Book Club

A Brief Summary of the Northern Woman’s Feminist Non-Fiction Book Club

 This summary was written at the request of volunteers representing the Northern Woman’s Bookstore at the Feminisms on the Lakehead symposium in April 0f 2015.

In September of 2011 the Northern Woman’s Bookstore formed a book club celebrating feminist theory, activism and non-fiction.  The book club was open to the public and met monthly for three years.  During the inaugural meeting (discussing the works of Emma Goldman), a participant suggested we call the book club Galvanize: A feminist book club and discussion group.

Galvanize brought forth a crew of regular members as well as folks who dropped by on occasion.   The book club was hosted in various locations including the Northern Woman’s Bookstore, Growing Season Juice Collective, Calico Coffeehouse, and the homes of participants. 

Participants usually chose broad themes instead of specific readings to explore and discuss.  Readers were encouraged to bring any text or item related to the theme of the month including essays, formal reports, tweets, songs, blog postings etc. 

Over the years we explored a variety of topics including, but not limited to: Publications of Emma Goldman; scientists writing about science; women in positions of leadership;  transactivism in Canada; motherhood; the writings of Vandana Shiva; publications by Kim Anderson; histories of the women’s movement in Northwestern Ontario; women in music; regulating prostitution; women we admire etc. 

Occasionally, participants would make exceptions by focussing on a specific book, these included: Drumblair: Memories of a Jamaican Childhood by Rachel Manley; Keeping the Land by Rachel Ariss and John Cutfeet; Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.  That last one proved to be wildly unpopular.

 Once in a while we would be lucky enough to host a guest speaker specializing in a specific area.  For example Erin Beagle shared her experiences organizing Roots to Harvest, an urban youth farming/gardening program in Thunder Bay for people aged 15 – 18.  Susan Goldberg shared thoughts regarding feminism, writing, parenting – and writing about feminist parenting.  Erin Bellavance represented the Elizabeth Fry Society of Northwestern Ontario in a discussion about legalizing and regulating prostitution in Canada.

Here are two examples of typical notifications emailed to the book club contact list: 

February 2013

Dear Readers,

The feminist non-fiction book club, Galvanize, started 2013 on the right note.  During January’s gathering readers discussed, and admired, women in music.  Buffy St. Marie, Skunk Anansie, Lady Gaga, Pussy Riot, Evanescence, Clara Schuman, Alice Hertz-Sommer and K.D. Lang were all there in one way or another.  If you have not introduced yourself to any of the aforementioned musicians, don’t wait much longer.

The next Galvanize gathering will take place on Tuesday, February 26th, 7:30 pm, at the Northern Woman’s Bookstore (65 Court St. S, 344 7979).  Everyone is welcome.  This month, we will turn our attentions to the enduring experiences of women in care taking roles – paid and unpaid.  

If, by chance, you are in search of suggested readings, here are a few:


  • Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings, and Story Medicine by Kim Anderson
  • First Voices: An Aboriginal Women's Reader edited by Patricia A. Monture and Patricia D. McGuire.
  • The New Midwifery: Reflections on Renaissance and Regulation edited by Farah M. Shroff
  • The 21st Century Motherhood Movement: Mothers Speak Out on Why We Need to Change the World and How To Do It.  Edited by Andrea O'Reilly
  • The New Maids: Transnational Women and the Care Economy by Helma Lutz.

 Or perhaps revisit Marilyn Waring or Betty Friedan.  

 But remember...

 This book club is unique; readers are encouraged to bring anything we like to each gathering.  Participants have shared graphic novels, newspaper articles, essays, historical documents, formal reports, and blog entries. Folks with little time are invited to bring something short and sweet, while others may wish to participate in the timeless tradition of bringing a hardcover book to book club.  One thing remains the same, the company is great and we always have warm beverages & delicious things to eat.  See you on the 26th.

 ps - if you have a moment, pls rsvp.  this helps us prepare.


April 2013

Dear Readers,

 Legalizing and regulating prostitution is old news in the Netherlands, Greece and Germany. Should prostitution be legalized and regulated in Canada?  What changes have occurred within Ontario Law over the past two years, and what is on the horizon?   Where do local woman-centered organizations stand on the issues?

 Join us for our monthly feminist non-fiction book club gathering on Tuesday, April 30th at 7:00 pm, to listen in and/or join the discussion.  

 We are pleased to announce guest speaker, Erin Bellavance, will join the fray.  Erin will share updates and thoughts as a representative of the Northwestern Ontario Elizabeth Fry Society - an organization that works with women in conflict with the law. 

 While we call this a book club, there is no need to read a book.  Participants are encouraged to read and share anything at all - blogs, articles, essays - so long as it relates to the theme of the month (and even that is flexible).  Folks may bring desserts or malt beverages, but it is in no way necessary. 

 If you have a moment, please do RSVP.  It helps us prepare. : )


Overall Galvanize was a fun endeavor bringing folks together on a foundation of feminist non-fiction for three years.  Who knows, maybe someday this book club will resurface.



"Galvanize your mind" Book Club on hiatus. 

Galvanize your mind  


Galvanize your mind is The Northern Woman's Bookstore new book club which celebrates feminist ideas, actions and non-fiction writings.  This is a 'no pressure, no stress' book club that focuses on a theme instead of a specific writing.  

In previous meetings we have discussed famous anarchist Emma Goldman, prominent Aboriginal author Kim Anderson, and works by and for Transactivists. Be sure to join in, show support, and join in with an incredible group of readers.  Everyone is welcome.



November Meeting
Please join us for November's Galvanize Your Mind: A Feminist Book Club and Discussion Group. Althea Annan will host our next meeting which will take place at the Gender Issues Centre, Lakehead University on Wednesday, November 14th at 7:00pm. 
The theme for November is GirlsParticipants are encouraged to bring along a paragraph, a book, an essay, or anything you like pertaining to the theme. 
Everyone is welcome. 
As always, fruit, chocolate,
warm beverages and great conversation are on the agenda.
If possible, please RSVP by emailing or calling the Northern Womans Bookstore.

Meeting in September
  Attention all Feminist Non-fiction readers: we're back! 
 Please join us for year two of Galvanize Your Mind: A Feminist Book Club and Discussion Group.  We are looking forward to gathering in coffee shops, living rooms and the Northern Woman's Bookstore to share our thoughts and questions about selected works of non-fiction.
The date for the first gathering of the year is:
                                                                 Wednesday, September 26th
                                                                  Northern Woman's Bookstore
                                                                  (65 South Court Street)
Folks are encouraged to read all or part of Keeping the Land: Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Recollection and Canadian Law by Rachel Ariss and John Cutfeet. 
As is customary, participants at the September 26th gathering are encouraged to suggest dates, times and topics/books for future meetings.  Everyone is welcome.  As always, fruit, chocolate and great conversation are on the agenda. 

Start the New Year with a strong woman you admire.

Our intriguing non-fiction book club has chosen to start the New Year by celebrating women who have made a substantial impact achieving rights and freedoms. Our January theme, in other words, is Women as Leaders. Bring a book/article/paragraph by or about a strong woman you admire. Benazir Bhutto, Nawal El Saadawi, Judy Rebick, Lise Meitner, Margaret Atwood, and Lee Maracle are just few of the amazing women you could read about.  Choose anyone you wish.



   January 3, 2012 - 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

  65 Court Street South - The Northern Woman's Bookstore     


  Also on the agenda: fruit, chocolate, and warm, delicious beverages.


                            Bring your friends - we'll see you there!