The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Phoenixization of the Book Club: Barren Bitches and Spinning Books

The Barren Bitches Book Brigade turns one on November 29th. Our little girl has grown up. This year, we read 8 books and had almost 100 participants. Taking myself out of the running because I do every tour and Josh because I force him to do every tour, there was a tie for most tours between two blogs who each slogged through six books with the Barren Bitches.

The Book Slogger Award for 2006-2007 goes to...

Beaten But Not Bowed (Drowned Girl)
Southern Infertility (Samantha)

At 5 tours, an honourable mention goes to Weebles Wobblog (Lori).

Speech, speech!

If for some reason you missed it, sign up began last week for Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale. All are welcome to join along.

The overwhelming opinion of those that expressed their opinion was having some variety in the book choice; alternating between IF/pg loss/adoption books (fiction or non-fiction) and...well...non-IF/pg loss/adoption books. IF/pg loss is only half (or hopefully less) of who we are therefore it should be half of what we read. Or something like that. I love reading IF/pg loss/adoption books with you because we come from a common experience but have such divergent opinions and thoughts. So I don't want to give that up. But there are some really cool books floating through the world right now that would be cool to read with you too. So... For the sake of clarity, I've named the two categories "salt" (IF/adoption/pg loss) and "pepper" (non-IF/adoption/pg loss).

It's time to vote for the next books. First and foremost, weigh in now if you would like to read Inconceivable by Julia Indichova or if you'd rather skip this book and go to the first Pepper book. If you are planning to participate in Inconceivable, let me know now. If you'd put it back in the pool for a later read, let me know too. Weigh in.

For both the Salt and Pepper books, the voting works the same way. Even if you haven't joined in the past, you should vote to make sure that we're covering books in the future that you'd want to read. Here's how it works:
  • Read the blurbs below and decide which books sound potentially interesting to you.
  • Leave a note in the comment section with the numbers of ALL of the books you are willing to read. List the number to the left of the book (you may not be able to participate in all the future tours, but choose books that you'd like to read if you have the time to join along).
  • You may also vote two books off the island. Don't use this if you feel neutrally towards a book, but if there is no chance you would ever join along if we were reading a particular book, vote it off the island. Think of it as Survivor for books.
Got it? Read the blurbs, leave a comment with the numbers of ALL the books you'll read, and vote one or two off the list (if you wish).

SALT BOOKS (all of these books have some tie to IF/pg loss/adoption--trust me; it may be small, but it's there)

1. The Empty Picture Frame (Jenna Nadeau): a book by one of our own in the IF/pg loss blogosphere. A panoramic view of IVF and the day-to-day life of someone struggling with infertility.

2. Gilead (Marilynne Robinson): Won the Pulitzer Prize. The narrator is an Iowan preacher writing a letter to his seven-year-old son who may never know his older father due to the preacher's poor health. The letter serves as a way for this father to leave behind a sense of himself for his child.

3. The Yiddish Policeman's Union (Michael Chabon): what if, instead of Israel, Jews were given a temporary settlement in Alaska after World War II? Chabon takes us to the possible ending of the settlement in a detective-murder-mystery-many-other-genres type novel.

4. The Confessions of Max Tivoli (Andrew Sean Greer): Max Tivoli was born as a 70-year-old man and he is aging backwards, working his way towards becoming a newborn. Due to this strange phenomenon, his life intersects others at various points, constantly appearing as a new person each time.

5. Embryo Culture (Beth Kohl): not only a first-hand account of treatments and the emotions of infertility, but a look at treatments as an industry, how fertility is handled in other cultures, and the far-reaching grasp of technology.

6. The Mistress's Daughter (A.M. Homes): A.M. Homes' memoir about her reunion with the mother who placed her for adoption many years earlier and the father who is absent even when present is truly a look at nature vs. nurture--where do our bloodlines end and environment begins?

7. The Baby Void (Judith Uyterlinde): reviewed here (suggested by Drowned Girl).

8. So Close (Tertia Albertyn): again, a book by one of our own, this memoir covers Tertia's quest to become a mother via IVF as well as her son, Ben's, life and death.

9. Four Minus Three (Guitelle H. Sandman): It's a story of how this mother lived through the deaths of her three sons, at different times and ages (suggested by Julia).

10. Coming to Term (Jon Cohen): a non-fiction book covering pregnancy loss (suggested by Ms. Planner).

11. Tick Tock (Dr. Lillian Schapiro): This is about a young gyno resident who finds herself on the receiving end of fertility treatment (suggested by Kristen).

12. Almost Perfect (Dianne Blacklock): After 7 years of in-vitro treatment, the couple begins to drift apart and the guy starts an affair with another woman, who winds up pregnant at the drop of a hat (suggested by Kristen).

13. Baby Trail (Sinead Moriarty): it begins with a woman who carefully plans going off the pill and getting pregnant soon after (sound familiar?) only to discover she can't plan everything. It goes on through her foray into fertility treatment (suggested by Kristen).

14. To Full Term (Darci Klein): Through her research and her stick-to-it-iveness, she is able to overcome the odds and avoid a fourth loss. Lots of facts and statistics but more about her true life story (suggested by Kristen).

15. Digging to America (Anne Tyler): two families adopt children from Korea. The book does not focus on infertility or adoption as the centerpiece, but rather uses these as a springboard to exploring our notions of family and how we create ties with the ones we love (suggested by Samantha).

PEPPER BOOKS (no ties to IF/pg loss/adoption as far as I know)

16. Songs Without Words (Ann Packer): Liz has always been the friend who takes care of Sarabeth. But when the tables turn and Liz is the one in need of comfort, Sarabeth is too riddled with traumatic memories to step up and provide support.

17. Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert): "At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops: Rome, for pleasure (mostly gustatory, with a special emphasis on gelato); an ashram outside of Mumbai, for spiritual searching; and Bali, for "balancing."--from The New Yorker.

18. Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen): "The novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression."--from Publishers Weekly.

19. The Jane Austen Book Club (Karen Fowler): "Five women and one man meet periodically to discuss the work of (arguably) the greatest novelist in English. Six people, one for each Jane Austen title. It is California, a hot summer in the Central Valley early in the 21st century, and these are ordinary people, neither happy nor unhappy, but each of them hurting in different ways, all of them mixed up about love."--from The Washington Post.

20. The Eyre Affair (Jasper Fforde): "Surreal and hilariously funny, this alternate history will appeal to lovers of zany genre work (think Douglas Adams) and lovers of classic literature alike. The scene: Great Britain circa 1985, but a Great Britain where literature has a prominent place in everyday life."--from Publishers Weekly.

Okay, get voting. The booth is now open until November 15th (Thursday) at 10 p.m. EST. New books will be announced in the roundup on the 16th. And weigh in on whether you're planning on joining for Inconceivable by Indichova (currently on the side bar as the next book) or if we should jump to the first "pepper" (non-IF) book on the list after voting. If you do not want to leave your vote in the comments section below, you can email me your vote.


Melissa said...

4, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18

Baby Steps to Baby Shoes said...

salt books- 5, 6, 13, 15 (I have already ready 2, 3, and 4)

pepper books- 16, 20 (I've read all of the others and truly hated Eat, Pray, Love- so would vote that one off)

am up for starting Inconceivable

Lori said...

Salt: 1-15

Pepper: 16-20

I guess you can say I'm not very discriminating.

I'm in for Inconceivable.

I'll get to work on that speech!

Kristen said...

1, 4, 5, 8, 11-13, 17-19

I'm in for Inconceivable as well!

BethH6703 said...

1, 2, 5, 8, 13, 16

We HAVE to read books by our fellow SQs, don't we???

loribeth said...

Definitely interested in Salt 1 & 5-15(I've already read a few of them) & Pepper 17, 19 & 20.

I have read & still have "Inconceivable," so it would be easy to pick it up & give it another quick read for this bookclub.

Jendeis said...

Will read anything and everything. I'm in for Inconceivable too. :)

Holly said...


I'm in for Inconceivable, but will read whatever everyone decides on.

r_is_moody said...

1-5, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20

I will vote off 9, 12, 17

I'm also up for Inconceivable.

Baby Step said...

I am going to vote on any of the Pepper books. I have to say I am up to my eyeballs in IF books right now, it is all I read for the last two years! So, I would love a break before I go back to IF books (which I know I will!)

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

I'm definitely in for Inconceivable.

Salt: 1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14

Pepper: 16, 17, 19

Samantha said...

Thank you for the award. I'm so glad you organize the book club, it's been very informative for me and a great way to read some new literature and non-fiction.

I'm up for reading Inconceivable - haven't read it and am interested.

Will read whatever, but it is nice to read those of "our own"--1, 8.

deanna said...

I gotta say, I'm getting hungry for some pepper, but count me in for Inconceivable in the meantime.

Salt: 2, 3, 4, 11, 15

Pepper: 18, 20

The Dunn Family said...

I'm not good with decisions. All of them sound good to me. I'm up for Inconceivable as well.

Yodasmistress said...

salt: 1 (already bought it), 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15

pepper: 17 & 19

I would read Inconceivable.

Don't feel I need to nix anything.

Drowned Girl said...

Oh my goodness! I got an award. Mind you, I am a voracious reader at the best of times, let alone this year when I've had an IVF, a FET and an early days twin pregnancy (all with associated waiting rooms)

I didn't find the reading a slog at all, The Time Travelers Wife probably had the biggest effect on me of any book I've ever read.

I have read a few on there (incl Digging to America, the Handmaids tale and Inconceivable) but will gladly read or reread anything.


Pamela Jeanne said...

So much here to choose from. I honestly am good with everything...(and I had no idea there was a book called Coming To Terms ... good thing I didn't name my book that!)

Thanks again for organizing this very enjoyable and thought-provoking online experience.