“Radiating Like a Stone: Wichita Women and the 1970s Feminist Movement” compiled and edited by Myrne Roe (Watermark Press, 300 pages, $20)
Barely 40 years ago the women’s movement was starting to stir in Wichita, and while the events of that time effected great change on the country and this city, it’s long enough ago that many people have either forgotten or never knew what women’s lives were like before, and the multifaceted struggles involved in bringing the changes about.
“Radiating Like a Stone” chronicles the personal stories of dozens of Wichita women involved in this time of change — as observers awakened, as leaders, as activists, and all as women. Many of the names are recognizable: Jo Ann Pottorff, Marni Vliet, The Eagle’s own Bonnie Bing.
The book is organized by topic, covering such things as work, the idea of feminism, faith, health, art, politics, education and violence. Some of the entries are deeply personal revelations, others are more straightforward narrations of events. Some are Q-and-A format; some are poems. Some are illustrated with photos from the period.
As with any collection, the offerings can be a bit uneven, but they all provide insight into some aspect of women’s lives in the 1970s — whether it was consciousness-raising, workplace equality or even pantsuits. And this is what makes “Radiating Like a Stone” such a valuable history: it’s not just dates and places, it’s real people talking about real changes.
January is full of author appearances in Wichita
• On Friday, Kansas nativeThomas Frank
returns to Wichita for a talk and signing of his latest book, "Pity the Billionaire," in which he turns his sharp eye (and sharp tongue) on the recession and the rise of the tea party movement. The event is at 7 p.m. at Watermark Books, 4701 E. Douglas.
• Watermark’s Penguin Author Series begins Jan. 17 at 7 p.m., with a reading and signing byDeborah Harkness
, author of "The Discovery of Witches," a fantastical story of witches, vampires and suspense. This is the first of four events bringing major Penguin authors here — a series unique to Wichita. The second is also this month: On Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.,
will offer a reading and signing for "Emily, Alone" (new in paperback) and "The Odds" (to be released Jan. 23). Tickets are required for the signings in this series; for more information, visit http://www.watermarkbooks.com/penguin-author-series or call 316-682-1181.
• On Jan. 19,Naomi Benaron
will read from and sign her Bellwether Prize-winning novel "Running the Rift," the story of a young runner in genocide-racked Rwanda. Benaron will appear with local lawyer Kurt Kerns, who defended a Kansas man accused of genocide in Rwanda. The event is at 7 p.m. at Watermark Books. Look for a review of “Running the Rift” on next week’s Books page.
• Wichita State University professor and two-time National Book Critics Circle Award winnerAlbert Goldbarth
will give a reading at Watermark at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 from his most recent book of poetry, "Everyday People." Look for a review of “Everyday People” on next week’s Books page.
, director of the Kansas Center for the Book, will appear at Watermark at 2 p.m. Jan. 28 to talk about his children’s book "Little Ike." The book tells the story of the boyhood of America’s 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who grew up in Abilene.