Our book club pick for July was the novella Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton, which chronicles the life of Margaret Cavendish. She was a woman way ahead of her time, a thinker, a writer and a tabloid celebrity in a time where women couldn’t be any of that. It was an interesting mind to explore and a book filled with beautiful lines. For anyone who enjoyed it, we’re recommending some other books you might want to try and we’ll leave some discussion questions at the end for your own book club.
Sprawl is an experimental novel by Danielle Dutton which chronicles the inner life of one suburban woman. It delves into the banality of suburban life before throwing you into strangeness. Something completely different than Margaret the First, but definitely interesting as well
How can we not recommend something by Margaret Cavendish herself. The Blazing World is probably the most obvious entry point into her work. We’ve already read small parts of it in Margaret the First and we have to say, it seems intriguing at the least.
Our final recommendation is a collection of short stories written by Megan Mayhew Bergman. Almost Famous Women fictionalizes the lives of interesting women we seem to have forgotten. You get to figure out the minds of Lord Byron’s illegitimate daughter, Oscar Wilde’s niece and many other unusual women.
– Do you agree that the book is a modern novel set in the past or do you think of it more as historical?
– Is Margaret a proto-feminist and can she even be one?
– Why does Dutton change perspectives after part 1?
– Discuss Margaret’s need for fame. Does she want to be recognized for her ideas or does she want to be recognized no matter what?