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January - Ada/Ardor - A Family Chronicle / Herland

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  • Over the winter months, the Bristol book club has two treats for you to enjoy: Ada (or Ardor): A Family Chronicle, Vladimir Nabokov
    One for the Lolita fans; this time it's incest.
    Published two weeks after his seventieth birthday, Ada, or Ardor is one of Nabokov's greatest masterpieces, the glorious culmination of his career as a novelist. It tells a love story troubled by incest. But more: it is also at once a fairy tale, epic, philosophical treatise on the nature of time, parody of the history of the novel, and erotic catalogue. Ada, or Ardor is no less than the supreme work of an imagination at white heat.
    From the NY times: "It is a love story, an erotic masterpiece, a philosophical investigation into the nature of time."

    And the shorter option (remember you can read either, or both) is Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
    An all-female society is discovered somewhere in the distant reaches of the earth by three male explorers who are now forced to re-examine their assumptions about women's roles in society.
    from the Guardian: "As a loud, stubborn, happily non-cool girl, I’ve grown accustomed to almost never seeing myself represented in media (except as a hairy, bra-burning punchline). I think that’s what is so deeply, viscerally empowering about Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1915 novella Herland, in which three swaggering male explorers discover a lost civilization populated entirely by women. Though it reads like a plucky sci-fi adventure serial, at Herland’s heart is an unapologetically feminist treatise. Gilman goes for it in a way that even some 21st-century progressives shy away from in the name of diplomacy."

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