Author Topic: Women's Issues  (Read 185523 times)


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Re: Women's Issues
« Reply #2760 on: November 22, 2016, 02:22:26 AM »
Hi Robby - nice to see you back. You may remember that History of Western Civ was my first contact with SL and I loved every minute of it and here we are - how many yrs later?

I found this list of 100 women authors and what book of theirs you should read first.  :D. Now who do you suppose read all those authors to figure that out. I suppose it was a collaborative of librarians. Eh, Frybabe.



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Re: Women's Issues
« Reply #2761 on: December 15, 2016, 08:26:11 PM »
Is it just in my family or does the holiday season add many new chores to a woman's schedule? My husband does do more of the Christmas shopping since he's retired, but his contribution to events tends to be telling the rest of us what we should, or shouldn't, be doing. 😋

I have loved the holidays over the years, but the decorating and the cooking and the planning are not as much fun as they used to be. They take more energy than I have at this age and it takes longer longer to do anything - I need lots of rests stops. My 14 yr old grandson helped me put up and trim the tree the last two years, and that was fun, but oh, I hurt for two days after.



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Re: Women's Issues
« Reply #2762 on: December 29, 2016, 08:47:44 AM »
Last year I released a novel titled Regarding Tiberius.  The entire 195,000-word, 580 pp. book was written from the perspective of a biracial woman in the Roman-era Middle East.  FWIW I am a white male who lives in the Upper Midwest of the US.

The question I have to ask is this:

Did I get the tone right with regard to the narrator's feminine voice?

Helena, my protagonist, is very bright, well-educated, and Jack-Bauer-level decisive.  But does she still sound like a woman when you read her?  I've had a few readers say no, she's a bit too rigid/masculine in her ruthless decision-making, while most others are fine with the depiction, identifying with her completely.

Many thanks for any reflections.


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Re: Women's Issues
« Reply #2763 on: January 01, 2017, 03:25:55 PM »
Reminding Everyone - We open the pre-discussion to Cranford this week.

A story that focuses on Women, 150 years ago in an English Village.

We are trying something new by way of an introduction to our discussion leader for Cranford, Karen.
So let's have some fun learning a bit more about Karen and her love of Victorian Literature.

Barb: Karen how did you become interested in Victorian Literature?

Karen: My mother joined a book club for me when I was eleven years old and each month a new book came for me.  I fell in love with Victorian novels through that book club: Black Beauty, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Around the World in 80 Days, Alice in Wonderland, and Little Women. 

I loved stories about the rich and the poor, about the "olden days" and about overcoming problems.  I also, in those days, loved adventure stories and strange characters.  I also loved fairy tales with the lords and the castles, the princesses, and even the wicked witches.

     My first assignment in high school was to complete David Copperfield during the first quarter.  That was my formal introduction to the Victorian novel.  In spite of its being the longest novel I had ever read, I loved it and went on to read poems, essays, and novels  from that age as part of my formal education. My love for literature from this period kept growing.

Barb: Looks like you were drawn to the Victorian Period - did you continue this love with scholastic study?

Karen: I taught world history to 9th and 10th graders and had to do much preparation because my undergraduate work had been mostly in speech and English.  At the same time the National Endowment for the Humanities offered a summer program in teaching the humanities using an integrated approach:with history as a base, bringing in the literature, art, and the music from the time period. 

I went on to be accepted into two NEH six-week workshops: one was on Chaucer and the Medieval World and the second was at Oberlin College and was on 19th century women writers.  I developed a medieval unit and a 19th century British history unit, incorporating literature art and music from both the romantic and the Victorian age.

Barb: Ah - So both the Romantic and the Victorian period was on your radar?

Karen: Yes, and at this same time I started a Master of Liberal Studies degree with a focus in Victorian Literature.  I actually wanted to design a Victorian Studies elective for my high school students.  I took courses in the essay, poetry, and the novel and completed the coursework I needed.  However, as school reform kicked into high gear, electives were no longer part of the curriculum, so I never had a chance to put my plan into action.   But my interest and love for the time period and the novels from the period led me to agree to lead a discussion here on Cranford as an excellent example of a Victorian novel.

Barb: How special for us. Of course there is an entire discussion in itself about the wisdom of eliminating electives however, we are going to really benefit from your love and study of Victorian Literature. What would you say is special about the Victorian period? Give us a glimpse into the life lived during this time in history.

Karen: The Victorian Age in both history and literature refers to the time that Victoria ruled 1837-1901.  In literature it was preceded by romanticism and followed by realism and modernism.

Historically it was a time of peace and prosperity for the upper and middle classes.  The population of England doubled during this period and improvements in transportation opened up the rural areas to the urban dwellers.  The industrial workers in the cities, in contrast, lived in squalor and poverty.  Frequently the whole family had to work with the smallest children chained to the weaving machines pick up bobbins that fell underneath. 

During the age, improvements in sanitary conditions, medical treatment, and the coming of electric power and lights improved the quality of life in the cities, but poor houses and orphanages abounded.

Barb: Wow! Although typical of Victorian life, the hardships of so many sound like realism enough doesn't it - Like all difficult life situations, authors can find the goodness beneath the rough veneer. It sounds like the readership was encouraged by reading how various improvements were making change and so they wanted more of this genre. Is this the difference highlighted in a story between earlier and later Literary periods? 

Karen: Romanticism grew out French Revolution which sought to cast off the the institutions of the Old Regime:  the Church, the aristocracy, the absolute monarchy and put power in the hands of the common man. 

Poetry which expressed strong emotion and an awe for nature, broke the forms and the rules of classicism.  The poets looked at the world with optimism, espoused strong nationalism and interests in the past and in the bizarre. 

In summary, it was a revolt against the rationalism of the classical period.

Barb: Thank you Karen - you have now opened our eyes and hearts to this time in history. Cannot wait to get started with Cranford - So glad you agreed to guide us through this story and now we have historical happenings to look for before we even start our introduction to the characters.


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Re: Women's Issues
« Reply #2764 on: January 03, 2017, 11:11:07 AM »
Pre-discussion for Cranford opens
Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Come Join this Historical but Timely Discussion

Post Interview - Karen has a few more nuggets that you will want to read...

Karen: During the Victorian Age, the novel came into prominence because serialization started in the periodicals of the day, which most people could afford to buy. 

These novels were different than the poetry and novels of the Romantic Age.  Novelists like Dickens, Gaskell, George Elliot looked at life with more realistic eye and held up the dark and seamy parts of life amid prosperity of the period.  The works were intended to raise the awareness of the reader to the abuses that came with the Industrial Age. 

As Victorian Age came to a close in 1901 the path had been paved for the return to the realism of modernism.

Barb:Interesting Karen how we are in the same place again aren't we, with technology again changing our lives so that most books are now inexpensively read from our communication devise and again, the dark and seamy parts of life is part of the prosperity of our times.

Karen: Yes, as the famous Dickens quote from the Tale of Two Cities reminds us...
                   "It was the best of times,
                    it was the worst of times,
                    it was the age of wisdom,
                    it was the age of foolishness,
                    it was the epoch of belief,
                    it was the epoch of incredulity,
                    it was the season of Light,
                    it was the season of Darkness,
                    it was the spring of hope,
                    it was the winter of despair,
                              we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
                              we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—"

— in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Dickens serialized this book in 1859 telling a tale about the French Revolution , that occurred 60 years before.  " the period was so far like the present period" in the midst of the Industrial Revolution.  Readers can take this even further and repeat the same quote in 2017 about the impact of the technological revolution.

Barb:Thank you Karen, you have offered us more reasons to read Cranford to learn how the ladies of Cranford handle change. It appears Elizabeth Gaskell was a classical writer in the true sense having chosen an ever present theme of change that has been with us since the beginning of time.

Lots to talk about - settle in with your 'cupa' tomorrow and share your thoughts related to change and Elizabeth Gaskell.
For this Book of the Month read there will be no need to haunt the library.
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell in available online in several locations.
The Cranford Discussion starts next week.


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Re: Women's Issues
« Reply #2765 on: January 03, 2017, 05:40:42 PM »
On Facebook this morning, there was a terrific picture of Michele Obama with a caption that said won't we be glad to get rid of her.  Am I missing something?  Another post said that she has been the worst first lady ever.  Is this just pure racism/sexism or did she do something to anger people? 
I won't be glad to see Michele Obama go, but I bet she will be glad to leave. 


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Re: Women's Issues
« Reply #2766 on: January 03, 2017, 05:52:44 PM »
For me, that's 150% pure politics.


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Re: Women's Issues
« Reply #2767 on: January 03, 2017, 06:37:34 PM »
Oh they'll miss her when she's gone, just wait.


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Re: Women's Issues
« Reply #2768 on: January 04, 2017, 10:37:16 AM »
I saw a small part of an interview with Michelle and, although I would not agree with many of her views, I find her to be a strong and lovely woman. And I especially admire how she cared for her family in sometimes very trying times; shielding your young daughters while teaching/guiding them through often disparate events shows the level of skill, empathy, insight, and prudence required to be a mother in such a situation.

She did say that she would miss the White House - after all, her girls grew up there; eight years is a good chunk of their lives.  She also talked about missing the staff, being taken care of so well, and surrounded by people who love you.  It would have to be a huge adjustment, I would think, to leave such a place.  I wish her and her family well.


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Re: Women's Issues
« Reply #2769 on: January 04, 2017, 01:17:13 PM »
It must create terrible anxiety to be a member of the First Family, fearing everytime the president goes out that some nut will try to kill him. I have talked (thru the tv😁) to the secret service, more than once "get him out of the room" when a president has been working the "rope-lines."

Yes, all the benefits would be nice, but there are some big negatives. I think all of our first families have been sophisticated and dignified. I've seen 13 of them in my lifetime. Michelle continued that tradition and the girls have been wonderfully well-behaved. I am looking forward to see what each member of the Obama family does over the next 20 yrs.



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Re: Women's Issues
« Reply #2770 on: January 07, 2017, 08:12:05 AM »
I saw the thing she did with James Corden, when a celebrity joins him in his car and they drive around rapping. She was brilliant and very funny. She said on that show that she would not really mind giving up all the creature comforts of the White House. He asked her if she would miss being able to phone the kitchen at any time of the day or night for some toasted cheese - she replied:

'I think I can make my own toasted cheese, James' :)


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Re: Women's Issues
« Reply #2771 on: January 09, 2017, 01:18:43 PM »
I think that things she has said like that impress me the most: she seems so down-to-earth and unpretentious - so genuine, approachable.  Even though she may have enjoyed all the perks of her position, she doesn't seem 'taken in' by it.