Thursday, November 5, 2009

Women Unbound Reading Challenge

The last thing I need is a reading challenge -- especially since I'm failing miserably at the Everything Austen Challenge I started this summer (only 1 of 6 books/movies read or viewed -- however I have until Jan 1, 2010 to finish -- surely I can squeeze in reading Persuasion and Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin AND watching P&P with Colin Firth, S&S with Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet, and Emma w/Gwyneth Paltrow, by then).

However, the Women Unbound Reading Challenge, really intrigues me. I love reading about women, whether fiction or non-fiction. So, I think I'm going to take the plunge. The general rule is:
"Participants are encouraged to read nonfiction and fiction books related to the rather broad idea of 'women’s studies.’"

There are three levels of participation: (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.

I'm going all out and becoming a Suffragette!

My own stipulation for this challenge: my book choices MUST currently reside on my bookshelves!! No library checkouts, no Barnes and Noble purchases, no Amazon orders, no used bookstores. They all must be in my possession and haven't been read before! (That should be a challenge in and of itself -- the "Clearing Off Your Bookshelf Challenge!")

Here is my reading list (I hope they all qualify as women studies!):


West with the Night, by Beryl Markham
West with the Night
Born in England in 1902, Markham was taken by her father to East Africa in 1906. She spent her childhood playing with native Maruni children and apprenticing with her father as a trainer and breeder of racehorses. In the 1930s, she became an African bush pilot, and in September 1936, became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west.

Nine Parts of Desire, by Geraldine Brooks
Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women
In this captivating book, award-winning journalist Geraldine Brooks offers an intimate, often shocking portrait of the lives of modern Muslim women, and shows how male pride and power have warped the original message of a once-liberating faith. "A valid, entertaining account of women in the Muslim world."--The New York Times Book Review

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History
In this engrossing volume, Laurel Ulrich goes far beyond the slogan she inadvertently created and explores what it means to make history. Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History celebrates a renaissance in history inspired by amateurs, activists, and professional historians. It is a tribute to history and to those who make it.


The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.
The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. (Josephine Bonaparte, #1)
...through the novel The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B., not only do we learn of the many differences between Robespierre and Rousseau, but we gain insight into the marriage of one of history's greatest political couples: Napoleon and Josephine.

The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, by Jane Smiley

The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton is a Little House on the Prairie for grownups. Lidie's accounts of homesteading, from buying a new stove to coming upon the finest horse in the territory (and among the finest in literature), combine character, charm, and social history.

A Woman of Independent Means, by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
A Woman of Independent Means (Virago Modern Classics)
At the turn of the century, a time when women had few choices, Bess Steed Garner inherits a legacy--not only of wealth but of determination and desire, making her truly a woman of independent means. From the early 1900s through the 1960s, we accompany Bess as she endures life's trials and triumphs with unfailing courage and indomitable spirit: the sacrifices love sometimes requires of the heart, the flaws and rewards of marriage, the often-tested bond between mother and child, and the will to defy a society that demands conformity.

The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard, by Erin McGraw
The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard
Trapped in Kansas at the turn of the twentieth century, Nell Plat is seventeen, unhappily married, and the mother of two baby girls. No reality could be further from her secret dreams of glamour and excitement, dreams that will tempt her to do the unthinkable and run away to the glittering wonderland of Los Angeles and the burgeoning motion picture industry.

A Short History of Women, by Kate Walbert
A Short History of Women: A Novel
From National Book Award nominee Kate Walbert, a provocative and beautiful novel about five generations of women.

The challenge runs from Nov 1, 2009 -- Nov 30, 2010.


Kim said...

That is an impressive list of books. You own all those? That small sampling of your bookshelves makes mine look like a box of cheap paperbacks. :)

Amused said...

"A Short History of Women" is on my bookshelf too. Looking forward to hearing what you think of it. Good luck with your challenge!

Booklogged said...


I have to apologize about Blogging Around the States. I won't be able to post your interview until next Sat. My husband and I decided over lunch on Monday to take a spontaneous trip to southern Utah. We planned to go to Canyon Lands and ended up in Las Vegas today to visit our daughter. All this was unplanned but we originally thought we'd be home by Thursday or Friday. If we'd been staying at a motel I think I could have stilled pulled off the interview, but visiting Alyson didn't allow time for me to pull things together like I would like. Rather than do a shabby job I'm going to wait til next week.

I sure hope that will be okay. Thanks for your patience.

And, alas! My email won't send out from this location so I have to leave this as a comment.

Care said...

I agree - what a great list of books to find on your shelves. Just seeing these, I bet your whole library is impressive. Glad to have you join The Women Unbound Challenge.

Corinne said...

I've read A Woman of Independent Means, I'm interested on your take.