borders opening across the street…
Reblogged this on Adventures and Musings of an Arch Druidess and commented:
I miss Page One so much!
thank you!! <3
Love this post! I was really happy to see BookWoman on the list, as I live in Austin and this is a frequent stop of mine. Also good to know that “In Other Words” is still alive and kickin! I moved to Austin from Portland, and I love both cities dearly for their diversity and awareness.
thank you for your reply!! i’m hoping to visit book woman this year at some point! perhaps for a conference that is happening this winter. and I love Portland!..if I get to Austin you will have to come to a reading :)
Marie, thanks for your post about women’s bookstores. They are indeed sacred places, places where women who want to create a better world can find each other. I and many other women created Mother Kali’s bookstore in Eugene, Oregon. It was a center for lots of organizing to create a new way to be with each other. It closed due to financial pressures that put MOST small independently owned bookstores out of business. I live in rural Oregon now- near Welches and two small bookstores just bit the dust due to
Amazon. I do use In Other Words in Portland but it is a long drive for me and they are not accessible to
people with disabilities ( I am disabled). Let’s share ways to get books that do not involve Amazon,
the Walmart of bookstores. I special order with the owner of one of the small bookstores that just closed down.
DEAR ELLEN- THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENT. THANK YOU FOR CREATING KALI’S BOOKS! YOU, AND OTHERS WHO CREATED THESE AMAZING SPACES REALLY PROVIDED THE FERTILE GROUND FOR SO MUCH OF THE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT POLITICIZING AND ACTION THAT FLOWERED IN THE PAST 30 YEARS. AGREED- LET’S THINK ABOUT OTHER WAYS TO PURCHASE BOOKS. PLEASE POST YOUR THOUGHTS HERE IF YOU HAVE OTHER SUGGESTIONS! VERY BEST– MARIE oops! sorry for the caps!
Really good question, Ellen. I special order through A Room of One’s Own, our feminist bookstore in Madison, WI, but if women on this list live in places with no feminist bookstore, they certainly can support their community’s independent bookstores in this way.
thx for keeping the conversation going! fyi– there are hotlinks embedded in the article above if anyone wants to contact the feminist bookstores listed. the asterisk next to the store name denotes a store that has online ordering :)
Marie, thank you for your concern re the disappearance of women’s bookstores. How true; how I miss them.
I also miss a whole lot those women’s conferences of the early years of the Women’s Liberation Movement.
I would like to add the 14th bookstore to your list: a 2-year-young bookstore in Harlem, NYC, LA CASA AZUL Bookstore, is a feminist latina bookstore which also utilizes the space for community building through bulletin board and community calendars plus 200 or so events a year. Today, I attended a reading and book signing of THE PANZA MONOLOGUES (panza = big belly) by Virginia Grise and Irma Mayorga, a take off on Eve Ensler’s THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES. It was a very well attended event; books were signed, people lingered, spoke with each other, took pictures, ate the refreshments that were served.
Eve Ensler has performed THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES there as well.
LA CASA AZUL Bookstore
143 East 103rd St.
New York NY 10029
Between Lexington & Park Aves.
General email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To register for an event: email@example.com
thank you so much for adding this to the discussion!