Sharp

Sharp Widely praised in hardcover Sharp is the exhilarating story of ten exceptional women who used the power of their pens to carve out space for themselves in a world where men wrote the rules Dor

  • Title: Sharp
  • Author: Michelle Dean
  • ISBN: Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion
  • ISBN
  • Page: 307
  • Format: Paperback
  • Widely praised in hardcover, Sharp is the exhilarating story of ten exceptional women who used the power of their pens to carve out space for themselves in a world where men wrote the rules Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm are united by what Dean calls sharpne Widely praised in hardcover, Sharp is the exhilarating story of ten exceptional women who used the power of their pens to carve out space for themselves in a world where men wrote the rules Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm are united by what Dean calls sharpness, the ability to cut to the quick with precision of thought and wit Sharp is a vibrant depiction of the intellectual beau monde of twentieth century New York, where gossip filled parties at night gave out to literary slugging matches in the pages of the Partisan Review or the New York Review of Books It is also a passionate portrayal of how these women asserted themselves through their writing in a climate where women were treated with extreme condescension by the male dominated cultural establishment Mixing biography, literary criticism, and cultural history, Sharp is a testament to how anyone who feels powerless can claim the mantle of writer, and, perhaps, change the world Get A Copy Kindle Store Online StoresAudibleBarnes NobleWalmart eBooksApple BooksGoogle PlayAbebooksBook DepositoryIndigoAlibrisBetter World BooksIndieBoundLibraries Or buy for Paperback, 384 pages Expected publication February 19th 2019 by Grove Press first published April 10th 2018 More Details Original Title Sharp The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion ISBN 0802129242 ISBN13 9780802129246 Other Editions 14 All Editions Add a New Edition Combine Less Detail edit details Win a Copy of This Book Sharp by Michelle Dean Release date Feb 19, 2019 COMING TO PAPERBACK IN FEBRUARY From celebrated literary critic Michelle Dean, a powerful portrait of ten women writers who managed to make their voi COMING TO PAPERBACK IN FEBRUARY From celebrated literary critic Michelle Dean, a powerful portrait of ten women writers who managed to make their voices heard amid a culture of sexism Enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of SHARP by Michelle Dean Sharp is a dinner party you want to be at Dean s literary bash is as stimulating and insightful as its roster of guests She not only encapsulates their biographies and achievements with remarkable concision, but also connects the dots between them Sharp is a wonderful celebration of some truly gutsy, brilliant women Heller McAlpin, NPR Enter Giveaway Format Print book

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    Lists with This Book This book is not yet featured on Listopia Add this book to your favorite list Community Reviews Showing 1 30 Rating details Sort Default Filter May 14, 2018 Paul Bryant rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves litcrit, lifestyles of the weird and famous, modern life Mary McCarthy saw Susan Sontag at a party, where else, and said to her I hear you re the new me This account of the careers of Dorothy Parker, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler and Janet Malcolm with walk on parts for Rebecca West and Zora Neale Hurston was kinda interesting and I must also confess kinda just a little bit boring too.I have read biographies of three of them already and am a big fan of Janet Malcolm already but th Mary McCarthy saw Susan Sontag at a party, where else, and said to her I hear you re the new me This account of the careers of Dorothy Parker, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler and Janet Malcolm with walk on parts for Rebecca West and Zora Neale Hurston was kinda interesting and I must also confess kinda just a little bit boring too.I have read biographies of three of them already and am a big fan of Janet Malcolm already but the others are mostly just names Like, I know that Joan Didion wrote The White Album but I have no idea what she thought of Rocky Raccoon Big points go to Michelle Dean for wrangling a vast amount of information and squishing it all down into 300 pages but this means that some of it is a breathless dash I must take some of those points back, though, for a dull pedestrian no style of writing, and also for some real clunkers which have you rereading in bafflement To the extent it reflected her own experiences, she was clearly standing outside them, evaluating them and evaluating herself, and then fictionalising events according to the judgements she made Er, does that actually mean anything And because a lot of these women had very similar zigzag careers in journalism then writing novels living in New York having bad marriages becoming alcoholic so forth it got a bit samey, to tell you the truth, sometimes it seemed to be about one person with ten heads rather than ten people with one head each Like, they all wrote for lotsa magazines and newspapapers, which sounded completely interchangeable to me No doubt the editors of the said rags would have shot me dead on the spot if I said such a thing back then, but the New York Review of Books sounds a lot like the New York Book Review to me, and Esquire and Vanity Fair and the New Yorker were all the same thing weren t they and if they weren t, no one cares any But throughout this book it s a big deal getting fired from this magazine and hired by that one Those pages, and they are not infrequent, are a yawwwwwwwwwwwn NB Hannah Arendt was nothing like the rest of them She wrote enormous tomes like The Origins of Totalitarianism and why she is in this book alongside Pauline Kael who wrote Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a head scratcher it s like inviting Mother Theresa to an all night poker party but it s true the others knew of her and kind of worshipped her from afar Michelle Dean s main point here, I think, and it s an uneasy one, is that these intellectual women who were fierce and original and successful had only the most reluctant relationship with feminism, at the very time when it had come back ragingly Hannah Arendt for one seems to have hated the very word Eventually some of the others coughed to being feminist but only in latter years They were conflicted.I wanted to know exactly why in each case but I think that would have expanded the book to 400 pages It was complicated, as they say The jacket designer by the way should stand in the corner with the dunce s cap on for the sheer dopiness of including seven photos of these writers without identifying who is who And any way, come on, a few photos inside the book too wouldn t have killed you, Little Brown Book Group trading as Fleet, you mean people Your budget wouldn t stretch that far That s not because they re women writers by any chance flag 37 likesLike see review View all 7 comments Apr 18, 2018 Samantha rated it it was ok review of another edition Shelves 2018 What a disappointment This is a book about women who built careers on criticism, yet does very little to really, truly delve into the minefield of what it means to be a person whose very existence is critical Living While Female while turning the mirror around on the societies that deemed them critical in the first place The writing is light and easy to absorb, and the women discussed are interesting figures, which makes it all the impressive that I was in no way excited about this What a disappointment This is a book about women who built careers on criticism, yet does very little to really, truly delve into the minefield of what it means to be a person whose very existence is critical Living While Female while turning the mirror around on the societies that deemed them critical in the first place The writing is light and easy to absorb, and the women discussed are interesting figures, which makes it all the impressive that I was in no way excited about this book It honestly just felt like a collection of articles written by a Women s Studies undergrad And while I understand the reasoning for the an absence of racial diversity you can t talk about WOC critics if society didn t allow them to exist , half a chapter on Zora Neale Hurston presented in the context of a white woman is not enough Either include a chapter criticizing Criticism and don t hide it in the introduction, that s cheap and cowardly , or expand the concept of your book to be about critical women, even if they weren t capital C Critics, in order to represent multiple voices As it stands, this book just feels like one piece of self congratulatory White Girl feminist history For a book about criticism, Sharp feels uncomfortably dull and blunt Such a wasted opportunity flag 17 likesLike see review Feb 16, 2018 Tess rated it really liked it review of another edition Gobbled this book up in a few sittings Loved reading about women I already admired, and learning a lot about a few I didn t know much about A beautifully written and well researched book flag 15 likesLike see review Jan 27, 2018 Marissa rated it liked it review of another edition Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.A recent trend in nonfiction revolves around anthologies of great women Across ages and genres, notable women of the past are being highlighted in collections of their lives and works When I saw the cover for SHARP, I knew immediately I wanted to read about its female writers and intellectuals, some familiar and others less familiar to me I really enjoyed this book and its careful approach to the Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.A recent trend in nonfiction revolves around anthologies of great women Across ages and genres, notable women of the past are being highlighted in collections of their lives and works When I saw the cover for SHARP, I knew immediately I wanted to read about its female writers and intellectuals, some familiar and others less familiar to me I really enjoyed this book and its careful approach to these icons of the written word I admired Dean s writing style and the way she approached each woman from both her triumphs and their flaws The book wasn t afraid to criticize its subjects or to reveal perhaps less honorable elements of their work The transitions between each chapter linking each separate writer to the subject of the next chapter was a clever and interesting way to see how all these icons were connected.I learned a lot about women I already admired Sontag, Didion, Ephron and women who I now want to read from Parker, McCarthy, Kael One criticism I have is that I wish each chapter included photos and or letters of the writer I could totally see this becoming a series, with subsequent books highlighting women from other eras and or featuring diverse and lesser known voices flag 11 likesLike see review May 09, 2018 Rebecca rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves biographical, feminist, group biographies, writers and writing, requested from publisher, reviewed for blog, read via edelweiss, read via netgalley 2.5 People have trouble with women who aren t nice, who have the courage to sometimes be wrong in public In compiling 10 mini biographies of twentieth century women writers and cultural critics who weren t afraid to be unpopular, Dean herself a literary critic celebrates their feminist achievements and insists even now we still need women like this Her subjects include Rebecca West, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron and Renata Adler She draws on the wome 2.5 People have trouble with women who aren t nice, who have the courage to sometimes be wrong in public In compiling 10 mini biographies of twentieth century women writers and cultural critics who weren t afraid to be unpopular, Dean herself a literary critic celebrates their feminist achievements and insists even now we still need women like this Her subjects include Rebecca West, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron and Renata Adler She draws on the women s correspondence and published works as well as biographies to craft concise portraits of their personal and professional lives.You ll get the most out of this book if a you know nothing about these women and experience this as a taster session or b you re already interested in at least a few of them and are keen to learn I found the Dorothy Parker and Hannah Arendt chapters most interesting because, though I was familiar with their names, I knew very little about their lives or works Parker s writing was pulled from a slush pile in 1914 and she soon replaced P.G Wodehouse as Vanity Fair s drama critic Her famous zingers masked her sadness over her dead parents and addict husband This was her gift, Dean writes to shave complex emotions down to a witticism that hints at bitterness without wearing it on the surface Unfortunately, such perceptive lines are few and far between, and the book as a whole lacks a thesis Chance meetings between figures sometimes provide transitions, but the short linking chapters are oddly disruptive In one, by arguing that Zora Neale Hurston would have done a better job covering a lynching than Rebecca West, Dean only draws attention to the homogeneity of her subjects all white and middle class mostly Jewish New Yorkers I knew too much about Sontag and Didion to find their chapters interesting, but enjoyed reading about Ephron I ll keep the book to refer back to when I finally get around to reading Mary McCarthy It has a terrific premise, but I found myself asking what the point was.Originally published on my blog, Bookish Beck flag 10 likesLike see review View all 4 comments Apr 26, 2018 Laura rated it liked it review of another edition Recommends it for Wanda, Bettie Shelves audio books, american fiction, literary criticism, non fiction, read 2018 From BBC Radio 4 Book of the week As part of the Algonquin Round Table, Dorothy Parker established her reputation as one of the most brilliant wits in New York and came to epitomize the liberated woman of the 1920s.Mary McCarthyAs both a novelist and a critic McCarthy was noted for bitingly satiric commentaries on marriage, sexual expression and the role of women in contemporary urban America.Susan SontagSusan Sontag was a brilliant essayist inquisitive, analytical, fearlessly outspoken Her From BBC Radio 4 Book of the week As part of the Algonquin Round Table, Dorothy Parker established her reputation as one of the most brilliant wits in New York and came to epitomize the liberated woman of the 1920s.Mary McCarthyAs both a novelist and a critic McCarthy was noted for bitingly satiric commentaries on marriage, sexual expression and the role of women in contemporary urban America.Susan SontagSusan Sontag was a brilliant essayist inquisitive, analytical, fearlessly outspoken Her work is characterised by a serious philosophical approach to modern culture including the ground breaking Notes on Camp and the personal and liberating Illness as Metaphor Pauline KaelThe immensely influential critic of the New Yorker magazine from 1968 to 1991, Pauline Kael s biting, highly opinionated and sharply focused reviews espoused opinions often contrary to those of her contemporaries She was one of the most influential American film critics of her day.Nora EphronNora Ephron was a journalist, blogger, essayist, novelist, playwright, Oscar nominated screenwriter and film director She brought her sharp New York wit to all her work and in particular to the romantic comedies Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally.Dean s book builds a picture of the social and political progress of women through the twentieth century from Dorothy Parker to Nora Ephron.Dorothy Parker, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael and Nora Ephron these brilliant women are the central figures of Sharp The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion They are united by their sharpness , the ability to cut to the quick with precision of thought and wit The world would not have been the same without Dorothy Parker s acid reflections on the absurdities of her life Or Mary McCarthy s fiction which is noted for its acerbity in analysing the finer nuances of intellectual dilemmas Or Susan Sontag s ideas about interpretation, or Pauline Kael s energetic swipes at filmmakers Or Nora Ephron s biting wit and strong female characters Together they define the cultural and intellectual history of twentieth century America.Michelle Dean is a journalist, critic, and the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle s 2016 Citation for Excellence in Reviewing A contributing editor at the New Republic, she has written for the New Yorker, Nation, New York Times Magazine, Slate, New York Magazine, and Elle.abridged by Sara Daviesread by Alexandra Mathieproduced by Gaynor Macfarlane.https bbc programmes b0b0 flag 7 likesLike see review View all 3 comments Jan 15, 2019 Gabriela Ventura rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves ensaio Afiadas re ne uma s rie de perfis de cr ticas de filmes, de arte, de m sica, romancistas, diretoras de cinema, poetas, fil sofas Mulheres que passaram a vida envolvidas com diversos trabalhos intelectuais ao longo do s culo XX e se aproximaram ou recha aram as sufragistas, as feministas, as pr prias contempor neas N o s o ensaios cr ticos, mas boas introdu es ao pensamento mulheres complicadas, multifacetadas, interessant ssimas Algumas t m mais bibliografia dispon vel e s o, portanto, mais Afiadas re ne uma s rie de perfis de cr ticas de filmes, de arte, de m sica, romancistas, diretoras de cinema, poetas, fil sofas Mulheres que passaram a vida envolvidas com diversos trabalhos intelectuais ao longo do s culo XX e se aproximaram ou recha aram as sufragistas, as feministas, as pr prias contempor neas N o s o ensaios cr ticos, mas boas introdu es ao pensamento mulheres complicadas, multifacetadas, interessant ssimas Algumas t m mais bibliografia dispon vel e s o, portanto, mais bem pesquisadas do que outras os perfis de Parker, Sontag e Arendt n o se comparam a outros que aparecem, especialmente no final do volume.Acho que o grande m rito deste livro te fazer querer ir s fontes originais assim que a leitura termina flag 5 likesLike see review Jun 23, 2018 Mandy rated it really liked it review of another edition Enormously enjoyable and informative group biography of women who never shrank from voicing their opinions at a time when women were rarely encouraged to do so From Hannah Arendt to Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West to Susan Sontag, the book covers a lot of ground and is an excellent introduction to these always interesting and often controversial women Highly recommended flag 4 likesLike see review View all 3 comments Jul 03, 2018 Christine Henneberg rated it did not like it review of another edition 1 star audio version with the caveat that I read only about 3 4 of the book I found these essays on smart and opinionated sharp women writers to be dry and unimaginative The writer s own voice was completely missing I didn t know why she cared or wasn t convince that she did care about these women, and I found myself not caring, either I will also say that she offers an almost offensively inadequate explanation for the homogeneity of her chosen sample of women writers In a pe 1 star audio version with the caveat that I read only about 3 4 of the book I found these essays on smart and opinionated sharp women writers to be dry and unimaginative The writer s own voice was completely missing I didn t know why she cared or wasn t convince that she did care about these women, and I found myself not caring, either I will also say that she offers an almost offensively inadequate explanation for the homogeneity of her chosen sample of women writers In a perfect world a black writer like Zora Neale Hurston would have been widely recognized as part of this cohort, but racism kept her writings at the margin of it It would seem that one of the main purposes of a book like this one should be to correct the imperfections of a racist history by including a deserving writer like Hurston in this cannon To fail to do so is a good example of what I mean by the author not caring enough about her subject matter to write a meaningful book flag 4 likesLike see review Apr 10, 2018 Megan Abbott rated it it was amazing review of another edition An outstanding, must read book lovers of Didion, Sontag, Dorothy Parker or all the other brilliant women explored here this is for you A gift to the discussion of 20th century arts and letters And a lovesong to smart women flag 3 likesLike see review Feb 02, 2018 Alex Sarll added it review of another edition A collection studying various female writers who at least began in the 20th century, all of whom were at one or another time called sharp which may seem a bit of a stretch, as premises go, but it stands for a whole constellation of qualities women who because they weren t nice were sometimes considered destructive, but who also tended to have at least somewhat vexed relationships to the feminist movement one might have expected to welcome them I requested it from Netgalley principally be A collection studying various female writers who at least began in the 20th century, all of whom were at one or another time called sharp which may seem a bit of a stretch, as premises go, but it stands for a whole constellation of qualities women who because they weren t nice were sometimes considered destructive, but who also tended to have at least somewhat vexed relationships to the feminist movement one might have expected to welcome them I requested it from Netgalley principally because I m a fan of the first and last of them, Dorothy Parker and Janet Malcolm in between lie others of whom I ve read bits Susan Sontag, Hannah Arendt , but also several inhabiting that New Yorker y expanse of post war America which I ve always tended to bounce off Its male writers too, I should add yes, I ve managed a novel each by eg Bellow and Roth, but they remain nearly as shadowy to me as the likes of Joan Didion, Pauline Kael and Mary McCarthy herein And Renata Adler I m not sure I ve ever heard of before, nor do I much wish to again Dean notes, as how could she not, the oft remarked likability problem for women in public life, but she certainly doesn t go out of her way to allay it, and in Adler s case it seems like it would be a pretty perverse and Herculean task even to try.There is an attempt to create a sort of intellectual relay race, one woman handing on the baton to the next as each chapter gives way to its successor the link might be a shared interest, a review, a meeting This comes off better on some occasions than others, and in particular the Zora Neale Hurston section seems a little crowbarred in and unintentionally, I m sure almost insulting in its brevity Dean s introduction notes that her selection might seem a little white, but it feels as if it might have been better to examine that, and ask whether America could sort of handle intellectuals who were female or black, but maybe not both Or else make a stronger case for Hurston as parallel to the other women here I m not familiar with her work, so can t comment as to whether such a case exists , or perhaps tie in a whole companion volume on the different ways in which black female intellectuals were sidelined, putting Hurston in a lineage with Angelou, Morrison, Butler I don t know The instinct to diversify was commendable, but this section doesn t feel like it came off.Still, on the whole it s a very interesting read Perhaps the attempts to find parallels don t always stick, but even considered simply as a collection of brief lives, well, many of these lives are not that widely known, and collecting them was always going to at least offer a certain prismatic approach to a truth The connections to the modern day are seldom stressed, being left instead for the reader themselves to note, as when the initial response to Arendt s now standard line about the banality of evil prefigures a modern Twitterstorm, right down to the bit where some of those outraged by it were responding to their own jumped conclusions than what was actually written Dean has done her research this seems especially fruitful when she compares collected journalism to pieces the same writers chose not to republish, thus deducing the ways in which they sought to tilt and construct their public personae and than that she s assimilated her material, which is the bit enabling arresting insights such as It can be easy to forget that Dorothy Parker began publishing her caustic verse before women even had the vote flag 3 likesLike see review Sep 01, 2018 Nanette rated it it was ok review of another edition A who s who of NYC white female 20th century writers their foibles, especially romantic ones Anyone of color is snubbed Men are still the movers shakers the women are allowed to enter their orbit, or so it would seem from the narrative This is NOT a scholarly book nor does it seem to have been either thought through or edited very deeply The last paragraph had me writing HUH next to it as it was a sexist summation and prescription for women Had the book been written about ma A who s who of NYC white female 20th century writers their foibles, especially romantic ones Anyone of color is snubbed Men are still the movers shakers the women are allowed to enter their orbit, or so it would seem from the narrative This is NOT a scholarly book nor does it seem to have been either thought through or edited very deeply The last paragraph had me writing HUH next to it as it was a sexist summation and prescription for women Had the book been written about male authors, it would have taken a different tack, I m guessing For example, the romances wouldn t have been front center of their actual accomplishments would have instead taken center stage The name dropping was likewise annoying Did I like anything The intention might be commendable, but it falls far short Significantly, the title is arrogant and disappointing in its exclusion of so many real women who actually paved the waya, let s start with Eve To have identified these 15 women in a vacuum is insulting, especially by giving Ida B Wells a 1 line mention Really Such oversight or irresponsible ignorance Can t recommend flag 3 likesLike see review Jul 26, 2018 Ben rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves humor, nonfiction I loved the profiles of each of the women and how they made their mark on criticism and essaying That said, I wish that they had covered a group that was a little diverse Zora Neale Hurston is the only author of color mentioned, and she has to share a chapter and that a little less of the focus was spent on trying to show how all of these women interconnected and influenced one another sometimes they really didn t, other than writing in overlapping timeframes in different venues areas I loved the profiles of each of the women and how they made their mark on criticism and essaying That said, I wish that they had covered a group that was a little diverse Zora Neale Hurston is the only author of color mentioned, and she has to share a chapter and that a little less of the focus was spent on trying to show how all of these women interconnected and influenced one another sometimes they really didn t, other than writing in overlapping timeframes in different venues areas of focus flag 2 likesLike see review Mar 29, 2018 Mara rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves arc, ebook owned This wasn t precisely what I had expected, but seeing as this turns out to be an intellectual history of notable 20th century female public thinkers, I was quite happy with what I got Michelle Dean has a real talent for picking choice quotes and events from her subjects, and I was delighted that she takes us through how these brilliant women were socially and professionally collected This book made me want to drop everything and pick up all the collections of writings from these women that I c This wasn t precisely what I had expected, but seeing as this turns out to be an intellectual history of notable 20th century female public thinkers, I was quite happy with what I got Michelle Dean has a real talent for picking choice quotes and events from her subjects, and I was delighted that she takes us through how these brilliant women were socially and professionally collected This book made me want to drop everything and pick up all the collections of writings from these women that I could get my hands on, and I feel like that is quite high praise The Arendt sections were the stand outs for me, but then I m rather fond of her to start off with I appreciated how this book contextualized the anti feminist criticisms I ve heard about these women over the years, and would recommend to anyone who enjoys intellectual history or feminist history flag 2 likesLike see review Dec 29, 2017 Sarah Perchikoff rated it liked it review of another edition Before reading Sharp by Michelle Dean, I wasn t under the impression that the women in this book were going to become some kind of role models for me, but I guess I expected them to be a little together, maybe a little less petty Now, don t get me wrong, I love some petty Especially nowadays, petty can get you through the day, but I guess I was expecting elegance from these women who were such trailblazers in their day They cheated on their husbands and were cheated on by their hus Before reading Sharp by Michelle Dean, I wasn t under the impression that the women in this book were going to become some kind of role models for me, but I guess I expected them to be a little together, maybe a little less petty Now, don t get me wrong, I love some petty Especially nowadays, petty can get you through the day, but I guess I was expecting elegance from these women who were such trailblazers in their day They cheated on their husbands and were cheated on by their husbands , traded insults back and forth to people s faces, behind their backs, and in the media , and were just all around sassy ladies At least half of the women in the book doubted themselves and their abilities, at least two attempted to kill themselves, and most just had some terrible shit happen to them in their lives despite being famous writers duh, right But let s get into the book a little bit.Synopsis Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm these brilliant women are the central figures of Sharp Their lives intertwine as they cut through the cultural and intellectual history of America in the twentieth century, arguing as fervently with each other as they did with the sexist attitudes of the men who often undervalued their work as critics and essayists.Okay, let s start off with the good This book is incredibly well written I usually have a tough time getting through non fiction books, especially biographies, but I sped through this book Each woman s story is, of course, different, but the way Dean includes specific details of their lives really allows the reader to feel like we re getting to know them personally I never thought this would be a page turner, but it was for me I was so interested in what these women had to deal with during the times they lived in that I was halfway through it before I knew it And as I said before, these women were far from perfect, some of them blatantly fighting against the feminism that would have fought to make their lives easier and a few of them I m betting , it just wasn t mentioned were racist as well which should be a surprise to no one A few of the women are just barely likeable but the way Dean describes the events of their lives and their relationships makes the reader want to know despite that.But that is not to say this book doesn t have its flaws It has one major one There are no women of color in this book Okay, Zora Neale Hurston gets barely half a chapter, but nothing beyond that Most of the women in this book are white, from affluent families, and highly privileged despite the times they lived in You can t tell me there were no women of color writing influential pieces during this time period that could have been included in this book And if they weren t recognized at the time, dig them up That information, those stories would be a lot beneficial and interesting than another Dorothy Parker or Joan Didion story I didn t know who everyone was in this book before I started reading, so I was hoping there would be a least one full chapter about a woman of color I know, low expectations , but the farther I got, the realization that there wasn t going to be one set in and There were even a couple of times when I couldn t remember which stories belonged to which women because they all started to blend together.Overall, Sharp is a good book Like I said, it s very well written and the stories it does tell are interesting and intriguing to read It s the stories it doesn t tell, the lack of diversity in the stories, that is the major problem I have with this book I give it a 3 out of 5 stars I would love to hear any thoughts from anyone else who s read this book or reads it once it comes out.Sharp The Woman Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion by Michelle Dean comes out April 18, 2018.Thank you, NetGalley and Grove Atlantic Grove Press for this free copy in exchange for my honest review flag 2 likesLike see review Feb 22, 2018 Claudia Tessier rated it really liked it review of another edition An interesting exploration of 10 sharp women of the 20th century, all writers and feminist influencers in one way or another The author does an excellent job of not only discussing each woman but also demonstrating links among them Of value in relation to understanding each woman and the world in which she confronted herself, her admirers, her critics, her obstacles, and how each used her literary style to influence society and survive flag 2 likesLike see review Apr 22, 2018 Christen rated it it was ok review of another edition Conflicted is how I feel about this book I enjoyed reading about Dorothy Parker I had a hard time with the other writers Perhaps it is because the author went to the pettiness and the criticism of each of the females authors had with each other She threw in a good measure included the criticism of the women by men who were also critics as well I guess a book about women writers who were critics would be full of criticisms, but it felt like just a diatribe of complaining that had a textbook Conflicted is how I feel about this book I enjoyed reading about Dorothy Parker I had a hard time with the other writers Perhaps it is because the author went to the pettiness and the criticism of each of the females authors had with each other She threw in a good measure included the criticism of the women by men who were also critics as well I guess a book about women writers who were critics would be full of criticisms, but it felt like just a diatribe of complaining that had a textbook feel The book could have been edited down and would have felt less bogged down It felt like a textbook, but a textbook that a professor would only make you read a section or selected pages.I received and D ARC from Netgalley and Gove Press for an honest review flag 2 likesLike see review Jul 09, 2018 Rachel rated it it was ok review of another edition This is a gossipy and sensationalized view of the intimacies of notable women writers of the 20th century under the guise of being a serious study of their professional achievements Admittedly, it is hard to put down like a bag of chips you know are not good for you Michelle Dean s genius is subtle titillation coupled with faux innocence of the salacious nature of her expose Perhaps her goal is to imitate the sharp women she profiles, but there is a fine line between sharpness and meann This is a gossipy and sensationalized view of the intimacies of notable women writers of the 20th century under the guise of being a serious study of their professional achievements Admittedly, it is hard to put down like a bag of chips you know are not good for you Michelle Dean s genius is subtle titillation coupled with faux innocence of the salacious nature of her expose Perhaps her goal is to imitate the sharp women she profiles, but there is a fine line between sharpness and meanness she crosses it often than I m comfortable accompanying her It is book of and for the times BTW The somber black and white photograph of the author is a too obvious simulacrum of her subjects it is as if she is a latecomer to a party that has already dispersed flag 2 likesLike see review Mar 05, 2018 Victoria Sadler rated it really liked it review of another edition Loved this Sharp by Michelle Dean gives insights into the lives and work of some of the 20th century s most influential women writers Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion Nora Ephron Renata Adler Janet MalcolmIt doesn t deify these women at all Michelle really examines their politics and outlook, but also considers the context of their work flag 2 likesLike see review Apr 22, 2018 Brenda rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves biography, reading writing If this book does nothing than get the next generations reading its subjects, it will have done enough But it does a whole lot Michelle Dean is a treasure Here, she gives us chewy, arguable opinions and rigorous research I m jealous of the deep reading she did for this History and criticism in a selective history of criticism Delicious flag 2 likesLike see review Aug 12, 2018 Jennifer Burk rated it it was ok review of another edition I really wanted to like this book It s thoroughly researched but ultimately boring flag 2 likesLike see review Mar 08, 2018 Riley Ashby rated it did not like it review of another edition Shelves netgalley, nonfiction, dnf Honestly, this just felt like reading a textbook flag 2 likesLike see review Dec 12, 2018 Melissa rated it liked it review of another edition I enjoyed learning about these women, some who I already knew well like Nora Ephron, some who I was just getting to know like Mary McCarthy I also loved the title of this book I thought it was smart and catchy I admire Dean s intent as mentioned in her preface to explore the connections between these famous writers of the twentieth century I found these connections between the women, who I primarily knew as Dean herself stated in isolation, interesting I also respected the personal in I enjoyed learning about these women, some who I already knew well like Nora Ephron, some who I was just getting to know like Mary McCarthy I also loved the title of this book I thought it was smart and catchy I admire Dean s intent as mentioned in her preface to explore the connections between these famous writers of the twentieth century I found these connections between the women, who I primarily knew as Dean herself stated in isolation, interesting I also respected the personal intent Dean cops to when saying, there is something valuable about knowing this history if you are a young woman of a certain kind of ambition I couldn t agree However, the rest of the preface and afterword of this book put me off to this collection for several reasons, and thus it seemed Dean could have been direct in her aims for this book.Minor gripes The repeated emphasis of the reticence and ambivalence around the word feminism from some of these authors made it seem as if the book was going to heavily explore and question this topic What s , it also repeated similar ideas around sisterhood, commenting that sisterhood doesn t have to mean unwavering acceptance but could, of course, include criticism and altercations These ideas did come up throughout the book, but it didn t seem to be the primary intent Thus, I questioned why she repeated these notions in the afterword again it seemed unnecessary.The preface s tone also seemed rather outdated for a book published in 2018 These women were received as proof positive that women were every bit as qualified to weigh in on art, on ideas, and on politics as men Yes, I know Some of the criticism of these women came from bald sexism You don t say Such criticisms are minor and perhaps even showing my personal bias or background as someone coming to the book with of a background on feminism, but considering how much wasn t clear or direct in the preface as noted below , making cuts of what is noted above would give space for concepts I still had questions on Which brings me to the bigger issue with the book The book seemed to specifically focus on female critics from New York She had a heavy emphasis on film and book reviews which is fine but it didn t seem to be about that type of writing only since fiction was also mentioned However, I kept questioning did Dean only choose women who wrote reviews And why not explore other types of writing that provide the commentary and criticism, which could also define someone as sharp Her aims clarified in the preface as noted above in intentions directly led with lines like I wrote this book because or my second motive was Thus, I kept questioning if reviews in certain publications based from New York were really how she selected who to include in the book She did note that certainly, the so called New York intellectuals of the mid twentieth century are often identified as a male set, but this seemed like a passing remark or broad context rather than her through line for the book Because these choices weren t as direct as her purpose of general connections between women writers of the twentieth century, I was then disappointed that the book focused so heavily on white, middle class women She does make a quick note of this, too saying her selection is not perfect since most of the women are white, and often Jewish, and middle class, but this seemed to be a bit of a cop out It made how she included Zora Neale Hurston an odd choice Hurston is only titling a chapter alongside another writer What s , that chapter was one of the shorter ones, and the background and attention on Hurston was no where near as extensive as other writers discussed in the book Even striking in that chapter she brought up another powerhouse writer of Ida B Wells How would she not be in her own chapter I get that not all books can tackle all the great voices in the such a large time span, but I found it off putting that in 2018 the author didn t make an effort to be inclusive If she explored some other magazines aside from heavily focusing on the same white few, she would have had voices to connect and learn the history of, which she said was her original intent I would have loved to see the connections and comparisons between diverse writers here Again, this mostly comes down to the poor writing and ill conceived notions set out in the preface If Dean specifically said she was examining specific New York publications and those who wrote for them which at the time would, of course, be white , then this book probably wouldn t have rubbed me the wrong way so much However, because Dean s preface s main objective for the book was to simply show women are smart too and their history s connections should be explored too, then not only is such a premise outdated but then then this book also falls short of reaching that aim as effectively as it could flag 1 likeLike see review May 02, 2018 Jill Elizabeth rated it it was amazing review of another edition I am fascinated by the early woman thinkers those women who developed a reputation for intellectual rigor and originality in a time the early 1900s when such domains were considered the exclusive property of men I was familiar with nearly all of the phenomenally talented women in this collection some than others but had no idea of the details of most of their lives, and was fascinated to see how the developed intellectually, creatively, and in their perspectives toward art, polit I am fascinated by the early woman thinkers those women who developed a reputation for intellectual rigor and originality in a time the early 1900s when such domains were considered the exclusive property of men I was familiar with nearly all of the phenomenally talented women in this collection some than others but had no idea of the details of most of their lives, and was fascinated to see how the developed intellectually, creatively, and in their perspectives toward art, politics, and their place in the world The contemporary women were also quite interesting to read about Nora Ephron has long been a favorite of mine, going back to Heartburn , but I think the most intriguing and surprising although in hindsight perhaps it shouldn t have been so surpisinng part of the entire collection for me was reading about the clashes between so many of the women I suppose it was inevitable these were women stepping outside of the gender norms of the time, women who expressed strong opinions and did so with flair and sass and than a few teeth It shouldn t come as any surprise that they would butt heads with people their contemporaries as well as their opposition The details were entertaining and often quite unexpected, and thoroughly enjoyable to read.This was an exceptionally written and thoroughly well presented collection and I really enjoyed it My review copy was generously provided by Edelweiss flag 1 likeLike see review May 07, 2018 Maggie Tiede rated it it was amazing review of another edition Sharp The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion is a biography cum reckoning about the legacy of ten extraordinary women Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Nora Ephron, Susan Sontag, Renata Adler, Joan Didion, Janet Malcolm, and Zora Neale Hurston Occasionally Michelle Dean gets off zingers every bit as cool and cutting as those of her subjects, but usually her writing style is warm and nuanced, making Sharp feel like a meaningful conversation about these women r Sharp The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion is a biography cum reckoning about the legacy of ten extraordinary women Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Nora Ephron, Susan Sontag, Renata Adler, Joan Didion, Janet Malcolm, and Zora Neale Hurston Occasionally Michelle Dean gets off zingers every bit as cool and cutting as those of her subjects, but usually her writing style is warm and nuanced, making Sharp feel like a meaningful conversation about these women rather than a mere tribute It s a choice I m glad she made the effect is conversation than biography, which perhaps explains why Sharp is readable than any biography has rights to be.While nothing could eclipse the women themselves, cameos from other literary greats F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer, H.G Wells along with his open marriage , and others are charming and add a fun cocktail party tidbit touch to a book that is otherwise deep and thoughtful.As a writer, I also loved this book for selfish reasons I ve been going through a rough patch in my own creative writing i.e writer s block , and reading about these incredible women cured it The fact that they also went through periods of massive output and no output, periods of astonishingly good work and shockingly bad work, made me feel like writing is something I can accomplish after all If you re in need of that sort of pep talk, Sharp is just what the doctor ordered flag 1 likeLike see review May 16, 2018 Pat Carroll rated it really liked it review of another edition From the days when argument mattered, this is a thoughtful, thoroughly reported survey of ten public intellectuals connected by their chromosomes and the ability to write well Michelle Dean does a little too much linking for me, but the links are there and make a decent organizing principle While I was reading this, I also came upon a couple columns by NYT right wing guy Ross Douthat that made me realize how little dispute we have over complexities, and how much public discourse relies on Simp From the days when argument mattered, this is a thoughtful, thoroughly reported survey of ten public intellectuals connected by their chromosomes and the ability to write well Michelle Dean does a little too much linking for me, but the links are there and make a decent organizing principle While I was reading this, I also came upon a couple columns by NYT right wing guy Ross Douthat that made me realize how little dispute we have over complexities, and how much public discourse relies on Simple None of these women were flag 1 likeLike see review Jun 11, 2018 Gina rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves autobiography biography, feminism, literary and writer stuff, the new yorker and its writers I would give this book 4.5 stars if that were possible I really enjoyed it If you re looking for a brief but beautifully researched overview of the interconnected lives and works of Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Mary McCarthy, Hannah Arendt, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Janet Malcolm, Renata Adler, Pauline Kael, and Nora Ephron and who isn t grab this book flag 1 likeLike see review Apr 22, 2018 Natalie Daher rated it it was amazing review of another edition A meticulously researched overview of the women who shaped twentieth century public arguments In a society still averse to outspoken women, this book holds a mirror to a world today s women writers likely wish existed flag 1 likeLike see review Nov 28, 2018 Corey Preston rated it really liked it review of another edition Brisk, interesting, witty and well written A fine tribute to these women flag 1 likeLike see review May 21, 2018 Rebecca H added it review of another edition flag 1 likeLike see review previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next new topicDiscuss This Book There are no discussion topics on this book yet Be the first to start one Share Recommend It Stats Recent Status Updates Readers Also Enjoyed

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