Announcing the 2014 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club

Full name: Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club Featuring Classics of Women’s Literature Defined As Books Authored By, About or Widely Read By Women in the 20th Century, Oh Look I Made an FAQ This Year. 

This year’s titles are…

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie By Muriel Spark: Sex and Fascism, the favorite subjects of every impressionable young girl. Plus a movie with the Dowager Countess. (June)

No Bed of Her Own (2)

No Bed of Her Own By Val Lewton: What does happen to girls thrown upon their own resources? Will it involve Curses of the Cat People? Bonus material: the Carole Lombard-Clark Gable adaptation-that-wasn’t, No Man of Her Own. (July)

Please Don't Eat the Daisies

Please Don’t Eat the Daisies By Jean Kerr: The 1950’s most glamorous housewife/humorist/playwright/protofeminist on raising four sons in suburbs. Movie with (who else?) Doris Day. (August)

She Let Him Continue

She Let Him Continue By Stephen Geller: Teenage girls! They’re always trying to convince you to murder their parents for them! The book was reissued as Pretty Poison, which is also the title of the movie, starring Anthony Perkins in his best non-Norman Bates role. (September)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Your imaginary book club is intriguing to me and I would like to receive your newsletter. How do I sign up?

A: That is what is so great about an IMAGINARY book club! You are already a member with all of the privileges, immunities, rights and honors pertaining thereto!

Q: So… how does it work then? 

A: Four books are selected every year, one per month for June through September. We read the book, and I write a review/discussion/assorted thoughts/heavy-duty academic treatise the following month (e.g., we shall discuss the June selection, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, in July).  Theoretically, we wrap at the end of September, but in reality it is more like Halloween or Thanksgiving. That is why the last book is usually in the horror genre or somehow involves a turkey.

Since this is an IMAGINARY book club (and the internet never forgets), you are free to read at your own pace and come back and comment with your thoughts at any time! You can read some or all of the books! You can just watch the movie versions! You can read none of the books and just learn all of the plot twists! (Spoiler: there will be spoilers)

Q: How serious is the discussion supposed to be? 

A: Imaginary-serious. I welcome all comments ranging from deconstructionist literary theory to “OMG, Anthony Perkins. He is so hot.”

Q: Who chooses the books? What are the criteria? 

A: I do.

The focus is on books “written by, about, or widely ready by” women in the mid-20th century, by which I mean roughly 1920-1980.

Q: Where can I see a list of past selections? 

A: Right here!

Q: How do I find reviews of past selections? 

A: All posts pertaining to Imaginary Summer Book Club are tagged “Imaginary Summer Book Club”.

Q: Can I recommend a book for future Imaginary Summer Book Clubs? 

A: Yes! I always welcome suggestions, for both Imaginary Summer Book Club and the regular vintage YA feature. Comment on any entry or e-mail


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19 Responses to Announcing the 2014 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club

  1. rejiester says:

    I’m in. Already requested the book & movie of Miss Brodie. Second title proving impossible to find in our library system, but I requested Daisies too. (I SO read that when I was younger, as every self-respecting Erma Bombeck fan would).

    • mondomolly says:

      Yeah! I actually thought of you when I picked Daisies, remembering that we were REALLY into Erma Bombeck at a precocious age!

      Unfortunately, I saw that the Val Lewton book was going to be much harder to find after I picked it. It was reissued in 2006, but has since gone back out of print and used copies are going for around $25, minimum 😦

      Still, you can watch the movie that ended up having nothing to do with the book! It’s good anyway!

  2. rejiester says:

    I’m super into it this year…. probably being unemployed all summer helps! WOO SHIFTLESS!

  3. Margo Lane says:


  4. msyingling says:

    I had a copy of Daisies at one point. Requesting Brodie now. Imaginery book clubs are just about my speed. I’ll even bring imaginery cupcakes!

  5. Pingback: friday i’m in love: the most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. | War with the Forces of Oblivion

  6. miss amy says:

    A couple of ideas for future years for you!

    Now, Voyager – Olive Higgins Prouty
    Stella Dallas – also Olive Higgins Prouty, lol
    Michelle Remembers – Lawrence Pazder & Michelle Smith (was hugely influential in making the Satanic Ritual Abuse panics of the 1980s a thing)
    Sybil – Flora Rheta Schreiber (about as believable as Michelle Remembers at this point, but holy shit, is it a fun read)
    So Big – Edna Ferber
    Show Boat – also Edna Ferber
    Flowers in the Attic – V.C. Andrews (with the added benefit of two movies to compare with now!)
    The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough
    Forever Amber – Kathleen Winsor (pretty much single-handedly responsible for making the name Amber a thing in the modern era)
    Love Story – Erich Segal
    The Happy Hooker: My Own Story – Xaviera Hollander
    The Sheik – Edith Maude Hull (on the early side for what you’re focusing on, but hey, why not)
    Lace – Shirley Conran
    Hollywood Wives – Jackie Collins

    • mondomolly says:

      These are great! I’ve been keeping a list of ideas and suggestions and there are some on here that I hadn’t thought of (seriously, how could I forget about The Thorn Birds?)

      I do sort of have a method to the madness of choosing over the past few years- I pick one big-name classic (your Peyton Places and Valleys of the Dollses); one early or obscure work (Anita Loos, Elinor Glyn); a non-fiction; and a really genre-y genre novel. I also try to pick something that doubles as a really trashy read, because I could NOT get anyone to read Madame Bovary along with me 😉

      Thanks for sharing!

  7. Pingback: Checking In With The Imaginary Summer Book Club: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie By Muriel Spark | Lost Classics of Teen Lit, 1939-1989

  8. rejiester says:

    Ooh, I vote Thorn Birds for next year too! I have Jaws on deck and I’m ready to read it!

    • mondomolly says:

      The news did a segment yesterday on the 40th anniversary of Jaws: The Novel, and Brian Williams introduced it by saying something about it terrifying readers and I straight-up yelled at my TV “THE REAL TERROR IS A PRECARIOUS LEISURE-BASED ECONOMY AND MARITAL DISCONTENT! YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW BRIAN WILLIAMS!”

  9. Pingback: Checking In With The Imaginary Summer Book Club: No Bed of Her Own By Val Lewton | Lost Classics of Teen Lit, 1939-1989

  10. Pingback: Checking In With The Imaginary Summer Book Club: Jaws By Peter Benchley | Lost Classics of Teen Lit, 1939-1989

  11. Pingback: Checking In With The Imaginary Summer Book Club: Please Don’t Eat the Daisies By Jean Kerr | Lost Classics of Teen Lit, 1939-1989

  12. Pingback: Announcing the 2015 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club | Lost Classics of Teen Lit, 1939-1989

  13. Pingback: Wrapping Up The Imaginary Summer Book Club: She Let Him Continue By Stephen Geller | Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989

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