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Book Club Blog

Feminist Bookshelf | Continuum Presents the Feminist Candy Book Bundle

I’m happy to be able to announce that we’ve formed a partnership with the fantastic feminist community Continuum Collective and Bluestockings Bookstore! Together, Imaginary Book Club and Continuum will be leading a virtual feminist book club.

Three times per year, Continuum will launch a collection of feminist lit-candy perfect for building your feminist bookshelf. The selections are handpicked by the voracious readers at Imaginary Book Club, and we’ll lead you through a monthly discussion of each of the books.

What’s in the Feminist Candy book bundle?

Feminist Candy Book Set includes:

  • All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister
  • A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth by Warsan Shire

This month’s book club selections were put together around the theme Change. From looking at changes in the landscape of our country’s demographics to exploring dystopian social change, there’s a little something for everyone in this box. We’ve included an incredible classic, along with a pair of super readable non-fiction, and closed out the set with some incredible award-winning feminist poetry.

Here is some more on the awesome books we’ve picked out!

In 2009, the award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister started All the Single Ladies—a book she thought would be a work of contemporary journalism—about the twenty-first century phenomenon of the American single woman. It was the year the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent; and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890–1980), had risen dramatically to twenty-seven.

But over the course of her vast research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: the phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change—temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more.

Today, only twenty percent of Americans are wed by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960. The Population Reference Bureau calls it a “dramatic reversal.” All the Single Ladies is a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the single American woman. Covering class, race, sexual orientation, and filled with vivid anecdotes from fascinating contemporary and historical figures, All the Single Ladies is destined to be a classic work of social history and journalism.

In the world of the near future, who will control women’s bodies?

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now….

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.

What elevates ‘teaching my mother how to give birth’, what gives the poems their disturbing brilliance, is Warsan Shire’s ability to give simple, beautiful eloquence to the veiled world where sensuality lives in the dominant narrative of Islam; reclaiming the more nuanced truths of earlier times – as in Tayeb Salih’s work – and translating to the realm of lyric the work of the likes of Nawal El Saadawi. As Rumi said, “Love will find its way through all languages on its own”; in ‘teaching my mother how to give birth’, Warsan’s début pamphlet, we witness the unearthing of a poet who finds her way through all preconceptions to strike the heart directly.

Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer who is based in London. Born in 1988, she is an artist and activist who uses her work to document narratives of journey and trauma. Warsan has read her work internationally, including recent readings in South Africa, Italy and Germany, and her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

This fall, you have two options for getting your hands on the book box!

If you’re local to the NYC area, you can meet up with the fabulous Continuum team at Bluestockings for a launch party! The book bundles will be available for pickup at the release party on September 22nd in the Bluestockings store in New York City.

If you happen to be farther afield, just order your box online, and you’ll see your goodies ship on September 22nd.

And what about book club?

Each month we’ll be posting about one of the books and leading a virtual discussion. As all the books center on a theme, we’ll be navigating through some feminist issues together, looking at different perspectives, and piecing it all together.

Once you’ve picked up your bundle, you’ll be on the mailing list to get all sorts of information, don’t worry.

Can’t wait to read with y’all!