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 20thCentury.
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, Rebecca, 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 Laurence Olivier young John Travolta. He is so hot a surprisingly good actor.”
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: See below!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sybil By Flora Rheta Schreiber
The Love Boats By Jeraldine Saunders
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie By Muriel Spark
No Bed of Her Own By Val Lewton
Please Don’t Eat the Daisies By Jean Kerr
She Let Him Continue By Stephen Geller
Imitation of Life By Fannie Hurst
Coffee Tea or Me? By Trudy Baker and Rachel Jones
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept By Elizabeth Smart
The Stepford Wives By Ira Levin
Mommie Dearest By Christina Crawford
Looking For Mr. Goodbar By Judith Rossner
Marjorie Morningstar By Herman Wouk
Madame Bovary By Gustave Flaubert, Translation By Lydia Davis
The Well of Loneliness By Radclyffe Hall
Mildred Pierce By James M. Cain
Gone With the Wind By Margaret Mitchell
The Best of Everything By Rona Jaffe
Valley of the Dolls By Jacqueline Susann
Peyton Place By Grace Metalious
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes By Anita Loos
Wagons West Series (Independence!, Nebraska!, Wyoming! and Oregon!)
By Dana Fuller Ross
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn By Betty Smith
Alice Adams By Booth Tarkington
Kitty Foyle By Christopher Morley
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Happy to say that I’m (quite belatedly) reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie after mulling the option over for a few years. I just finished The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which I think would fit marvelously with your other midcentury women’s fiction! It’s much less romantic than the movie, but it’s still a lot of fun.
Yes, I do have the Ghost and Mrs. Muir as potential future-imaginary-summer-book-club selection! I’ve never read it, but I’m happy to hear it comes recommended! Would love to hear what you think of Jean Brodie, especially if you’ve seen the movie as well!
Jean Brodie was FASCINATING and tbh depressingly relevant to The World We Live In–a combination of “what if Dead Poets’ Society wasn’t necessarily a great idea pedagogically speaking” + “gee, a pro-fascism cult of personality leading a bunch of teens, the only unfamiliar thing is they’re all girls.” I honestly feel like I could stand to read it a second time–there was a lot going on, for such a quick book. My one regret is that it was a little on the spicy side for work (I listen to books on tape while we get ready to open, some days), but Spark’s handling of the sex talk was hilariously realistic for a bunch of tweens.
I have yet to watch the movie, but I’m really hoping to soon, since I’m obviously not going to say no to Maggie Smith. Will report back when I see it!
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