End of Summer (feminist) Reads
In our neck of the American woods (as a famous network meteorologist is want to say), it has been the hottest summer in at least 20 years, and dry to boot. The only consolation is that (1) my husband and I are off to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska for a week; (2) following this much anticipated and saved for vacation, I turn around for a long weekend at a high school reunion in Northern California, likely to be moderate, even cold in all that fog; and (3) school begins for the children in our town—and most of this Southern State—on August 1st, so we can pretend that fall is on its way rapidly.
So while some of you might be midway through the season, fall is around the corner in lots of ways where I live. Families with children are returning from beaches and mountain cottages. Summer camps are winding down. The summer reading campaign held annually by our local library ends in less than two weeks. Open to adults as well as kids, it encourages a variety of literary experiences, from conventional bound to audio books. There is always a common read.
Which reminded me that I had the intention of finally wading into the stack of books I have ordered or picked up through the year, and specifically the nonfiction ones that might inform and enrich the ministry I do on behalf of women and girls (and their male allies). Or fiction written by women, about the lives of women. That’s a mighty tall pile.
So I share these with you, in hopes of encouraging a lot of common reads, and possibly book review contributions we might post on our UUWF FB page, or website. Or others you might suggest as well:
Beach or Airplane Fiction
An Unseaworthy Mission by Judith Campbell (Mainly Murder Press). The latest in a series of always entertaining, fast reading novels featuring Olympia Brown, a fictional minister, and her spouse Frederick. Penned by an actual UU parish and community minister.
The Girls by Emma Cline (Random House). This well-reviewed first novel traces the lives and fates of a group of young women, and their attraction to a cult which very much resembles the one spawned by the infamous Charles Manson—their vulnerability, strength and passion to belong.
A Nonfiction Crash Course in Contemporary Feminism
We Were Feminists Once, by Andi Zeisler (PublicAffairs Books). In which the author takes on “marketplace” feminism, and in the process “breaks the pop culture time machine and makes you beg for more.” This is the book that the New Prophetic Sisterhood of UU woman-identified ministers are reading together.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimanda Ngozi Adiche (Anchor Books). This tiny volume is actually the text of the personal essay by the same name which was a much lauded TED talk, in which the author asks us to begin to dream about and plan for a different world, a fairer world, a world — as she writes — of happier men and women who are truer to themselves.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (Harper Perennial). An essay collection in which the novelist Roxane Gay talks about Scrabble, violence, fairy tales, race, longing and Hunger Games—for starters. Gay has been called a strikingly fresh cultural critic.
Faithfully Feminists (White Cloud Press). Featuring the writings of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim feminists on why they stay in their original religious traditions. Described as a brave and powerful examination of observance and empowerment.
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (Haymarket Books). An updated essay collection by an eminent writer, historian and activist, whose work has been labeled funny, unflinchingly honest, and scathing in its conclusions.
Expect a report back from me, not unlike those book reports we did for our schools and our parents and other caregivers as proof we did not completely waste our summers. And that we might have learned something in the process of those hours under trees or covers with flashlights.