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message 1: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
Feel free to share what you're reading here! I always like to know what else is out there that I may be missing.

In the spirit of this group, let's limit this thread to female authors and/or books about feminist/racial/etc. issues.


message 2: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
I've been reading The Widow Nash: A Novel by Jamie Harrison (who turns out to be the daughter of another well-known author, Jim Harrison). This is an Advanced Reader's Copy to read for review, but it will be available next month.

Takes place in 1904 in the Pacific Northwest. A young woman finds herself in a precarious situation she's trying to get out of, so she disappears from a train and changes her identity so she isn't found. There's a bit of a mystery as well - her father, a well-traveled man, returns from Africa a changed person and no one can figure out what he has done with his riches from that trip.

This is well-written and fascinating; the feminism is subtle, but it is there and it is poignant. Highly recommend. (At least at this point. I'm only halfway through, so you never know what might happen in the second half of a book to change one's mind.)


message 3: by Kay (new)

Kay | 72 comments I am in the middle of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America which is slow going both for the length and the subject matter. Lots of information too, so I am taking my time.
To balance that out, I just started The Roving Party, which is a Western of sorts, set in Tasmania! Not far enough to judge whether it is a good or not, but has a very peculiar writing style, with no punctuation and interspersed with tribal languages.
Finally, Milk and Honey is my poetry book this month, which makes me the last person to read it :)


message 4: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
Kay wrote: "I am in the middle of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America which is slow going both for the length and the subject matter. Lots of informati..."

Nice! See, Stamped from the Beginning is a title I was not familiar with, but something I would be interested in reading. I'm adding that to my To-Read list.

Don't worry, you are not the last person to read Milk and Honey. But I might be! (Actually I don't intend to read it, so not sure if that counts or not, lol.)


message 5: by Kay (new)

Kay | 72 comments (Actually I don't intend to read it, so not sure if that counts or not, lol.) Why is that, if you don't mind me asking? Type of poetry or subject matter?


message 6: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
Kay wrote: "(Actually I don't intend to read it, so not sure if that counts or not, lol.) Why is that, if you don't mind me asking? Type of poetry or subject matter?"

Mostly the type of poetry. I'm not sure what that's called, but it doesn't appeal to me. I've flipped through it in the store before and it feels a bit basic. (At the risk of sounding terribly pretentious...) Subject matter isn't so much a problem - it just doesn't come across as poetry to me. :/


message 7: by Kay (new)

Kay | 72 comments Totally understandable and not pretentious at all - you should hear my husband who majored in poetry :) What is a favorite book of poetry you would recommend? I am still looking for anything to come close to Crush, but I love that collection so much (and read it at a very disturbing time in my life), it is unlikely.


message 8: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Holme (natashaholme) | 281 comments Ammonite by Nicola Griffith, lesbian sci-fi. A virus has killed off all the men and 20% of the women on planet Jeep. ...


message 9: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
Kay wrote: "Totally understandable and not pretentious at all - you should hear my husband who majored in poetry :) What is a favorite book of poetry you would recommend? I am still looking for anything to com..."

Oooh, that's tough. I'm not a big poetry reader normally, but I tend to enjoy a lot of the older poetry. The poetess H.D., The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, Edna St. Vincent Millay are the top ones to come to mind.


message 10: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
Natasha (Diarist) wrote: "Ammonite by Nicola Griffith, lesbian sci-fi. A virus has killed off all the men and 20% of the women on planet Jeep. ..."

I like stories about things that kill off lots of people! (It appeals to my antisocial nature, I think.) Sounds interesting. A few GR friends weren't too excited about it - I see a few of them gave it 2 stars. Are you enjoying it, Natasha?


message 11: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 33 comments I'm reading Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon who is an African American author. The protagonist is an African American female musician in Ireland who is in charge of a boy's school orchestra and is getting them ready for a competition. When she's told to stop investigating a series of murders because it's dangerous, she says she doesn't come from a family of quitters. She has quite a family history--including her mother being a daughter of sharecroppers who became a doctor. I'm really enjoying this book.


message 12: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Holme (natashaholme) | 281 comments El wrote: "I see a few of them gave it 2 stars. Are you enjoying it, Natasha?"

I'm not surprised. It's hard to follow, El. I'm re-reading whole chunks much of the time. The writing could be much clearer, the story could be much better explained. ... But despite that, I'm getting into it and am interested to know how it progresses (17% in so far).


message 13: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
Shomeret wrote: "I'm reading Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon who is an African American author. The protagonist is an African American female musician in Ireland who is in charge of a boy's schoo..."

That sounds interesting, Shomeret. Looks like the author will be making a series based on the protagonist, which could be interesting.


message 14: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 33 comments El wrote: "Shomeret wrote: "I'm reading Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon who is an African American author. The protagonist is an African American female musician in Ireland who is in charge..."

The sequel Death in D Minor will be released in July.


message 15: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
I started reading The Sworn Virgin by Kristopher Dukes this weekend. I wasn't sure quite what to expect, but I'm about 50 pages in so far and I am enjoying it.

Eleanora is an 18-year-old woman living in Albania in the early 20th-century. She's a spirited young woman who has no interest in settling down and becoming a mountain woman as is typical of women in her society. She doesn't want to be "property" to anyone, and wants to live life on her terms which include going to an art academy in Italy that accepts female students only on occasion.

The idea of a "sworn virgin" is really just that - someone who swears to remain celibate. I'm sure, at some point, there will be a complication to that in the story. :) At this point very early on she hasn't actually sworn to remain a virgin, but there has been some discussion of what a sworn virgin in Albania in the early 1900s was - essentially a man without a mustache. :) They are treated the same as men, can do the same as men, can hold property and have the same rights as men, but cannot be killed in a blood feud the same way that a man can be.

All in all, an interesting novel so far. I'm looking forward to getting to read more over lunch.


message 16: by CD (new)

CD  | 102 comments Kay wrote: "I am in the middle of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America which is slow going both for the length and the subject matter. Lots of informati..."

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, a phenomenal work. This post reminds me that I need to write a review of this, for me, 5 star book!

Will look forward to your opinion!


message 17: by Kay (new)

Kay | 72 comments CD wrote: "Kay wrote: "I am in the middle of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America which is slow going both for the length and the subject matter. Lots ..."

Yes, it is going to be a five-star read for me too. It is an excellent book that is meticulously researched. What are you reading now?


message 18: by CD (new)

CD  | 102 comments Kay wrote: "CD wrote: "Kay wrote: "I am in the middle of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America What are you reading now?
"


Just brought home from the library A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women's Rights in Early Mormonism, 1835-1870. This is a history of a little known era and a facets about the early days in The Church of the Latter Day Saints. A Pulitzer winner.


message 19: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
Sisa wrote: "I haven't started it yet, but I'm really looking forward to Roxane Gay's new book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body! It's coming out this month and I can't wait! I haven't read anythin..."

I forgot that was coming out this month! Thanks for the reminder. I liked Bad Feminist quite a bit and Difficult Women a little less. I haven't read An Untamed State yet, and need to build up my strength for that one, I think. :) But, yes, she's a great writer and an interesting person. If you have an opportunity to see her do a reading, I think it's worth making an effort!


message 20: by Archie (new)

Archie Mega | 5 comments Hello all!

I am also excited about Roxane Gay's Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. I will keep in touch when I pick it up.

Last week I started and devoured Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower and continued to read Parable of the Talents which I finished today. I can't express how much I love Octavia Butler. During the run up to this last election, many people were pointing out how similar our current political state is to the one in the fictional 2020s and 30s in these novels. The resemblance is quite frightening-- the fundamentalist, political outsider who runs for election in Talents actually says he will "Make America Great Again".
These books are wonderful and I couldn't stop reading them, but they are also very difficult. Since this science fiction from the 1990s is now even closer to reality, I found myself feeling sad and hopeless during the more trying events of the story. Additionally, the climate of violence, assault, and slavery in the book are all too real, possible, and harrowing.

I do believe these books are as important as ever in the wake of increasing divisions within the US. I would love to hear other folks' thoughts on these books especially as it relates to power, inequality, and the real possible negative outcomes of unattended economic, environmental, and political crises.

Today I just started Elena Ferrera's My Brilliant Friend, the first of her four Neopolitan novels. Many other writers I like have recommended these works and I am finally getting around to them. Anyone else read them?

Best,
-A


message 21: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
Nicely said about Butler, Archie. I read the first book in that trilogy a long while back but never continued for some reason. Probably good for me to re-read the first one before continuing. I do enjoy Butler and have a couple on my shelves I would like to read this year of I get time.

I have not read the Ferrera novels yet. I have heard nothing but good things about them, so I do look forward to reading them one day. I love that we don't know who the author really is. (Though I believe someone claims to have unearthed that info? I remember headlines about it not that long ago, but I refused to read the articles because I disagreed with the idea that her identity needs to be announced. So if someone here knows, please don't say it!) :)


message 22: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (officerripley) | 89 comments I just finished Ammonite by Nicola Griffith; can't believe it took me all this time to discover this wonderful feminist writer.


message 23: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
Lynn wrote: "I just finished Ammonite by Nicola Griffith; can't believe it took me all this time to discover this wonderful feminist writer."

Natasha (Diarist) was reading that not too long ago too (message 8)! I take you really liked it?


message 24: by Lynn (last edited Jun 08, 2017 04:07PM) (new)

Lynn (officerripley) | 89 comments Ooops, I missed that (internet/computer probs). But, yes, I did like it, El, very much. I love SF, espec. feminist SF.


message 25: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
Lynn wrote: "Ooops, I missed that (internet/computer probs). But, yes, I did like it, El, very much. I love SF, espec. feminist SF."

Thanks, Lynn! I'm still on the fence about reading it, just because there seems to be such polarizing opinions on it. But then again, that's usually what makes a book the most interesting. :)


message 26: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Holme (natashaholme) | 281 comments El wrote: "Thanks, Lynn! I'm still on the fence about reading it, just because there seems to be such polarizing opinions on it. But then again, that's usually what makes a book the most interesting. :) "

I'm 38% through Ammonite. I'm finding it hard-going, but it is so atmospheric. The author does a great job of world-building.


message 27: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (officerripley) | 89 comments When I first started Ammonite, I thought"Oh I don't know if I can handle this or not"; there seemed to be too much detail about the air lock, for instance, so I was afraid it was going to be 1 of those books that are too heavy on technical details, but I stuck with it & it drew me in.


message 28: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Holme (natashaholme) | 281 comments Lynn wrote: "When I first started Ammonite, I thought"Oh I don't know if I can handle this or not"; there seemed to be too much detail about the air lock, for instance, so I was afraid it was going to be 1 of t..."

I just didn't understand it! There wasn't *enough* information for me. I still don't know what Company and SEC are, for example. ...


message 29: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (officerripley) | 89 comments IIRC, Company was the Megacorporation that seemed to be running all human activities on all planets and--this I'm a little less sure about, no longer have the bk since I got it fr the library--SEC was the security force, the Mirrors (or police) that Marghe worked for. (Corporations running everything: now we' not talking *speculative* fiction anymore, more like plausible, sigh.)


message 30: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Holme (natashaholme) | 281 comments Lynn wrote: "IIRC, Company was the Megacorporation that seemed to be running all human activities on all planets and--this I'm a little less sure about, no longer have the bk since I got it fr the library--SEC ..."

Thanks so much for illuminating me, Lynn! Was struggling with that. Still enjoying the story, though ...


message 31: by Paula (new)

Paula (lunaontherun) | 30 comments I'm reading "A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea" by Eunsun Kim and "Bodies" by Susie Orbach. Both are really good so far. I've wanted to read more books by Susie Orbach ever since I read "Fat Is a Feminist Issue."


message 32: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
Paula wrote: "I'm reading "A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea" by Eunsun Kim and "Bodies" by Susie Orbach. Both are really good so far. I've wanted to read more books by Susie Orbach ever si..."

Hi Paula! Did you read In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom with us recently? I'm curious if you've read both how you would compare the two books. I've heard good things about A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea as well.

I still have not read any Susie Orbach. Sigh. I need to rectify that.


message 33: by El (last edited Jul 10, 2017 05:31AM) (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
I started reading Last Words from Montmartre by Qiu Miaojin, a Taiwanese writer who killed herself at age 26. I've only read a couple of the letters in this semi-autobiographical experimental novel, but already my miserable little heart is breaking for the pain she felt that caused her to take her own life, if I understand correctly, a week after she wrote the letters in this book.

I read that she's considered a "martyr in the movement for LGBT rights in Taiwan" (Wikipedia).

Curious if anyone else has read this or Notes of a Crocodile? I also see her diaries were published about 10 years ago, which I hope to be able to get my hands on one day. Not to be morbid.


message 34: by Seth (new)

Seth Rumbley | 7 comments "Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center" by bell hooks. I previously read and thoroughly enjoyed her book "Class Matters" and wanted to read more of her work.


message 35: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 33 comments My current read Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme is the second in a series of YA anthologies intended to increase the interest of girls in science. I would like to see more woman scientists myself, so I support these anthologies. Yet since they are independently published I hadn't even heard about them until I saw them mentioned in the bio of Mary Fan, the co-editor of these anthologies. I had read a story by Mary Fan in another anthology which I absolutely loved. Now I'm following up my interest in her work.


message 36: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Holme (natashaholme) | 281 comments Money by Martin Amis.


message 37: by CD (new)

CD  | 102 comments The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women.

A book of some local interest for me.


message 38: by Kay (new)

Kay | 72 comments I am finishing The Essex Serpent, which has gotten a lot of hype all around, but finding it a bit dull. Anyone else tried this book yet?


message 39: by Kay (new)

Kay | 72 comments CD wrote: "The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women.

A book of some local interest for me."


This sounds dreadful - how detailed is it, CD?


message 40: by CD (new)

CD  | 102 comments Kay wrote: "CD wrote: "The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women.

A book of some local interest for me."

This sounds dreadful - how detailed is it, CD?"


It is a horrid story from the era of unsafe working conditions. There are echos today of product safety that are later revealed to be anything but safe.

Otherwise bright and healthy young women who were killed in the name of profit. There are also modern echos to people with access to the best healthcare available not getting the right answers until it was too late.

I lived withing a half a dozen miles of one of the factories locations, though long gone by then, when I was a child. Known about this story forever, now there is a book!


message 41: by Kay (last edited Aug 10, 2017 06:04PM) (new)

Kay | 72 comments I really enjoy (although this is not the right word for this specific book) reading books that are set around me or relate to me somehow - keep us posted on how the book is, CD.


message 42: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
I recently read Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits and was absolutely blown away. What a powerful story and an amazing debut novel. It's possible I read it in the far-away past but had no memory of it, which means I read it at the wrong time. Glad to have read it now. I was pleasantly surprised by just how feminist the story was. The women characters in Allende's book are beautifully written, strong, independent (to the best of their abilities), powerful women in a patriarchal society. There were some moments where I felt Allende was taking a jab at society, which made me snicker, and then other occasions where she was much more direct.

Absolutely loved it and highly recommend it.



Right now, though, I am currently reading The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Dubravka Ugrešić, a Croatian author. This is also a powerful novel with some similarities to The House of Spirits - I feel both are stories about families and the mythologies we tell (every family has them) over the years, and how that shapes us as individuals.

To be honest, this is a concept that is of interest to me anyway, so I could be reaching just a smidge. :)

If you're interested in reading a bit of experimental fiction, you might like The Museum of Unconditional Surrender.


message 43: by Kay (new)

Kay | 72 comments El wrote: "I recently read Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits and was absolutely blown away. What a powerful story and an amazing debut novel. It's possible I read it in the far-away past b..."

I have Dubravka Ugrešić's The Ministry of Pain but have not read anything by her yet. I wonder if it is also experimental - not my taste :)

If anyone is looking for excellent short stories by/about Filipinos, I highly recommend Mia Alvar's In the Country: Stories. Beautiful writing and very human stories.


message 44: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
Kay, I read The Ministry of Pain a while back, but that was before I wrote reviews and now unfortunately all of that memory is gone. I see I gave it 3 stars, and I do remember not loving it. I can't remember for sure, but my pathetic memory seems to tell me that it was not quite like The Museum of Unconditional Surrender in terms of experimentation.

Thanks for the recommendation of Mia Alvar - looking up In the Country I see only one of my Goodreads friends has read it, and one other person that I follow has read it. They both gave it 4 stars. I'll add this to my never-ending book queue.


message 45: by Herman (new)

Herman Three books Vampire Academy(young reader's book my bad,..just so-so for me but I'll finish it since I started it. Also
People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn Much better book
and just started
1493 by Charles Mann Been sitting on my shelf forever waiting for me to get to it.


message 46: by Kay (new)

Kay | 72 comments El wrote: I'll add this to my never-ending book queue. Same here :)


message 47: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Holme (natashaholme) | 281 comments A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. It seems to be the book of the moment. I can see why.


message 48: by El (new)

El | 756 comments Mod
I've been meaning to get to that one for a while, Natasha. Glad to hear you're enjoying it. I recently read review where the reader greatly disliked it, so I was on the fence for a bit.


message 49: by CD (new)

CD  | 102 comments Natasha (Diarist) wrote: "A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. It seems to be the book of the moment. I can see why."

My real world book club read this as a selection. It's a rather dark topic in many ways, yet has some unlikely moments of humor.


message 50: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Holme (natashaholme) | 281 comments CD wrote: "My real world book club read this as a selection. It's a rather dark topic in many ways, yet has some unlikely moments of humor."

And yet somehow such a light read. ...


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