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I am “alone in the desert” as my initial blog title stated, before I shifted to something more hopeful about changing that.

In my former life, I was a professor teaching women’s history, black history, US social history, and women’s studies at a small liberal arts school.  It was small enough I taught 4 or 5 classes a semester and was “allowed” to introduce a variety of courses; enjoyable in its way, but not the kind of place where I could specialize, and do research, and be recognized in my field.

Before that I was a college reference librarian.  The librarian in me lives on in my constant desire to tell others about the books I love.

I am no longer a professor.  I am no longer an Authority.  I no longer have to be judgmental and grade.  Thank goodness.   I thought about hiding my “lady professor” identity in my blogging, but realized how limiting that would be.

When my husband took a job at a small university in the Big Bend of Texas, I retired early and we came here.  We had both been coming to Big Bend National Park for years and dearly love the place.  We bought 10 acres in a valley north of Alpine where we built our home.   I expected to backpack and do research and teach a course now and then.  Instead I came down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, making even minor socializing difficult.  So I have read and read and read and had no one to tell what I was discovering until I found the blogosphere.

I am particularly excited to find readers interested in feminism, black women’s lives and writings, and global writings by and about women.  Actually I am who I am because of some of the “Feminist Classics” that I read when they first came out.  The fact I am a white woman makes writings by women of color all the more appealing.  (See my review of Sister Citizen.)  I am interested in the “intersection of gender and race,” but not in all the theoretical gibberish on those topics.  I prefer to learn about diverse real women, in fiction and nonfiction.

More typically, I read widely.   I like history of any time or place, memoirs and autobiography as well as books about Quakers and nature.  In fiction my preferred genres are classics, mysteries, and literary fiction.

As you read my bogs and comments, please forgive my dyslexia.  I do try to proofread carefully, but lots of my mistakes get by Spellcheck.

Thanks for your interests,


Paula Grunseit @ Wordsville did a long distance interview with me for Australian Women Writers in which I say more about who I am and why I started the Global Women of Color blog.  She did a fine job.  And there are photos of me and my beautiful part of the world.  Check it out.

I have also added a shorter piece that I wrote about myself and my interest in books by global women of color.


27 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2012 4:25 pm

    Hello Marilyn, I’ve discovered your fascinating blog via your comment at Kinna Reads during the Africa Reading Challenge. I’m intrigued to see that you’re especially interested in writing by women of colour, and (if it’s not presumptious) would like to introduce you to writing by Aboriginal women of Australia.
    There are not many reviews of indigenous writing on my ANZ LitLovers blog so far, but it is a growing category and I hope to make it worthwhile to monitor, if it becomes an interest of yours.
    Best wishes
    Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers, Australia

    • January 30, 2012 12:45 pm

      Thank you. I am glad you liked my blog and hope you’ll read along. I was impressed with yours also. I think we have some shared interests.

      And thank you for picking up on my interests in women of color. I know little about Australian Aboriginal writers, but I have already begun trying to expand my reading of them. I singed up for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge, which had a guest blogger discussing them recently. I took some of the names and have been looking for their books–always an adventure where I live. Australian books are not widely available even on interlibrary loan–which is depressing and disgusting. I think I have found access to Aboringinal books by Sally Moran and Jackie Huggins. I got some additional leads from your blog, and I will see what I can find. I’d love to stay in contact with you. I have read little by Asian writers and hope to find more suggestions.

  2. January 30, 2012 5:06 pm

    If you haven’t already got it on your list, do try Carpentaria by Alexis Wright. It won our Miles Franklin award recently and is a superb book albeit challenging to read because of its swirling structure. I read if before I started my blog so I haven’t got a review of it but re-reading it and adding a review is on my list of things to do. It’s available at Amazon.
    For Asian writers, I’d suggest The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam and The Folded Earth by Anuradna Roy, both reviewed on my blog.

  3. February 2, 2012 1:31 pm

    Thanks. I will check those out. I had already begun looking for the Wright book and I was glad for the lead. I think I will follow your blog–and your reading group for reading suggestions, especially about Asian books. I may take a while to get to reading them though. My read-next shelf is looking very full.

    I just started Morgan’s My Place which I am finding very interesting. I have only reached the section where the author is beginning to suspect her aboriginal identity. I keep thinking of Hispanics in my part of west Texas who were college aged when they discovered that their grandparents were black.

  4. June 10, 2012 2:09 pm

    Hello Marilyn,

    I just can’t believe it’s taken me this long to find your blog.

    With your experience as a college reference librarian and a professor, this blog is a mine of knowledge amassed from all your reading.

    I look forward to learning as much as I can from you.


    • June 11, 2012 10:22 am

      Thanks. And I am looking forward to learning from you. Before I signed up for the African Reading Challenge, I knew embaracingly little about Africa, much less African women writers.

  5. June 14, 2012 3:45 am

    Hello Marilyn,

    Thank you so much for your comment on my blog – if not, it would have probably taking me even longer to find your blog, which is so fascinating to me. I look forward to reading and learning about the different writings by and on women. Thank you.


    • June 14, 2012 10:10 am

      Thanks for signing up. From the looks of your book choices, I look forward to your introducing me to some books that interest me.

  6. October 27, 2012 1:48 am

    Hi Marilyn,
    what a compelling introduction about yourself and what a grand initiative to review books written by women of colour. I hope to improve my knowledge on this theme through your blog.

    I am actually an avid reader of African Literature of which I blog on

    Thank you


    • October 27, 2012 10:24 am

      Thanks for singing up for my blog. I just glanced at your site and I am impressed by what you are doing. And grateful. I will sign up to follow you–and go back and read what you have reviewed so far to get some more ideas for books I want to read.

  7. February 23, 2013 11:04 am

    I am so excited to find your book. I really enjoyed your post about “The Grand Domestic Revolution.” My great-grandmother was one of those feminists mentioned in the book. She was a visionary, as were the women who co-founded the Community Kitchen and the women at the Evanston Woman’s Club.
    I look forward to reading more on your blog and following you.
    My blog about The Community Kitchen is

  8. July 5, 2013 1:17 pm

    I think I’m still a professor…? IT was cool being a professor wasn’t it?

  9. September 11, 2013 1:57 pm

    Do you have an email contact address? Part of the Community Kitchen memoir travels to Texas. Hutchins, Texas to be exact. Well, there are some stories involved of going to the Dallas Zoo. I was surprised to find that the Hutchins, Texas library did not have any archives or historic information. You can email me at I hope I can pick your former librarian brain to help me find more about Hutchins, TX circa 1902-1908

    • September 14, 2013 11:31 am

      Here is what I found and a few suggestions for you try and track down more.

      Hutchins, Texas

      Current info of Hutchins, now a suburb of Dallas

      Historical information on the town.

      I suspect that any women involved with a community kitchen would have been connected with the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs in those years. There might be some papers with information about women in Hutchins at their headquarters.Or maybe in their Dallas records.The bibliography of this article could give you some leads to check. You might contact the woman who wrote this article and a dissertation on the white women’s clubs in Texas in the years that interest you.

      _ _

      __ Women were very important in Texas during the Progressive era, and several histories have been written about them. I own a couple of them. I didn’t find anything about Hitchins or community kitchens in the indexes, but you may find them useful, especially if have the names of any of the women. Dallas women were very active, and women from Hitchins probably worked with them—if not on kitchens then on other projects. I think the best of histories is McArthur, Judith. /Creating the New Woman: // //The Rise of Southern Women’s Progressive Culture in Texas, 1893-1918. / For others, check her bibliography.

      Good luck with your project. Let me know if you find anything about kitchens in Texas, and about what you are finding.


  10. April 10, 2014 8:34 am

    As a mark of the awesomeness of your blog, I’ve nominated you for a Liebster award. You can read more about it here:
    Please feel free to take part as much or as little as you like.
    All the best, Anne

  11. June 20, 2014 1:07 am

    I stumbled upon your website. I was in the book business for almost 25 years and your blog rocks! I have sent it to many friends and have ordered several of your recommendations from the library to read. Mahalo!

  12. October 19, 2014 11:39 am

    Hi! I just found your website because I am also participating in the African Books Challenge. I am looking forward to reading your posts. I, too, am a Lady Professor at a small college. I mostly teach general education courses, but I do occasionally get to teach upper-level courses in literature. I am particularly drawn to books by women and people of color, so your blog particularly appeals to me. Keep writing!

  13. October 20, 2014 10:11 am

    Glad to have made contact with another kindred soul.

  14. maamej permalink
    March 2, 2015 4:03 am

    So pleased we found each other, I’m loving going through your posts, so many interesting books & insightful reviews.

  15. April 21, 2015 4:14 pm

    I am so glad I found your blog, felicidades! I wish there was a blog like yours in Spanish, then I could share with my students at the Seattle Public Library where I teach creative writing in Spanish. Thank you for creating a space for authors of color, I happen to be good friends with Kathleen Alcala so I am especially delighted to see that you included her in this blog.

    • April 25, 2015 10:32 am

      Glad to have found you, too. I enjoyed your poetry. I thought Spirits of the Ordinary was so good that I have been looking for her other books. I just read and will soon post a review of The Flower in the Skull. Any suggestions for other good books by people of color would be most welcome. Sorry I can’t read Spanish so I could read yours.

  16. April 22, 2015 2:42 pm

    Pleased to meet you Marilyn. 🙂

  17. Eliza Factor permalink
    May 29, 2015 8:39 pm

    Hi Marilyn,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful review of Love Maps! I was excited to discover your blog, and will search it for new books to read. I am also thrilled that you live in the Big Bend. I visited twice in my early twenties, and the feeling of that land is deep in my bones. I’ve always imagined that my next visit will be my last–that is, I will stay for good. So I’ve been biding my time, as I’m not quite finished with New York. Knowing someone living in Alpine not only read, but connected to my book fills me with happiness.

    • June 1, 2015 10:36 am

      Thank you for writing such a good book. I have ordered your previous one and look forward to reading it.

      Sadly, I won’t be here in Big Bend when you come next. I, too, have this country in my bones. We have lived here almost twenty years and it is very hard to leave my pink granite cliffs, but my husband and I have to accept that we need to be somewhere we can get adequate health care. From Alpine that is generally three hours away in Midland.

      Let’s keep in touch. I look forward to your next book. I was also impressed with the work you are doing when you are not writing.

  18. December 9, 2015 10:15 pm

    Found your blog through Lisa Hill, who mentioned your review of Penelope Lively’s memoir on Goodreads. You have a great reading list and love your astute comments.

  19. June 10, 2016 8:01 am

    Marilyn, thank you for writing such a heartwarming review for my book, ‘Threading My Prayer Rug’. It was a delightful surprise, and so encouraging for a new author like me. I am amazed how you find the time to read and review. I just subscribed to your blog. I am new to blogging. Just started in January. I look forward to reading your blogs. Thank you again.

    • June 10, 2016 11:59 am

      Thank you for writing such a very needed book, and for signing up for my blog. I read and review so much mostly because my poor health interferes with my doing much else. My husband and I recently moved to a retirement community in Tennessee where I see a few more people, and my blogging and commenting has gotten more erratic. I am still here if not as regularly.

      As you can see, my readings often includes books by and about women globally. I am particularly interested in Muslim women because I knew little about them and see them so misunderstood in the USA. Now I have gotten fascinated with the similarities and differences. I have posted a list of my favorite books on Women and Islam which has links to my reviews. I am particularly influenced by Leila Ahmed’s writings.

      I am glad you have signed up. I applaud your work, and would appreciate having your comments–and corrections–on mine. What books or authors do you find most useful, especially about women.

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