Her incomprehensible reading
November 16, 2011 7:24 AM   Subscribe

She's asked for 'The Birth of Love' by Joanna Kavenna. What else can I get her?

It seems that there's nothing which illustrates the divide between sexes like literature. I really dont understand the books she likes. Help me find something for her please....
posted by BadMiker to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm ma gonna take a more generous reading of this. You're going to get her "The Birth of Love" by Joanna Kavenna, and you want to understand what other books she might like, too. Right? Right.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:53 AM on November 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Sorry, I'm not being clear.

There is no judgement; just incomprehension! (You can, of course, judge me for that!

Please suggest some other books she might like.
posted by BadMiker at 7:56 AM on November 16, 2011

Well, if she is not expecting and looking for reading material that's an exploration of motherhood (I can make suggestions), from a review:

"...which is the contextualising of individual suffering by universal emotion, or at least the need for it to be contextualised: she offers this as an alternative to ideas of good and evil, a feminised duality that she seeks to define as a force in human history."

So, books like that? At any rate, at the bottom of the book's page on Amazon, it shows "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought...". I use that tool for exploration when choosing music bios for my husband.

That said, that the story "explores the most basic plight of women, from the slaughterhouse of primitive medicine to a futurisic vision of technological oppression" leads me to recommend Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, if she hasn't read it yet.
posted by peagood at 7:59 AM on November 16, 2011

Wait, are you considering not getting her 'The Birth of Love' or do you just want suggestions for something else to give her with it? Or have you already given her that and now are looking for other books she might enjoy?

I'd honestly quit thinking that this is a gendered thing, because it really isn't. From what I've just read of the summary, 'The Birth of Love' is four interconnected short stories that have elements of a) historical fiction/science, b) dystopian societies, c) modern day family life, d) authorial meta, etc. You can't understand why she might like any of the above? Or are you dismissing this as women's literature because it was written by a woman and deals primarily with childbirth?

Maybe try some Marilynne Robinson. Anne Proulx. Ursula K. LeGuinn. Margaret Atwood. What else does she like to read, do you know at all?
posted by lydhre at 8:02 AM on November 16, 2011

It would help to know what interests her about it. The Guardian review peagood linked says it's similar in structure to The Hours, and if its complexly structured novels with interwoven stories she likes, she might be interested in something like Cloud Atlas (which also has historical fiction, science fiction, and dystopian elements). So it would be useful to know if she's responding to theme of the book or its technical aspects.
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:06 AM on November 16, 2011

Baba Yaga Laid An Egg has the intertwined stories, the postmoderny stuff, and the woman's-bodies stuff!
posted by Jeanne at 9:03 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

If its the subject matter rather than the formal approach, Kavenna herself recommends books about pregnancy and birth here, which might be the basis of a thoughtful gift package. Cloud Atlas is really good, and you can't go far wrong with it as a gift. If it's the author, Kavenna has written two other books, The Ice Museum and Inglorious - although she might own them already.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:24 AM on November 16, 2011

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