ACCESS to host book club in February

“Her Body and Other Parties” by Carmen Maria Machado consists of eight fables that depict women who are on the verge of something happening to them. In February ACCESS will be hosting a book club to discuss this book.

Madison Mason

This semester Iowa State students have an opportunity to participate in the Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS) Book Club, where they will be reading “Her Body and Other Parties” by Carmen Maria Machado.

ACCESS, the organization hosting the book club, is a non-profit that serves survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and homicide and violent crimes. Tricia Ingram Williams, the campus prevention and outreach advocate with ACCESS, said ACCESS works regularly with Iowa State to serve students who are survivors, as well as participating in events happening on campus and being a part of committees at Iowa State.

ACCESS is continuing this book club from last semester to continue encouraging and introducing students to female authors.

“Through book club, ACCESS is able to introduce students to various books by female authors who write about important topics such as sexual assault, immigration, body image and more,” Williams said. “Book club is a safe space for students to talk about these ideas and engage with new perspectives.”

This semester the book club will be reading a collection of short stories entitled “Her Body and Other Parties” by Machado.

According to the New York Times, this book consists of eight fables that depict women who are on the verge of something happening to them, such as a wife struggling to keep her husband from untying the mysterious ribbon she wears around her neck or the victim of a violent assault discovers she can hear the thoughts of the actors in porn films or the concept of two women who make a baby together.

Along with the centerpieces of the book “Especially Heinous,” which is a rewrite of almost 300 episodes of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” all of these fables show a dominant fairy tale narrative, with its ritualistic opening riff, a theme of women in distress and with tidy resolutions.

“‘Her Body and Other Parties’ is a series of short stories that uses fantasy, psychological realism and a little bit of horror to explore the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies,” Williams said. “I chose this book because it’s unique, entertaining and beautifully written.”

For those who are interested, this book club will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. every Monday in February, which is the 10, 17 and 24, at the Sloss House. Williams said during these meetings there will be a discussion hosted to talk about the themes of two different short stories each week.

To sign up for this book club, Williams said people should email her at [email protected] She also said the first ten students to sign up for this book club will receive a free copy of the book. At the time of the writing of this article, there are currently four books still available.