I started noticing the word “wife” on many covers of popular fiction books: A Reliable Wife, The Tiger’s Wife, Ahab’s Wife, American Wife, Wife 22, Husband and Wife, The Inquisitor’s Wife, The Lost Wife, The Time Traveler’s Wife, The 19th Wife, The Zookeeper’s Wife, The Aviator’s Wife, The Paris Wife. Really, it seems endemic. And so I started wondering: why are people writing about wives? What do these books have to say about wives, or about being a wife? And did you notice that most of these titles include a possessive noun before “wife”? What’s up with that?!
So I decided to team up with some other bloggers to host Literary Wives, a series in which we discuss books about wives. We read and review one “wife” book every other month. In particular, we try to answer the question:
What does this book say about wives or about the experience of being a wife?
Our original plan was to read just four “wife” books, and see how it went. Well, I think it went better than any of us expected. We’ve had a wonderful time sharing insights and laughs with each other and with readers. So we’re going to keep the series going… indefinitely!
Here’s the schedule:
May 2013: American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
June 2013: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
July 2013: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
August 2013: The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
October 2013: Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
December 2013: The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon
February 2014: The Inquisitor’s Wife by Jeanne Kalogridis
April 2014: The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
June 2014: The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
August 2014: The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy
October 2014: Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
December 2014: The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani
April 2016: The Happy Marriage by Tahar Ben Jelloun
June 2016: The Disobedient Wife by Annika Milisic-Stanley
August 2016: How to Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman
October 2016: American Housewife by Helen Ellis
December 2016: Notorious RBG by Inn Carmon and Shana Khizhnik
February 2017: Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood
April 2017: The Wife by Meg Wolitzer
June 2017: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Theresa Fowler
August 2017: The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Here’s what you can do to get involved:
- Read along!
- Join the discussion on our blogs and/or post your own review. Be sure to let us know if you post a review!
- Tweet your thoughts on the book with the hashtag #literarywives
- Like the Literary Wives Facebook Page
Meet the bloggers:
Angela of Persephone Writes and One Tiny Violet
Angela is a a composition and literature teacher, editor, writer, voracious reader, home schooling mom and recovering academic (said only half-jokingly) who has never truly given herself permission to live her life’s dream of writing. Until now.
Audra of Unabridged Chick
Audra is a 30-something married lesbian with a thing for literary fiction and historical novels. An Air Force brat, Audra’s love of reading was nurtured by her family’s numerous national and international moves, and her family encouraged her reading of historical novels to learn more about the places they were stationed. (She still turns to historical fiction before any trip!) Audra studied anthropology and geography as an undergrad, and she’s most taken with novels that address the stickier side of history, place, and society as well as the roles of women from royals to riffraff. Professionally, Audra has worked in the non-profit sector for the last ten years.
Ariel of One Little Library
Ariel is the Acquisitions Editor for Teaching Methods at a Southern California education publisher. She likes heroines full of gumption and conflicts fraught with ethical dilemmas. Her favorite book is and always will be Jane Eyre. In her spare time, you can find Ariel doing yoga at the beach or reading with a glass of wine.
Emily of The Bookshelf of Emily J.
Emily recently graduated with a Ph.D. and is visiting assistant professor of English at a research university near her home in Salt Lake City. She has worked as an editor and composition instructor, and she is working on teaching and academic research in technical and professional communication and women’s history. She is the mother of two little girls and loves chocolate and ice cream. The thing she wants most right now is a day in bed with a good book, preferably fiction.
Cecilia from Only You
Cecilia teaches writing and self-presentation skills to international professionals by day and night (the curse of time zone differences) and in between squeezes in some reading and writing of her own. Her reading tastes are pretty eclectic, though she loves literary fiction and memoir most of all, and works by women and international writers in particular. The best part of her day is the end-of-the-day book club that she shares with her 9 year old son.
Carolyn O from Rosemary and Reading Glasses
After five years in graduate school, Carolyn O is on hiatus to be the read-at-home-parent to her small son. She works as an editor, proofreader, and writer on the side, and hopes to return to teaching soon. She loves used bookstores, early modern drama and poetry, feminism, and anything Joss Whedon creates.
Lynn from Smoke & Mirrors
Lynn is an avid reader, former Borders bookseller, and now blogger of books and reviews! She is mother to three sons, soon-to-be 10 grandchildren, and one beautiful and “purr”fect gray kitty, Smokie… Most importantly, she can count one of the kindest, most caring, and complex men she’s ever known as her full-time partner and husband.
Kay from whatmeread
Kay is a long-time professional technical writer who has taught composition and technical-writing courses at the college level. She loves reading all kinds of books. When she recently got an iPad and spent some hours playing games, her husband thought she’d undergone a personality change. But soon she was back to reading. She is the secret author of three (sadly unpublished) trashy romance novels.
Naomi from Consumed by Ink
Once upon a time, Naomi worked as a biologist, math tutor, and early childhood educator. Since then, she has been happily reading bedtime stories to three eager listeners, and hopes this will never change. She loves traveling around the Canadian Maritimes with her family, visiting the used book stores and bakeries.
Kate from Kate Rae Davis