Book Clubbin’ – 10 Discussion Questions for The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Welcome to our new blog feature — Book Clubbin’!
A lot of us are busy parents, have challenging jobs, or just have generally hectic lives, so listening to audiobook versions of the novel can be really useful. You can squeeze your book club choices into your commute, listen while you work, or even when your baby is napping (HAH!).

Every month we’ll pick a popular book club pick and set up some discussion questions to get you and your book club going. This month, we’ve got questions for The Farm by Joanne Ramos.

We’ve reviewed this book before (and we LOVED it!), and we know it’s a big book club book this year, so take a peek at our questions, and feel free to use them for your next book club meeting! 

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1. What genre would you put this book in? Sci-fi? Feminist or women’s fiction? Something else? Why?

2. There are some heavy themes in this book: Women’s rights, racism, immigration, class inequality etc. Can you see any parallels with issues in the news right now?

3. Jane, Lisa, and Reagan are three very different women put in the same situation. What do you think makes them friends? What makes them so different from each other?

4. Do you think Ate and Mae are “bad” people? Or do they have good and/or altruistic reasons for some of the “bad” decisions they make? 

5. What is your opinion on the morality of Golden Oaks? Do you think it’s a good thing? A bad thing? Or somewhere inbetween?

6. Do you think that Golden Oaks could exist in real life? 

7. How does The Farm present the idea of the American Dream?

8. There have been comparisons of The Farm to The Handmaid’s Tale. Do you feel these books share similar things? How do they differ?

9. Did the ending surprise you? How did it change your perception of Mae and Jane?

10. “Because in America you only have to know how to make money. Money buys everything else.” Money is a huge theme in the book. The women at The Farm need it, and the potential parents have lots of it. What role do you think money plays in the book? 

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STAFF PICK: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Post by Miranda Winter-Sayle

Title: Vox
Author: Christina Dalcher
Narrator: Julia Whelan

Imagine you could only speak 100 words a day. How do you determine the importance of every word? This is the decision that Dr. Jean McClellan and all female citizens of the United States must make every day, in the world of this debut novel.

Vox, by Christina Dalcher, is a precautionary tale of a possible future for the United States. Women are not allowed to speak more than 100 words a day – a law that is upheld by bracelets that emit an electric shock that grows worse with every word spoken above the limit. Women are not permitted to have jobs, read, or travel outside the United States.

(I reached the end of my own 100 words in the middle of the previous sentence. Of course, in the society in Vox, I would not be permitted to write this review at all.)

Dr. Jean McClellan is a cognitive linguist who was researching the reversal of brain damage that caused a person’s inability to speak. Her research abruptly ended when religious extremists took over the United States and the subsequent introduction of patriarchal laws forbid women’s participation in society. But when the president’s brother is injured, she is given a choice: regain her voice and continue her research to save one of the men responsible this new world, or refuse and face implicit consequences – in silence.

As a fan of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I was incredibly excited to listen to Vox — and it did not disappoint. The premise is well-executed and the world that Dalcher creates is terrifyingly believable. Like The Handmaid’s Tale, Vox’s dystopia is in its early days, which allows the audience to witness the before and the after of the new world. The description of the evolution of modern day society into this universe was easily my favorite part of the novel.

Julia Whelan is a narrator I’ve heard before and she never fails to disappoint. Her tone perfectly reflects the anger that Dr. McClellan feels through the duration of the novel. She captures the somber tone of the novel expertly.

Vox was included on many most-anticipated summer releases lists, and now I understand why: its timely subject matter and original storytelling make it a compelling listen, and one I would definitely recommend.

New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

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STAFF PICK: Brotopia by Emily Chang

Title: Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley
Author: Emily Chang
Narrator: Emily Chang

Bloomberg Technology reporter Emily Chang confronts Silicon Valley’s rampant sexism, which has excluded women from the greatest wealth creation of our generation.

For a really terrifying listen this Friday 13th, look no further than Brotopia. From the very beginning, this book had me riled! It features example after example of women systemically being excluded from the tech industry. From unconscious bias to very conscious harassment, the industry is at best unwelcoming and has led to women dropping out of tech at a rate 45% higher than men, if they can even breach the walls at all.

With each new stat and story, I grew increasingly agitated. I’m quite good at multitasking with audiobooks, but here and there this one required me to pause to absorb the gravity of what she was saying. During some parts my jaw dropped and I glared at my audio-producing phone as if it would return my incredulous expression.

The narration feels unsurprisingly like a news report, which is not my preference but was subtle and suited the book’s content. Emily Chang is clear and steady, just as you’d expect from a trained reporter.

While it may make your blood boil, it ends on a high note, with encouraging stats and advice to build the solution’s momentum. Whether you’re in the tech industry or not, you can benefit from what Chang has to say. This listen certainly won’t brighten your day, but it will broaden your perspective.

Brotopia

 

 

Read more and listen to a sample here!

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Celebrate International Women’s Day with Audiobooks

Every year on March 8, International Women’s Day is celebrated to acknowledge the social, economic, political, and cultural achievements of women — and what better way to celebrate than by listening to audiobooks penned by incredible female authors?

I look forward to this day every year to see what governments, organizations, charities, corporations, and my friends are doing and saying to recognize the trailblazing women who have changed (and are changing) the world. The future, indeed, is female.

In addition to the many remarkable women in my life, reading books by female authors that depict both real and fictional lives of iconic and ordinary women has given me the support, guidance, and courage to move beyond glass ceilings and push for equity, diversity, and inclusion.

We’ve rounded up a dozen inspiring books to celebrate some of our favorite female authors and feminist stories. Tell us in the comments who your favorite female authors or characters are and let us know how you’re celebrating International Women’s Day!

1. A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena, narrated by Firdous Bamji, Neil Shah, Soneela Nankani, Lameece Issaq

A Girl Like That.In this young adult debut set in Saudi Arabia, where the law forbids romantic relationships outside of marriage, two teens fall in love with tragic consequences. Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: an Indian girl, a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a troublemaker whose romantic entanglements are the subject of endless gossip among the girls in her school.
Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

2. What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton, narrated by Hillary Rodham Clinton

What Happened.For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules.
Read more and sample the audio.

 

3. Getting Off: One Woman’s Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction by Erica Garza, narrated by Joy Osmanski

Getting Off.

A courageous account of one woman’s unflinching and ultimately hopeful journey through sex and porn addiction. A fixation on porn and orgasm, strings of failed relationships and serial hook-ups with strangers, inevitable blackouts to blunt the shame – these are not things we often hear women share publicly, and not with the candor, eloquence and introspection Erica Garza brings to Getting Off.
Read more and sample the audio.

 

4. This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins, narrated by Morgan Jerkins

This Will Be My Undoing.From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins’ highly-anticipated collection of linked essays interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today — perfect for fans of Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist and Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me.
Read more and sample the audio.

 

5. milk and honey by Rupi Kaur, narrated by Rupi Kaur

milk and honey.Rupi Kaur reads milk and honey, her New York Times bestselling collection of poetry and prose about survival, the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache.
Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

6. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, narrated by Caroline Lee

Big Little Lies.Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate, remembering everything and forgiving no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but pays a price for the illusion of perfection. Single mom Jane is so young, another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. They are at different crossroads, but all wind up in the same shocking place.
Read more and sample the audio.

 

7. The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips, narrated by Bahni Turpin

The Darkest Child.A new edition of this award-winning modern classic, the shade of a 13-year-old black girl’s skin can make the difference in her fate. Tangy Mae is the smartest of her mother’s ten children, but she is also the darkest-complected. The Quinns-all different skin shades, all with unknown fathers-live with their charismatic, beautiful, and tyrannical mother, Rozelle, in poverty on the fringes of a Georgia town where Jim Crow rules.
Read more and sample the audio.

 

8. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal

The Bell Jar.

The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under — maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that Esther’s insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies.
Read more and sample the audio.

 

9. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, narrated by Elisa Donovan

Lean In.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, ranked eighth on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, is one of America’s most galvanizing leaders, and an icon for millions of women juggling work and family. In Lean In, she urges women to take risks and seek new challenges, to find work that they love, and to remain passionately engaged with it at the highest levels throughout their lives.
Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

10. Wild by Cheryl Strayed, narrated by Bernadette Dunn

Wild.

A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe and built her back up again. At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Alone.
Read more and sample the audio.

 

11. Heart Talk by Cleo Wade, narrated by Cleo Wade

Heart Talk.

True to her hugely popular Instagram account, Cleo Wade brings her moving life lessons to Heart Talk, an inspiring, accessible, and spiritual book of wisdom for the new generation. Featuring over one hundred and twenty of Cleo’s original poems, mantras, and affirmations, including fan favorites and never before seen ones, this book is a daily pep talk to keep you feeling empowered and motivated.
Read more and sample the audio.

 

12. Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, narrated by Karissa Vacker

Red Clocks.In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.
Read more and sample the audio.

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