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  • Writer's pictureThe London Feminist Bookclub

London Feminist Book Club: Our Favourite Reads For March

The importance of book clubs for creating communities, friendships, new connections and a love of literature.

There’s an ever-growing range of feminist literature out there for us to gobble up. It’s always existed, but now the genre has become more popular and intersectional, and feminism is no longer seen as a dirty word. As a result, there’s plenty of fantastic books to dig into, and we’ve created a space to discuss these books, these stories, these texts. Because we believe women’s stories, fact or fiction, matter.

That’s why we set up London Feminist Book Club - to discuss books by women, for women, but we are open to all. Our four book clubs, in North and South London, Bristol and Sheffield, meet monthly to discuss books and host authors events, but they are much more than that - they are a space to socialise, to meet like-minded people, in cities which can sometimes feel lonely and isolating.

We’re a safe space for like-minded individuals with a love of reading to get to know one another. We even do corporate book clubs to spread our love of reading into businesses looking to expand their offerings to employees, as we know that workplaces can be isolating too. Over the last three years, we’ve held countless events, socials and even a London Feminist Book Club Festival. So we’d like to think that by now, we know a thing or two about a good feminist read!

To celebrate International Women's Month - March - here’s a roundup of a handful of books we’ve read at our previous events which we think should be on your bookshelf. Though they may not be classics of the genre, they represent a range of new and older voices, and they certainly deserve recognition.

In 11 short chapters, African-American author, feminist and social activist bell hooks talks us through what it means to give and receive love, how love can fail us and how these ideals are shaped in our early childhood. Like many authors before her, hooks asks the perennial question ‘What is love?’. Many authors have tried and failed, but hooks somehow manages to capture the essence of the complexity of love, therefore encouraging us to be more compassionate and empathetic, in all types of love.

Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021, Peters’ debut novel follows three women navigating queer relationships and parenthood. Its exploration of trans women’s lives serves as a learning piece for us all. It explores violence and othering, while touching on a tenderness and longing for connection with others. It’s a novel of great contradictions, and features a beautiful metaphor detailing how the trans community is often forced to grow and develop without the support of elders. You’ll never have read a book like it.

There is certainly no shying away from the uncomfortable when it comes to Lisa Taddeo. The US journalist spent eight years talking to three women about sex and desire, and the result was a jaw-dropping read, written with nuance and compassion. It features scandals, enough gossip to spit your drink out and some shocking twists. It may not naturally fit into what a feminist novel should look like, in that many of the women’s narratives are controlled by men. But its frankness in the face of female desire and raw honesty means you won’t be able to put it down.

We were honoured to welcome poet Amy Key to our London book clubs to discuss her novel, Arrangements in Blue, in 2023. Using Joni Mitchell’s seminal album Blue as its guide, the book explores while Key has had an abundance of platonic and familial love, her life has been lived with an absence of romantic love. Instead of falling into the trope of an independent woman who never needs a man, or the washed-up spinster who claims she’s never wanted a man, Key acknowledges she still feels a lack in her life and wants this romantic love. The memoir provides a voice for single women which steers clear of clichés and patronising quotes, and offers space for women who find themselves outside of society’s expectations around romantic love.

In ten short stories, Sams dives into the world of girlhood and its complicated contradictions and lessons to provide a modern lens on what it’s like to be a woman. The women featured are equal parts messy and empowering, and the stories often delight in dealing with the taboo. The characters within this collection may be chaotic, but they’re grounded in the uncomfortable realities faced by women in their 20s.

If you are reading this and would like to join one of our clubs, we would love to meet you. We currently have book clubs in North and South London, Bristol and Sheffield. We welcome people from all walks of life and backgrounds, and our book clubs are open to all - we want this to be a fully inclusive space.

You don’t need to be an ‘expert feminist’ to be involved - we want to read books that everyone can enjoy, and that cater to people’s different experiences and understandings of feminism.

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South London Feminist Book Club was set up by founder, Rebecca James, during lockdown, where members attended initially by Zoom, and then in-person after restrictions were lifted.

A year later fellow book club member Jo Gallacher joined Rebecca and together after the continuous sold-out events meant by popular demand, the two set up a second club, North London Feminist Book Club. The two then registered the two under London Feminist Book Club CIC - a community interest company bringing people across London together through a shared love of chatting about great themes

in great books.

In September 2023, London Feminist Book Club CIC hosted their very first London Feminist Book Club Festival, which saw authors, publishers, spoken-word artists, poets and playwrights all come together for a weekend filled with book-chat, performances, panel talks and so much more!

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