Read ‘Vagina Obscura’ With The SciFri Book Club

‘Vagina Obscura’ tells readers the history of neglected research into the vagina and its companion organs. Read it with us this September.

illustrated stack of books with text "scifri book club"Welcome to the SciFri Book Club about Vagina Obscura. There’s lots of ways to participate: Read the book, listen to our author interview, join our online community space, or send a message at (646) 767-6532 or on the SciFri VoxPop app.

The cover of the book "Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage" by Rachel E. Gross over a dark, zoomed-in photo of a succulent. The SciFri Book Club logo is in the upper left hand corner

This September, the SciFri Book Club will journey into the human body—and contemplate the many ways the vagina, uterus, ovaries, and other nearby organs have been mythologized and misunderstood—with a new book from science writer Rachel E. Gross, Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage. Published earlier this year, this book shows us the myriad of ways we have been wrong about the female reproductive system (including by minimizing these organs to reproductive-only roles), introduces us to the scientists working to expand our knowledge about the vagina et al., and encourages readers to see their body in a whole new light. This work brings together a range of topics, including biology, anatomy, medical history, health and healthcare, representation in science, and more—and we’ll touch on these ideas throughout this Book Club season.

In her superbly written debut, Gross asks us to see the vagina anew and imagine her with newfound complexity. Get your copy from your local bookstore or

This Book Club season kicks off Thursday, September 1, and you can read along with us! We’ll be (loosely) following this schedule, but all our readers are welcome to join us at their own pace:

  • Introduction through Chapter 2 from September 1-11
  • Chapters 3-5 from September 12-18
  • Chapters 6-8 from September 19-25
  • Book Club wrap-up from September 26-30

Plus, we’ll be hosting virtual and in-person events throughout the month! Keep an eye out on our website or join our Events newsletter to be the first to know.

There are so many ways to dive in and participate! You can grab a copy of the book (and support the author and SciFri), read an excerpt from Vagina Obscura, join the discussion in our online Book Club community, sign up for our email newsletter, or RSVP for our upcoming Book Club events. Check out all the details below.

Grab Your Own Copy

If you’d like to purchase a physical copy, we encourage you to start with your local bookstore!

If they don’t have the book in stock or you’d rather purchase online, you can support Science Friday by buying your copy on our page.

Save The Date(s): SciFri Book Club Events

event banner image for an event titled "we're going to talk about the vagina: science, celebration and storytelling with the author of Vagina Obscura" with a background of wavy cut pieces of pink paperWe’re Going To Talk About The Vagina

A celebration of the science knowledge and storytelling talent behind the new book, Vagina Obscura—plus a whole lotta joy.

  • When: Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT
  • Where: In-person or via livestream – Caveat, 21A Clinton Street, New York NY 10002
  • Tickets: $18 in advance, $22 at the door, $5 livestream 

Buy Tickets

The cover of the book "Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage" by Rachel E. Gross over a dark, zoomed-in photo of a succulent. The SciFri Book Club logo is in the upper left hand cornerSciFri Book Club September community meeting: Vagina Obscura

Want to meet other SciFri Book Club members, talk about the book selection, and find more resources for deeper learning—all without leaving your home? Our community meeting is the place for you!

RSVP for September 28

This discussion meeting will focus on themes and topics featured in Vagina Obscura. You’re welcome to join us no matter your reading progress—come chat with other science-interested folks about anatomy, medical history, representation in science, and more!

Join Our Community Space

And as you start reading, join us on our online community space: the Science Friday Book Club is now on Mighty Networks, a platform where we can gather, read and discuss science books together. We’ve built this community space because you told us you wanted a better way to be connected with other SciFri Book Clubbers, and we hope you’ll join us there!

Join Our Community

Read An Excerpt

Not sure this is the book for you? Want to read an excerpt before you commit? We’ve got you covered.

W. W. Norton, the publisher of Vagina Obscura, has offered SciFri Book Clubbers an excerpt of the book! You can read this sample on our website.

Read The Excerpt

Meet the Writer

About Diana Plasker

Diana Plasker is the Senior Manager of Experiences at Science Friday, where she creates live events and partnerships to delight and engage audiences in the world of science.

Explore More

Menstruation: Another Way Humans Are Unique In The Animal Kingdom

From this SciFri Book Club pick, a peek inside the vast—and still relatively under-researched—part of the human body: the uterus.

Read More