100 books like Here She Is

By Hilary Levey Friedman,

Here are 100 books that Here She Is fans have personally recommended if you like Here She Is. 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 Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes

Zoë Coyle Author Of The Dangers of Female Provocation

From my list on women pushed to the edge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a woman and so like all of us who have lived long enough, I have been pushed to the edge. I’m fascinated with what society tells us we are and are not meant to feel or express. In part this is because I teach emotional intelligence and empathy, also because I am the mother of four and the more emotional literacy I have, the richer my life is. I’m not interested in having any emotions disavowed for anyone of any gender. I teach wholehearted leadership with my company Pilot Light and also speak to school students and other groups about feminism, gratitude, courage, pornography, creativity, overwhelm, and vulnerability. 

Zoë's book list on women pushed to the edge

Zoë Coyle Why did Zoë love this book?

"This book is about what happens when women are the storytellers too – when we speak from our authentic voices, when we flex our values, when we become protagonists in the tales we tell about what it is to be human."

I reference this wonderful, non-fiction book in my novel several times. Once when Odessa the main character sees it on her bookshelf.

Another time when Odessa talks about the shocking myth of Cassandra, who was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo but when she wouldn’t sleep with him he cursed her that no one would believe her.

And the third reference is at the end of my novel, Odessa’s dog bears Casandra as her mighty name. As an embodiment of all that will be listened to and believed. Cassandra Speaks had a profound impact on me as a woman, a mother, a sister, a human, and as a…

By Elizabeth Lesser,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cassandra Speaks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What story would Eve have told about picking the apple? Why is Pandora blamed for opening the box? And what about the fate of Cassandra who was blessed with knowing the future but cursed so that no one believed her? What if women had been the storytellers?

Elizabeth Lesser believes that if women's voices had been equally heard and respected throughout history, humankind would have followed different hero myths and guiding stories-stories that value caretaking, champion compassion, and elevate communication over vengeance and violence.

Cassandra Speaks is about the stories we tell and how those stories become the culture. It's…


Book cover of Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language

Leslie Lehr Author Of A Boob's Life: How America's Obsession Shaped Me--And You

From my list on put the fun in feminism.

Why am I passionate about this?

From Lehr’s prize-winning fiction to her viral New York Times Modern Love essay, exploring the challenges facing contemporary women has been Lehr’s life-long passion. A Boob’s Life, her first project since breast cancer treatment, continues this mission, taking all who will join her on a wildly informative, deeply personal, and utterly relatable journey.  And that’s exactly the kind of books she likes to read – the ones that make her laugh, nod in recognition, and understand a little more about life. She recommends these five books to everyone who asks.

Leslie's book list on put the fun in feminism

Leslie Lehr Why did Leslie love this book?

Ok sure, she had me at the title. But Montell dives deep into the language we use every day that, yes, often demeans women. Many of our body parts were taken from Latin words that dudes used to describe them. And the meanings weren’t always flattering. She also explains the positives of Valley Girl-Speak such as “like” and of vocal fry, and women are so fast to say “sorry.” Did you know that “hussy” used to mean housewife and “slut” meant a messy person that could be a man? Or that “bitch” used to be a gender-neutral name that had nothing to do with dogs? And why are some words considered feminine and others, male? Read this book to find out. 

By Amanda Montell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"I get so jazzed about the future of feminism knowing that Amanda Montell's brilliance is rising up and about to explode worldwide."-Jill Soloway

A brash, enlightening, and wildly entertaining feminist look at gendered language and the way it shapes us.

The word bitch conjures many images, but it is most often meant to describe an unpleasant woman. Even before its usage to mean "a female canine," bitch didn't refer to women at all-it originated as a gender-neutral word for "genitalia." A perfectly innocuous word devolving into an insult directed at females is the case for tons more terms, including hussy,…


Book cover of You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages

Leslie Lehr Author Of A Boob's Life: How America's Obsession Shaped Me--And You

From my list on put the fun in feminism.

Why am I passionate about this?

From Lehr’s prize-winning fiction to her viral New York Times Modern Love essay, exploring the challenges facing contemporary women has been Lehr’s life-long passion. A Boob’s Life, her first project since breast cancer treatment, continues this mission, taking all who will join her on a wildly informative, deeply personal, and utterly relatable journey.  And that’s exactly the kind of books she likes to read – the ones that make her laugh, nod in recognition, and understand a little more about life. She recommends these five books to everyone who asks.

Leslie's book list on put the fun in feminism

Leslie Lehr Why did Leslie love this book?

You’d think the subtitle says it all, but nope. Chocano loved reading bedtime stories to her daughter, but when even Alice and Wonderland proved problematic, she peered through the looking glass to see why. She explores the challenges of raising a female in a world of Disney Princesses, Playboy bunnies, and popular TV shows and movies. She even takes aim at the female manifesto, Eat Pray Love, bless her heart. I met Chocano at a reading of this book when I was nervously submitting A Boob’s Life to publishers. I was thrilled to find overlap with such a kindred spirit. You’ll find Chocana’s byline in major magazines featuring celebrity interviews, but without the snark. Personally, I love the snark - it makes the facts more fun.

By Carina Chocano,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

We all know who The Girl is. She holds The Hero's hand as he runs through the Pyramids, chasing robots. Or she nags him, or foils him, plays the uptight straight man to his charming loser. She's idealised, degraded, dismissed, objectified and almost always dehumanised. How do we process these insidious portrayals, and how do they shape our sense of who we are and what we can become?

Part memoir, part cultural commentary, part call to arms to women everywhere, You Play The Girl flips the perspective on the past thirty-five years in pop culture - from the progressive 70s,…


Book cover of Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot

Kara Alaimo Author Of Over The Influence: Why Social Media is Toxic for Women and Girls - And How We Can Take it Back

From my list on what it’s like to be a woman in this sexist, misogynistic world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a communication professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, a social media user, and a mom. After Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, I wrote an op-ed for CNN arguing that he’d won the election on social media, and I just never stopped writing. A few hundred op-eds and a book later, I’m still interested in what social media is doing to us all and the issues women are up against in our society. My book allowed me to explore how social media is impacting every single aspect of the lives of women and girls and exactly what we can do about it. I wrote it as a call to arms.

Kara's book list on what it’s like to be a woman in this sexist, misogynistic world

Kara Alaimo Why did Kara love this book?

Mikki Kendall’s account of what Black women and girls are up against in America left me angry and devastated. Her description of how Black girls are sexualized at shockingly young ages and how portraying them this way enables sexual abuse absolutely gutted me.

For me, this book was a powerful reminder of why no woman is safe in a culture that says you have to be viewed as respectable in order to be worthy of protection from violence.

By Mikki Kendall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"One of the most important books of the current moment."-Time

"A rousing call to action... It should be required reading for everyone."-Gabrielle Union, author of We're Going to Need More Wine

"A brutally candid and unobstructed portrait of mainstream white feminism." -Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist

A potent and electrifying critique of today's feminist movement announcing a fresh new voice in black feminism

Today's feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki…


Book cover of The Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Beauty Pageants and National Identity

Margot Mifflin Author Of Looking for Miss America: A Pageant's 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood

From my list on how the Miss America pageant was born.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about pop culture and women’s history, often as it relates to the body and beauty. I’m intrigued by the ways women claim unconventional means of expression for their own beautification (such as tattooing) and how they harness beauty in the service of social and economic mobility (as in pageant culture). These books offer insight into the varied ways pageantry, from campus pageants to the Miss America stage, inform American identity and ratify the historian Rosalyn Baxandall’s belief that “every day in a woman’s life is a walking Miss America contest.”

Margot's book list on how the Miss America pageant was born

Margot Mifflin Why did Margot love this book?

Starting from the premise that beauty pageants are often dismissed as “frivolous, meaningless, or carnivalesque and therefore unworthy of serious sustained intellectual scrutiny,” (4) Banet-Weiser shows how class and race, patriotism, and community values are embodied on the pageant stage. Crucially, she proves that the Miss America pageant doesn’t mean “one thing to one audience” and explains how what may seem like an expression of individual ambition is more frequently a reflection of national ideals—and biases.  

By Sarah Banet-Weiser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Most Beautiful Girl in the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sarah Banet-Weiser complicates the standard feminist take on beauty pageants in this intriguing look at a hotly contested but enduringly popular American ritual. She focuses on the Miss America pageant in particular, considering its claim to be an accurate representation of the diversity of contemporary American women. Exploring the cultural constructions and legitimations that go on during the long process of the pageant, Banet-Weiser depicts the beauty pageant stage as a place where concerns about national identity, cultural hopes and desires, and anxieties about race and gender are crystallized and condensed. The beauty pageant, she convincingly demonstrates, is a profoundly…


Book cover of Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain

Margot Mifflin Author Of Looking for Miss America: A Pageant's 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood

From my list on how the Miss America pageant was born.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about pop culture and women’s history, often as it relates to the body and beauty. I’m intrigued by the ways women claim unconventional means of expression for their own beautification (such as tattooing) and how they harness beauty in the service of social and economic mobility (as in pageant culture). These books offer insight into the varied ways pageantry, from campus pageants to the Miss America stage, inform American identity and ratify the historian Rosalyn Baxandall’s belief that “every day in a woman’s life is a walking Miss America contest.”

Margot's book list on how the Miss America pageant was born

Margot Mifflin Why did Margot love this book?

Miss America memoirs tend to be a frothy, humble-braggy business, but Kate Shindle’s well-researched, searingly honest exposé Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain is complex and entertaining. It includes a lively narrative history of the pageant, a warts-and-all account of her own (successful) bid for the 1998 title, a damning analysis of its hypocrisies and shady business practices, and the revelation that competing gave her eating and exercise disorders. She courageously calls herself a hypocrite for publicly pretending Miss America “was all about the big picture while privately striving for an impossible aesthetic.” Still, because of the power it gave her to change the world through her AIDS awareness platform, Shindle, now an actress and president of the Actors Equity Association, says “I wouldn’t trade that year for anything.” 

By Kate Shindle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Being Miss America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For nearly a hundred years, young women have competed for the title of Miss America-although what it means to wear the crown and be our "ideal" has changed dramatically over time. The Miss America Pageant began as a bathing beauty contest in 1920s Atlantic City, New Jersey, sponsored by businessmen trying to extend the tourist season beyond Labor Day. In the post-World War II years, the pageant evolved into a national coronation of an idealized "girl next door," as pretty and decorous as she was rarely likely to speak her mind on issues of substance. Since the cultural upheavals of…


Book cover of Drag Queens and Beauty Queens: Contesting Femininity in the World's Playground

Margot Mifflin Author Of Looking for Miss America: A Pageant's 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood

From my list on how the Miss America pageant was born.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about pop culture and women’s history, often as it relates to the body and beauty. I’m intrigued by the ways women claim unconventional means of expression for their own beautification (such as tattooing) and how they harness beauty in the service of social and economic mobility (as in pageant culture). These books offer insight into the varied ways pageantry, from campus pageants to the Miss America stage, inform American identity and ratify the historian Rosalyn Baxandall’s belief that “every day in a woman’s life is a walking Miss America contest.”

Margot's book list on how the Miss America pageant was born

Margot Mifflin Why did Margot love this book?

Drag pageantry owes a lot to Miss America, especially an Atlantic City pageant called Miss’d America. Greene documents the symbiotic relationship between the Atlantic City gayborhood that spawned this contest and the Miss America Pageant, where many gay locals worked as stylists, dancers, and on production crews behind the scenes. Launched in 1993, Miss’d America unified this community in response to the AIDS crisis and offered an alternative pageant for people who’d missed the real deal. Greene couches Miss’d America in the context of Atlantic City’s fascinating drag history going back to the turn of the century (because what better runway than the Atlantic City Boardwalk?), describing, for example, men who swanned along wearing “trick pants, pale purple hose, tan shoes with two-inch soles and lavender neckties” in 1925. 

By Laurie Greene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Drag Queens and Beauty Queens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Miss America pageant has been held in Atlantic City for the past hundred years, helping to promote the city as a tourist destination. But just a few streets away, the city hosts a smaller event that, in its own way, is equally vital to the local community: the Miss’d America drag pageant.

 

Drag Queens and Beauty Queens presents a vivid ethnography of the Miss’d America pageant and the gay neighborhood from which it emerged in the early 1990s as a moment of campy celebration in the midst of the AIDS crisis. It examines how the pageant strengthened community bonds…


Book cover of Queens of Academe: Beauty Pageantry, Student Bodies, and College Life

Margot Mifflin Author Of Looking for Miss America: A Pageant's 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood

From my list on how the Miss America pageant was born.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about pop culture and women’s history, often as it relates to the body and beauty. I’m intrigued by the ways women claim unconventional means of expression for their own beautification (such as tattooing) and how they harness beauty in the service of social and economic mobility (as in pageant culture). These books offer insight into the varied ways pageantry, from campus pageants to the Miss America stage, inform American identity and ratify the historian Rosalyn Baxandall’s belief that “every day in a woman’s life is a walking Miss America contest.”

Margot's book list on how the Miss America pageant was born

Margot Mifflin Why did Margot love this book?

A history of campus pageants going back to the 1920s, Queens of Academe considers not only their “calibrations of class and femininity,” but also their racial and (overwhelmingly Christian) religious underpinnings. Tice chronicles how campus competitions (many of which are feeder pageants for Miss America) allayed fears that educated women would renounce home and hearth, and traces the ways they’ve evolved to reflect social progress. Two chapters—“We are Here: Pageants as Racial ‘Homeplaces’ and Ethnic Combat Zones” and “Flesh and Spirit: Bibles, Beauty and Bikinis”—examine neglected aspects of pageant scholarship, showing how Black swimsuit contestants faced a unique challenge in deflecting the pernicious Jezebel trope by proving their worth through demonstrations of etiquette, grooming, and racial progress. Even male contestants swagger through these pages—including a Mr. Harvard hopeful who competed in see-through tape and rose-petal pasties. 

By Karen W. Tice,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Universities are unlikely venues for grading, branding, and marketing beauty, bodies, poise, and style. Nonetheless, thousands of college women have sought not only college diplomas but campus beauty titles and tiaras throughout the twentieth century. The cultural power of beauty pageants continues today as campus beauty pageants, especially racial and ethnic pageants and pageants for men, have soared in popularity.

In Queens of Academe, Karen W. Tice asks how, and why, does higher education remain in the beauty and body business and with what effects on student bodies and identities. She explores why students compete in and attend pageants such…


Book cover of Raymie Nightingale

Amy Makechnie Author Of Ten Thousand Tries

From my list on with three best friends.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a grown mother now. Also an author. But once upon a time, I was in middle school. I remember the braces, bad hair, being scared to return my lunch tray because boys might look at me while I passed their lunch table. Such angst, and yet I adore middle schoolers - they’re my jam. Fun, funny, exasperating, creative, boisterous, and annoying are all words I’d use to describe the middle school kids I teach and coach. I write down their quotes, shake my head at their antics, and adore their intense friendships. I hope you’ll enjoy these true-to-life middle-grade reads as much as I have!

Amy's book list on with three best friends

Amy Makechnie Why did Amy love this book?

I’ll read anything Kate DeCamillo writes. She is just so good. No matter the heartbreak that Raymie Nightingale faces (her dad’s just recently run off with the dental hygienist), Raymie has a plan. She’s going to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire Competition, her dad will see her picture in the paper, and then surely (maybe?) he’ll come home. Raymie gets through with friends who weren’t always her friends: the “frequently fainting” Louisiana Elefante, and feisty Beverly Tapinski. Together, “the three rancheros” challenge, but ultimately save, one another. Some friendships are not “like at first sight”!

By Kate DiCamillo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Raymie Nightingale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Kate DiCamillo returns to her roots with a moving yet witty story of an unforgettable summer friendship. For fans of Jacqueline Wilson, David Almond and Katherine Rundell.

In her seventh novel, international bestselling author and twice winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal Kate DiCamillo tells a masterful story that blends pathos and humour. Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father - who has run away with a dental hygienist -…


Book cover of Coyote Queen

Polly Farquhar Author Of Lolo Weaver Swims Upstream

From my list on middle-grade books where setting makes the story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love books where the setting is just as big and alive as the characters. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a familiar place or someplace new: if a vivid setting is a key element of the story, I’m in. I think it’s because I grew up in one of those small towns in the beautiful middle of nowhere where if someone asks where you’re from, it’s just easier to say someplace else. I wanted to see the world, and books let me do that. I also wanted validation in reading—and writing—about the small places I knew, and books let me do that, too.  

Polly's book list on middle-grade books where setting makes the story

Polly Farquhar Why did Polly love this book?

I’ve never been to Wyoming, the setting of this book, and if I’ve read a book set in Wyoming, I can’t remember, but I won’t soon forget this story.

The landscape of Wyoming and all its flora and especially its fauna (hello, title!) are deeply ingrained in this moving and unique story where a little bit of magic (weirdness? nature? something wonderful, that’s for sure) adds a soulful twist to a story dealing with harsh realities.

By Jessica Vitalis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Coyote Queen 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?

“Winningly intense.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A powerful novel of tremendous empathy and optimism.” —Gary D. Schmidt, Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist

“Exquisitely written and painfully real.” —Megan E. Freeman, award-winning author of Alone

When a twelve-year-old decides that she must get herself and her mother out of a bad situation, an eerie connection to a coyote pack helps her see who she’s meant to be—and who she can truly save. The Benefits of Being an Octopus meets The Nest in this contemporary middle grade novel about family, class, and resilience, with a magical twist.

Twelve-year-old Fud feels trapped.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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