Earlier this week, we hosted the first YA book club of our Beyond Judy Blume program here in Portland. We had a great discussion about how sexuality, gender, and race are portrayed in The House You Pass on the Way by Jacqueline Woodson. Since we know lots of our readers aren't able to make it to our book club meetings, we're discussing the book here on the blog as well. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Here at the library, we're spending the summer reading feminist sci-fi. We'll be meeting in Portland to discuss Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy on June 21st. Then we'll be discussing Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler on August 16th. If you're in Portland, come to our book clubs! If you can't be here in person, perhaps you'll consider joining us from afar as we read some of the staples in feminist science fiction.
What are your feminist sci-fi picks? Let us know in the comments!
We love feminist mystery novels. We love them so much that we decided to devote three months of book clubs to them. In November we read Gaudy Night, Dorothy Sayer's 1935 book that has been called the first feminist mystery novel. In January we're reading Everything You Have is Mine by Sandra Scoppettone. And in February we'll be reading Laura Lippman's To The Power of Three. (Are you in Portland? Come to our book clubs. Not in Portland? Read along and we'll keep discussing these books on the blog.)
If you're like me, you've been staying up all night to read these novels and you just can't get enough. After finishing our book club books, I started scouring library shelves for mystery novels with feminist detectives. Mystery novels with complex female characters that analyze and protest sexist culture. I've been pleased to find that feminist mystery novels aren't as hard to find as one might think, and that some independent bookstores have huge Gay and Lesbian Mystery sections. If you finish the book club books and want to keep knocking back the mystery novels, here are a few more that feature kick-ass girl gumshoes...
On Tuesday night, the Bitch Book Club got together to discuss Gaudy Night, a mystery novel by Dorothy Sayers that was first published in 1935. While snacking on cinnamon rolls and apple rosemary scones donated by Dovetail Bakery, we talked about this smart and witty book that has gained a reputation as the first feminist novel of its genre.
Last week, we had our first-ever Mad World Book Club meeting, and it was great! As many of you know, we discussed Jean Kilbourne's Can't Buy My Love, and everyone had lots to say about gender, persuasion, advertising, and fried dill pickle chips (we met at Bernie's Southern Bistro). However, as many of you also know, most of our readers don't live close enough to meet us in person for pickle chips, which is why we're hosting this virtual version of the Book Club.
You know how every once in a while someone comes into your life–be it in person or in book, music, film, or some other form–and totally blows you away because they're saying everything you've been thinking, but in a way that is smarter and better than you've been thinking it? Like they took what was inside your brain and made it make sense? Jean Kilbourne is one of those people for me. As a young feminist beginning my academic career in media studies, no one hit more nails on more heads for me than she did. I am sure I'm not alone in feeling this way about Ms. Kilbourne and her work, which makes it all the more exciting that her book, Can't Buy My Love, is our first Mad World Book Club selection!