100 books like The Second Shift

By Arlie Russell Hochschild, Anne Machung,

Here are 100 books that The Second Shift fans have personally recommended if you like The Second Shift. 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 The Wife

Virginia Pye Author Of The Literary Undoing of Victoria Swann

From my list on a woman writer finding her own voice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love novels that show female characters finding their way in life, and especially women who use writing to help themselves to grow and evolve. Finding my own voice through writing has been my way of staking my claim in the world. It hasn’t always been easy for us to tell our stories, but when we do, we’re made stronger and more complete. The protagonist of my novel The Literary Undoing of Victoria Swann fights hard to tell her own story. I know something about being held back by male-dominated expectations and Victoria’s situation could easily take place today. But when women writers finally find their voices, the works they create are of great value. 

Virginia's book list on a woman writer finding her own voice

Virginia Pye Why did Virginia love this book?

This novel, by Meg Wolitzer, offers such a twist at the end, I’m not sure how to write about it as an example of a woman writer finding her voice without giving too much away.
The Wife is the story of a Noble Prize-winning author, Joe Castelman, and his wife, Joan, who have kept a terrible secret for all the years of their marriage. Because you know the topic of my selections here, you can surmise that Joan is also a writer, though she hides that fact. Her character tells the story, and we only slowly see the facets of their strange and deceptive marriage. It becomes clear that Joan is a very good writer indeed, and she’s tired of keeping her secret.

This clever tale will make you think about what it means to invent a life both on and off the page. And that there’s no stopping a…

By Meg Wolitzer,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE WIFE is the story of the long and stormy marriage between a world-famous novelist, Joe Castleman, and his wife Joan and the secret they've kept for decades. The novel opens just as Joe is about to receive a prestigious international award, The Helsinki Prize, to honour his career as one of America's preeminent novelists of the Mailer-Bellow-Updike school. But this isn't a book for writers; it's a book for readers, for people who are interested in questions such as: Is there a 'male' voice and a 'female' voice? Do men and women see the world differently, and how? THE…


Book cover of The Manningtree Witches

Winnie M. Li Author Of Complicit

From my list on stories to fuel your feminist fire.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an author and activist, I use fiction as a way of exploring social issues which mean a lot to me. As a woman of color, that means writing protagonists who encounter sexism, racism, class, and geographic inequality—but who combat those injustices in inventive and heroic ways. For me, the story is always about being human: trying to understand why a character acts a certain way in a certain situation. After all, aren’t we all trying to pursue our own desires against a backdrop of societal expectations? A good storywhether fiction or non-fictionbrings these conflicts to emotional, vivid life, and roots them in a reality we can all relate to. 

Winnie's book list on stories to fuel your feminist fire

Winnie M. Li Why did Winnie love this book?

Based on the Essex witch hunts during the English Civil War in 1644, this is so much more than a historical novel. The writing is poetic and fierce, the emotions riveting and unexpectedly moving. And our heroine, clever Rebecca West faces the danger of simply being a low-born, impoverished woman when ‘The Witchfinder General’ (a real historical figure) launches a patriarchal inquisition to ‘clean up’ society. How will Rebecca learn to protect both herself and her cantankerous mother in a cruel world hungry to claim marginalized women as scapegoats? Betrayal and heartbreak, solidarity, and mercy are all brought to vivid, unforgettable life in this literary gem.  

By A. K. Blakemore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Manningtree Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Wolf Hall meets The Favourite in this beguiling debut novel that brilliantly brings to life the residents of a small English town in the grip of the seventeenth-century witch trials and the young woman tasked with saving them all from themselves.
 
"This is an intimate portrait of a clever if unworldly heroine who slides from amused observation of the 'moribund carnival atmosphere' in the household of a 'possessed' child to nervous uncertainty about the part in the proceedings played by her adored tutor to utter despair as a wagon carts her off to prison." —Alida Becker, The New York Times…


Book cover of She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement

Leigh Gilmore Author Of The #MeToo Effect: What Happens When We Believe Women

From my list on to understand sexual violence, healing, and justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I marvel at the resilience, tenacity, and optimism with which survivors and their advocates confront sexual violence. As a scholar of life writing, I find the “me too” movement to offer a fascinating case study of how survivors broke through default narratives of women’s unreliability and “he said/she said” to be heard by a massive global audience. By telling their own stories as “we said,” they tapped into a new collective credibility. Each of my recommended books helps us to understand “me too” as a powerful episode in a long struggle for survivor justice.

Leigh's book list on to understand sexual violence, healing, and justice

Leigh Gilmore Why did Leigh love this book?

She Said takes readers behind the headlines of how Kantor and Twohey teamed up to break the Harvey Weinstein story. And what a story it is.

Despite being credibly accused of sexual abuse multiple times, Weinstein always managed to evade accountability. With the help of enablers at Miramax (and beyond), Weinstein preyed on women who worked for him or sought work from him for decades.

Until Kantor and Twohey persuaded several victims to go on the record at the same times and their New York Times front page article started a reckoning. This is a meticulous record of investigative reporting that contains many surprises even for those who believe they know the #MeToo story well.

By Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING CAREY MULLIGAN AND ZOE KAZAN* 'Explosive' Margaret Atwood 'Seismic' Observer 'Brilliant' Nigella Lawson 'Gripping' Jon Ronson A FINANCIAL TIMES, NEW STATESMAN, DAILY TELEGRAPH, METRO AND ELLE BOOK OF THE YEAR On 5 October 2017, the New York Times published an article by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey that helped change the world. Hollywood was talking as never before. Kantor and Twohey outmanoeuvred Harvey Weinstein, his team of defenders and private investigators, convincing some of the most famous women in the world - and some unknown ones - to go on the record.…


Book cover of The Shore

Winnie M. Li Author Of Complicit

From my list on stories to fuel your feminist fire.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an author and activist, I use fiction as a way of exploring social issues which mean a lot to me. As a woman of color, that means writing protagonists who encounter sexism, racism, class, and geographic inequality—but who combat those injustices in inventive and heroic ways. For me, the story is always about being human: trying to understand why a character acts a certain way in a certain situation. After all, aren’t we all trying to pursue our own desires against a backdrop of societal expectations? A good storywhether fiction or non-fictionbrings these conflicts to emotional, vivid life, and roots them in a reality we can all relate to. 

Winnie's book list on stories to fuel your feminist fire

Winnie M. Li Why did Winnie love this book?

I loved this atmospheric debut, often described as a collection of interlinked short stories. Set on an isolated group of islands off the coast of Virginia, the stories span more than two centuries of the same family’s history: from the 19th century and far ahead into a post-apocalyptic, post-pandemic future. There are intimations that a supernatural ‘second sight’ runs in the family and the book’s Southern Gothic vibe is nothing short of intriguing. But for all the hints of magic realism, the focus on female characters contending with obstacles of class and gender at different points in history is rooted in an understandable reality. Beautifully written descriptions of the natural environment, poignant characters, and local color all demonstrate Taylor’s imagination to be visionary and impressive. 

By Sara Taylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An ambitious, Baileys prize-nominated debut set in an unforgettable place, introducing a powerful new voice in fiction

The Shore: a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Virginia. The Shore is clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, and dark magic in the marshes. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it's a place that generations of families both wealthy and destitute have inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a half-Shawnee Indian's bold choice to escape an abusive home only to find herself with a…


Book cover of Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media

Susan Bordo Author Of TV

From my list on popular culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in 1947, in the first wave of the baby boom, and was part of the first generation to grow up immersed in television, movies, and popular music. I have always felt the force of pop culture in my life.  But it was only at a certain point that it became something that I felt I could write about and be taken seriously. Writers like Pauline Kael made it possible for me because they obviously adored popular culture but they neither puffed it up nor dumbed it down. They wrote about it with intelligence, honesty, and curiosity and also as a barometer of where people were at and where society was going. That’s what I’ve aimed at in my own writing, from my books on the male and female body to those on politics and the media to my most recent exploration of the impact of television on our lives.

Susan's book list on popular culture

Susan Bordo Why did Susan love this book?

Where the Girls Are is about a particular generation of women growing up in post War America, and the impact popular media had on their lives, both for good and for bad. It weaves wonderfully smart, often funny, always engagingly written discussions of pop music, movies, and television shows with Douglas’s own experiences at the time. It’s unabashedly feminist—but it isn’t a speech or a political manifesto. It’s an exploration of the push-pull of growing up female at a transitional time, a time in which attitudes toward women were changing, unevenly, and how pop culture reflected the tensions of the times. This book is history, memoir, sociology, media studies, all at once – immensely informative and very entertaining.

By Susan J. Douglas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Media critic Douglas deconstructs the ambiguous messages sent to American women via TV programs, popular music, advertising, and nightly news reporting over the last 40 years, and fathoms their influence on her own life and the lives of her contemporaries. Photos.


Book cover of Light on the Sound

Mike Cooley Author Of Crystal Warrior

From my list on fantasy and science fiction with feminist themes.

Why am I passionate about this?

When writing fantasy and science fiction, I enjoy writing about strong female characters and strong female leads. I also like exploring fundamental questions such as what it means to be human. I grew up reading all the science fiction and fantasy I could get my hands on, and that vast landscape of stories has influenced my writing in many ways. I love to explore the limits of consciousness and darkness. I hope the books on this list inspire you and make you think. They have all influenced me in one way or another and made me a better writer.    

Mike's book list on fantasy and science fiction with feminist themes

Mike Cooley Why did Mike love this book?

Light on the Sound is a fascinating story and was a big inspiration for me. From the teenage, female protagonist who resists her oppression, to the fantastic creatures and imaginative ideas, this story has everything. Somtow writes with a vivid style that works well for the story, and he weaves everything together in unexpected ways.  

By S.P. Somtow, Mikey Jiraros (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Inquestor Series was a classic science fiction series of the 1980s — and has now been reincarnated for the 21st century, with more adventures, more spectacle, and more extras.  Tachyon bubbles, people bins and galactic empires — and profound family conflicts — Greek tragedy writ large.  Light on the Sound, the book that started it all, begins with one lonely planet and three lost souls, and ends with galactic revolution.

For twenty thousand years, the godlike Inquestors have held sway over the one million worlds of the Dispersal of Man.  S.P. Somtow’s limitless imagination has created a universe of…


Book cover of The Chronology of Water: A Memoir

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

From my list on the glorious truth of women’s bodies and their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading almost exclusively memoirs and personal essays for over a decade. The women who generously wrote about their bodies—the bowels, the breasts, the bad sex—lit up the path for me when I was drowning in my own body shame and body confusion. Every year I read at least 50 memoirs, and the ones on this list are the ones I revisit over and over. I also study writing with Lidia Yuknavitch at Corporeal Writing, where I first heard six years ago that “the body has a point of view.” I love this as a writer and a reader. So much of women’s bodies and experiences has been hidden away or unstoried, but those days are coming to a close, and these writers are leading the way.

Christie's book list on the glorious truth of women’s bodies and their lives

Christie Tate Why did Christie love 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.

By Lidia Yuknavitch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Chronology of Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the debris of her troubled early life, Lidia Yuknavitch weaves an astonishing tale of survival. A kind of memoir that is also a paean to the pursuit of beauty, self-expression, desire - for men and women - and the exhilaration of swimming, The Chronology of Water lays a life bare.

It is a life that navigates, and transcends, abuse, addiction, self-destruction and the crushing loss of a stillborn child. It is the life of a misfit, one that forges a fierce and untrodden path to creativity and comes together in the shape of love.


Book cover of The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror

Yvesdot Author Of Something's Not Right

From my list on LGBT-friendly SFF you absolutely should read.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took me far too long to realize that I, childhood absorber of all things fantastical, counted as an SFF fan; all the books I saw listed as “popular” or “classic” SFF were cis/het white dude parties. But SFF at its best uses the fantastical as metaphor for the mundane; imagines better (or worse) worlds; does something different, in screaming color! Who can do that better than the books lost on the fringes? To that end, I’ve organized this list based on rough reverse popularity, so if you don’t find something new by the beginning, you’ll almost certainly get it by the end. Happy reading!

Yvesdot's book list on LGBT-friendly SFF you absolutely should read

Yvesdot Why did Yvesdot love this book?

The Merry Spinster falls into my big bucket of fairytale retelling faves, but it hardly sticks to tradition: rather than simply following old plots, Lavery draws on the tone and style of classic fairy tales to create a gender-warped world where daughters use he/him pronouns and mermaids are sort of, but distinctly not, girls. Even better, the playful attitude towards gender now seems to foreshadow Lavery’s own coming out and transition, both occurring after he published this book—something that fills me with a special kind of trans-author love. Reading this for the first time, I had the sensation of slipping pleasantly into an utter dreamworld of gender/sexuality beauty, like a warm bath: I recommend you fall in, too.

By Daniel M. Lavery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Merry Spinster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales"--Front flap.


Book cover of Meet Me at Infinity

Mike Cooley Author Of Crystal Warrior

From my list on fantasy and science fiction with feminist themes.

Why am I passionate about this?

When writing fantasy and science fiction, I enjoy writing about strong female characters and strong female leads. I also like exploring fundamental questions such as what it means to be human. I grew up reading all the science fiction and fantasy I could get my hands on, and that vast landscape of stories has influenced my writing in many ways. I love to explore the limits of consciousness and darkness. I hope the books on this list inspire you and make you think. They have all influenced me in one way or another and made me a better writer.    

Mike's book list on fantasy and science fiction with feminist themes

Mike Cooley Why did Mike love this book?

James Tiptree Jr. is really Alice Sheldon. She wrote under a male pseudonym for many years due to the male domination of science fiction at the time. Meet Me at Infinity is a great introduction to her work, as it contains both fiction and biographical pieces. She’s a tremendous writer who I found to be very inspiring. Her ability to craft impactful stories with strong female characters is amazing. The Tiptree Award is named after her. 

By James Tiptree,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meet Me at Infinity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of the writings of Alice B. Sheldon (1915-1987) who produced science fiction under the name of James Tiptree Jr. It includes an early story published under her own name in the New Yorker and many of her colourful non-fiction pieces.


Book cover of The Museum of Lost Love

Michael Kaufman Author Of The Time Has Come: Why Men Must Join the Gender Equality Revolution

From my list on the lives of men in the era of feminism.

Why am I passionate about this?

My work over the past four decades has been to promote women’s rights, end violence against women, promote social justice, and positively transform the lives of men. I’ve worked extensively with the United Nations; presidents, prime ministers, and governments; companies and unions; NGOs and educators in fifty countries. I continue to be inspired by the many incredible people I get to meet. In addition to my talks to communities, companies, and universities, my activism, and my books on this subject, I also write fiction, most recently my mystery The Last Exit.  

Michael's book list on the lives of men in the era of feminism

Michael Kaufman Why did Michael love this book?

Turning to a novel, here’s a story of a man who visits this fictional museum and sees the mementos and reads the letters of lost love. Far too many are to or by men who have caused others harm. This is not a grim story. It’s about the space that opens up for men to find a truer path to their hearts.

By Gary Barker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Museum of Lost Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tyler is in therapy. Katia and Goran are in love. On a summer trip to Zagreb, the couple discover an unusual museum that displays mementos of broken relationships. Inside, Goran stumbles upon an exhibit that seems to be addressed to him, from a girl he met in a Sarajevo refugee camp at age fourteen. What follows is a whirlwind summer of reconnecting with lost pasts: Goran confronts the youth he lost during the Yugoslav Wars, Katia heads to Brazil to find her roots, and Afghanistan veteran Tyler pours out his soul. Set against alternating backdrops of violent circumstances, this novel…


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