[Inner Senshi Book Club] Round 4: Flowers From the Storm

(Again, sorry about the late post—I need to stop making mid-month travel plans!)

The “Inner Senshi Book Club” is an online book club where five book lovers of different backgrounds and tastes across the world take turns at selecting and hosting a book each month. Individually, we are (in alphabetical order): Aimee, Angel, Meghan, Samantha L, and Samantha R. Together, we present you a whole range of books, complete with our responses to a rotating list of set questions. For more information about us, check out this introductory post.

A new book is selected on the 15th of each month, and our thoughts are posted roughly four to five weeks later. We hope you can join us in our reading shenanigans! (The book club derives its name from the five soldiers of love and justice from the Japanese manga and anime series, Sailormoon. We are just as kickass, and if all goes to plan, twice as well-read.)


This month, our book choice is: Laura Kinsale – Flowers From the Storm (as chosen by Angel)

I want you to consider:
Which person–real or fictional–do you think will consider this book one of their favourites? Why do you think this is?

Samantha R is interested in knowing:
Did you have a favourite character in the book? If so, what was it about this character that drew you to them? Or in reverse, were there any characters that you particularly disliked, and why?

Meghan is wondering:
If you could rewrite any part of the book, what would you change?

Angel would like you to think about:
Was it easy or difficult to identify with the narrator and why?

Aimee’s question for you is:
How believable were the character relationships in the book?

This month’s host, Angel, has two bonus questions from which to choose:
Flowers from the Storm isn’t the quintessential romance novel, what with its focus on disabilities, religion and tolerance. What do you think the romance genre added to the discussion of these issues as Kinsale wrote them?
One major theme in this story is the loss of control and agency, e.g. Jervaulx’s stroke rendering him unable to think and speak properly and Maddy’s role as a woman in the Quaker church preventing her from making certain important decisions. How well does the novel deal with the hurdles both characters face and (if you think the problems have been solved) does it make for a satisfying conclusion?


Our book club will begin reading Flowers From the Storm until 15 September. Stay tuned to our reviews and discussions for last month’s book, Cat’s Eye.

Aimee @ Penmanship Smitten | Angel @ Mermaid Vision Books | Meghan @ Coffee and Wizards | Samantha R @ As Read By An Aspiring Receptionist

[Inner Senshi Book Club] Round 2 Review: Melinda Marchetta – Looking for Alibrandi

True to my Inner Senshi persona of Sailormoon (known to be notoriously late and unreliable), I am more than fortnight late in posting my response to last month’s Inner Senshi Book Club title, Marchetta’s Looking for Alibrandi. (This tardiness is primarily due to my frantic churning of a Masters dissertation as well as moving from England to Ireland, but I still like the Usagi/Sailormoon reason better.)


Marchetta’s Looking for Alibrandi is a coming-of-age story set in Sydney, centred on Josephine Alibrandi, an Italian Australian in her final year of high school. I’m going to jump straight into the discussion questions, so here we go!

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[Inner Senshi Book Club] Round 3: Cat’s Eye

Once again, I’m late in posting this due to having no computer access mid-month (this time, Spain is the culprit). I must apologise in advance for being late mid-August as well, as I’ll be on a plane to Australia…!

The “Inner Senshi Book Club” is an online book club where five book lovers of different backgrounds and tastes across the world take turns at selecting and hosting a book each month. Individually, we are (in alphabetical order): Aimee, Angel, Meghan, Samantha L, and Samantha R. Together, we present you a whole range of books, complete with our responses to a rotating list of set questions. For more information about us, check out this introductory post.

A new book is selected on the 15th of each month, and our thoughts are posted roughly four to five weeks later. We hope you can join us in our reading shenanigans! (The book club derives its name from the five soldiers of love and justice from the Japanese manga and anime series, Sailormoon. We are just as kickass, and if all goes to plan, twice as well-read.)


This month, our book choice is: Margaret Atwood – Cat’s Eye (as chosen by Meghan)

Samantha L wants you to consider:
How do the structural features (such as narrative mode and genre) shape the meaning of the text? If ineffective, how do you think this could be improved?

Samantha R is interested in knowing:
Did the book meet your expectations, or were you disappointed? Why or why not?

Meghan is wondering:
Do you feel the cover reflected the story well? Why or why not?

Angel would like you to think about:
How well does the writing style serve the story? How does it fail to uphold the narrative?

Aimee’s question for you is:
How well does the setting contribute to the story? (Would a different setting have affected the book significantly?)

This month’s host, Meghan, has a bonus question:
Discuss some of the ways the protagonist’s identity are revealed to the reader. What role does identity and gender play in this novel?


Our book club will begin reading Cat’s Eye until 15 August. Stay tuned to our reviews and discussions for last month’s book, Looking for Alibrandi. In the meantime, check out our thoughts on Mary Shelley’s Mathilda!

Aimee @ Penmanship Smitten | Angel @ Mermaid Vision Books | Meghan @ Coffee and Wizards | Samantha R @ As Read By An Aspiring Receptionist

[Inner Senshi Book Club] Round 2: Looking for Alibrandi

The “Inner Senshi Book Club” is an online book club where five book lovers of different backgrounds and tastes across the world take turns at selecting and hosting a book each month. Individually, we are (in alphabetical order): Aimee, Angel, Meghan, Samantha L, and Samantha R. Together, we present you a whole range of books, complete with our responses to a rotating list of set questions. For more information about us, check out this introductory post.

A new book is selected on the 15th of each month, and our thoughts are posted roughly four to five weeks later. We hope you can join us in our reading shenanigans! (The book club derives its name from the five soldiers of love and justice from the Japanese manga and anime series, Sailormoon. We are just as kickass, and if all goes to plan, twice as well-read.)


This month, our book choice is: Melina Marchetta – Looking for Alibrandi

Samantha L wants you to consider:
How do the structural features (such as narrative mode and genre) shape the meaning of the text? If ineffective, how do you think this could be improved?

Samantha R is interested in knowing:
Did the book meet your expectations, or were you disappointed? Why or why not?

Meghan is wondering:
Do you feel the cover reflected the story well? Why or why not?

Angel would like you to think about:
Was there a theme that jumped out strongly in the story? Did it fit the development of the characters?

Aimee’s question for you is:
How well does the setting contribute to the story? (Would a different setting have affected the book significantly?)

This month’s host, Samantha R, has a bonus question:
Family, culture and identity all play a large role in Looking for Alibrandi. How do you feel Marchetta dealt with these issues?


For those who might have missed our introduction post last month, our book club will begin reading Looking for Alibrandi until 15 July. Our answers to last month’s questions, as well as our review of Mathilda by Mary Shelley will be up this week, so stay tuned to our blogs for the discussion posts (my response can be found here)!

Aimee @ Penmanship Smitten | Angel @ Mermaid Vision Books | Meghan @ Coffee and Wizards | Samantha R @ As Read By An Aspiring Receptionist

[Inner Senshi Book Club] Round 1 Review: Mary Shelley – Mathilda

Despite being this month’s host of the Inner Senshi Book Club, I am tardy in my response (but fortunately, am second only to Meg)! This is primarily due to my week-long choir tour in Rome (!!), from which I’ve just returned (after eating a copious amount of pizza, pasta, and gelato). And now, without further ado…


Mathilda, written in 1819-1820, is Mary Shelley’s second novel and was penned after her more popular Frankenstein. The novel is very much influenced by a range of people and events in Shelley’s life, but it is also a rejection of the philosophies held by her father and husband: through Mathilda, Mary Shelley rejects both the ‘rational utopianism’ of her father and the ‘utopianism of [Percy] Shelleyan love’ (Janet Todd, 1991). In other words, although Mathilda can be considered to be largely autobiographical, the novel is also Shelley’s careful assertion of her own views, which stand directly opposite to that of the two domineering men in her life.

Being quite a fan of the period, I very much enjoyed reading Mathilda and seeing all the real-life references, such as the death of Mary Wollstonecraft (Mary Shelley’s mother) shortly after Shelley’s birth, Shelley’s half-sister (Fanny Imlay)’s death by laudanum, and Shelley’s complex relationship with her father, William Godwin. I was particularly drawn by the similarities between Mathilda and Byron’s Manfred (1817), where both characters are similarly guilt-driven and ultimately take control of their own fates. (Also, having primarily written about Percy Bysshe Shelley in the last year, it is rather disconcerting referring to Mary Shelley solely by her surname and then attaching a female pronoun…)

And now for discussion questions (with spoilers ahoy)!

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[Inner Senshi Book Club] Introduction & May 2012

Introduction

The “Inner Senshi Book Club” is an online book club where five book lovers of different backgrounds and tastes across the world take turns at selecting and hosting a book each month. Individually, we are (in alphabetical order): Aimee, Angel, Meghan, Samantha L, and Samantha R. Together, we present you a whole range of books, complete with our responses to a rotating list of set questions.

A new book is selected on the 15th of each month, and our thoughts are posted roughly four to five weeks later. The current schedule for 2012 is as follows:

May: Samantha Lin
June: Samantha R
July: Meghan
August: Angel
September: Aimee

We hope you can join us in our reading shenanigans!

(The book club derives its name from the five soldiers of love and justice from the Japanese manga and anime series, Sailormoon. We are just as kickass, and if all goes to plan, twice as well-read.)

Aimee (Sailor Jupiter) is a prospective law student, hoping to conquer the world with her extensive knowledge of Harry Potter, Greek and Latin classics, YA literature, and adorkable fictional boys. Though she loves reading anything and everything, she primarily uses her books to meet complex, quirky characters and explore gorgeous, romantic locations. Her hobbies include doodling in notebooks, nerdy-fangirling, and reading to herself in (terrible) English accents. You can find her ramblings @amethysthx. She currently resides in Long Island, New York.

Angel (Sailor Venus) is an aspiring YA novelist/Nerdfighter and a fangirl of all things wonderful. She adores classical lit, romance and children’s literature. Her book choices will be eclectic and wacky at times, but there is always a theme worth discovering. The Favourites shelf in her bookcase is teeming with mermaids, Boy Masterpieces, zombies, cyborgs and spies. You can find her at Mermaid Vision Books and follow her @mermaidvisions. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Meghan (Sailor Mercury) is a full time student and overtime fangirl of tall, skinny men with accents. Though she largely reads YA, she also dabbles in classics and fantasy. Her favourite thing to do is pick apart books for feminist themes or the lack thereof. She places her books not in alphabetical order but based on which authors she thinks would get along. You can find her at Coffee and Wizards and follow her @MegTao. She lives in Windsor, Ontario.

Samantha L (Sailor Moon)’s paperwork for entrance to the loony bin gave the institution such a headache, they decided to pawn her off to the literary academics instead. She has since accepted her fate, and now sees her eventual PhD in Shakespeare as a stepping stone to becoming a professional fangirl. Her life ambition is to one day establish a Fandom University, where it is possible to obtain such degrees as a Bachelor of Science in Avoiding Victor Frankenstein’s Mistakes and Master of Arts in Improvement of the Mind by Extensive Reading. In the meantime, you can find her at All Things Literary and follow her @samanthalin. She currently lives in Durham, England.

Samantha R (Sailor Mars), also known to all and sundry as Sam, is a full time student and aspiring YA novelist. She is always willing to fangirl anything and everything, but has a particular fondness for delicious British men. She divides her reading time equally between nineteenth-century literature and YA, with occasional dabbles into the Modernist era and chick lit. The only organised areas of her bedroom are her bookshelves, which receive more love and attention and are kept more tidy than the rest of the room combined. You can find her at As Read by an Aspiring Receptionist and follow her @samanthaarea. She lives in Sydney, Australia.


This month, our book choice is: Mary Shelley – Mathilda (1820)

Samantha L wants you to consider:
How relevant do you think this text will be in a century? Which aspects do you think will be valued most?

Samantha R is interested in knowing:
Did you have a favourite character in the book? If so, what was it about this character that drew you to them? Or in reverse, were there any characters that you particularly disliked, and why?

Meghan is wondering:
If you had to date one of the characters, which would you pick and why?

Angel would like you to think about:
How well does the writing style serve the story? How does it fail to uphold the narrative?

Aimee’s question for you is:
What was your favorite or most memorable passage (if any) in the book? Why did it leave such an impression?

This month’s host, Samantha L, has a bonus question:
Mary Shelley was the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, considered to be one of the first modern feminists. In Mathilda, how effectively do you think Shelley deals with the issues of women, femininity, and feminism?


The five of us are all extremely excited to finally unleash this project into the world wild web! I’m especially pleased to be the inaugural host of our little book club, where I hope you’ll enjoy my selection this month: a lesser known work by the author of Frankenstein and wife of the great Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. If you’re unsure about which edition to pick up, I’d recommend the Penguin (edited and with an introduction by the fabulous Janet Todd), which also includes Mary Wollstonecraft’s Mary and Maria.

I’m very much looking forward to reading what you and my fellow Inner Senshi think about the novella—if you have a blog or wish to participate with us, please do so! The line-up for the rest of the year is also quite eclectic, so I hope you’ll stick with us as we embark on a journey of books, reflections, and discoveries!