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About This Club

This is a casual bookclub where people can have conversations about books they've read, whether fiction or non-fiction that are of interest to Shybi readers.

  1. What's new in this club
  2. ZuZu'sPetals

    The Art of Reading

    I adore the energy of the paint, it breathes life into the books...
  3. celeste teal

    The Art of Reading

    Libreria - David Farres Calvo (2018)
  4. celeste teal

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    This is another quote that really stood out for me. "In retrospect, I see that this was my education, the one that would matter: the hours I spent sitting at a borrowed desk, struggling to parse narrow strands of Mormon doctrine in mimicry of a brother who'd deserted me. The skill I was learning was a crucial one, the patience to read things I could not yet understand." From Chapter 6, Shield and Buckler, p.69 This summaries the entire book for me: the looking back at her childhood in a search for understanding and meaning, the struggle to follow the example of her brother, the feeling of alienation after he left home which foreshadows her future alienation from her parents, and the insight into the requirements necessary for true learning - hard work, determination, curiosity and patience with oneself during the process. I work as a volunteer helping seniors learn the basics of computers, tablets and cell phones and they all exemplify the above learning "necessities" to such an extent that I'm constantly inspired; the moment I read the above passage I thought of them.
  5. celeste teal

    The Art of Reading

    A Summer Day - Gerda Wegener (1927) There is more than just reading in this painting (!) It's one of my favourites, as is Gerda.
  6. celeste teal

    What is your favorite genre?

    What are your favorites? Maybe one can become the next club book we read as a group.
  7. Findingmyway875

    What is your favorite genre?

    Currently I’m big into memoirs. I’ve read more than I can count over the last year. I was never a non fiction fan until I took an honors class on memoirs in college this fall.
  8. celeste teal

    The Art of Reading

    @ZuZu'sPetals The artist's website says this paining is oil on aluminum, an unusual substrate (!), maybe that adds to the energy.
  9. celeste teal

    The Art of Reading

    Girl in a Hammock - Winslow Homer (1873)
  10. HerbanOrla

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    This all makes sense. I think for her it would be difficult to even know where to start. As far as whether or not she *should* forgive them, I guess I would say that there is no should, since it's entirely up to her and she doesn't owe them forgiveness. However, if she is dealing with conflicting emotions (I'm purely speculating here, of course) that keep her up at night, forgiveness would be beneficial so that she can free up some mental energy. It would be a compassionate action that she could take for herself, not for her parents. As far as forgiving Shawn, I could imagine her forgiving him but then choosing to never have contact with him again.
  11. celeste teal

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    Thank you @CallistoDidNotWin, I'll go have a peek!
  12. celeste teal

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    My feeling is that Tara would love to be in a position to forgive her family but there is such a vast gulf of alienation between them, and she cannot step into that gulf until they do. Her sister Audrey was in a similar situation and did step into the gulf first and forgave, but in the process she surrendered her separate view of "reality". Tara knows that is a price she cannot, and will not pay. Tara's mother was very close to stepping into that gulf, and maybe even had a foot in it before she stepped back, which I found so terribly sad for Tara. Her mother seemed to be in a powerful position with the success of her business, and perhaps might have been able to steer the family towards a suitable reconciliation but in the end she couldn't risk the "stability" of her family and chose them over Tara. I think Tara could forgive them, but only on her terms, so I guess as long as the situation remains the same in reality she can't. I feel that her position is not one of resentment or bitterness but one of resigned stoicism. She's playing a long game, I think, and will be ready to forgive if the situation changes within the family. Perhaps something like a death in the family - her father, or Shawn for example, which will upset the family dynamics will bring about a desire among the others for a reconciliation.
  13. CallistoDidNotWin

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    Yes, I would very much like to ask that question too. Did you feel that she had? It seemed to me the book got a little murky and disjointed as it wound down to a close there, which is understandable since she was basically talking about how she went, well, a bit off the deep end mentally/emotionally for a while. If there was anything dissatisfying to me about the book, it was how it started out so coherent, and then slipped off the rails towards the end and got less clear, less of a narrative sometimes and more of a kind of stream-of-consciousness picture of what it looks like when someone is suffering a bout with mental illness. Which is interesting, but still left so many things hanging in the air to my mind, didn't it? Did she forgive her family? That just seemed a little unclear....as though she did but at the same time knew on some intellectual level that she didn't/couldn't/shouldn't forgive them? And of course forgiving wrongs done to you by your family, that is no simple question to answer. I myself over the years have been yawing back forth, deciding at one point that I forgave my father, then deciding I did not forgive him, then I forgave him, and then.....well right now I am back in "I don't forgive him" mode. Bottom line is that Tara's father, mother, sister, brother, did wrong by her, and not in a minor way. So.....maybe the question is not about being able to forgive them. Maybe the question is should she forgive any or all of them? And I don't know the answer to that. Good arguments can be made on both sides. If anyone wants to make the case for one side or the other, I would be interested to hear the argument. Because I just don't know.
  14. CallistoDidNotWin

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    The site I frequent is: https://www.edx.org/ The classes I have been auditing are a series of four classes grouped under the title "Women Have Always Worked" offered by Columbia University, and I very much like the professor Alice Kessler-Harris
  15. ZuZu'sPetals

    The Art of Reading

    This is absolutely my favorite. The energy in the brushstrokes mimics the energy and excitement a literary lover has when scouring the shelves
  16. HerbanOrla

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    I'd like to know how she was able to fully forgive her parents for everything she went through as a child, if she has. I realize that they loved her and did not intentionally wrong her, but that issue where she and her sister wrote their mom a letter telling them about Shawn, only to later find out that their mom betrayed their confidence and told him about it? Sorry if I'm misremembering, but it's been a few months since I've read the book. Her mom literally supported and perpetuated Shawn's abuse of her and later on his wife, although she may not have understood that. Talk about being a foot solider for the wrong side, as CallistoDidNotWin mentioned earlier. I don't know. I'm assuming that forgiveness would be a big issue for Tara, but maybe she doesn't see things that way, or her life is amazing enough now that she's made peace with some of the ways her parents hurt her. Thoughts?
  17. HerbanOrla

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    Yes, I like this too, @CallistoDidNotWin. Especially in honor of Pride month. We are valid and complete just as we are!
  18. celeste teal

    The Art of Reading

    Non-Fiction - Casey Childs (2014) [edited to change the name from The Bookstore]
  19. celeste teal

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    I love the idea of bisexuality as a gift that one should be grateful for. A beautiful gift that can be shared with the world.
  20. celeste teal

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    I would be very interested to know more about the online feminism classes. Are they available on Coursera?
  21. celeste teal

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    @CallistoDidNotWin I had the same quote in mind; thank you for illuminating it so brilliantly with your thoughtful and heartfelt commentary. It, and the mention of John Stewart Mill captured my imagination as I was listening to the book because his 1869 essay, The Subjection of Women, has long been on my to-read list as it is regarded as a foundation of 19th century first-wave feminist literature.
  22. CallistoDidNotWin

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    The other passage from the book I wanted to quote....to me I feel really resonates for many of us here at ShyBi. Certainly for those of us who are married (to men), who followed "the path of least resistance," those of us who "conformed." Those of us who have struggled with growing up in, or currently living in, a conservative environment. Growing up in the environment I did, I did not get "educated" about feminism, or really anything to do with women's history, the fight for women's rights, the fight for equality. I grew up blissfully ignorant. I grew up in an environment that said, firmly, "a women's place is in the home." And yes, I did rebel against that -- even if I was ignorant and uneducated about feminism, I was nonetheless a feminist, even as a little girl. To a point, that is. But one can never underestimate the magnitude of the inner psychological fight you must engage in to free yourself from being defined by others, to free yourself from following the path others expect/want you to follow. Well, as part of my tectonic shift in my inner identity/perspective that has been happening lately, I have been studying feminism (taking advantage of one of the most wonderful aspects of modern technology: free online college classes). I have been having my eyes opened to so much that I had been so ignorant of for so long. And, being engaged in reading about and studying and "catching up on" feminism, to then at the same time read this passage I quote below in Tara's book was very meaningful for me, called to my mind my own childhood where I had incessantly wished I was a boy, not for sexual purposes, but because as a little girl I saw that in the society I was living in, all doors were open to boys, but not all doors were open to me, at least not realistically. So reading the first words here in this quote was such a shock to my system (and so wonderful to read that someone else had had the same thought) because they were absolutely my words as a little girl: p. 259 “From the moment I had first understood that my brother Richard was a boy and I was a girl, I had wanted to exchange his future for mine……To be one was to be a decider. To preside. To call the family to order. To be the other was to be among those called. “I knew my yearning was unnatural. This knowledge, like so much of my self-knowledge, had come to me in the voice of people I knew, people I loved. All through the years that voice had been with me, whispering, wondering, worrying. That I was not right. That my dreams were perversion. That voice had many timbres, many tones. Sometimes it was my father’s voice; more often it was my own…..There was a single line written by John Stuart Mill that, when I read it, moved the world: ‘It is a subject on which nothing final can be known.’ The subject Mill had in mind was the nature of women. Mill claimed that women have been coaxed, cajoled, shoved and squashed into a series of feminine contortions for so many centuries, that it is now quite impossible to define their natural abilities or aspirations…..I felt an animating surge of adrenaline….of the nature of women, nothing final can be known. Never had I found such comfort in a void, in the black absence of knowledge. It seemed to say: whatever you are, you are woman. Doesn't that passage so resonate here at ShyBi? To me it does. Women having been "coaxed, cajoled, shoved and squashed into contortions"? Oh I seem to read posts that convey that nearly every day, certainly very common on posts on the Welcome forum where women introduce themselves and begin with "I am married but....." To one degree or another, I think many of us here at ShyBi have had this experience in our lives, of being squashed. I certainly had. So many women here have suffered from being "defined" by someone/something else, either other people defining them, or society at large defining them. Well, let's drop all of those "definitions" shall we? Lets drop all labels, too, while we are at it. Since more and more I begin to view labels as quite meaningless. Lesbian? Bi? Whatever. I say what Tara said: Whatever you are, you are woman. That made me smile. And it felt good to smile.
  23. CallistoDidNotWin

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    There were two passages in the book that I copied down, as they were very meaningful for me personally, things I could very much relate to as far as my own journey through this convoluted life.....where each decade, each year, sometimes even each month or in the matter of a few days, a person's whole inner identity/perspective can....shift. And I have been "shifting" a lot over the past decade, and then over the past 8 months or so, I have been undergoing a tectonic plate shift in my inner identity and perspective. It is discombobulating to say the least, but a good thing overall. Growth is pain, and as each of us grows as a person, pain is part of it, but, as this book illustrated, we can come out the other side of the pain in a better place. Or, at the very least, a more interesting and wider-horizon sort of place. That being where I find myself now. I will do one post on one quote, and follow with another post on the other quote. The first quote, Tara was speaking about the N word and how her family and she herself had used it in a joking way, being quite completely ignorant of what black people have suffered and continued to suffer in the modern world. But even though in this passage she is speaking of racism, to me, I think her words apply well to other "-isms", including sexism. And it is in terms of thinking about what she said and thinking of sexism that her words resonated with me, with my own experience, the way as a youth, because of my family and the general society I had grown up in, I had let that sexism sink into me and become internalized in me. The passage from the book is this: p 180. “I had started on a path of awareness, had perceived something elemental about my brother, my father, myself. I had discerned the ways in which we had been sculpted by a tradition given to us by others, a tradition of which we were either willfully or accidentally ignorant. I had begun to understand that we had lent our voices to a discourse whose sole purpose was to dehumanize and brutalize others….The word and the way Shawn said it hadn’t changed; only my ears were different. They no longer heard the jingle of a joke in it. What they heard was a signal, a call through time, which was answered with a mounting conviction: that never again would I allow myself to be made a foot soldier in a conflict I did not understand.” Again, though she was speaking of racism, as I read this, I was thinking about sexism. I was thinking about how I myself had been a foot soldier in that conflict....and on the wrong side. On the patriarchal, male-dominant, homophobic, and men-are-just-better-at-some-things-than-women side. On the side of those who look at sexual harassment and just shrug their shoulders with a laugh and say "boys will be boys." And I was on this side out of my own ignorance. I jotted this passage down and saved it....because I am not ignorant anymore. The tectonic plate shift for me over the past few years but most intensely over the past 8 months has been my eyes getting opened to so many things, to patriarchy still being alive and well (the curtains and the drapes and the furnishings may have changed and seem nicer, but the patriarchal foundation to this societal house is still there), to the male-dominant perspective that becomes the default perspective so that we sometimes hardly barely notice it, to the way that the homophobia of others had gotten internalized into me and had caused me in the past to feel guilt and shame over my bisexual nature. As I have started down my own path of awareness, I see so many things in a new and different light. I see the ways in which my family and my school system and everyone around me in my formative years had cheated me by brainwashing me. And at long last, this late in my life, I am walking (no dancing with joy) down a path of awareness to perceive that my bisexuality is not a "problem" but a wonderful gift I am lucky enough to possess, the capacity of wide-ranging love/sexuality. A path of awareness that.....never again would I let myself be a foot soldier for the sexist patriarchy and all of its assumptions/rules/biases. No, never again.
  24. celeste teal

    Shybi Book Club

    Has anyone read, or is thinking about reading this book? It's getting great reviews, and it might be a good follow-up to Educated. https://www.amazon.com/Moment-Lift-Empowering-Women-Changes/dp/1250313570
  25. celeste teal

    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    Here are some questions to think about and discuss, pick one, or more, or if you want, pose another question for discussion. Share a favorite quote from the book. Why did this quote stand out? If you could ask Tara one question, what would it be? Apart from Tara, which character was your favourite, and why? If you could see Tara's story from the point of view of another character, who would it be? Which event was the most disturbing in the book? (there are many!) Which event was the most hopeful and uplifting?
  26. celeste teal

    The Art of Reading

    Reading a Story - James Tissot (1878-79)
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