Book Club

Persephone Book Club + Open Thread

We’re trying something a little different tonight.  The OTs have been a little slow, but comments on other posts are really picking up, so tonight I’m smushing book club into an OT to see if we can perk it up a little.  As you know, we’re discussing Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game, my favorite book ever.

I had a great plan, if I could find enough willing guinea pigs, to do a Westing-esque mystery involving groups of members, a Dorothy Parker poem and a blog-wide scavenger hunt.  Since we didn’t get quite enough members to make it work, that’s scrapped for now.  I came up with something a little different to stretch our higher-order thinking skills and have fun with the cast of The Westing Game.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pick any non-Samuel Westing character from the book and write a paragraph or two about what you think happened to them after the book was over, from a first-person perspective.  Toss it in the comments below.

For our non-book club readers/OTers, you can use this just like a normal open thread.  To get you all inspired, here’s a song I think fits really well with The Westing Game.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

28 replies on “Persephone Book Club + Open Thread”

Open thread question from a sad academic panda:

I’m trying to finish my PhD right now, and about to start a full-time job. So basically my life sucks. Now, on the face of it, I ought to be in better physical condition than I’ve been in for years. I work out a minimum of 4 times a week, I eat right (get my 5 fruit and veg every day), I drink 2-3l of water per day, I get 8 hours of sleep a night; I’ve even cut down on alcohol, which is something I’m usually pretty reluctant to do. But I have headaches and an upset stomach maybe 90% of the time, which I assume has to be down to stress.

So the question is, can any of you suggest good stress-busting techniques above the ones I’ve already detailed? I’m trying to live a healthy but balanced life (I do leave room for rugby-watching at the pub and the Nachos of Power that clearly caused my team to be awesome last weekend), but the stress is still pervading everything!

Nachos of Power for Leinster!!!

Finishing a PhD is a pretty stressful business, in any case: I don’t know if it would be possible for me to feel relaxed as a usual state of being during that process. That being said… vigorous yoga (e.g.: ashtanga)? or yeah, a martial arts class. I found ninjitsu really good (nothing like learning to whack someone with your elbow).

I agree with Alice! Take up a martial art, stat. Judo got me through a very very heavy Ph.D coursework load this year. I know this might sound crazy, but I think letting out aggression while doing something super physical is really helpful- and a way of dealing with stress that we are not socialized to do as women.
Also- re: the tummy problems, it’s possible you’ve developed stress-induced Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I would google it and consider reading the book “eating for ibs”.

Thanks guys! Martial arts are a great idea, sounds exactly like what I need – to punch something and imagine it’s my PhD…

QoB, my friend, the Nachos of Power will have to make another appearance this weekend! I’ve managed to convince our local pub owner to show the Magners League final (it’s hard to get on telly here, you need BBC Wales) since it’s nicely in between the English Premiership final and the football, and we’ll be there anyway for hte Premiership as RahBoy is a Saracens fan. I fear for Leinster. I think our H-Cup win will only goad Munster on, and I am concerned that they want it more than we do. But we can’t let the boggers win!!! :)

If you’re not arts and crafts oriented, then this may not be the response for you, but as someone in very similar circumstance (working nearly a full-time job and trying to finish my master’s to boot!) I found that taking an afternoon/early evening once or twice a week to work on a project really helped. Over the winter, I taught myself to crochet and would do that to unwind after a long day. Now that it’s getting warmer, I’ve moved on to sewing and have already finished a nifty set of pillow cases made from up-cycled saris.

I don’t know why, but there is something about creating with my own two hands that I find totally addictive. It brings me such pleasure to work on something that actually has tangible and physical results to show for my efforts, especially since the rest of my time is dominated by the theoretical work that chains me to my computer.

I’m scared to buy a vibrator and I DON’T KNOW WHY. I would even get a great one for super cheap with an online deal but right now I’m too chicken to even purchase the relevant coupon.

A vibe, like my erstwhile hash pipe, would be something to be wrapped up in a scarf and hidden from my parents (with whom I live…). But my old ‘massager’ has gone AWOL and it would be a $60 product for $30 and my boyfriend has already expressed enthusiasm for the purchase and I just. Don’t understand my own anxiety.

I am ridiculously excited to see this. I LOVE The Westing Game, but haven’t met too many people who have read it! I would write something now, probably from Turtle’s perspective, but I had the longest drive home from LA and am afraid my brain is too fried to come up with anything good!

I’m not a book clubber but I’ve got a question to ask that I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’m a girl that likes to shop. But I’m a grad student (currently unemployed since my graduate assistantship ran up and I still have to write my thesis) and I like to hunt down good deals. I’ll stalk NY and Company and Express for sale items and I hate to admit that I’ve been a Forever 21 addict. I’d really like to be more ethical with my shopping. I know Forever 21 has a bad reputation and I’ve finally cut myself off from shopping with them in the past few months (although I do browse their online store occasionally when I’m bored, thankfully I haven’t seen anything I really liked!). I don’t even fully understand what it would mean to be more ethical as I don’t fully understand all the problems besides the general (sweatshops, child labor, environmental problems).
So, my fellow clever thinking shoppers, do you have any recommendations about where to shop ethically (whenever I find a freaking job!) without spending a lot of money? I’m thinking anything over $60 for a basic dress or $40 for a basic top is “a lot of money.” Does this shopping exist?! Also, if anyone has any book recommendations about the problems with fashion, clothing manufacturing, etc., I’d love to hear them!
Sorry for the lonnnngggg post! Hopefully someone is interested in this stuff!

I don’t have an answer for you yet, but the subject interests me as well. I watched a documentary recently about the clothing industry that got me thinking about ethical shopping. Now I’m thinking I would like to do some research and maybe write a whole post about it.

I’d have more suggestions if you lived in Canada, but spend an hour going to the corporate websites of your favorite stores and check out their social/community responsibility sections. If they don’t have one, that’s telling already.

Shop second hand. I know some people think it’s icky but really, it’s one of the best things you can do. Just wash everything throughly and enjoy. I’ve found spectacular things at second hand stores, my best finds being a Marc Jacob bomber jacket and a Prada skiing jacket.

Have you looked on etsy? I’m always surprised at some of the amazingly cute things I find there. Although some items are a bit pricey, I like the idea of supporting ‘cottage industries’ and buying items handmade in someone’s home as opposed to a factory or sweatshop.

I don’t really know much more about this than you do, but I do know that in general, anything that is “vintage” (i.e. pre-worn) or up-cycled is almost universally considered to be PC. I personally waste HOURS browsing through vintage shops on etsy. I’d be interested to learn more about other options too, though!

I’m useless for book club, since it’s been probably ten years since I last read The Westing Game, maybe more.

However, I’m currently gorging myself on peach blueberry cobbler when I should really be in bed since I have to get up at an obscenely early hour tomorrow. I’m OK with this choice.

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