100 books like Females

By Andrea Long Chu,

Here are 100 books that Females fans have personally recommended if you like Females. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of About Looking

Sallie Tisdale Author Of The Lie about the Truck: Survivor, Reality TV, and the Endless Gaze

From my list on the existential crisis of looking in a mirror.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’ve always been interested in ambiguity and ambivalence. How does that apply to the self? What does it mean to present myself to others? How do I appear to the world and how close is that to what I see myself to be? Are we ever truly seen—or willing to be seen? In a world where cameras exist everywhere and we are encouraged to record rather than simply be, how do we look in a mirror? Hannah Arendt said that we could tell reality from falsehood because reality endures. But I feel that nothing I experience endures; nothing remains the same, including the reflection. If anything lasts, it may be my own make-believe. Everything I write is, in some way, this question. Who is that?

Sallie's book list on the existential crisis of looking in a mirror

Sallie Tisdale Why did Sallie love this book?

This is a book of essays about the act of looking, especially looking at photographs and paintings and animals and other people. Thus these are essays about history, memory, suffering, beauty, and the self. Berger had a generous spirit; he wrote often about the lives of peasants and spent the last forty years of his life in rural France. Berger gazed upon the world in all its forms with composure and curiosity. 

By John Berger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked About Looking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a novelist, essayist, and cultural historian, John Berger is a writer of dazzling eloquence and arresting insight whose work amounts to a subtle, powerful critique of the canons of our civilization. In About Looking he explores our role as observers to reveal new layers of meaning in what we see. How do the animals we look at in zoos remind us of a relationship between man and beast all but lost in the twentieth century? What is it about looking at war photographs that doubles their already potent violence? How do the nudes of Rodin betray the threats to…


Book cover of Autobiography of a Face

Carol Fiore Author Of Flight through Fire

From my list on on loss that do more than make us cry.

Who am I?

Loss, with its many contours, finds us all. For me, it came quite unexpectedly. During a long decade of profound grieving, I found inspiration in books. Through real characters and fictional ones, I learned and questioned and found strength. Adversity should evoke more than sadness. When we cheer for the characters on the page, we learn about ourselves. These are books that have helped me dig deeper into my own loss and to live fuller. I start with The Right Stuff because I know what it means to be married to a test pilot and to get the knock on the door. Loss does not have to be the end.

Carol's book list on on loss that do more than make us cry

Carol Fiore Why did Carol love this book?

Perhaps it takes a gifted poet to write about loneliness and pain in a way that is free of self-pity. Lucy Grealy is that poet, and this is the book I recommend in my grief self-help workbook (published in 2014).

Ms. Grealy, diagnosed with cancer at only 9, lost a third of her jaw and eventually underwent 30 torturous surgeries. She endured not only ridicule from classmates, but her own feelings of ugliness and rejection. This memoir is full of wit, insight, and beautifully crafted sentences that spare the reader from much of the frightening details. If ever there was a book that made you dig deeper for your own buried strength, this is it.

Lucy said before her death that she didn’t want to be anyone’s inspiration or role model; she wanted to be recognized as a serious writer. She did both.

I. Love. This. Book.

By Lucy Grealy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Autobiography of a Face as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Book

"Grealy has turned her misfortune into a book that is engaging and engrossing, a story of grace as well as cruelty, and a demonstration of her own wit and style and class."—Washington Post Book World

“It is impossible to read Autobiography of a Face without having your consciousness raised forever.” – Mirabella

In this celebrated memoir and exploration of identity, cancer transforms the author’s face, childhood, and the rest of her life.

At age nine, Lucy Grealy was diagnosed with a potentially terminal cancer. When she returned to school with a third of her…


Book cover of The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

Rajiv Sethi Author Of Shadows of Doubt: Stereotypes, Crime, and the Pursuit of Justice

From my list on human interactions and the complexity of social life.

Who am I?

Rajiv Sethi is an economist, currently a professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. His research deals with information and beliefs, with particular focus on how stereotypes condition interactions among strangers. 

Rajiv's book list on human interactions and the complexity of social life

Rajiv Sethi Why did Rajiv love this book?

This path-breaking book presents a view of human communication as theater, where speakers choose their words to create desired impressions, and listeners try to interpret speech while guarding against manipulation and deceit.

Strategic interaction and interpretation are central to the argument. In effect, Goffman is examining dynamic games with incomplete information, decades below the formal language for such analyses was developed. 

By Erving Goffman,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the defining works of twentieth-century sociology: a revelatory analysis of how we present ourselves to others

'The self, then, as a performed character, is not an organic thing ... it is a dramatic effect'

How do we communicate who we are to other people? This landmark work by one of the twentieth century's most influential sociologists argues that our behaviour in social situations is defined by how we wish to be perceived - resulting in displays startlingly similar to those of actors in a theatrical performance. From the houses and clothes that we use as 'fixed props' to…


Book cover of Life of the Mind: One/Thinking, Two/Willing

Sallie Tisdale Author Of The Lie about the Truck: Survivor, Reality TV, and the Endless Gaze

From my list on the existential crisis of looking in a mirror.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’ve always been interested in ambiguity and ambivalence. How does that apply to the self? What does it mean to present myself to others? How do I appear to the world and how close is that to what I see myself to be? Are we ever truly seen—or willing to be seen? In a world where cameras exist everywhere and we are encouraged to record rather than simply be, how do we look in a mirror? Hannah Arendt said that we could tell reality from falsehood because reality endures. But I feel that nothing I experience endures; nothing remains the same, including the reflection. If anything lasts, it may be my own make-believe. Everything I write is, in some way, this question. Who is that?

Sallie's book list on the existential crisis of looking in a mirror

Sallie Tisdale Why did Sallie love this book?

The relentless and erudite work of Arendt never ceases to challenge me. In the books included here—Thinking and Willing—she explores what it means that the self knows itself to be a self, and how that knowledge refracts and splits upon encountering others, and then changes when returning to solitude again. I read her knowing that she has not just considered but felt her ideas. “To be alive means to be possessed by an urge toward self-display. . . .Up to a point we can choose how to appear to others.”

By Hannah Arendt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life of the Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most intriguing…and thought-provoking book that Hannah Arendt wrote (The New York Times Book Review), The Life of the Mind is the final work by the political theorist, philosopher, and feminist thinker.This fascinating book investigates thought itself as it exists in contemplative life. In a shift from Arendt's previous writings, most of which focus on the world outside the mind, this is an exploration of the mind's activities she considered to be the most fundamental. The result is a rich, challenging analysis of human mental activity in terms of thinking, willing, and judging.


Book cover of Wildthorn

Rosie Garland Author Of Vixen

From my list on positive LGBTQ+ characters.

Who am I?

It’s no surprise to hear I’m drawn to stories featuring outsiders, people who don’t / won’t conform and are fed up trying to force themselves into the narrow roles society offers. Folk who slide under the radar, and never make it into history books (which is all of us, right?). This springs from being an outsider myself, the weird kid who didn’t fit. I’ve chosen novels where the LGBTQ+ characters strive and struggle but do not die tragically. Put simply, they are real people, complete with flaws and strengths. These books are your very own Time Machines: wonderful stories to transport you into the past.

Rosie's book list on positive LGBTQ+ characters

Rosie Garland Why did Rosie love this book?

Set in 19th century England, this novel is aimed at Young Adult readers and is a reminder that a good read is simply good, whatever age bracket it’s aimed at. It resonated with my own teenage struggles to break free of restrictive expectations – even though mine were trifling compared to what the heroine Louisa has to go through! She resists the restrictions of Victorian society and the limited choices available to women, and is locked up in an asylum. It prompted me to read more about the era and discovered the shocking truth of how this really happened to women who stepped out of line…

By Jane Eagland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wildthorn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove has never enjoyed the life of the pampered, protected life girls of wealth were expected to follow in nineteenth century England. It was too confining. She would have much rather been like her older brother, allowed to play marbles, go to school, become a doctor. But little does she know how far her family would go to kill her dreams and desires. Until one day she finds herself locked away in an insane asylum and everyone--the doctors and nurses--insist on calling her Lucy Childs, not Louisa Cosgrove.
Surely this is a mistake. Surely her family will rescue…


Book cover of Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico

Natalia Milanesio Author Of Destape: Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina

From my list on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America.

Who am I?

I am a historian of twentieth-century Argentina and a professor of modern Latin American history currently teaching at the University of Houston. Born and raised in Argentina, I completed my undergraduate studies at the National University of Rosario and moved to the United States in 2000 to continue my education. I received my M.A. in history from New York University and my Ph.D. in history from Indiana University, Bloomington. I have written extensively about gender, working-class history, consumer culture, and sexuality in Argentina. I am the author of Workers Go Shopping in Argentina: The Rise of Popular Consumer Culture and Destape! Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina.

Natalia's book list on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America

Natalia Milanesio Why did Natalia love this book?

This is a solid edited volume that has contributions from leading scholars of Mexican history exploring straight and gay sexualities from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century in different parts of the country. The chapters examine a wide range of interesting topics including cinema and movie going, public bathhouses, prostitution, elopement, and mariachi culture to untangle how masculinities are historically constructed and to interrogate the concepts of macho and machismo.

By Víctor M. Macías-González (editor), Anne Rubenstein (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico, historians and anthropologists explain how evolving notions of the meaning and practice of manhood have shaped Mexican history. In essays that range from Texas to Oaxaca and from the 1880s to the present, contributors write about file clerks and movie stars, wealthy world travelers and ordinary people whose adventures were confined to a bar in the middle of town. The Mexicans we meet in these essays lived out their identities through extraordinary events--committing terrible crimes, writing world-famous songs, and ruling the nation--but also in everyday activities like falling in love, raising families, getting…


Book cover of The Witch Boy

Anthony Oliveira

From my list on queer YA topics that will crack your heart in half.

Who am I?

When I was growing up, there were no stories for me. A queer kid in a very conservative Catholic household, I knew I was different, but I had no way to articulate that difference, and no way to imagine a horizon of happiness, of dignity, or of joy. In the worlds people imagined for young people, we were simply written out. I have since spent a lifetime studying and telling stories – as an English professor, as a bartender at a queer bookstore and drag bar, and now as a writer. And what matters to me most is seeing queer lives lived in abundance. These are the stories I wish I had.

Anthony's book list on queer YA topics that will crack your heart in half

Anthony Oliveira Why did Anthony love this book?

Boys are one way; girls are another; that’s the way it has always been. But when Aster finds himself ineluctably drawn to the magic that should only be the province of the women in his family, he begins to realize some rules are not only antiquated, they can do material harm to the soul. Ostertag deftly uses the supernatural as a simple and elegant metaphor for the thousand indignities we can heap upon the queer and gender nonconforming, with an art style that simultaneously insists upon and celebrates the multiplicity of bodies and expressions that are our lived experience and belie these closed and closeting norms. An ingenious allegory, smartly and briskly told with charm and generosity.

By Molly Knox Ostertag,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Witch Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

From the illustrator of the web comic Strong Female Protagonist comes a debut middle-grade graphic novel about family, identity, courage -- and magic.

In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted . . . and he's still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help -- as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical…


Book cover of Horse Girls: Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond

Janet Jones Author Of Horse Brain, Human Brain: The Neuroscience of Horsemanship

From my list on horse-and-human teams.

Who am I?

Horses have helped me negotiate the world since early childhood. I’ve worked as a horse trainer, show competitor, catch rider, barn grunt, and riding instructor. As a UCLA-trained brain scientist and full professor, I also taught human perception, language, memory, and thought for almost 25 years. Combining these interests produced an “aha” moment, leading to my development of brain-based horsemanship. Successful horse-and-human teams require an understanding of how prey and predator brains interact. With that understanding, both species learn to communicate mutually via body language. We humans cooperate in this fashion and degree with no other species of prey animal—it’s a rare and special bond! 

Janet's book list on horse-and-human teams

Janet Jones Why did Janet love this book?

A collection of stories written by respected authors explaining how horses help their everyday lives. Jane Smiley, Maggie Shipstead, and Carmen Maria Machado are all here, along with many other excellent women writers. I feel deep appreciation and respect for all the horses I have known—especially those who taught me the most painful lessons, and even the few who taught in a painful or frightening way. Every horse is unique, and every horse offers something you can’t get anywhere else. It was magical to read what some of the world’s best writers have to say about the bonds they created with their own mounts. 

By Halimah Marcus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Horse Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A wild, rollicking ride into the heart of horse country—these essays get at what it means to love horses, in all that love's complexity.” —Anton DiSclafani, author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

A compelling and provocative essay collection that smashes stereotypes and redefines the meaning of the term “horse girl,” broadening it for women of all cultural backgrounds.


As a child, horses consumed Halimah Marcus’ imagination. When she wasn’t around horses she was pretending to be one, cantering on two legs, hands poised to hold invisible reins. To her classmates, girls like Halimah were known as “horse girls,”…


Book cover of Maiden to Mother: Unlocking Our Archetypal Journey into the Mature Feminine

Jeanette Bent Author Of Dark Star Reclaiming Lilith

From my list on strong female protagonist in an ascending world.

Who am I?

I’ve been rising for years. In fact, Dark Star: Reclaiming Lilith is the culmination of 18 years’ worth of my personal ascension, which is certainly still a work in progress. My book is written in an extremely magical realistic, sci-fi/fantastical manner. I do believe that there are a cohort of women here on Planet Earth right now who’ve incarnated to help carry Gaia into her 5th dimension. Especially now, it’s relevant to move our planet into a more sustainable, spiritual, and connected way. If our voices can span across genres, generations, and gender, then maybe, they can reach all corners of the Universe before it’s too late for us and our planet.

Jeanette's book list on strong female protagonist in an ascending world

Jeanette Bent Why did Jeanette love this book?

This book not only changed my entire life, but it has also helped me shape the ending of my own book. Wilson gave me the permission and vocabulary to express abstract concepts that I was carrying around; sacred rage, patriarchal oppression, a lineage of matricidal trauma… big stuff. Rather than a book, Maiden to Mother is a cultural and feminine ancestral movement. By traversing your own underworlds and excavating all of the buried, scorned, traumatized parts of ourselves, we can then begin the healing journey and live honest to our souls. In this non-fiction book, Wilson asks the reader to go where they’ve never gone before, and in return, promises liberation and true joy. She delivers this in a no-bullshit manner. And guess what? It works.

By Sarah Durham Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maiden to Mother as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the goddess culture was stolen and buried, so too were women's rites of passage into our wild, intuitive femininity and maturity.
With Maiden to Mother, Sarah Durham Wilson excavates these ancient rites, guiding us through a sacred and crucial initiation from the immature Maiden into the archetypal Mother - the powerful, safe, compassionate, full-bloom feminine life force that exists within all of us.

Becoming the Mother is every woman's birthright - regardless of whether or not she raises children. The Mother is who we needed as a child, who we were meant to be in this life, and who…


Book cover of Queenie

Nichola K. Johnson Author Of Sounds of Diamonds

From my list on real-life stories about struggles in life.

Who am I?

As a quiet and very shy child, I found myself sitting alone reading books rather than playing with other kids. My love for reading at the time was restricted to children’s books like The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe or Roald Dhal stories until I upgraded to Enid Blyton Books and Mills & Boon romances as a teen. It wasn’t until I reached my twenties when I actually found the genre I loved. It was through my love of these stories I came to realise I didn’t have to hide anymore, and my love for these stories planted a small seed in my mind that I would have the courage to write my own.

Nichola's book list on real-life stories about struggles in life

Nichola K. Johnson Why did Nichola love this book?

Carty-Williams tells a very clever and witty story of Queenie’s struggles navigating life as a young black woman in South East London, right where I grew up. I can relate to her work life, friendships, and love life so much it’s unreal. Whilst reading this book I could really feel myself within the plot as I’ve walked on some of the streets she talks about, been to places she talks about and of course, we all have a past and a story about our childhoods that make us who we are today, especially when they have been challenging. 

By Candice Carty-Williams,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Queenie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF TIME’S 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
ONE OF NPR’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019

NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2019 BY WOMAN’S DAY, NEWSDAY, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, BUSTLE, AND BOOK RIOT!

“[B]rilliant, timely, funny, heartbreaking.” —Jojo Moyes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

For fans ofLusterandI May Destroy You,a disarmingly honest,unapologetically black, and undeniably witty debut novel that will speak to those who have gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.

Queenie Jenkins is a twenty-five-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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