While the pandemic may continue to force us to social distance, great books will always be able to bring us together and allow us to travel to new places and experience new cultures. That is why the Louisville Book Babes book club hasn’t let the current state of the world derail its mission to devour great literature. Despite the fact that the camaraderie and discussions have moved online, the group is just as lively as ever. And their latest delicious read, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal, is just the most recent in a long line of books that provide strong female protagonists and windows to the world.
How did the group select this book?
We are always looking for great new books to read and discuss. At the end of each meeting, the group takes suggestions from our members about the next book, and then tries to reach a consensus on which one to choose. This book appealed to us because it was also on Reese Witherspoon’s book list, which always features well written stories about strong women. In that regard, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows did not disappoint.
What is the book about?
Without giving too much away, the book is about several generations of Sikh women, each of whom navigate the world and their culture in their own way. They are connected through a creative writing class that the main character teaches, and the stories that they write in that class and their relationships with each other have a profound effect on their lives. Parts of the book are as sexy as the title implies, but most of it is just getting to know these incredible women and their struggles with simultaneously being part of a very traditional culture and living in a modern world.
How has your group changed since moving online?
Honestly, the book discussions haven’t changed much. There is less wine, maybe, but we still use Facebook to contact the authors of each book we read. That is a lot of fun. In May, we read Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood, and the author shared some discussion questions that we used to guide us. And Balli Kaur Jaswal, the author of Erotic Stories, has been great as well. I think these authors actually really like talking to us and seeing that we are reading their books. They often provide great background information and are almost always really responsive.
BY VANESSA HUTCHISON