Saturday, October 31, 2009

Women Unbound Reading Challenge

Seriously? This is AMAZING!

From the challenge blog:

The challenge runs from November 1, 2009-November 30, 2010, but you may join in the fun whenever you wish! 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.). The topics I’ve listed aren’t mean to be exhaustive; if you come across a nonfiction book whose subject is female-related, it counts! Of course, if you’re not sure you can always ask about it in a comment. And if you need some ideas for specific books, check out the ‘Reading Lists’ page.

It’s trickier to say what is applicable as fiction. 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. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to explain in your review why you chose this for the challenge and its connection to women’s studies. Once again, if you need some specific ideas, check out the ‘Reading Lists’ page.

One quick note about author gender. There isn’t a rule if a book’s written by a woman it counts and if by a man it doesn’t count. I firmly believe that men can be feminists and that not all women are feminists. As long as the book adheres to the definition of women’s studies I’ve shared above, it counts.

Interested in participating? Great! There are three levels you can choose as a reader (you can count books for other challenges as well):

  • 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.

Of course, I'll be signing up for Suffragette - here is my list of possible choices:

Fiction -

Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin
The Judas Rose by Suzette Haden Elgin
Earthsong by Suzette Haden Elgin
Frost in May by Antonia White
Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
Mind of My Mind by Octavia Butler
Clay's Ark by Octavia Butler
Patternmaster by Octavia Butler
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

Nonfiction -

Where the Girls Are by Susan J. Douglas (sociology, mass media)
The Woman who Ran for President by Lois Beachy Underhill (biography)
Mothers of the Disappeared by Jo Fisher (history, biography)
China to Me by Emily Hahn (travel)
Not Counting Women and Children by Megan McKenna (religion)
Six Myths of Our Time by Marina Warner (mythology, cultural criticism)
Nothing To Do But Stay by Carrie Young (biography)
Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman (travel)
Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts (history, biography)

Nothing like giving myself a few choices. I found all these by spending about 10 minutes browsing my shelves - as usual, I have lots of choices.

I'm very excited about this one!! If you want to join, visit the challenge blog and sign up!


Wendy said...

Awesome list of books, Elizabeth. You'll LOVE The Robber of my most favorite Atwood novels!

susan said...

I love Butler's work. I read and enjoyed Wild Seed.

3m.michelle said...

I'm looking forward to this challenge as well. Great list!

Zibilee said...

I am thinking about joining this challenge if I can carve out some reading time for it, and am really intrigued by some of your choices. I think it would probably be harder for me to find non-fiction books that are on topic then fiction titles, so I might have to peruse your list again and see if anything looks like a good fit for me.

jehara said...

i read about this challenge over the weekend. i have yet to sign up, but i definitely plan on it!

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Elizabeth -
Just wanted to finally come by and check out your list for the Woman Unbound Challenge.
I have not heard of any of these books so it will be interesting to see your thoughts about them. I can always use another book to add to my tbr pile. :)

Care said...

Thank you for joining the challenge. and thank you for recruiting others to join, too! :)