Sunday, August 11, 2013

Literary Wives Virtual Book Club--extended and expanded!

As some of you may know, I have been participating in a Virtual Book Club called Literary Wives that was founded this past spring. The purpose of this group was to read books with the word "wife" in the title, pondering the two following questions: 

1. What does this book say about wives or about the experience of being a wife?

2. In what way does this woman define "wife"--or in what way is she defined by "wife"?

Prior to the announcement of this discussion group, I had noticed many books including the word "wife" in the title. Personally, I am curious how that relates to our current society and cultures now...and in the past. What does this say about us? And what about the future? I was definitely all "in" for this experience! I love to read and then I love to discuss those same materials with others; no better way to expand my own perspectives and opinions, greatly enhancing my reading experience overall! Thus I embarked upon this adventure, reading and reviewing American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick, and last, but by no means least, The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin. I finally decided to take the plunge and establish this blog after we read the first book, so need to post a review for it, as well as the last book, for which I wrote three pages of notes. It is definitely the one of these four books with which I resonated the most, and I have been digesting it over the past few days...but then Melanie Benjamin is one of my favorite writers!

This is a bit of history, so on to the news about Literary Wives--this series has been extended beyond these initial four books, with a schedule of every other month, beginning on October 1, 2013. In addition, three of the four founding bloggers will continue as co-hosts and have graciously expanded this group to include myself and two other bloggers, Carolyn and Cecilia. They are all listed below. If you wish to participate, I would encourage you to at least bookmark their blogs, or better yet, register to follow them. They have truly interesting thought-provoking posts! The plan is for all six of our reviews to be posted on our respective blogs on the scheduled date, and the hope is that many others will participate by reading the books, our reviews, and posting comments to create a discussion of each book relative to the two questions posed above, as well as any other reactions you may have to the novel. I have been thrilled with the dialogue with other readers, both to confirm my own thoughts, as well as opening me up to alternative viewpoints. This, in my opinion, is what makes reading a true learning experience! And so much fun!!!

Now to introduce the other five bloggers...  (founders listed first)

Emily of The Bookshelf of Emily J

Emily is a Ph.D. student studying professional communication who has worked as an editor and a composition instructor. She is the mother of two little girls and loves chocolate and ice cream. The thing she wants most right now is a day in bed with a good book, preferably fiction.

Find her on Facebook

Ariel of One Little Library

Ariel is an editorial assistant at a Southern California publishing house. A literature enthusiast, she likes heroines full of gumption and conflicts fraught with ethical dilemmas. Her favorite book is and always will be Jane Eyre.

Find her on Twitter and Facebook

Audra of Unabridged Chick

Audra is a 30-something married lesbian with a thing for literary fiction and historical novels, classic noir, and vintage favorites. She lives in Boston with her wife and works for a non-profit. She loves interesting heroines, gorgeous prose, place as character, and the occasional werewolf.

Find her on Twitter and Facebook

Carolyn of Rosemary and Reading Glasses

After five years in graduate school, Carolyn O is on hiatus to be the read-at-home-parent to her small son. She works as an editor, writer, and proofreader on the side, and hopes to return to teaching soon. She loves used bookstores, early modern drama and poetry, feminism, and anything Joss Whedon creates.

Find her on Twitter

Cecilia of Only You

Cecilia teaches writing and self-presentation skills to international professionals by day and night (the curse of time zone differences) and in between squeezes in some reading and writing of her own. Her reading tastes are pretty eclectic, though she loves literary fiction and memoir most of all, and works by women and international writers in particular. The best part of her day is the end-of-the-day book club that she shares with her 9-year-old son.

Find her on Twitter and Facebook

The first read for October 1 is Ahab's Wife or, the Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund. I am quite excited to read this epic tale! However, I do recommend planning for it, since it is just over 700 pages long! (That should keep me out of trouble for awhile!)

A magnificent, vast, and enthralling saga spanning a rich, eventful, and dramatic life. Inspired by a brief passage in Moby Dick, it is the story of Una, exiled as a child to live in a lighthouse, removed from the physical and emotional abuse of a religion-mad father. It is the romantic adventure of a young woman setting sail in a cabin boy's disguise to encounter darkness, wonder, and catastrophe; the story of a devoted wife who witnesses her husband's destruction by obsession and madness. Ultimately it is the powerful and moving story of a woman's triumph over tragedy and loss through her courage, creativity, and intelligence.

Grab this from your local library, favorite independent bookseller, Barnes and Noble, or whomever, and please...join us!