November 2009 – November 2010
Straight from the Women Unbound challenge site:
Participants are encouraged to read nonfiction and fiction books related to the rather broad idea of ‘women’s studies.’ The definition according to Merriam-Webster
the multidisciplinary study of the social status and societal contributions of women and the relationship between power and gender.
For nonfiction, this would include books on feminism, history books focused on women, biographies of women, memoirs (or travelogues) by women, essays by women and cultural books focused on women (body image, motherhood, etc.).
Obviously, any classic fiction written by a feminist is applicable. But where do we go from there? To speak generally, if the book takes a thoughtful look at the place of women in society, it will probably count.
Three levels of participation:
- Philogynist: read at least two books, including at least one nonfiction one.
- Bluestocking: read at least five books, including at least two nonfiction ones.
- Suffragette: read at least eight books, including at least three nonfiction ones.
Can’t pass up this one, can’t I? I’m excited!
As usual, I’m aiming low, so Philogynist level it is. But deep inside I hope to reach Bluestocking level.
I’m going to list books I’ve read that I think would be good for the challenge below. Some of them are from a few years back, so pardon me if the reviews are not as thoughtful or well written as what I have these days. As you would see, there was a point where I read so many women’s memoirs, though I don’t read them much lately. I hope to read more during this challenge.
Escape by Carolyn Jessop: memoir of a woman who escaped polygamist
Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi: glimpse of lives of Iranian women in graphic novel form
Persepolis and Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi: memoir of an Iranian woman
Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah: memoir of a woman from Hong Kong/China who had an evil stepmother
Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent: memoir of a woman who disguised herself as man for 18 months
Desert Flower and Desert Dawn by Waris Dirie: memoir of a Somalian woman who suffered female circumcision and went away to become International fashion model
Burned Alive by Souad: memoir of a woman from Palestine burned alive by her own brother because of outside-marriage pregnancy
Princess and Princess Sultana’s Daughter by Jean Sasson: memoir of a royal princess in Saudi Arabia
I Choose to Live by Sarbine Dardenne: memoir of a woman who survives a pedophile at 12
Lucky by Alice Sebold: memoir of the author’s survival from rape
The Color Purple by Alice Walker: all strong black women characters in oppressive time
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: story of a Nigerian girl and her religious family
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: two stories, two Afghanistan women, paths meet
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote: a playgirl in New York 1940s
The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot: survival story of a woman abused as a child, in graphic novel form
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler: black woman traveled back in time to meet her ancestors in slavery
Out by Natsuo Kirino: four Japanese women work together to conceal a murder
The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan (and everything else by her): semi-biography of Tan’s Chinese mother
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd: a white girl taken under the wings of four black women
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden: journey of a geisha
Check out Eva’s post for more book recommendation!
I do have a few books in mind for the challenge that I’d love to read, but you’ll just have to wait and see!
Are you joining?
Books I read for the challenge:
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins: glimpse of women’s roles and social status in 1800s England. The marriage settlement was most interesting to me.
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: a few strong main female characters, mid and post WWII
- Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See: rich setting of 19th century China and the women
- Waiting by Ha Jin: for a glimpse into women’s lives in mid to late 1900s China
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: women’s lives in 1700s England
- Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki: graphic novel about being a chubby Japanese descendant gay girl in Canada
- The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter: female writer who doesn’t shy from the subject of sexuality
- Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan: fantasy book centered around women and their problems
- Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang: short stories on women in Hong Kong and China 1940s