Women Faculty Book Club

ImageThe Women Faculty Book Club at FIU, like so many others, meets to affirm our membership in a community of book lovers. With each work we discuss, we deepen our shared experience, learn more about each other and ourselves, and honor the heritage of women’s creativity across eras and cultures.

For more information about joining the book club, please contact Joyce Peterson at petersoj@fiu.edu.

Please feel free to click on the "Our Books" tab on the left where you will find a comprehensive listing of our reading selections going back to 1991 along with links to our three published editions of the club's bookmarks. These publications encompass our chosen record of women’s writing from the last twenty-five years. We hope you find it a useful guide to leisure reading.

Please find below a listing of the AY 2017-18 Women Faculty Book Club books.

The 2018 Book Club Spring Semester meetings are as follows:

  • January 14
  • February 8
  • March 25
  • April 22 (tentative)

January 2018

The next meeting of the Book Club will be on Sunday, January 14 at 7p.m. (NOTE Book Club date change from Nov. 26 to Dec. 3) We will meet at the home of Judith Stiehm. When you arrive you need to call Judith at 310-883-8729 for entrance to the building.

The January book selection is The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. Critic Jennifer Senior describes The Essex Serpent as "a novel of almost insolent ambition - lush and fantastical, a wild Eden behind a garden gate. Set in the Victorian era, it's part ghost story and part natural history lesson, part romance and part feminist parable. It's wonderfully dense and serenely self-assured." To view the New York Times review, click here.

Before the meeting, Joyce Peterson will be introudicing a film for the Miami Jewish Film Festival. The event begins at 3:00 p.m. at Temple Beth Am in Pincrest. The film, Tevye's Daughters is filmed in Ukraine, the location of the original stories, and is much closer to the originals than Fiddler on the Roof. The promos are upbeat, but in fact the film captures the tragicomedy of the stories. It is a 2-hour film and should end around 5:30 p.m. giving everyone enough time to make it to Judith’s house.

To purchase tickets, click here.

December 2017

We chose Jennifer Egan's new novel Manhattan Beach. Egan provides a story of the intertwined fates of three characters primarily during the years of WWII. New York Times reviewer Amor Towles reports that the novel takes us to "the crooked culture of the New York piers," the "uppermost tier of New York society," and the "nascent and risk-laden world of commercial diving." Through it all we explore the "rapidly evolving role of young women in American society."

NOTE: In 1997 we read Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace and it is listed as one of our "favorites." A dramatized version is now streaming on Netflix.

November 2017

Meeting moved to December 3.

October 2017

The book for November is Claire Messud's new coming-of-age novel, The Burning Girl. Messud examines the friendship between two teenage girls and how that friendship dissolves.

Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship. The Burning Girl is a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about youth and friendship, and straddles, expertly, childhood’s imaginary worlds and painful adult reality―crafting a true, immediate portrait of female adolescence.

Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.

September 2017

The next book is The Kukotsky Enigma by Ludmila Ulitskaya. In 2001, novelist Ludmila Ulitskaya was the first woman to win Russia’s prestigious Booker Prize. The winning book was her fourth novel, which became a popular Russian TV serial in 2005 and has now finally appeared in English as The Kukotsky Enigma. Before she became a writer, Ulitskaya worked as a geneticist, and her scientific background inspired several aspects of this novel, reiterating her own questions about the boundaries between health and sickness, life and death.

To read more: "The Kukotsky Enigma: A sprawling philosophical epic with a Tolstoyan edge"

August 2017

The first meeting of the Book Club for the Fall Semester 2017 will be on Sunday, August 27 at 7:00 PM at the home of Judith Stiehm. Call Judith for entrance to the building (see August 2nd email from Joyce Peterson for more details). This message is an early warning to finish up on Summer reading. The scheduled date is a little earlier than our usual first meeting. See the links below for the short and long lists of summer historical fiction reading and remember that everyone is requested to read at least one from the short list.

Summer to September 2017

Here is the Short List of Historical Novels by Women Writers which includes links to book reviews.
Click the link for the Full List of Historical Novels - Sorted by Time Period.

The Book Club will read historical novels and everyone is encouraged to read at least one from the short list. Beyond that feel free to read any additional historical novels from the short or long list for discussion at our September meeting.