Independent, Feminist Book Shops: Book Woman

This was my second time to go to Book Woman, and one teacher is responsible for both of my trips there, and I couldn’t be more thankful. Professor Lisa Moore is one of the best teachers/professors/people/moms whom I have ever met, and I count my blessings every time I remember that she taught me how to read critically, write passionately, and let your actions speak very, very loudly.

The first time I went to this store was because Lisa (she requested we call her Lisa or Professor Moore) mandated that we buy one of our syllabus required books from Book Woman, in order to support the store and local business. Book woman is similar to Book People, which is another independent book store in Austin, except for a few differences. One: Book People is a lot larger and has author readings and signings almost every night, and two: book woman sells almost exclusively feminine literature, but also LGBT trinkets and literature, books interesting to non-feminist women, and “allies,” or people who do not fall under the group of LGBT or feminist, but support them.

The first time I went to Book Woman I was shocked out of my mind, not because the books existed, but because there was apparently a massive readership, or at least one to support one specific genre of literature. Imagine if there was a bookstore that only sold cookbooks or biographies. There would be a lot of business, yes, but prices would be higher, the material would be available at other places, and chances are revenue wouldn’t be high enough to pay the bills and come away with a profit. Not the case at Book Woman. There are very brusque books, cool cookbooks, memoirs, sad stories, funny comics, and books that run all over the feminist gambit. It’s an awesome place to check out, and a real Austin institution. Tonight it was absolutely packed, and that brings me to the reason I was there tonight.

I and fellow Moore (Mo’) World Literature classmates hopped on a bus to North Lamar for the second time in our lives (most likely), because Lisa has finished a book that is very important to her and one she has been working on for a few years now. I’m not going to lie: I probably would not be interested in the book. The subject of the very specific book is a study of feminine landscapes, and by landscapes I mean literal gardens, hamlets, grottos, etc. As with many professor’s books it is very specific, because that specificity is why they are hired by UT. Lisa is an expert in that field, probably the foremost expert on feminine landscapes in all of Texas. Whatever topic you’re discussing, that’s impressive. Plus, I’m sure there are loads of people who are waiting for her book to be released. Google her book title and you’ll see what I mean.

So I might not read the book, but I definitely love Lisa, and I went to support her. I was a little less culture-shocked at Book People this time, and so I enjoyed it a lot more, but I was mostly there to add to the crowd, say hi, and congratulate her on finishing her book. As my friend Kelsey tells me about her endeavor to write a book, they’re a lot harder than most people think. And most people think they’re hard to begin with. Lisa’s book is no trashy romance novel either, she had like fifteen pages of citations and everything. She wrote the kind of book that students in the expanding field of Feminine Studies will probably cite and use as reference.

Lisa has taught me, first and foremost, to be a better scholar, but she has also taught me things that are more important. She gave me a unequivocally loving face to associate LGBT rights with, she taught me lesbians do live in Texas, that they do teach, that they are real, exist, and are not just a hypothetical; she made me see what I had always just spoken of. She taught me how to march to the beat of your own drum, and still get ahead. She has taught me that love that passes throught the fire and emerges resilient is stronger than untested love. She has taught me how to treat a lesbian, which as dumb as it sounds, is something only a lesbian woman can teach you. (The answer is that you treat them politely and respectfully, just like you treat all women). On top of all the social outliers she brought to my attention, Lisa on top of everything, will always be in my memory as an amazing teacher. I know it was a miracle that I found my way into her class, and I’ll always appreciate the impact she’s had on my life.

Also, she wrote a letter of recommendation for me; she rocks!

And duh, her book is called Sister Arts, and you should totally buy 100 copies for all your friends!

And if you’re ever in Austin and want a really cool shopping experience, check out Book Woman.

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Independent, Feminist Book Shops: Book Woman

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