by Leslie, Everett Public Library staff
Do you dress up for Halloween?
I do, but it’s not always easy to think of a great costume, is it?
Stella Ehrhart, age 8, of Omaha, Nebraska, has no such trouble. She opens her book, 100 Most important Women of the 20th Century, then she opens her closet and poof! She is Oprah Winfrey! The next day she will be Joan Baez. This third grader has done this every single day of school since the start of second grade. Here is the article from the Omaha World Herald if you don’t believe me.
If all of this sounds like way too much work for you, why not read about these 100 most important women instead? I love a good biography because not only do you learn the facts about a person’s life, you get to know that person and open your mind to a bigger understanding of others. Sometimes you even learn a few juicy tidbits of shocking gossip.
One of the ‘most important women’ is Julia Child. I actually dressed up as Julia Child a few years ago when my book club read My Life in France, Julia’s autobiography.Written in her own words, this is the captivating story of Julia Child’s years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found her true calling.
Now I’m on to listening to the recently published account of Julia’s entire life, Dearie by Bob Spitz. This is a wonderful biography that brings the Julia we know and love to life.
Another of the 100 most important women, and one with a French connection like Julia, is Coco Channel. The recently published Sleeping with the Enemy by Hal Vaughan gives you a quick biography of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, but mostly deals with the details of her sympathizing with the Germans during the WWII occupation of Paris. Quite shocking.
A deeper, more in-depth, and I think, more interesting biography is Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life by Lisa Chaney. Chanel revolutionized women’s dress. She came up with the ‘little black dress’ and who can live without that? She was the twentieth century’s most influential designer of clothes and perfume. Her fascinating and unconventional journey from poverty to a new kind of glamour helped define the modern woman. There are shocking details in this book also.
Reading about Julia and Coco is much easier and more interesting than dressing up like them. Just splash on a little Chanel #5, eat a baguette with lots of butter, and dig into these books.