We know that a lot of OWHE members are voracious readers, but we also know that your “to read” list tends to grow faster than your “finished” list. With this in mind, we’re trying something new with our monthly book club meetings! 
Starting this month, each book club meeting will be centered around a theme. This means that you will be able to contribute to the discussion without having to commit to reading the entire book!

From there, we encourage you to get together with friends, family, colleagues, and other OWHE members to gather and talk about the theme and what you learned during the time you’re reading it. While you’re reading, please feel free to share with other OWHE members, either through the OWHE Book Club Facebook Group or within your own OWHE networks and communities. #OWHEreads is a means for connection, learning, and engagement through the words and images in the books we read. We’re excited to have you read with us!

 

And now for the books! We’ve linked reviews or interesting articles to each of the titles and included links to the books on Goodreads or Amazon where we obtained the write-ups for the books! Enjoy!

 

November 26th: When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Register here for this noon discussion of queer fairytales!

Check out this PBS YouTube interview with the author who shares her goal of creating a queer fairytale about characters of color following in the Latinx literary tradition of “magical realism.”

"To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up. Atmospheric, dynamic, and packed with gorgeous prose, When the Moon was Ours is another winner from this talented author." (Amazon)

 

December: Kindred by Octavia Butler

"Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin." (Amazon)

 

Previous Reads of 2019

January: Beloved by Toni Morrison

"Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement." (Amazon)

 

February: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

"Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned." (Amazon)

 

March: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

"Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its protagonists, the fiery and unforgettable Lila, and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflictual friendship. Book one in the series follows Lila and Elena from their first fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists." (Amazon)

 

April: Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

"In this new book, Brown uses research, stories, and examples to answer these questions in the no-BS style that millions of readers have come to expect and love. Brown writes, “One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100 percent teachable, observable, and measurable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart. Easy? No. Because choosing courage over comfort is not always our default. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and our work. It’s why we’re here.” Whether you’ve read Daring Greatly and Rising Strong or you’re new to Brené Brown’s work, this book is for anyone who wants to step up and into brave leadership." (Amazon)

Other media and content relevant to this book club topic:

Read in May: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

"'Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.' So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. 
A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another." (goodreads)

Read in June: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote  

"On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence." (goodreads)

The author seems to have a great ability to introduce and describe the characters and the incident with neutrality. It allows the reader to determine – for themselves - if the outcome was just. Think about justice as you read. If you have already read In Cold Blood, do you think the author took an impartial stance?

Check out this interview with Capote!

Read in July: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood a work of ‘speculative fiction’ by Margaret Atwood. In the novel, Snowman (Jimmy), the last known homo sapiens,  take the reader on a journey through the new world where people have been designed by Crake or Oryx. Snowman also has flashbacks of the old world. In these flashbacks, the reader sees how government and corporations can work together to change the world order. 

  • Science Friday interviewed Atwood in 2004 about the science behind the book. Listen to the podcast episode here.
  • If you enjoy ‘speculative fiction’ check out these books by Oregon authors.
  • Thinking about dystopian novels, or speculative fiction, two additional books to consider are 1984 and Brave New World. The New York Times compares the two to see which world most resembles our current state of affairs. Do you agree? Does “Oryx and Crake” fit in in today's world?​​​

Read in August: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells

"The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered." (Amazon)

Read in September Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 

"Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery. Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation." (Amazon)

Read in October: Ain’t I A Woman Black Women & Feminism by Bell Hooks

"A classic work of feminist scholarship, Ain't I a Woman has become a must-read for all those interested in the nature of black womanhood. Examining the impact of sexism on black women during slavery, the devaluation of black womanhood, black male sexism, racism among feminists, and the black woman's involvement with feminism, hooks attempts to move us beyond racist and sexist assumptions. The result is nothing short of groundbreaking, giving this book a critical place on every feminist scholar's bookshelf." (Amazon)

 

Connect with Women Leaders

Networking with women leaders in the state of Oregon will enhance your professional experience. We look forward to creating opportunities for women to meet, connect and develop together.

Engage in Professional Development

Participate in opportunities for professional growth through educational programs that are provided by our campus contact network right on your campus, in your region or at a state wide gathering. The focus is on providing you with the leadership skills and mentoring necessary to lead.

Lead Change in Higher Education

Higher education in the state of Oregon provides a dynamic environment where women can impact change. Whether in the community college, 4-year institution, public, or private, we want you to be a part of shaping the future of higher education by empowering and affirming your leadership abilities.