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April Book Club Discussion

Sulfur Books 18 E. Main St., Clifton Springs, NY, United States

During our April book club, we will discuss Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the […]

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During our April book club, we will discuss Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Kimmerer brings together various lenses of knowledge to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return.

Staff Recommendation

The Forest Brims Over is a novel by Maru Ayase, translated from Japanese by Haydn Trowell. Before having even read the description of this book, its cover, a vibrantly hued explosion of leaves, flowers, and owls was immediately entrancing; I was drawn to it the moment I saw it. After taking in the spellbinding image, I hungrily read the back and learned that the book was about a woman who turns into a forest following the publication of her husband’s breakout novel, in which her life, personal struggles, and intimate details about her sexuality were exposed. Rui is made into something more, and something less than human by his success. My initial reaction to the cover, combined with the subject matter, made it very evident to me that I needed to read this book.

I found this book to be infuriating as I read it, watching the female characters come to realizations that the men in their lives were granted so much more freedom than they were in nearly every setting, from the workplace to the home. Yet at the same time, every interaction and inner female thought displayed in this book felt like a gentle nudge, like a key turning in a lock, allowing me to make such realizations about my own life in my own ways. This novel illuminated a multitude of questions within me, some that had been perhaps floating around in my mind for a while, not fully formed, stuck on the tip of my tongue. Why is it that young women are taught to value the opinions of the men in their lives about who they are more than their own opinions about themselves? Why is it that women are from birth expected to be demure and agreeable, yet at the same time ridiculed for not expressing their own opinions and true thoughts? Why are women told that we need to maintain an innocence and sense of modesty in order to be respected, but also have to be okay with constantly being over sexualized?

Amidst the anger I felt while reading this book, and the fear that the suffocating dichotomies imposed upon women in so many cultures will never end, I also found it incredibly beautiful that Rui’s intensity of feeling literally rebirthed her into a forest. The image of this is so powerful, the idea that a woman’s inner world, her inner emotions and feelings could cause such an extraordinary transformation. Rui’s forest devours the home she shares with her husband, rendering him unable to ignore her or how she feels any longer, which serves as a stunning symbol for how women all over the world are making it known that the systems, traditions and values upheld in their societies are oppressive and need to be altered. I’m imagining the world erupting in forests, burgeoning green, brimming with women free to reclaim their stolen selves.

-Jade

Upcoming Events

Today

April Book Club Discussion

Sulfur Books 18 E. Main St., Clifton Springs, NY, United States

During our April book club, we will discuss Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the […]

RSVP Now Free 7 spots left

Indie Bookstore Day!

Sulfur Books 18 E. Main St., Clifton Springs, NY, United States

Join us as we celebrate independent bookstores on Saturday, April 27! The store will be open for extended hours on this day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. From 10 […]

May Open Mic* Night

Sulfur Books 18 E. Main St., Clifton Springs, NY, United States

Join us for our monthly open mic* night at the store on Friday, May 10 from 6–7:30pm. Share acoustic music, poetry, short stories, comedy, spoken word, and/or recitations. Slots are […]

RSVP Now Free 15 spots left

May Book Club Discussion

Sulfur Books 18 E. Main St., Clifton Springs, NY, United States

During our May book club, we will discuss Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel. Sea of Tranquility follows a time traveler, Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, and the people he encounters […]

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June Open Mic* Night

Sulfur Books 18 E. Main St., Clifton Springs, NY, United States

Join us for our monthly open mic* night at the store on Friday, June 21 from 6–7:30pm. Share acoustic music, poetry, short stories, comedy, spoken word, and/or recitations. Slots are […]

RSVP Now Free 18 spots left

June Book Club Discussion

Sulfur Books 18 E. Main St., Clifton Springs, NY, United States

During our June book club, we will discuss The Lost Shtetl by Max Gross. A luminous debut novel about a widow’s unlikely friendship with a giant Pacific octopus reluctantly residing […]

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