The challenge runs from November 2009-November 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:
- 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.
My Antonia by Willa Cather (already reading)
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Madicken by Astrid Lindgren (cross challenge)
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
Living History by Hillary Clinton (I own this one and have been meaning to read it for ages).
As you can see I am aiming for Suffragette. I am really looking forward to this!