Okay everyone… between weddings, break-ups, school, apartment hunting, family problems, etc., your lovely administrators of this here book club haven’t been able to give it the love and attention it deserves. So while we go ahead and sort our lives out, we’re going to go ahead and take a break for the next few months.

We’ll jump-start the book club in a bit and it’ll be bigger and better than ever! Well, maybe not bigger, but certainly better. Okay, maybe just so-so. Whatever, point is, we’ll be back.

In the meantime, feel free to carry on discussions about feminist reads!


Voting has closed for the next book club pick, and the winner is: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Here is the magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the eyes and lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne. A spellbinding novel, an extraordinary literary achievement, THE MISTS OF AVALON will stay with you for a long time to come… (from Goodreads)

Discussion will start in June and continue through August. Pick up those books and stay tuned for the discussion.

I loved The Blind Assassin.  I saw that Radical Readers and Feminisms For Dummies was reading it this month, and I thought to myself: That title sounds really familiar… I went to look at the bookshelves in my closet and, lo and behold, there it was among my mom’s books!  Just waiting to be read!  So I grabbed it and started immediately, and I couldn’t put it down.  This book is truly epic, and the way Margaret Atwood weaves multiple stories together, revealing just enough information at a time to keep the pages turning, is absolutely masterful.

I could gush about the book for hours, and probably not even make a dent in the brilliance of this novel, but instead, I’ve decided to add to the discussion of the book by doing a Pentadic analysis of the marriage and subsequent love and sexual violence which ensued between the main characters.

(WARNING! There are spoilers in this post, so don’t read it if you haven’t finished!  I’ve put the rest of this post after the jump to avoid angry readers!)

Continue reading ‘A Pentadic Analysis of The Blind Assassin’

I got a little ahead of myself and finished this selection early (love, love, LOVE Margaret Atwood – we could do an entire book club just around her!). Here are some things I think are worth keeping in mind as you read…

How is education (in both the most literal and broadest senses) passed on between characters? Who is teaching, and what is being learned?

What is the relationship between violence and silence? How do each manifest throughout the novel?

Posted by: Amanda of The Undomestic Goddess

The book selection for February and March is Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape. As a way to start the discussion – especially for those who are still waiting for their copies or haven’t had a chance to start – I thought it’d be good to talk about some of the ways you see rape culture around you. Feel free to not only give examples but to link to a post you read or wrote that was particularly spot-on.

Voting has closed for the next book club pick. Winning by the tiniest margin possible (1 vote), the next pick is Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti.

Yes Means Yes will bring to the table a dazzling variety of perspectives and experiences focused on the theory that educating all people to value female sexuality and pleasure leads to viewing women differently, and ending rape. Yes Means Yes aims to have radical and far-reaching effects: from teaching men to treat women as collaborators and not conquests, encouraging men and women that women can enjoy sex instead of being shamed for it, and ultimately, that our children can inherit a world where rape is rare and swiftly punished. With commentary on public sex education, pornography, mass media, Yes Means Yes is a powerful and revolutionary anthology. (from Goodreads)

Discussion will start in February and continue through March.

Now, on to a question that I’d like folks to ponder. Because the vote was so close between Yes Means Yes and the runner-up, The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, would you all like to skip the voting for April & May and read this book then? Discuss in the comments so we can figure out what to do.

*I have only read the first edition of the book (my library doesn’t have the latest one), so these comments stem from that reading. If there are issues raised below that are solved in the updated edition, please let me know in the comments!

1) Do you think this book explains consent in a way that is useful, or does it take for granted an understanding of the term? In first reading, I couldn’t help but make comparisons to an essay found in Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape. I almost would recommend reading Yes Means Yes as a pre-req in order to fully understand sexuality and its power and influence in our culture before exploring more nontraditional relationships where consent and consideration of others’ feelings is not only important but necessary. After this is understood, the book serves as a very practical 101 for those considering polyamorous/nonmonogamous relationships.

2) Did reading this book make you consider trying nonmonogamous relationships yourself? Or if you’re already in one, did you learn anything new or look at your relationship in a different way? Shortly after reading the book, I was speaking to a friend about a relationship I had in college that fit this mold. “Oh, everyone is polyamorous in college,” she mused. And yet, the relationship in question followed closely to the model of this more responsible, adult relationship. We had our main relationship, and we cared about each other very much, but allowed ourselves to see other people, whether we took advantage of this or not. If one of us did hook up with someone else, we told the other person, and we were able to function without any jealousy. In fact, in some instances we encouraged the other relationships and hoped the best for each other. This was a safe way for us to explore different relationships with different types of people with different levels of sexuality while maintaining the caring bond we had for each other. It certainly helped that we were at an age where this type of behavior is encouraged, and where we didn’t have any shared life responsibilities, such as a marriage, kids, mortgage, etc.

3) Okay, I have to add…Did anyone think of this?

Posted by Amanda of The Undomestic Goddess.