Get Ready For Autostraddle Summer Book Club Extravaganzaramapalooza

Hello my dearly beloved. We are gathered here today to talk about books – plural. There are a few things going on – we are all just a TAD BIT emotionally drained from finishing Bastard Out Of Carolina, and from the books before that which dealt with addiction and abuse and a vast range of other really special experiences. We are, honestly, kind of stuck in terms of trying to figure out another book to read. It is summer, and we are mostly just ready to eat fudgesicles and get sunburned and turn on the air conditioning and read some motherfucking books. Are you ready? I don’t think you’re ready.

This is going to be straight up third grade book club, and it’s going to be awesome*. There will be some initiative required; we’re not assigning books, but we are going to read them together. Starting today and up through August 15, read EVERY BOOK. Are you listening? Every book. Summer of 2011 is about quality AND quantity, and remember when you used to get gold stars every time you read 15 pages? We’re bringing it back, motherfuckers. Here’s the deal – there’s this group on ASS, maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s called Autostraddle Summer Book Club 2011. The 51 of you who were already members as of the writing of this post, congratulations, you’re real go-getters. Everyone else, here’s what your’e going to do.

1. Join this group. Here. I’ll link to it again. It’s the Autostraddle Summer Book Club 2011.

2. When you read a book, write about it! Post about it in the group, and make sure you mention me (@internrachel) and my intrepid intern (hi Julia!) (@julia1) so that we know you did your part/can keep track of your progress.

3. Include the following information in your post: title of book, number of pages, and your favorite/least favorite part/ALL YOUR FEELINGS. Your thoughts are important – there will be multiple prizes, and some of them are for things like “creativity” and “good attitude.”

4. If for some reason posting on the group really doesn’t feel like an option (for instance, The Guide To Getting It On is 928 pages long, but maybe you aren’t into announcing that?) then message me and/or Intern Julia and/or both.

5. Also I just decided while writing this that graphic novels will be worth 1/2 pages, because they are great but read hella fast.

Got it? Good.


What are our prizes, you might ask? Well, while some of the awards will be obvious – most pages read, most books read, person who forced themselves to read Kant – some are more mysterious. We want you to read from the heart, not for the prizes. Do what your heart tells you, and you may be surprised by what awards you receive. Speaking of which, what are they? Including but possibly not limited to:

+ Zines!

+ Candy!

+ You Do You Stickers!

+ Books from Rachel’s bookshelf because she needs to get rid of them before she moves!

+ Homemade bookmarks, manufactured by unpaid labor/me/interns!

NOW are you ready? You had better be ready because as of right fucking now, June 16th, which is Lewis Bernard’s birthday, until August 31, which I have arbitrarily decided is “the end of summer,” you are all reading machines. Need ideas for what to start with? WELL WE HAVE SOME FOR YOU.


Read a F*cking Book, Lesbo: This Summer’s Newest Bestest Books

Last Summer’s Newest Bestest Books

Fall 2010 Book Preview

Spring 2010 Book Preview

10 LGBT Teen Novels that Tackle Teen Suicide & Bullying

Lambda Literary Award Winners

Lambda Literary Award Winners 2010

10 Awesome ’00s Books By Queer Women

Feminist Books To Become A Better Womyn

Lesbionic Young Adult Novels

Ten Lesbian/Bisexual Books You Haven’t Read Yet

Lesbian Literature: The Classics


Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme

Tina Fey’s Bossypants

Eileen Myles’ Inferno

The IHOP Papers

Bastard Out Of Carolina

* Full disclosure: this idea credited to my friend Batia, who is running one of these in real life for our real life friends. She is a badass lady.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. This reminds me of the summer reading program that I owned every year at the library as a kid. This is better though, because no one keeps recommending books about girls who are obsessed with horses.

    • haha so true! I remember those. You filled out a chart and got prizes (or maybe just like, gold stars?) for reading lots of books. Quantity not quality…

    • I remember that too, and I also remember a librarian giving me a look and questioning if I had REALLY read all the books that I’d listed… I don’t remember really getting any prize at the end, it must have been something lame like a certificate or something.

    • @Freddie: We got 2 free tickets for a local baseball game, a free ice cream coupon for McDonalds, and then slips for every x number of books which we put in boxes for certain prizes. Then they did drawings at the end of the summer.

      @Savannah: The librarians at my library finally got used to me because I was a mini reading machine and always had more books written on notebook paper or something.

  2. awesomeeee. i don’t even care that you’re being exclusionary about your northern hemisphere geopositioning and associated season because i bet my winter is warmer than someone’s summer somewhere, and reading is for every climate!!!1!

    • Ok, question: if there’s a book that I’ve been reading for the past couple of weeks that I’m just about to finish today, can I include it?

  3. this is amazing, I am so excited for this. 1000x better than my local library’s summer reading program
    yay for reading!

  4. The prospect of arbitrarily accumulating points of no inherent value is far too enticing to resist, so count me in.

    Unfortunately, I donated some 250+ books to charity a couple of weeks ago (bad timing), so I’ll have to choose from my parents’ books while I am staying with them, which all appear to be either mechanical handbooks or trashy historical romances.

    Maybe if I pick one of each and alternate paragraphs, it would create some kind of steampunky adventure?

  5. I’m slightly confused. When you say “all of the books”, do you mean all the books from a specific list? If so, what list?

    • No, it was more so an expression. There isn’t a list. Basically, you can read whatever you want and post it in the group. If you need ideas though, you can check out the links posted at the bottom of the article.

  6. This will make Plato’s Republic a legitimately achievable goal. Goddamnit Autostraddle, will you ever stop being so amazing?

    • Just as it has just made Tolstoy’s War and Peace move up on my reading list.
      I was planning on reading it before, but now I have Incentives! to try to finish it before summer is over. Win.

  7. i dont have legitimate time to read ever, but i want to watch the shitstorm of reading go down on that group soooo badddd. EXCELLENT IDEA GUYS!

  8. Do eBooks count? As in fan-fic eBooks? I’ve been devouring Missy Good’s Xena/Gab Soulmates series recently. They very well written and some are pretty long.
    This is a great idea by the way! Thanks!

    • wow, i read those. she’s great….and then it was so awesome that she got to write one of the final episodes!

      i think it should count. those stories are epic-esque.

      • Sure! I’ve read it already, it’s very good! Which translation are you using? I really liked Pevear and Volokhonsky’s translation (which is why I’m reading their War & Peace right now).

        • It’s Rosemary Edmonds’s translation – I found it in my uncle’s basement and swiped it. It’s old and yellow and this edition doesn’t even exist on Goodreads. It smells like an old library. I love it.

      • Ooh! I have been procrastinating on a copy of Anna Karenina and this is just the motivation I need. Starting!

    • I would, but I just finished Dostoevsky’s The Idiot and I need a little
      break from Russian literature!

      • Yeah, that’s how I was when I first got this book – I had just finished a class that involved both Anna Karenina and Brothers Karamazov so I was like NO I NEED A BREAK. But it’s been two years and now I’m ready for more Russians!

    • !

      I have a collection of works by Tolstoy that I picked up from the used bookstore last summer that I haven’t gotten around to yet.

    • Technically I started War and Peace a month or so ago, but seeing as I’ve only made it a third of the way through, and have stalled, I am with you!

  9. I am so excited. I am volunteering for the local summer reading program and it was making me cranky that I couldn’t win cool prizes for reading too, and now I can!

  10. Can we get pizza, too? I really liked when Pizza Hut had that Book Club deal in elementary school. I think I still have my pins somewhere.

  11. If anyone likes Buffy the Vampire Series and wishes all the chicks were lesbians you have to check out (*Disclaimer: Never read fanfiction before.) Stumbled across it last week and couldn’t stop until I caught up.

  12. “…as of right fucking now, June 16th, which is Lewis Bernard’s birthday…”

    It’s also Bloomsday today! What a joyous day in book history!

    Hoping you’re well and not in Hell!

  13. the cat’s like “Wait up bitch, I’m not done.”

    (also, today is my moms b-day as well. bro and i still don’t know what to fucking get her. we’re the greatest fucking kids ever.)

  14. I just got an email saying that the copy of Into the Wild I requested from the library is ready to be picked up. It’s on.

  15. Awesomesauce! This gives me yet another reason to go on an ebook splurge for my Kindle… >D

  16. OH IT IS ON.

    So excited! This is just the motivation I need to finish all the books I’m planning to read.

  17. FUCK YEAH. i was already planning to do this but now there may be PRIZES. like ADMIRATION from RACHEL and co. .

  18. Hey, can literary journals count? They’re full of poetry and short stories and sometimes crazy pieces that I can’t put into any genre ever.

  19. I am reading trade paperbacks/graphic novels (as I do every summer), does this count?

    I hope they do count I always have SO MANY FEELINGS about my GNs and trades. *pets her copy of Suburban Glamour*

      • i have feelings about that, but i don’t want to be “that person” who goes off in an otherwise happy-bouncy thread.

        i’ve finally gotten the fifth book of Andreko’s “Manhunter,” have “Runaways” and “The Secret Six” on queue, and “Birds of Prey: End Run” just came in at my library – it looks great.

        …also thinking about re-reading Y: The Last Man. perchance.

  20. 1) But it’s winter. I mean, I’ll participate, but, its winter.
    2) I actually want to read Kant, I feel like being well versed will make me sound super smart like Sam Seaborn
    3) I too am interested to see if re-reading HP7 yet again will count

    • You should read Kant! You don’t have to force yourself–it’s fun! You know, if you’re in to that sort of thing…

      • Thanks to an ethics paper, I’m now versed in the basics. I just think it can never hurt to be well read for special geeky-time emergencies.

        It’s now right behind John Stuart Mill on the list.

  21. I came back to the land of the internet just in time. This is a really great idea, ladies. I am super excited. I am just 20 pages shy of finishing a book and have a pile waiting! Cannot wait to update and see what everyone else is reading as well!

  22. here’s one i finished yesterday, to recommend!

    GARDEN OF EDEN – ernest hemingway

    (which may or may not awesomely include a female love story and gender role jumping…)

  23. Eeeeee! I’m so excited about this! I always wanted to join one of these clubs/contests they held at our local libraries when I was a kid, but I never did. I figured if my own teachers in school thought I was lying when I said I’d read various things in the time I claimed (even though I could always prove I knew the content!), the librarians would never believe me either. It was depressing.

    I’m a little bit slower with my reading these days, but I can still boogie! I think there’s a chance that I could READ ALL THE BOOKS!

  24. Ummm I’m excited to read ALL THINGS FALL APART (CHINUA ACHEBE), PURPLE HIBSCUS (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)and other various African (the continent) authors!

    • In case you’re looking out for more African authors (and haven’t come across it yet), Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga is fantastic.

      Also, not a novel, but you may be interested in ‘Not Either an Experimental Doll’ edited by Shula Marks.

    • I read Things Fall Apart freshman year in high school. I remember it being good, but I feel like all the stuff I read in high school is due for a re-read just because all my English teachers were so awful.

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