Monday, February 01, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Almost Astronauts

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared To Dream. Tanya Lee Stone. 2009. Candlewick. 144 pages. [Paperback is coming in February 2010.]

July 1999
One woman stands alone, off to the side of the crowd.
She paces back and forth--agitated, excited, impatient.
From the back, it is hard to tell her age; her faded brown leather jacket and blond ponytail reveal nothing. But if she were to turn to glance at the group of women on the observation bleachers behind her, you would see the lines of time etched on her face. You would see a smile tinged with sadness.
Although the women behind her huddle close like sisters, sharing a chuckle, a tease here and there, a knowing look, it is not at her expense. They understand her need for solitude. This is an emotional time for all of them, but perhaps especially for her, Jerrie Cobb.
It was Jerrie who led them in a quest to live their dreams, Jerrie who first believed they had a shot at all this, Jerrie who still, to this day, is fighting for her dream.
Nearly forty years earlier, it was Jerrie who thought she would be exactly where Eileen Collins is right now: inside a NASA craft, about to fly into space.
This one should be a must-read. It is one of those books where I learned how much I just don't know. The story of these women--of Jerrie Cobb especially--was an amazing one. A book that left me a little shocked, disappointed, and more than a little sad. Why didn't I know her story? their stories? How could I not have known that there were women involved in the space race?! That there were women--really qualified women--that were being denied the chance to be astronauts because they were women. Of course there were a few reasons given as to why they were being denied. But some of these "excuses" really shocked me. I guess I'm a bit naive.

Almost Astronauts is well-written. It's simply fascinating. Very compelling. Not all nonfiction has the same quality as fiction. That can't-put-it-down factor that makes a book really good. That makes a book a must-read.

I would definitely recommend this one. In particular, I think Pat would like this one. Also I think this one would be just perfect for those in the Women Unbound challenge hosted by Eva, Aarti, and Care.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous,  9:00 AM  

Sounds like a great book...adding it to the list!

Robin M 4:11 PM  

Wow - I had no idea. I'm going to have to read this one. Thanks.

Emidy @ Une Parole 6:50 PM  

It's great to shed some light on this important subject that isn't talked about enough. I'll keep this one in mind - it sounds like an informative read!

from Une Parole

DesLily 5:45 AM  

Oooooo ! I think so too ! It goes on the wish list... if I am lucky I will be able to get it in March for my b'day!! Not all that far away. Thanks Becky!

DesLily 5:49 AM  

holy cow Becky! just went to amazon ... that is expensive for a book that can be read in one or two sittings!! ...but I put it on the wish list cause I really do think i would like to read this..

benbes 11:32 AM  

I will rally buy this book, sound like a good story about these women dream.
joli prom dresses

Jeannine Atkins 5:41 PM  

I totally agree! It is a must read. Thank you for featuring one of my favorite books of 2009!

Care 6:10 AM  

I have been thinking about this book - I know I would like it. I was just at an air museum in Phoenix and one of the displays talked about the women involved with establishing the WASP etc programs for WWII and I want to find more information on them, as well.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP