In last Sunday's post, I mentioned the Women Unbound challenge, simply as something I found tempting and was likely to sign up for. Do you know, after publishing that post I couldn't get the challenge out of my head? I realized there are loads of books already on my shelves that would qualify, not to mention all the great suggestions I've seen from other participants. About an hour later, I had signed up and posted my reading list for the challenge! As the week progressed, I kept thinking about this challenge, about women and society, about the relationship between power and gender ... I could go on. Clearly I needed to get something out of my system. So, I posted the start-of-challenge meme, and read my first book of the challenge: Antonia White's The Sugar House (read my review). Antonia White wrote a series of autobiographical novels published as Virago Modern Classics. The first, Frost in May, was the story of a young girl educated in a convent in the early 20th century (reviewed here). This was a pretty classic boarding school novel with strong Roman Catholic overtones. In the second novel, The Lost Traveller, the girl finishes school and takes a job as a governess. The "girl as governess" theme is a common one, but The Lost Traveller was less about the governess experience, and more about the protagonist's changing relationship with her parents, and her own growth and independence (reviewed here). The Sugar House continues in that vein, as she gains more experience with romantic relationships, and begins to discover her own sexuality. I've found each book well-written and thought-provoking, and am looking forward to reading the final book, Beyond the Glass.
This week also marked the opening of an exhibit at The Morgan Library in New York City: A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy. I learned of it through Austenprose, who wrote this excellent post. My teenage daughter is quite an Austen fan, and is also really excited about this exhibit. A day trip to New York is ever so doable for us (much easier than visiting Austen's homeland!), so I'm hoping to fit it into our family schedule, perhaps over the Christmas holidays.
And finally, after you read this post you must immediately visit Belletrista, where the second issue has just hit the press. Belletrista is a celebration of women writers from around the world. I crowed about the first issue in a Sunday Salon post back in September, and have found the second to be just as rich and delightful. Having just finished reading Wolf Hall, I especially enjoyed Carolyn Kelly's The Man Booker Prize and Other Musings. And the reviews ... oh my. Let's just say my wishlist is growing exponentially thanks to Belletrista -- it's a good thing Christmas is coming! This issue also includes features on Nobel winner Herta Müller, the Giller Prize, Ugandan writers, biographies of women writers, holiday shopping suggestions, and the "new and notable" section. I've already decided that one of my 2010 reading goals will be all about reading books reviewed on Belletrista. My greatest challenge will be narrowing down my choices!
Well that's the week that was. Today promises to be rather busy with humdrum chores, and a bit of work that needs doing before the actual workweek begins. I'm sure I'll manage to slip in a bit of reading, too ;-) What are you doing and reading today?
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