Gender Focus Book Club Giveaway#1

by | February 14, 2011
filed under Feminism

When I posted the list for the Feminist Classics Book Club I’m participating in, I heard from a lot of Gender focus fans here and on Facebook with suggestions of their favourite books about feminism and gender. I’m taking it upon myself to read as many of the books you suggested as I can this year.

The first book I’ll be reading is Forbidden Passages: Writings Banned in Canada, in honour of Freedom to Read Week, which is coming up from February 20-26. Thanks to Claire M. for posting this suggestion on our Facebook page.

And to kick off the very informal Gender Focus book club, I’m giving away a hardcover copy of my favourite non-fiction book I’ve read in the past few months: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. From Skloot’s website:

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine.

Skloot’s book takes us through the lives of Henrietta and her family, who didn’t find out about the importance of her mother’s cells to scientific research  until 25 years after her death. Skloot also explores medical history and ethics, issues around the exploitations of people of colour for medical research, and current legal issues surrounding the HeLa cells and tissue rights more generally. It’s one of the most informative and moving non-fiction books I’ve read in a long time.

If you live in Canada or the US, you can get two chances to enter this giveaway:

To enter once, comment on this post with your suggestion for Gender Focus book club of your favourite book about gender, sexuality, women, or feminism, and write a sentence or two about why you chose it. OR comment with what’s your favourite book and why.

To get a second entry, post the following on Twitter:

I entered to win the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks from @jarrahpenguin and RT to win!

You have until 5 PM (PST) on Friday, February 18th to enter. Good luck!



  • Amanda

    I suggest Gender Trouble by Judith Butler as a book club read, because it really is a classic of feminist thought, with a lot of points for debating. Also, it’s a dense read and having the chance to discuss it with others as you go would make the entire experience much more enjoyable, I think.

  • Jill

    I’d suggest Judith Halberstam’s In a Queer Time and Place. Not only is it interesting and engaging, but provides relevant cultural analysis. I mean, who wouldn’t want to read about Austin Power in a book on queer theory!?

  • meg

    Well, I read a few excellent ones when I belonged to a feminist book club at Bluestockings in NYC a few years ago. I really liked Ariel Levy’s “Female Chauvinist Pig” for taking a good hard look at porn culture and the “sex positive” turn in feminism. It’s got its flaws (just skip the chapter on bois, cause Levy doesn’t really get it), but overall I loved it.

    And you can’t go wrong with “Cunt” by Inga Muscio.

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  • Sue

    Rebecca Skloot was interviewed on CBC the other day, very informative.A number of years ago I worked at Queens as a gynelogical teaching assistant, educating medical students with techniques to give women pap smears in an informative and collaborative manner. Part of this training included informing students the ethics of practicing internal examinations while women were anaethetized; and the necessary education for women to understan what they might be signing prior to an operation. At the time this was still in practice, but ethically being questionned.Hopefully no longer.

  • Megan Plante

    I really enjoyed reading “The Wise Wound”about women’s menstruation and the perplexing patriarchal issues surrounding women’s natural functions. How powerful our periods are and the possibility that men are jealous of the capabilities of our bodies.

  • Linda

    As an older woman, I was influenced by the writings of Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Germaine Greer. I hope today’s young women will read their books to learn about the key ideas which were considered radical in their day but which have now enlightened several generations of women (and some men).