Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, November 9, 2009

Women Unbound Reading Challenge

The Women Unbound Reading Challenge
Celebrating Women in Literature

I've joined another Reading Challenge! This is the Women Unbound Reading Challenge and revolves around the reading of books related to "women's studies". You may ask, "What is 'women's studies'? Merriam-Webster defines it as:

the multidisciplinary study of the social status and societal contributions of women and the relationship between power and gender

In plain language this would include history books focused on women, biographies of women, memoirs by women, essays by women and cultural books focused on women (body image, motherhood, etc.), and fiction that examines the place of women in society. I read a lot of books about women, their struggles and triumphs, so this is a perfect way to share, discover and read more books... Hey, I'm a Chick... I get it!

The beginning of this reading challenge asks the participants to answer a few questions...

1. What does feminism mean to you? Does it have to do with the work sphere? The social sphere? How you dress? How you act? Feminism to me has to do with equality. Being true to yourself and having the freedom to express yourself without prejudice or fear. Feminism isn't just about work, or how you dress etc, it's about all of it collectively. Be a plumber, a stripper, dress sexy or conservatively, speak your mind, have an opinion, whatever without having a stigma attached...

2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not? I don't like labels, so I would
not call myself a feminist per say, but if being a feminist means "the belief of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes" guess I would be a feminist because I do believe we as women should enjoy the same opportunities as men without favoritism... on either side.

3. What do you consider the biggest obstacle women face in the world today? Has that obstacle changed over time, or does it basically remain the same? I would say the biggest obstacle women face today is faith in our abilities. We are tough on ourselves, and this may come across as doubting our abilities to others. We can share our emotions easily, but it doesn't mean we can't be president. We fought hard for opportunities to be well educated, to vote, to have our voices heard... we are resilient....

Now for the Challenge...
Women Unbound Reading Challenge dates are November 2009 - November 2010
There are three catagories to choose from:

*Philogynist: read at least two books, including at least one nonfiction.
*Bluestocking: read at least five books, including at least two nonfiction.
*Suffragette: read at least eight books, including at least three nonfiction.

I would love to be a Suffragette! But I'm going to start slow here and be a Philogynist! So, I'll be reading at least two books, including a least one nonfiction book.

My Challenge Books:

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi... Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagu
ed by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trails of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up. This is a 'Graphic' Memoir... a memoir in black & white line drawings. The story is amazing and so is the artwork! This is my nonfiction choice. (Probably one of a few since I have a whole year to read!) Here's My Review...

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin... Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.

But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful? Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories... That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war. For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey. The blending of fact with fiction in Alice I Have Been is wonderful and seamless. It's a love story, and a story of heartbreak. The love & hate between sisters, jealousy, and an undercurrent of something a bit improper. Melanie Benjamin does a great job of portraying the restrictions of the victorian woman in society- how every action is judged, and how rumor and speculation, however unfounded, can ruin a woman's reputation. But this isn't some dry victorian piece of fiction, Alice is a vibrant wonderful character that will entice you to turn those pages. This is my choice for fiction for "The Challenge". Here's My Review...

Would you like to participate? Having a blog isn't necessary! You can read and review your book on the Women Unbound Blog! Also at the
Women Unbound Blog you'll find lots of great book recommendations, so follow the link to check it all out! And a special thanks to the girls who are hosting this, Aarti of Booklust Blog, Care of Care's Online Book Club, and Eva of A Striped Armchair.


Katy said...

:) Great answers! Glad to see another person joining the challenge!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hey Katy!
I just took a peek at your list for the challenge! Love it! I may have to pick up Abigail & John - I remember reading some great buzz about that book! I actually picked up Persepolis last night to read for the challenge and read straight thru til I was done... It was sitting on my shelf for almost a year- the receipt was still in it! :D It was so good, I can't believe it took me a year to get to it! That's what's great about these reading challenges- they motivate you to read the books on your shelves!

Louise said...

I am eager about this challenge, and think it sounds so great. I do not have Persepolis on my challenge reading list, but it is on my "over all" reading list anyway :-)

Suzanne Yester said...

Yes, I immediately thought Persepolis would fit right in and the challenge just gave me the incentive to crack the spine. I'm glad because it was a great read. When memoirs are done well as a graphic novel they are so good and Marjane Satrapi did it well! The other graphic memoir I just loved was The Impostor's Daughter!

I look forward to seeing all your choices!

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of a graphic memoir and sounds like a great book. Good luck with the challenge, I have been tempted to sign up but I worry I won't find enough time. If I did do it I think I would try a few more Persephone titles, I just ordered one which is an early feminist novel called Consequences. Have fun with the challenge.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Book Pusher!
These challenges certainly are a big temptation aren't they! I haven't started my Persephone titles yet- I ordered 3, but may have to consider them for the challenge now that you just reminded me!

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