The best books if you want to read the messy, brutal, glorious truth of women’s bodies and their lives

Christie Tate Author Of Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life
By Christie Tate

The Books I Picked & Why

The Chronology of Water: A Memoir

By Lidia Yuknavitch

The Chronology of Water: A Memoir

Why this book?

Yuknavitch’s memoir is a gloves-off gut-punch of stories about her life as a competitive swimmer, a daughter of a tyrannical father, and an artist-in-the-making. Best of all: The sex scenes are like nothing I’ve ever read. DO NOT MISS THIS ONE.


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The Crying Book

By Heather Christle

The Crying Book

Why this book?

I’m a huge crier—when the birds over the Lake look beautiful, when my kids sing on key, when I imagine the passing of my favorite musician, Willie Nelson—so this meditation on tears and crying spoke straight to my soul. Christle expertly weaves her own struggles with the science, art, and cultural history of crying. This book is strangely perfect.


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Girlhood

By Melissa Febos

Girlhood

Why this book?

Our culture treats girlhood as a time when young females are frivolous, catty, and obsessed with selfies. Not Febos. She takes seriously the formation of self that happens in girlhood as sexuality, cultural messages, desire, ambition, and abuse press on our bodies and psyches. Her exploration of her own girlhood helped me look back at my own and respect my scrappy self.


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We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.: Essays

By Samantha Irby

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.: Essays

Why this book?

Irby’s writing is hilarious and full of heart whether she’s talking about her twisted bowels or her difficult childhood. Her jokes always land, and they never feel cheap or hollow because she’s an expert storyteller who is not afraid of the truth about her awkward social skills or her body. Her essays are the BOMB!


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Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning

By Claire Dederer

Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning

Why this book?

Dederer’s book explores her sudden, mid-life yearning for carnal pleasure and compares them to her promiscuous youth. We see her sleeping with enough people in college to earn a recommendation on a park bench (“for a good time call Clare Dederer"), and also as a married mother and artist who longs for something more, but she’s not sure what it is. Punctuated with hilarious entries from her childhood journal, this book delivers on every level.


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