Monday, September 7

Book Club Mamas

An online book club for mamas who love reading.
Our focus for the moment is female characters, female writers, feminine themes - (but none necessarily dominant features).
All mamas are welcome. Not an academic focus just FUN. Join in any time.

You choose a book from the suggested list or any other title that you feel fits into the theme. You write a blog post review or a paragraph that you email to me. I collect all links and snippets and post them at the start of the following month. OR, you just pop in and throw in your opinion in the comments.
We comment on each others' thoughts and opinions. Participate whenever you can, no commitment necessary.

One book a month
- a month to read, ponder, and write your own blog post or paragraph for this blog.
Example: (from book list below) you read Tenderness of Wolves in October and discuss it in November.

- up to 2 weeks into the next month to share and comment
- discussion is light, just your opinions, (or intense if you like!) and focusing on what we liked and didn't like, and the thoughts on the theme. But just talk about what you prefer.
- at the bottom of each post comment section is a 'subscribe by email' link - that's for subscribing to the comments.

- books are chosen by theme
- gives everyone a chance to pick and choose between a few suggestions, or come up with your own
- suggestions come from any member (by all means suggest a title you've read before and enjoyed), just comment below

- whenever you can
- skip a month if you can't make it, skip more
- join in at any time during month to read the book, (actually you can read it any time before then too) but you must have your blog post or paragraph in to me by last day of that book's month.

Your words
- you can either create your own review on your blog and I will link to it, or just send me your thoughts via email.
- I will create a post showcasing short paragraphs of everyone's thoughts, which is then open for commenting.
- creating your own blog post ensures you have your full say, but if you're happy to simply share a short opinion here that's fine.

Your blog post
- rate from 1-5
- ideas to discuss: writing style, characterisation, plot, themes, what resonated with you and what didn't, book club theme, and feminine aspect.
- does NOT need to be formal or thorough, just a thought or two for each point is fine.

Link love
- I'll share your review here
- you can add a button to your sidebar if you're a regular or want to promote the club, or just in your blog post
- please make the button direct to this post (if you copy & paste everything in the text areas below, it should work correctly).

Button 1

Button 2

2009 Themes
Example schedule:
Read Tenderness of Wolves in October. Have the blog post or paragraph to me by last day of October.
We discuss it in November.

please comment below and suggest further titles (up to 3 for each theme would be good)


- The Tenderness of Wolves, Stef Penney ... Amazon US Amazon UK
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez ... Amazon US Amazon UK

strong women

- The Red Tent by Anita Diamant Amazon US Amazon UK
- Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill Amazon US Amazon UK
- The Birth House by Ami McKay Amazon US Amazon UK


- Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel ... Amazon US Amazon UK
- Chocolat by Joanne Harris ... Amazon US Amazon UK
- The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni ... Amazon US Amazon UK

2010 Themes

mothers, mothers and daughters

- The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan ... Amazon US Amazon UK
- Zel, Donna Jo Napoli


- The Vagabond, Colette
- The Awakening by Kate Chopin ... Amazon US Amazon UK

oppression, repression

- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood ... Amazon US Amazon UK
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini ... Amazon US Amazon UK


- The Color Purple by Alice Walker ... Amazon US Amazon UK
- The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan ... Amazon US Amazon UK


- The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov ... Amazon US Amazon UK
- The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke ... Amazon US Amazon UK
- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (1000+ pgs!)... Amazon US Amazon UK

still working on the following:


- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

women and other cultures

- The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende ...
- Dreaming in Cuban by

difficult motherhood

- The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
- We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver


- Flannery O'Connor : Collected Works
- Jamaica Inn, Daphne Du Maurier

gender, women's roles

- The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter

Click to email me: click to email me


  1. OooooH!!! Delicious!! Looking forward to getting my teeth into the first one!!

  2. pasting your button now , can't wait to join in x

  3. Looking forward to this. And love those buttons. xx

  4. Am debating this one - really would like to join you, but am seriously broke at the moment. However, in the meantime, can I suggest Susanna Clarke's 'Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell' for the magic theme (it's big, but hugely enjoyable), and Carlos Ruiz Zafon's 'Shadow of the Wind' for longing? (Does it matter if we've already read the titles suggested?)

    I'm off to stalk 'Tenderness of Wolves' now...

  5. Perfectly fine if you've already read a title. Clarke's book is a bit erm... niche I think, and bloody huge. I started reading it, but put it down to savour it later. Loving it so far though.
    Just started Shadow of the Wind, didn't know it was about longing. Does it have prominant female characters or themes? That's what I'm looking for.
    Can you do Bookmooch?

  6. Wasn't sure if I should committ to this or not.....and then I saw that 2nd button!!!
    Looking forward to it :)

  7. I really love this book club idea, and the book suggestions, (have read most of them, but would be happy to look at them again). I was a bit concerned about committing myself to something that I might not have time for, but your approach sounds very do-able. And there's always time is there not for a good book? hehe...I have a lot of titles rattling around in my head as I read this

    Oh and I have a complete girl-crush on Susanna Clarke. Strange and Norrell is so very much worth the effort, but if it's too much for people to take on all at once (it is massive isn't it?) there's also Clarke's 'Ladies of Grace Adieu', which is quite a little book of her fairy tales which certainly runs along the magic theme, (and in fact includes two of her characters from S&N). But, come on - we can manage a mere, um, 1000 pages (of beautifully written prose) can't we?

    Oh and beautiful buttons. The buttons! The buttons!

  8. Tempting...but I am terrible at book clubs (just wanna read what I feel like at the time). Maybe I'll jump in once in a while.

  9. Thanks for that suggestion Doc. Yes, just hop in when you like Lisa.

  10. This is an excellent idea and list. I will definitely join in on and off, Red Tent first and foremost in November.

  11. YAYAYAYAY! I'm so excited to start reading!

  12. I think I'm in; I've hummed and haaaaahd (because that is clearly a word...!) but I do love me some bookses...

  13. Oh, and I second Doc's comments on JS&Mr.N - so so worth it, and genuinely not nichey at all, honestly. Gorgeous writing that really stays with you.

    On another magical note, how about some Neil Gaiman? Lots to choose from there...

  14. Just had a suggestion for the 'strong women' theme....The Birth House by Ami McKay. Plug for Canadian author and theme...and a good excuse to read it again. I read it after first after falling in love with midwives..;)

    Criminy..I just realized I'm in the company of some Very Smart Women...good thing I'm not AT ALL intimidated by your extreme learnedness....*she says bravely whilst dabbing cold sweat from brow*

  15. PS. How am I EVER supposed to decide which of those yummy buttons I want?!?!?!

    eeeny, meeeny, miney, mo....

  16. This is a fantastic idea! I'm not sure which one I'll choose for October.

    For November could I make a suggestion? I really, really, REALLY disliked Red Tent. Not so much that I hated it, but I was so turned off by it, which surprised me because it had been recommended by almost every woman I asked for book recommendations from.

    I just finished a book called Someone Knows My Name (in America - I think it's called The Book of Negroes in other countries) by Lawrence Hill. Such a strong protagonist. I read the book because I read an interview with the author where he said he had originally planned for the protagonist to be male, but that she had to be female because a woman has the most to lose in those situations, so it had to be a woman's story.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to this!

  17. Thanks for the suggestions, I've added those two.

    Sarah - that's great that you disliked it, because it seems so many love it. It'll be interesting to have such differing opinions. I have put that title off because I felt conflicted about it. I'll be reading it for the Club. We'll see!

  18. Oh yes!!! This looks soo great!! And there are many books listed that I have been meaning to read so this will be a great opp. to do it. Thank you so much for creating this :)

  19. This looks like my kind of book club! I'm so doing this!

  20. P.s, love how you have the themes and books in advance. At the rate I go, I figured if I buy the books I want to read now, I'll be able to contribute! So have just purchased The Red Tent via NZs great place for second hand books online, 'trademe' and for 10 bucks I get TRT plus a free book called The Harem Within - Tales of a Moroccan Girlhood, a biography revealing the truth behind Eastern harem. Could be good!

  21. Welcome Amanda!

    ooh, envious of the online store Ruth. That last title might be a contender as a furture club suggestion.

  22. I read slowly these days - if the little one naps - but I'd love to join in. I'm laughing at short list for marriage. That's the one book (The Awakening) that scared me away from marriage for a good decade!! :)

  23. Despite my continued absence, I can't think of a better way to reenter this atmosphere. Yes. I would love to chew a leaf with all you sisters.

  24. my October book has arrived today , very excited !! just got to finish Crocodile Soup , then i'm away x

  25. love this, want to be part of this, not that I find much time to read books these days ... you have provided such fabulous themes!

  26. Here is my post on October's book of the month.

    In the future, should we post them here, or email them to you?

  27. ewwwww, I want to play (read)!!! yay! I will check out the library for the titles. Thanks for this occasion. Shine on!

  28. This is a great idea, I have just ordered The Tenderness of Wolves, and cannot wait til it gets here.

  29. it's looking juicy over here! I was looking at your "madwomen" category (love that you're including Wide Sargasso Sea!), and I was also going to suggest, tentatively, Alias Grace. Tentatively because there is already an Atwood on the list, so it may be over doing it.
    Or The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins...Or...?

  30. My book arrived today, perfect timing I had just finished the other 2 books I was reading, I cannot wait to start reading "The Tenderness of Wolves".

  31. When I lived in Eire, I used 'ebay' for books. It was really great. It's same thing as trademe, it's just that Trademe is NZ. But I found ebay for books really great, esp. when you could buy books for $0.11 and similar. The Int postage cost was generally ok too.

  32. Count me in for November,,"The Red Tent". Going to get the book now.

  33. Arrggh ! got halfway thru "tenderness of Wolves" then realised i have run out of time x will try for next month x

  34. Started to Read the Joy Luck Club! Hope to have a review up soon!

  35. Do you have to be a momma to participate? I love reading but I have no little ones aside my furry one (my cat) is that okay?

  36. You're very welcome to join us Beth. We just happen to be mostly mamas around here, but not everyone. :)

  37. That's fine with me! Thank you!


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