Winter Term meetings & Queer Reads Summary

October 9 (Wed.), 4-6pm, Room E, IAAK — we will talk about Ursula Le Guin’s “The Lathe of Heaven”. I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I did!

November 7 (Thur.), 4-6pm, Room B, IAAK

December 5 (Thur.), 4-6pm & Ugly Sweater Day! Room B, IAAK

January 9 (Thur.), 4-6pm, Room B, IAAK

February 4 (Tue.), 4-6pm, Room A

Pictures from Hay on Wye (Y Gelli) and the giveaway’s winners favourite books of 2019 are coming soon-ish! Sorry about that but there is no stable internet connection in my rural cottage in Wales.

Short Summary: Bridget Collins “The Binding”
Thank you for the diverse and detailed discussion. We overall liked the book, even though we had some issues with it. I have sent your questions to Bridget and hope that she will answer them!
What we liked: good pacing, suspense / built-up, depiction of scenery, darkness, coming of age / adventure elements, becoming a binder, change of narrator, emotional connections, love story, unfolding of the story, emotional depth, mysteriousness, references to the Crusades, bindings vs. fake bindings vs. the bookmarket
What we disliked: anger issues, limitations of Emmett as a narrator (but “It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.” Thomas Hardy – limitations of him as a farmer’s boy), why was binding as a craft not explained, how does the magic work?, patronising form of a attraction, why is everybody so good-looking? Stereotypical!, history not explained enough /world-building could have been expanded, what about religion?
What we discussed: Is it a happy ending?, does magic need to make sense / how does binding work?, where does it take place?, religious allegories leading to where exactly?, Binding as healing or a cure or a curse?, land vs. the city, our lovers vs. their family background / education

Short Summary: Kirsty Logan’s “The Gloaming”
We absoluteley adored this book, which most of us found perfect in so many ways that it was hard to find negative things.
What we liked: great cover, relationship between the siblings really good, felt real in a very weird place, strong family dynamics in general, poetic language, turning into stone: relief, escape?, no stereotypical beauties as protagonists, love and how it changes the way we see people, books as the thing that brings people together (*sigh*), Bee as a surprising storyteller, good open ending, meta elements: selkie identity interesting, framing women as Other = mixed race –> addressed in the text very well, fairy tale elements / folklore elements
What we disliked: expected more magic and world-building, too much fairy tale?, projecting a narrative too much on Pearl?
Things we additionally discussed: magic in daily life and the belief that the sea will give something back (Bee’s way of dying), sense of time in the relationship (int. vs. ext. time in emotional states hard to estimate), how rituals work, leaving the island is choosing your fate, turning into stoneas a metaphor


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