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Old 08-06-2018, 10:38 AM   #1
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Cool BFP Book Club

Would anyone be interested in a BFP Book Club?

I started reading Radclyffe Hall's, The Well of Loneliness a little while ago and didn't get very far before I became distracted. I want to pick it back up, but thought it might be a lot of fun to read with a group.

I thought perhaps we could start with this book, read 3 chapters a week and post to this thread on Sundays your thoughts of the previous chapters and generate some conversation around the book. That way no one will get ahead of someone else and post spoilers. If you haven't read the chapters, it would be wise not to read the thread. LoL

I would like to keep the "Book Club" lesbian centered as there are so many great pieces of literature (and some trashy ones too!) for our community that I feel go unacknowledged and unread. At the very least, a strong female storyline. All we need to get started are two other interested members. Three will make a nice start to a book club (obviously the more the better) I think. If you would like to do this, please post when you have the book and as soon as we have three, we'll begin. I hope there's interest, I think this would be a lot of fun to do. Tulapip!
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Old 08-06-2018, 02:10 PM   #2
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Wonderful idea Vintage!
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Old 08-06-2018, 05:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintageFemme View Post
Would anyone be interested in a BFP Book Club?

I started reading Radclyffe Hall's, The Well of Loneliness a little while ago and didn't get very far before I became distracted. I want to pick it back up, but thought it might be a lot of fun to read with a group.

I thought perhaps we could start with this book, read 3 chapters a week and post to this thread on Sundays your thoughts of the previous chapters and generate some conversation around the book. That way no one will get ahead of someone else and post spoilers. If you haven't read the chapters, it would be wise not to read the thread. LoL

I would like to keep the "Book Club" lesbian centered as there are so many great pieces of literature (and some trashy ones too!) for our community that I feel go unacknowledged and unread. At the very least, a strong female storyline. All we need to get started are two other interested members. Three will make a nice start to a book club (obviously the more the better) I think. If you would like to do this, please post when you have the book and as soon as we have three, we'll begin. I hope there's interest, I think this would be a lot of fun to do. Tulapip!

I LOVE this idea!

I have the book in audio form and would love to revisit it!

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Old 08-07-2018, 11:13 AM   #4
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Wonderful idea Vintage!

Ok! We're three. Let us know as soon as you get the book and we can start reading and set our Sunday book club date. So excited!



Anyone else interested?
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:46 PM   #5
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Thumbs up

It should be here in two days. Can't wait!
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:34 PM   #6
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I'M IN
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:28 PM   #7
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I'm trying to plow through my 500 pg book for my book club right now but if you do another round I might be in!
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:09 PM   #8
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I am always in the mood for good read.. count me in!-- and it is now in my library.
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by VintageFemme View Post
Would anyone be interested in a BFP Book Club?

I started reading Radclyffe Hall's, The Well of Loneliness a little while ago and didn't get very far before I became distracted. I want to pick it back up, but thought it might be a lot of fun to read with a group.

I thought perhaps we could start with this book, read 3 chapters a week and post to this thread on Sundays your thoughts of the previous chapters and generate some conversation around the book. That way no one will get ahead of someone else and post spoilers. If you haven't read the chapters, it would be wise not to read the thread. LoL

I would like to keep the "Book Club" lesbian centered as there are so many great pieces of literature (and some trashy ones too!) for our community that I feel go unacknowledged and unread. At the very least, a strong female storyline. All we need to get started are two other interested members. Three will make a nice start to a book club (obviously the more the better) I think. If you would like to do this, please post when you have the book and as soon as we have three, we'll begin. I hope there's interest, I think this would be a lot of fun to do. Tulapip!

Yay it's on! To ensure that kittygrrl gets her book in time, let's not discuss until a week from this coming Sunday. So this first week will actually be a week and a half.

Sunday the 19th, drop by and post your thoughts on the first three chapters and hopefully we'll spark some fancy conversation. Then we'll three chapter it at a time and discuss every Sunday thereafter until we're through at which time, we'll figure out a way to choose another book.

I'm so excited that you all want to do this with me! Happy reading!!!
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:30 PM   #10
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I'm in! I will have the book Thursday thanks to Amazon Prime.
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:01 AM   #11
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I am always in the mood for good read.. count me in!-- and it is now in my library.
It is NOT in my library (where i am the librarian.) It is weird that i never checked in all of my 13 years' tenure. We are getting print and electronic copies this week!
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:23 PM   #12
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Got my book in the mail today!
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Old 08-13-2018, 05:27 PM   #13
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Also, I probably should have mentioned, I got my copy from Amazon for $3.99 plus Prime free two day shipping. So if you're looking for a cheap copy and still want to get in on this...
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Old 08-21-2018, 12:47 PM   #14
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Sunday the 19th, drop by and post your thoughts on the first three chapters and hopefully we'll spark some fancy conversation.
Having read this once before, it is hard for me to limit my thoughts to the first three chapters. Most of what has struck me about this book is what my recollection of it says about my own journey-- i would have read it for the first time in 1991. It was still the second wave. Butch-femme dynamics were deprecated, Stone Butch Blues was two years away, and nobody was out yet except Martina-- in fact, i would also have read Sudden Death/Rubyfruit/Six of One that same year.

Late 80s-early 90s lesbian fiction had a respectability agenda going on, to which i was very susceptible. That climate plus this book really contributed to feelings of invisibility for me.

Reading it now, 25 years later, with words like genderqueer and transmasculine available, is very different. I almost feel like it is not a lesbian novel-- that Stephen is a straight man and Mary is a straight woman-- not a femme, erased.

Anyway, for thoughts on the first three chapters, here is what i have: I don’t have a good recollection of what the character of the father eventually does with the understanding he clearly has. I feel hopeful but I am also expecting disappointment, and I am not sure he is doing his child any favors by indulging his own wish for a son without simultaneously equipping Stephen with the skills and knowledge, resilience, etc. that she is going to need survive the danger he implicitly encourages her to court.
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Old 08-21-2018, 06:38 PM   #15
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The book feels quite melancholy from the very beginning and even though i haven't peeked at the end I can guess it will not be a happy one..A modern equivalent might be Stonebutch Blues? I prefer Stonebutch Blues even though it isn't as carefully written. The feelings of isolation and loneliness haven't changed much in the almost 100 years since it's publication.
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:33 AM   #16
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In chapters 4-6 we see the aftermath of Collins the maid's betrayal, the arrival of Collins the pony, Stephen's first hunt and triumph, the arrival of Mme. Duphot, the start of her fencing lessons, and the departure of Mme. Duphot.

Having read ahead this portion is like a period of calm between two storms-- one named Collins and one named Angela. We don't have to deal with either one in these chapters, which makes for an idyllic interlude.

In this section we see Stephen being permitted to ride astride and to learn gymnastics and fencing. The only thing she is not allowed to do is to cut her hair.

She is allowed to hold her gender in a neutral position and find pride in the strength of her body and mind while being mostly protected from value judgments about the appropriateness of that strength. She is only ever faced with her differences when she is participating in the social life of her county or when she is faced with her mother.

What i am struck with here, and will continue to notice in the chapters that follow is how LUCKY Stephen is. She is a tragic figure marked for suffering, but lets imagine a similar child born to a farmer in their village. Stephen is an aristocrat with an understanding father who will soon have an understanding governess, as well. Did Radclyffe Hall write Stephen as an aristocrat because she was an aristocrat, or because without that status the book would have been too tragic to get through?

kittygrrl contrasted Well with Stone Butch Blues, but the comparison i keep making is with E.M. Forster's Maurice.

In Maurice the protagonists were aristocratic, but the character of Alec represents a commoner who is dealing successfully with his difference-- would female commoners have that much success? We will see a few of these later in the novel, but i contend that most were not doing as well as Alec seems to.
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Old 09-02-2018, 06:31 AM   #17
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In chapters 7-9 i continued to be struck by how lucky Stephen is. What if there had been no Puddle, what if there had been no opportunity/inclination for a writing career? I guess that is what makes this book extra-depressing. She had the best situation an "invert" could hope for, with the exception of a supportive mother.

And why was her mother so unsupportive? I think there was a more sympathetic portrayal available, in that the same sex parent always has a harder time with their child's queerness, as it was on them to provide the proper example. I also think in a social class where mothering is the whole of a woman's role that it is easier for the father to be supportive of idiosyncrasies in children of either sex, role model or not, because they are not held as responsible for how the child turns out. The judgment of their neighbors will always fall on the mom.

Also it is weird that Hall made such an event of the dad buying a car. The advent of the automobile is not a major plot point. I enjoyed the digression, however, as i could pretend i was back at Downton Abbey.
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Old 09-09-2018, 01:26 PM   #18
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Chapters 10-12 are fairly excruciating! The Christmas scenes are so bittersweet because you really see how Morton is a part of her and start to understand how unfair it is that she will never be able to play the role her father did, even though that should be her birthright.

And Martin! This resonates with me on this second reading, because there was a time after the first time I read it that I considered going back to men— I had only had three lesbian relationships and all three had featured violence. I felt like maybe I should not choose this life if it was possible to avoid it. The reactions of my straight family and acquaintance to this idea was disgustingly enthusiastic and made me hate them a little and made me determined to never consider straightness again no matter how many women hit me. The reactions of Stephen’s acquaintance to her friendship with Martin was a flashback to that time for me.

And of course there were the times after that brief reconsideration when I used to think I could have male friends, who would always eventually get to the point Martin reached and disappoint me.
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