The best books to make you love being a woman

Leslie Morgan Steiner Author Of The Naked Truth: A Memoir
By Leslie Morgan Steiner

The Books I Picked & Why

Untamed

By Glennon Doyle

Book cover of Untamed

Why this book?

Reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle was like having dinner with a combination of my best friend from childhood and the world’s best therapist. I felt seen, understood, and inspired. Her life experience and mottos invigorated me in lasting, exciting ways. The book made me feel great about being female – lucky to be female – and powerful inside myself. Her journey from a wife and mother who self-medicated with alcohol to her truest, strongest self helped me set my own sights for myself a bit higher, but with far more compassion for how hard it is to do “the right hard things.”


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year

By Anne Lamott

Book cover of Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year

Why this book?

I’ve read Operating Instructions at least five times. First as a new mother, most recently as a mother to three adult children. Every time I laugh out loud, cry a few tears, and get inspired to use my life experiences as fodder for my writing. Lamott’s diary reminds me that none of us has life figured out and that the friends and family we embrace deepen the intense experience of being female, and that great joy and great sadness often go together in a life well-lived.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage

By Cathi Hanauer

Book cover of The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage

Why this book?

Cathi Hanauer and I were editors together at Seventeen Magazine in New York City in our 20s. She tried, unsuccessfully, to convince me not to leave the magazine to marry an abusive man. I obviously regretted not listening to her – but I did get great material to write my memoir. I read The Bitch in the House one snowy Christmas Day lying in front of the fireplace as my three young children played with their presents around me. I recognized myself in the essays about the experience of being female in America, and the book inspired me to corral 26 moms in my own essay collection. I’m forever grateful to Cathi for assembling a group of badass truthtellers with great stories to tell.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Mists of Avalon

By Marion Zimmer Bradley

Book cover of The Mists of Avalon

Why this book?

What an audacious book – a retelling of the King Arthur legend from the women’s point of view. Part history, part fantasy, this book rang true to me in its portrayal of the power of the divine feminine. The female characters own their sexuality and the strength inherent to being a woman. I loved getting deliciously lost in Bradley’s imagination of the mystical skills of our ancient mothers. To this day, I wonder if she might have been writing about reality, not fantasy, and it is our present generation that has lost touch with our astonishing female powers.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Becoming

By Michelle Obama

Book cover of Becoming

Why this book?

I grew up in Washington, DC with a front row view of politics. As a child and adult, I went to the East and West Wings of the White House many times as a personal guest of the people who lived and worked there. However, Michelle Obama’s book was the first time I understood what it truly feels like to live in the White House and to be the most powerful, most scrutinized “trailing spouse” ever. As I read her words, I felt like I knew her – a brilliant, grounded businesswoman, wife, and mother with an unexpected and extraordinary life. She helped me imagine what I might have been like if I had been married to a man who became president. She took me with her into her life – the most extraordinary accomplishment any memoir can achieve.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists