S.P.E.L.L.

BOOK CLUB

SOCIETY FOR THE PROMOTION

OF EROTIC LADIES IN LITERATURE

A sort of book club, mostly thought experiment celebrating female authors and sex positivity in literary works.

ABOUT S.P.E.L.L.

If you follow Olivie Blake is Not Writing, then you're probably already aware that Aurora Sinclair and I accidentally started a book club by virtue of insisting people listen to our excited bursts of rambling as we explored literary erotica, beginning with Anaïs Nin. After realizing there were a number of women interested in reading along, we decided to create a monthly book recommendation along with guided discussion questions.

 

The idea behind this particular thought experiment is that each book focuses on an aspect of the female experience. While not every book is necessarily erotica (some definitely are, but not all), each one has a feature of sex positivity along with a contribution to the collective understanding of womanhood in literature.

 

If you'd like to follow along, check in on any of my social media! We start reading on the first of the month and discuss during the final week.

Previous discussions:

March 2019: Henry and June by Anaïs Nin

April 2019: The Awakening by Kate Chopin

May 2019: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A.N. Roquelaure

June 2019: Seductress by Betsy Prioleau

July 2019: Chéri by Colette

August 2019: Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

September 2019: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

October 2019: Jane Eyre / Rebecca by Charlotte Brontë, Daphne du Maurier

November 2019: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin

December 2019: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

January 2020: Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

February 2020: The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

March 2020: Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

April 2020: Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf

May 2020: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

June 2020: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

July 2020: If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

August 2020: You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

September 2020: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

October 2020: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

November 2020: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

December 2020: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

January 2021: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

February 2021: The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan

 

MARCH'S READ

TOO MUCH: How Victorian Constraints Still Bind Women Today 

by Rachel Vorona Cote

Happy Women's History Month! We're going to take a little jaunt into the past to cover Victorian literature (featuring bangers like ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, JANE EYRE, and THE YELLOW WALLPAPER) and pop culture with this vulnerable analysis of the female experience via one woman's "too much"-ness. With the popularity of the "Free Britney" movement and the analysis of misogyny in celebrity culture, this is one way to view the subjects that are otherwise treated with stigma: sex, infidelity, self-harm (TW for that chapter, which admittedly even I sort of skimmed in places), grief, and body image.

 

A caveat: while this book provides a great lens to view the beloved female-authored classics of the past, it is from the perspective of a white woman. (It's about 50% literary analysis, 50% memoir.) We will cover more inclusive history in future months. 

Check back in at the end of March for discussion questions and links for further reading. If you'd like to follow the discussion, send me an ask on Tumblr or reply to this month's S.P.E.L.L. post to be tagged!

 
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Spotify Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon