POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2020 Update: Week Forty-Eight

Good morning, everyone! I hope that you are having a fantastic weekend so far, and if you celebrated Thanksgiving this past Thursday, I hope that you had a fun, safe holiday.

This week’s POPSUGAR Reading Challenge update is focused on the prompt “a book that passes the Bechdel test.” If you’re not familiar with the Bechdel test, it is a method of measuring the representation of women in movies, but has also been applied to other works of fiction. In order to pass the test, the movie (or book) must include at least two women, who have a conversation with each other in which they talk about something other than a man.

In all honesty, I really don’t think that the test is a particularly helpful metric for evaluating how women are represented. I have read a considerable number of books that do manage to pass the Bechdel test, but which still include very stereotypical portrayals of women, or only very “weak” female characters. I have also read several books that include minimal female characters, or women who never meet and converse, but which portray women as smart, strong, and confident individuals.

But while I personally don’t find the test overly helpful, it is one of the prompts for this year’s Reading Challenge, so I did read a book that passed it. The book I chose to use for this prompt was Close Encounters of the Curd Kind, by Kirsten Weiss. If you are interested in learning more about this title, please check out my Week Seven update.

As I compiled my list of recommended titles for this prompt, I really had to spend a lot of time thinking about the interactions between each book’s female characters. This was a very interesting process for me, and I’ve come up with a list of titles that not only pass the Bechdel test, but are just great books.

Here are just a few titles that pass the Bechdel test…

If you are currently looking for a book to fulfill this prompt, here are some of my suggestions:

  • Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
  • Dawn (Octavia E. Butler)
  • The Finishing School series (Gail Carriger) — This series includes the following books:
    • Etiquette and Espionage
    • Curtsies and Conspiracies
    • Waistcoats and Weaponry
    • Manners and Mutiny
  • The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
  • Austenland (Shannon Hale)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline L’Engle)
  • Wives and Daughters (Elizabeth Gaskell)
  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (Balli Kaur Jaswal)
  • The Tiki Goddess Mysteries (Jill Marie Landis) — If you’d like to learn more about this series, please check out my review. The series includes the following books:
    • Mai Tai One On
    • Two To Mango
    • Three To Get Lei’d
    • Too Hot Four Hula
    • Hawaii Five Uh-Oh!
  • Rose Daughter (Robin McKinley)
  • Spinning Silver (Naomi Novik)
  • The Midwife Murders (James Patterson and Richard DiLallo)
  • Dealing with Dragons (Patricia C. Wrede)

Only four weeks remain in this year’s POPSUGAR Reading Challenge, and the prompt list for next year’s challenge is supposed to be released on December 1st. I am still considering whether or not to participate in next year’s challenge, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the new prompts next week.

Next week’s POPSUGAR Reading Challenge update will focus on the prompt “a book with a great first line.” In the meantime, I hope you will visit The Unapologetic Bookworm frequently during the coming week for a review of the North and South mini-series, along with other new content.

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