Our Shared Shelf discussion

Announcements > Jan/Feb book! The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

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message 1: by Emma (new)

Emma Watson (emmawatsonbookclub) | 49 comments Mod
Dear Our Shared Shelf,

This book isn't strictly just a book - it's a play that became a political movement that became a world-wide phenomenon. Just say the title The Vagina Monologues and, even now, twenty years after Eve Ensler first performed her ground-breaking show, the words feel radical. I'm very excited about spending the months of January and February reading and discussing a book/play that has literally changed lives.

The first person's life it changed was the feminist playwright Eve Ensler's. She says she didn't so much 'write' her play as act as a conduit for other women's stories. She had become fascinated by how the word 'vagina' was never spoken, and how the vagina itself was kept in the dark as if it was something shameful to discuss. So she started interviewing women about their vaginas - getting them to open up to her. Once women started talking, the stories came thick and fast, and Eve put them together into a series of monologues to be performed on stage.

When the play was first performed in 1996, it was a small, off Broadway production. But soon it began to make huge and controversial waves. It was the time of the Bosnian war and terrible stories were emerging of the systematic rape of Bosnian women. One of the monologues was inspired by these stories, and out of those first performances of The Vagina Monologues grew the V-Day movement to stop violence against women. The first V-Day was on Valentine's Day 1998 when a group of well-known actresses got together to perform Eve's monologues. Since then the V-Day movement has become international, with The Vagina Monologues being performed in theatres and on college campuses worldwide. Even today there are people trying to ban those performances.

I'm so interested to see which monologues we all like best, and which ones still shock us. Has the world moved on in twenty years, or are there still aspects of women's sexuality we can't talk about, through our own fears or because others try to stop us? Do we think art can change the world?

Emma x

message 2: by Justine (new)

Justine Banszky | 3 comments This sounds like a very interesting topic! I'm so happy I joined this book club. It's been almost a full year and I have learned so much and grown as a woman. Thank you Emma for helping bring us all together and inspiring us to be strong.

message 3: by Kathrin (new)

Kathrin | 25 comments Yes! A new book. Another one I have never read before. I love OSS for all these amazing opportunities to learn and grow. Thank you Emma!

message 4: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments Art is the only thing that can change the world I suspect Emma it challenges current paradigms. Opens the way to new thinking.

Side bar my wife is going to be so pleased she has been trying to get me to a showing of Virginia monologues since before I became a feminist.

message 5: by Shana (new)

Shana Kaplan (sek1128) | 93 comments Great choice. I have heard of the book and the play. Haven't read/seen it. Should be an interesting read. Thanks Emma. X

message 6: by Ashley Marie (new)

Ashley Marie Looking forward to rereading this! I read it in college and saw a student-led production but it's been years. Thanks Emma!

message 7: by Emily (new)

Emily Knapp | 2 comments My college did a production of this and it was awesome. Can't wait to read the actual play!

message 8: by Finn (new)

Finn Sheather | 16 comments Very interesting, can't wait to read it :-)

message 9: by MeerderWörter (last edited Dec 15, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Thanks Emma for announcing it now - still enough time to order/borrow it and no stress because of that.

Let's see how open-minded the book is. I fear it is heteronormative, but let's see!

As fas as I have seen, this read is going to be a controversial one. Let's see nonetheless. Although I do think about sitting this one out!


message 10: by Alissa (new)

Alissa Patrick (apatrick12211) I've never read this- looking forward to it!

message 11: by Nick (new)

Nick Peron | 19 comments That's an interesting topic! I've never thought about the use or better the non-use of the word "vagina" in our society... This theme give us a good opportunity to discuss about some important issues like sex or rape.
So Thank you Emma because , with the books you choose every month, I have the chance to understand something new.
I can't wait to read this book!!

message 12: by Agnes Szalkowska (new)

Agnes Szalkowska | 386 comments I read this book and see a play as well but that was ages ago . OMG I'm old . Well it will be nice to refreshed my old mind and read this book again.

message 13: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Lovegreen (lynn_lovegreen) I loved the show The Vagina Monologues but have never read it--thanks to Emma for the opportunity to revisit this and give it more thought.

message 14: by Taylor (new)

Taylor | 11 comments Great choice. I read it many years ago and found it to be very empowering.

message 15: by Robert (new)

Robert Smart | 337 comments I heard The Vagina Monologues being talked about for years and wanted to read the play but have not done so yet. Can't wait. :)

message 16: by Val (new)

Val (JustVal666) | 3 comments The play was amazing. Looking forward to reading this ground-breaking work and refreshing my memory... I remember quite a few laughs...

message 17: by Evelia (new)

Evelia | 89 comments Cool, looking forward to reading the book. :)

message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Sounds interesting, can't wait to read it!

message 19: by Simone (new)

Simone | 85 comments I've heard this play, just title itself is a huge shock to me. Because people don't say vagina very much, as far as i know, in China,we seldom say this word. I don't know why, guess people are too shy to say it out aloud? like, in China we don't say 'penis' either.
So, when i first heard this play, i am very very curious what it is about. It must be fun and inspiring like i can learn something new from it. So I'm so excited that we gonna read this book! Gonna order my copy now! Thank you, Emma.

message 20: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Watts | 21 comments Even though this is so well known I know so little about it! Looking forward to finding out :-)

message 21: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (eli_stewart) | 4 comments Ordered my copy. Excited to give this a read, sounds quite different to what I would usually pick up.

message 22: by Anne (new)

Anne | 3 comments Good choice ! I have often heard about it but i never read it. I have no more excuses !

message 23: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 11 comments New to the group and excited for this and many more!

message 24: by Meaghan (new)

Meaghan (immortalraine) | 6 comments This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for years waiting for me to get to it. I'm glad I'm finally getting a push to read it :)

message 25: by Kellie (new)

Kellie Knight | 1 comments Just joined the club and the first book I'll be joining the conversation with is one of my favourite plays! I've been helping produce V-Day shows for over a decade on uni campuses and professional stages alike - looking forward to hearing people's first impressions!

message 26: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Kellie wrote: "Just joined the club and the first book I'll be joining the conversation with is one of my favourite plays! I've been helping produce V-Day shows for over a decade on uni campuses and professional ..."

Michelle wrote: "New to the group and excited for this and many more!"

I'm sure both of you will learn a lot here, it's a fantastic feeling to be a part of this book club and our reading choices always give some new knowledge, although it may vary which one!

message 27: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 11 comments Looking forward to it!

message 28: by Breanna (new)

Breanna Hammond | 2 comments I just joined the group and am excited to start reading this book! I've heard about it but never read it before. I'm excited to learn and discuss with others!!

message 29: by Makaela (new)

Makaela Kerns | 2 comments I just joined as well and I'm excited for this and many more books to come!!

message 30: by Robin (new)

Robin Tellez | 1 comments I am really excited to read this one!

message 31: by JRaleyWrites (new)

JRaleyWrites | 7 comments I have been fortunate enough to perform this show 2 times, performing different monologues each time. Each time I hear the same ones I am still floored and each time a new piece is introduced I am in awe. Such a great read and I encourage each reader to think about their own vagina stories!

message 32: by Isabella (new)

Isabella | 4 comments So happy to join this beautiful community this year! Already ordered my copy..can't wait to start the new year with all of you!

message 33: by Teri (new)

Teri | 2 comments I first saw this as a group performance bringing attention to violence against women. Powerful, funny, surprising. Then I saw Eve perform on an HBO special. I'm sure reading it will bring a totally different dimension to the words, as always.

message 34: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (maggyruth) | 1 comments As someone who has been very active in my now alma mater's productions of this, I will let people know that is does fall into some problematic areas...very white, very cis-, very heteronormative. HOWEVER, all these problematic areas can and do make great discussion points-and being critical of these types of things is part of what feminism is all about. I look forward to seeing the discussion.

message 35: by Maxi (new)

Maxi Bolongaita (maxmazing) | 4 comments Oh, I love this! I performed the Vagina Workshop piece in 2015 for the international VDay. It was super significant because my mother performed it ten years ago. Last year, we had LGBTQ performers stage it, and it was a total hit in our city. The 15th year anniversary will be on Feb next year. So excited!

message 36: by Eram (new)

Eram | 43 comments I must admit that I've heard about this book for the first time in my life *embarrassed*

I've added another book to the long list of books that I want to read. I want to read this book right after I finish the one that I'm currently reading. I'm following this thread to know how those who've read the book felt about it and how ppl like me are eager to read it.

message 37: by Danica (new)

Danica Pungtilan (nicapungtilan) | 2 comments I am so excited for this book and for more books to come ;)

message 38: by Odette (new)

Odette | 14 comments I love that this is the next read! A couple of years ago I was part of my college's production of TVM and was impressed by the play itself, the different stories and perspectives. It was an amazing experience to be part of and I love that I have a reason to read it again although this time not for the purpose of memorising and to get myself acquainted again with the text!

message 39: by Gloriafindel (new)

Gloriafindel This time I'll read it in paperback. I'm italian, and I have the habit to read english books on my kindle (because it has an amazing dictionary application), but this time even though I'll read it in original language, I'll buy it in paperback because I'm curious to see people's reactions to the cover.

message 40: by Dagny Moland (new)

Dagny Moland Seim | 48 comments I read this 10 years ago in London, long before I became a mother. Remember crying as I was reading it :) Will be wonderful to have an excuse to re-read!

message 41: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (chloe36) | 2 comments "V Warrior" students at my liberal arts university perform the Vagina Monologues each year, and it is great to raise awareness of women and to also hear stories that you can personally identify with or give you a new and empowering perspective. Great choice for reading!

message 42: by Nyssa (last edited Dec 19, 2016 03:23PM) (new)

Nyssa | 11 comments Brigette wrote: "I'm looking for a complete list of the books chosen so far. Is there one?"

Clicking on "Bookshelf" in the upper right-hand corner will show you everything that's been added since the group began.

Here are the ones that have been Read.

message 43: by Jamie (new)

Jamie | 16 comments I just finished Mom and Me and Mom a couple days ago and loved it, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw that the next book had posted. I was so excited, in fact, that I bought it as an audiobook on iTunes because it was the fastest way I could get it. I had not thought about the content until it was too late. I turn it on full volume right in the middle of a crowd of coworkers (I work late night at Disneyland). The beginning of the book says vagina sooo many times!?!? Haha. I'm not embarrassed by that word or any other word to be honest, but I feel like that was just a bit adult rated for Mickey's old fashioned ears haha. Next time I will remember to bring headphones! Just thought I'd share a funny story. Happy reading everyone!

- Jamie

message 44: by Michael Guthrie (new)

Michael Guthrie | 5 comments As a man, I had been meaning to read this book for a while now because I always try to expand my horizons and experience new things. As a man, I've also heard the normal anti-feminist remarks related to this book. Now, as a man who has literally just finished reading this book, my mind swims with the stories.

The horror of the poor old woman that had never had an orgasm before from her own hands and considered her vagina such a terrible and dark place because of what happened. The beauty of the woman workshop and how liberated the woman was finding herself like that. The pure sexuality and intensity of the Woman Who Loves to Make Vaginas Happy and how incredibly alive she felt making women moan like they've never moaned before. The absolute tear inducing disgust of what the poor woman in My Vagina Was My Village went through. This book was incredible; made me smile, laugh, cry, and angry all because of the incredible stories within it. It is now my mission to find a local production of the play.

message 45: by Renee (new)

Renee | 2 comments Brigette wrote: "I'm looking for a complete list of the books chosen so far. Is there one?"

I've kept my own list...
The Vagina Monologues Eve Ensler Jan/Feb-17
Mom & Me & Mom Maya Angelou Nov/Dec-16
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide Nicholas D Kristop & Sheryl WuDunn Sep/Oct-16
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl Carrie Brownstein Jul/Aug-16
Persepolis Marjane Satrapi Jun-16
The Argonauts Maggie Nelson May-16
How to Be A Woman Caitlin Moran Apr-16
All About Love: New Visions Bell Hooks Mar-16
The Color Purple Alice Walker Feb-16
My Life on the Road Gloria Steinem Jan-16

message 46: by Sekya (new)

Sekya | 2 comments so excited to begin! I am a new member and I want to make 2017 a year to learn and grow. I know I will love this book and this group!

message 47: by JOSUE (new)

JOSUE (josuemsv) | 29 comments Can't wait to read this, thanks for the recommendation ☺️

message 48: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Sekya wrote: "so excited to begin! I am a new member and I want to make 2017 a year to learn and grow. I know I will love this book and this group!"

You'll definitely learn and grow - the more you engage with us here the more you'll do:)
I was so happy back in the early days in January, when I had to wait for three weeks for My Life on the Road to arrive!
I was so happy and eager to participate as well and read the book in ten days, although I had shifts in the old people's home I was volunteering at that time.

Now, I'm going to read this book, I said I won't, but I'm going to read it. I think I have to:) And then give you a nice review about it!

message 49: by Brianna (new)

Brianna | 2 comments I have been wanting to read this as well as see the show! I'm looking forward to a new year with Our Shared Shelf! Thank you Emma

message 50: by Brianna (new)

Brianna | 2 comments I'm a little late to the game and missed the first few months of the club, does anyone know where I can find a list of all the books that have been read this year?

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