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Like I said I am starting as a Philogynist in the Women Unbound challenge.  That means I need to read at least two books, including (again at least) one nonfiction one. What exactly is the purpose of this challenge?

Participants are encouraged to read nonfiction and fiction books related to the rather broad idea of ‘women’s studies.’ [..]

For nonfiction, this would include books on feminism, history books focused on women, biographies of women, memoirs (or travelogues) by women, essays by women and cultural books focused on women (body image, motherhood, etc.). [..]

It’s trickier to say what is applicable as fiction. Obviously, any classic fiction written by a feminist is applicable. But where do we go from there? To speak generally, if the book takes a thoughtful look at the place of women in society, it will probably count. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to explain in your review why you chose this for the challenge and its connection to women’s studies.

For now, my books for this challenge are:

  • The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata (read in November),
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (autobiographical graphic novel),
  • The Pillow Book by Sei Shōnagon, a book of observations and musings recorded during her time as court lady to Empress Teishi (my nonfiction entry for this challenge).

The Old Capital & The Pillow Book are both written by Japanese authors, so it will be interesting to look for differences and similarities in Kawabata’s male, and Shōnagon’s female view on the role of women in Japanese society. Of course the social strata in these books are very different: Chieko the merchant’s daughter in The Old Capital vs. a court lady in The Pillow Book. Well, at least I hope there will have been progress in almost a 1000 years from the year 990 (Heian Period) and the 1960’s… Let’s read and see!

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You must admit that I’ve been really strong so far, not signing up for any 2010 reading challenges even though the rest of the book blogging world seemed to be doing so. Well, before you start congratulating me: today I could no longer resist… :)

Beth Fish Reads is taking over the third What’s in a Name challenge. I liked participating in #2 and I did finish reading all my entries… I just still need to review –whispers– half of them :\ Well, I’ll get to that. Someday.

Here’s the new challenge in brief: between January 1st and December 31st I need to read one book in each of the following categories.

  1. A book with a food in the title.
  2. A book with a body of water in the title.
  3. A book with a title (queen, president, sir) in the title.
  4. A book with a plant in the title.
  5. A book with a place name (country, city) in the title.
  6. A book with a music term in the title.

Ha! I am quickly going to browse my shelves for books to be admitted to this challenge! :)) Maybe I should postpone my Boekgrrls December read, The Gargoyle, to January? ;) No need: in April we’ll be reading John Irving’s Last Night in Twisted River! There are two other titles on our list that would fit loosely, but I want to play fair — to begin with :)

Another challenge that I’ve had my eyes on has already started: the Women Unbound challenge, running from November 2009 until November 2010. When I was reading The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata last month I kept thinking about this challenge. So now I’ve actually made the decision to join! I just need to figure out which level: Philogynist (“read at least two books, including at least one nonfiction one”) must be doable since I have already read Kawabata and will definitely pick up Sei Shonagon’s classic The Pillow Book soon, which counts for non-fiction. But it should be a challenge! Of course I could always upgrade along the way?

Since the Japanese Literature Challenge is running until February 2010, I am now officially participating in three 2010 reading challenges before the year has even started. Add the remaining three books of my personal 2008-2009 challenge to that and you’ll all think that I must be crazy. So be it. I love you too ;)

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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