About Karen Christensen

Karen Christensen is an entrepreneur, environmentalist, and scholar who writes about the many ways women have gained and wielded power. She is the owner and CEO of Berkshire Publishing Group, a former trustee of the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Press, a member of the National Committee on US-China Relations, and the founder of the Train Campaign. Subscribe to Karen’s Letter @Substack https://karenchristensen.substack.com or try her Home Ecology newsletter. She can also be found on Twitter @karenchristenze.

Home Ecology Tips in English and Chinese

Our friend and colleague Catherine ZHOU kindly translated some introductory sections from Karen Christensen’s  in-progress book Home Ecology. Versions of these tips were included in some of her previous books, and she is busy compiling and writing a new guide that will focus on preparing for climate change, but also deal with other issues close to home. More on Karen’s environmental work is here. An Introduction 引言 to Home Ecology This is a book about ecology, a science that studies something very simple: homes, and the relations and networks that [...]

January 31st, 2022|Categories: Home Ecology|

Trollope: Toast & Marital Troubles

I love Anthony Trollope's novels. I am reading Orley Farm and find that one of his topics is male infidelity, or at least the pursuit of what he calls "strange goddesses." He explains the situation from the point of view of each of the characters, which is interesting in itself: a middle-aged Victorian man putting himself in the mind of a long-suffering wife. But what I really appreciate is the way he conveys some of this in homely examples. Here's one: In the course of the evening the footman in livery [...]

January 26th, 2022|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|

Mary Beard’s Women & Power

I’ve just read a tiny hardcover book called Women & Power: A Manifesto by the celebrity classics scholar Mary Beard. It consists of two edited speeches with black-and-white illustrations (I’ve pulled the color versions of a couple of them for this post) and sells at US$15.95. I had high expectations. “A Manifesto” sounds quite definitive, doesn’t it? But in the end Beard simply says we don’t really have a model for women and power. While I am not ready to introduce my own manifesto, I want to point out two [...]

January 23rd, 2022|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|

Remembering Rosemary Goad of Faber & Faber

Rosemary Goad, the first woman to become a director of Faber & Faber, died in October (obituary here, paywalled). I originally planned to go to the memorial service on 17 December with one of her long-time friends, a former Faber secretary, but I had to cancel my flight because of the developing Omicron situation. Fortunately, the church streams its services and I was able to watch and listen. In his eulogy to Rosemary, the author and former Faber director Robert McCrum referred to Rosemary's talking about the days when she [...]

January 23rd, 2022|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|

Rio +20, World +20, Karen +20

2012 is a year of environmental anniversaries: 20 years since the first Rio Conference, 25 years since Our Common Future (known as the Brundtland Report) gave the world a definition of sustainability, and 50 years since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring launched the modern e29nvironmental movement. It thrills me that environmental sustainability is so closely connected with two women – Gro Harlem Brundtland, a Norwegian politician, and Rachel Carson, an American writer – and that Berkshire’s 10-volume Encyclopedia of Sustainability, seven years in the making, is being published now, in 2012. [...]

December 29th, 2021|Categories: Home Ecology|Tags: |

Karen’s Letter: Finding Resilience

I’ve felt low this week and I’m not sure why. Of course I know why. The world’s in a mess, and my own country is amongst the worst of it. But I’m not sure why it struck me so hard this week. The feelings come in waves: I feel tense, angry, overwhelmed. I just want to be left alone. I don’t want to have another Zoom meeting. I want to have friends to supper. I want to sit at a bar with a martini with lots of people around me. But [...]

December 29th, 2021|Categories: Berkshire Blog|