The IFLS Book Club is gearing up for another year of reading adventures, and hoping to recruit some new folks to come along for the ride. For those who are intrigued by the book club but unsure of what’s involved, below is a primer in Q & A format.
We will also be having an informal meeting following the IFLS meet & greet (more on that soon) on Wednesday September 13 at Osgoode, Room 3067. The IFLS function will start at 4:30pm, and the book club portion will commence at 5:30pm following the general meet & greet. If you are considering joining the book club, this is a great opportunity to find out more about who we are and what we do. We’ll introduce ourselves and talk about directions and possible activities for the book club in the coming year, book selections, scheduling issues, etc. There’s no book assigned for this meeting, to make it as low-pressure as possible. We hope to see you there, and would encourage you to invite others who might be interested.
IFLS Bookclub Primer
The IFLS Bookclub is an Osgoode-based group of feminist legal scholars who meet once a month to discuss a book.
What’s this bookclub all about?
The point of the IFLS Bookclub is to build a community of people to engage in thoughtful, friendly discussion, to connect with other booklovers at Osgoode, and give you a chance (and excuse) to take a break from other pressures.
Sounds great – how can I join?
Email us at email@example.com and we’ll be in touch.
I’m not actively engaged in explicitly feminist research, and/or I’m not affiliated with the IFLS – can I still join?
Of course! What our members have in common is an interest in the law, and an engagement with feminist ideas. We have different levels of legal education and experience, and not everyone is engaged in research at all, let alone feminist research. JD students, graduate students, faculty, staff, visiting scholars and anyone else with any kind of Osgoode affiliation is welcome to join.
I’m not a woman – can I still join?
I’m not a big reader – can I still join?
Of course! If you’re only going to read one non-work book in a month, why not make it ours? Our discussion doesn’t require a degree in literary criticism, or a firm grounding in anything theoretical or canonical.
We aim to meet once a month during the academic year, and once or twice over the summer. We poll the group to select dates and times that work for as many people as possible.
Where do you meet?
It varies. Sometimes we meet at Osgoode in the IFLS/Nathanson Centre (room 3067). Sometimes we meet downtown at a pub or café (when we met at Famous Last Words they created a Monkey Beach cocktail just for us to celebrate the book we were discussing). Sometimes we meet at a member’s home. Usually we all meet in person, but occasionally a member or guest will join via Skype. We set meeting locations and times after soliciting feedback from the group about what works best for everyone’s schedule.
Will there be snacks?
Yes! And they’re delicious. We take turns bringing them (unless of course we’re meeting at a pub/café, which generally have their own snacks available).
Do you only read ‘feminist’ books?
No. We consider ourselves to be a club of feminists reading books, rather than a club reading feminist books. However, our feminist orientation means that we try to choose books written by female, Indigenous, racialized, LGBTQ, disabled or otherwise marginalized authors. We like to choose books our members might not otherwise have read. Sometimes we’ll make an exception to this general rule – like reading The Stepford Wives and watching the Disney film adaptation for our Halloween special. A list of books we’ve read in the past is attached.
We generally don’t read nonfiction (this is not a club of feminists reading academic books) but may choose a nonfiction book from time to time. We read books from all forms (novels, short stories, graphic novels, poetry) and all genres.
How do you choose which books to read?
In the past, we’ve chosen as a group on a month-to-month basis, but we’ve found that doesn’t always give us enough time to finish reading. For this year, we’ll solicit suggestions, and then set a list for the term, so you can plan your reading.
If you have a suggestion, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
What if I’m a Bookclub member but I didn’t have time to read the book this month?
No worries – please still come along! Our discussion, while at least nominally focused on our chosen book, is wide-ranging, and you will no doubt have much to contribute even if you didn’t get to finish (or start) the book. We’re not setting homework, and there will be no exam on the book. We do try to select less heavy reads (poetry, graphic novels, etc) during the busiest parts of term so that Bookclub remains a treat and not a burden even in demanding times.
Do I have to come to every meeting?
Of course not! We understand that things come up, and that not every member will be able to make it to every session. However, we encourage members to try to participate throughout the year, and not just for a single session.
What with work/research/study/family/etc there are many demands on my time – why should I join?
Does taking a couple of hours a month to sit with some friends and discuss books, law, current events and anything else you feel like over tea & cookies or wine & cheese sound good? Then please join.
IFLS Book Club – Past Reads
- You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine – Alexandra Kleeman
- The Stepford Wives – Ira Levine (and the 2004 movie)
- North End Love Songs – Katherena Vermette
- Tell: Stories of a Girlhood – Soraya Peerbaye
- Monkey Beach – Eden Robinson
- The Unquiet Dead – Ausma Zehanat Khan
- Difficult Women – Roxanne Gay
- Birdie – Tracey Lindberg
- Islands of Postcolonial Love – Leanne Simpson
- Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories for Social Justice Movements – Adrienne Maree Brown, Walidah Imarisha
- Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir – Liz Prince