100 books like Thick

By Tressie McMillan Cottom,

Here are 100 books that Thick fans have personally recommended if you like Thick. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.

Phillip Lopate Author Of To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction

From my list on comic essay collections.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a champion of the essay form for some time, starting with my popular anthology Art of the Personal Essay and extending to my more recent trio of anthologies of the American essay. At the same time I have written four personal essay collections of my own, and I know I am really cooking when I can still laugh or at least smile at my jokes after the fifth or tenth reading of a piece I wrote. I have to admit that I can only appreciate writing (by myself or others) that is amusing or at least ironic, never solemn: to me the truth of existence is comic, like it or not.

Phillip's book list on comic essay collections

Phillip Lopate Why did Phillip love this book?

This author always cracks me up, with her outrageously candid, sometimes bawdy confessions of awkward slips and romantic misalliances. She is so smart and insightful, yet so down to earth, that you just have to love her. I’m also a big fan of her collection Meaty.

By Samantha Irby,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Irby might be our great bard of quarantine.' New York Times

In this painfully funny collection, Samantha Irby captures powerful emotional truths while chronicling the rubbish bin she calls her life. From an ill-fated pilgrimage to Nashville to scatter her estranged father's ashes to awkward sexual encounters to the world's first completely honest job application, and more, sometimes you just have to laugh, even when your life is permanently pear-shaped.

'I cannot remember the last time I was so moved by a book. As close to perfect as an essay collection can get.' Roxane Gay
'Hilarious. I love it.' Candice…


Book cover of The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays

Tracy Dawson Author Of Let Me Be Frank: A Book about Women Who Dressed Like Men to Do Shit They Weren't Supposed to Do

From my list on by funny, feminist, truth-telling women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer, actor, and comedian. I began on the Second City mainstage in Toronto. I was a writer and an actor on the Canadian television series, Call Me Fitz and I won the Gemini Award and the Canadian Screen Award for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for my work opposite Jason Priestley on that show. Let Me Be Frank is my first book and it brings together so much of what I love to write and read: feminism, women, history, underdogs, and humor.

Tracy's book list on by funny, feminist, truth-telling women

Tracy Dawson Why did Tracy love this book?

As cliché as it sounds, I truly did laugh and cry my way through this excellent book of essays by actress and comedian Casey Wilson. Wilson is an excellent storyteller and someone who is just profoundly, naturally funny. But she does not shy away from some heartbreaking and emotionally raw material too, which, quite frankly, is my jam. I did that thing where you get both the book and the audiobook, so when you are walking the dog you can still be reading. I highly recommend following suit because Wilson is such a  delight to listen to. I may have had to pull my car over while listening one day because it was not safe to drive whilst weeping uncontrollably.  

By Casey Wilson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Wreckage of My Presence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Magnificent." -People Magazine

The instant New York Times bestseller: Laugh-out-loud, deeply insightful, and emotion-filled essays from multitalented actress, comedian, podcaster, and writer Casey Wilson.

Casey Wilson has a lot on her mind and she isn't afraid to share. In this dazzling collection, each essay skillfully constructed and brimming with emotion, she shares her thoughts on the joys and vagaries of modern-day womanhood and motherhood, introduces the not-quite-typical family that made her who she is, and persuasively argues that lowbrow pop culture is the perfect lens through which to examine human nature.

Whether she's extolling the virtues of eating in bed,…


Book cover of A Room Of One's Own

Ben Hutchinson Author Of On Purpose: Ten Lessons on the Meaning of Life

From my list on essays to help us think for ourselves.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an essayist, literary critic, and professor of literature, books are what John Milton calls my ‘pretious life-blood.’ As a writer, teacher, and editor, I spend my days trying to make meaning out of reading. This is the idea behind my most recent book, On Purpose: it’s easy to make vague claims about the edifying powers of ‘great writing,’ but what does this actually mean? How can literature help us live? My five recommendations all help us reflect on the power of books to help us think for ourselves, as I hope do my own books, including The Midlife Mind (2020) and Comparative Literature: A Very Short Introduction (2018).

Ben's book list on essays to help us think for ourselves

Ben Hutchinson Why did Ben love this book?

I love this book not just because of its enduring importance - Woolf remains a towering feminist figure - but because of its vivid, imaginative writing.

Based on lectures given to female students at Cambridge, Woolf’s essay argues powerfully for the intellectual independence of women. Such independence, she reasons, must first be materially possible, hence the female writer’s need for that famous "room of one’s own."

To exemplify this, Woolf imagines a certain Judith Shakespeare, the playwright’s equally talented sister: would she not be incapable of achieving the same success as her brother owing to the patriarchal structures of society? In our post-Me Too world a century later, the question remains vital.

By Virginia Woolf,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Room Of One's Own 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?

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are.


Book cover of Delicacy: A memoir about cake and death

Tracy Dawson Author Of Let Me Be Frank: A Book about Women Who Dressed Like Men to Do Shit They Weren't Supposed to Do

From my list on by funny, feminist, truth-telling women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer, actor, and comedian. I began on the Second City mainstage in Toronto. I was a writer and an actor on the Canadian television series, Call Me Fitz and I won the Gemini Award and the Canadian Screen Award for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for my work opposite Jason Priestley on that show. Let Me Be Frank is my first book and it brings together so much of what I love to write and read: feminism, women, history, underdogs, and humor.

Tracy's book list on by funny, feminist, truth-telling women

Tracy Dawson Why did Tracy love this book?

Katy Wix, the brilliant actress and comedian, has written a memoir about “cake and death” in which she delves into womanhood, body image, disordered eating, grief and addiction. Because Wix is a genius comedian, she is able to paint the deeply human,  painfully honest stuff here while also making us laugh. Again, this is the type of work that I gravitate to! Honest, human, darkly humorous…I simply adore truth-tellers. Ones,  like Wix, that make us laugh, make us uncomfortable, make us look at our own “shit”,  but also help us to heal.  

By Katy Wix,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Mesmerising . . . an extraordinary piece of writing.' - The i paper

'A book that has the rare quality of being both poetic and accessible . . . missing Delicacy would be a huge mistake.' - Guardian

'A book that gets wiser, darker, and more brutally truthful every time you turn the page. Word of mouth is slowly turning it into a passionately recommended cult hit. A book you give a friend in trouble.' - Caitlin Moran

'Hilarious . . . heartbreaking.' - The Observer

'A layer cake of truth, pain and wisdom iced with charm. I loved it.'…


Book cover of The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

Kristen R. Ghodsee Author Of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence

From my list on women and socialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an ethnographer, I have been studying the lives of ordinary women in socialist and post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe for over twenty-five years. I have always been fascinated by the differences in women’s life options in the presence or absence of robust social safety nets. As a scholar, I’ve spent decades working in archives and interviewing people across the region, and I have written eight books about the various gendered experiences of everyday life in Eastern Europe. As a professor, I have taught a course called “Sex and Socialism,” almost every year for eighteen years and I am always reading widely in this field to look for new material for my syllabi.

Kristen's book list on women and socialism

Kristen R. Ghodsee Why did Kristen love this book?

Engels provides the canonical theoretical framework for understanding how capitalism uniquely impacts women’s lives and how a more collectivized economy lays the foundation for women’s full emancipation. While many subsequent feminist and socialist scholars have disagreed with this book, The Origin of the Family is a classic that has inspired countless generations of theorists and activists. 

By Friedrich Engels,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State: in the Light of the Researches of Lewis H. Morgan (German: Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigenthums und des Staats) is an 1884 historical materialist treatise by Friedrich Engels. It is partially based on notes by Karl Marx to Lewis H. Morgan's book Ancient Society (1877). The book is an early anthropological work and is regarded as one of the first major works on family economics.

Following the death of his friend and co-thinker Karl Marx in 1883, Friedrich Engels served as his literary executor, actively organizing and preparing for…


Book cover of A Doll's House

Núria Añó Author Of The Salon of Exiled Artists in California

From my list on female anti-heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Núria Añó is a Spanish novelist and biographer. She writes on authors like Elfriede Jelinek, Patricia Highsmith, Salka Viertel, Alexandre Dumas fils, Franz Werfel or Karen Blixen. Her writing centers on the characters’ psychology, often through the use of anti-heroes. The characters stand out most about her work; they are more relevant than the topic itself. With an introspection, a reflection, not sentimental, but feminine, she finds a unique balance between the marginal worlds of parallels. Her novels deal with important social and current themes like injustice or lack of communication between individuals.

Núria's book list on female anti-heroes

Núria Añó Why did Núria love this book?

A controversial play because of its end. Nora Helmer is the main character, a Norwegian married woman, wife of a bank manager, and a mother of three. Her life elapses day after day without opportunities for self-fulfillment in the last decades of the 19th century. I can’t say this female character is a feminist for its time, because she lives in a world full of laws made by men; so, in this sense she is like a doll, a superficial and wasteful person, and she changes slowly from act to act; she feels empty, she contemplates killing herself and at the end of the play Nora leaves her husband and family trying to escape from a stifling male-dominated society. Although this play was not intended written as a feminist, it has a great historical value in this field. If after reading you try to imagine what kind of life…

By Henrik Ibsen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Doll's House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the best-known, most frequently performed of modern plays, A Doll's House richly displays the genius with which Henrik Ibsen pioneered modern, realistic prose drama. In the central character of Nora, Ibsen epitomized the human struggle against the humiliating constraints of social conformity. Nora's ultimate rejection of a smothering marriage and life in "a doll's house" shocked theatergoers of the late 1800s and opened new horizons for playwrights and their audiences.
But daring social themes are only one aspect of Ibsen's power as a dramatist. A Doll's House shows as well his gifts for creating realistic dialogue, a suspenseful…


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…


Book cover of The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America

Amanda Cockrell Author Of Coyote Weather

From my list on the Sixties and the Vietnam War era.

Why am I passionate about this?

Almost all of my books have been historical novels, but this one is the one most dear to me, an attempt to understand the fault line that the Vietnam War laid across American society, leaving almost every man of my generation with scars physical or psychic. My picks are all books that illuminate the multiple upheavals of that time.

Amanda's book list on the Sixties and the Vietnam War era

Amanda Cockrell Why did Amanda love this book?

The societal changes brought by the movements of the sixties had a different effect on women.

The sexual revolution promised freedom but didn’t plan for jealousy or conflicting ideas of “free.” The anti-war movement and even the civil rights movement saw women’s role as making the sandwiches and lettering the placards. 

Rosen chronicles women’s rising fed-up-ness from the 1950s to the unfinished business left at the book’s publication in 2000.

By Ruth Rosen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Newly Revised and Updated Edition

In this enthralling narrative-the first of its kind-historian and journalist Ruth Rosen chronicles the history of the American women's movement from its beginnings in the 1960s to the present. Interweaving the personal with the political, she vividly evokes the events and people who participated in our era's most far-reaching social revolution. Rosen's fresh look at the recent past reveals fascinating but little-known information including how the FBI hired hundreds of women to infiltrate the movement. Using extensive archival research and interviews, Rosen challenges readers to understand the impact of the women's movement and to…


Book cover of Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology

Angela Greenman Author Of The Child Riddler

From my list on women of courage and strength.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and an internationally recognized communications expert who grew up poor, homeless, and oppressed by fear and violence. I am a woman who crashed through the glass ceiling and had an exciting career with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency where I became a leader on the international stage. During my troubled times growing up, I fantasized about being an elite operative who got the bad guys and traveled the world. That’s why I wrote about one. I know how hard it is to be a strong woman. That’s why I celebrate them. 

Angela's book list on women of courage and strength

Angela Greenman Why did Angela love this book?

The diversity in this feminist collection pushed me to open my mind. It didn’t allow me to accept there is only one way to be a feminist. Through the brave unconventionality of the stories, I saw how women see their connection to society, to the world, in different ways. I heard strong voices: creative, brilliant, and courageous ones. One of my favorite stories was L. Timmel Duchamp’s "The Forbidden Words of Margaret A". It kept me gripped and fascinated by what it didn’t say. 

By Ann VanderMeer (editor), Jeff VanderMeer (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sisters of the Revolution gathers a highly curated selection of feminist speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror, and more) chosen by one of the most respected editorial teams in speculative literature today, the award-winning Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. Including stories from the 1970s to the present day, the collection seeks to expand the conversation about feminism while engaging the reader in a wealth of imaginative ideas.


From the literary heft of Angela Carter to the searing power of Octavia Butler, Sisters of the Revolution gathers daring examples of speculative fiction’s engagement with feminism. Dark, satirical stories such as Eileen Gunn’s…


Book cover of Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto

Raina Lipsitz Author Of The Rise of a New Left: How Young Radicals Are Shaping the Future of American Politics

From my list on American politics for open-minded readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been obsessed with politics and social justice since I was a kid, have been writing professionally for over a decade, and have twice interviewed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I wrote The Rise of a New Left because I was covering a new generation of political candidates who were challenging old orthodoxies, and I was curious about the leftward shift in U.S. politics: where it came from, who was driving it, how deep it went, and how durable it might be. I try to convey a broader and more nuanced view of the American left and give young women and people of color the credit they deserve for reinvigorating it.

Raina's book list on American politics for open-minded readers

Raina Lipsitz Why did Raina love this book?

Crispin is funny, acerbic, trenchant, and a little bit mean. Her 2017 polemic takes contemporary feminism to task for what she sees as its feckless devolution from fervent, world-changing force to toothless irrelevancy. It’s a challenging read, especially for anyone who is, like me, a longtime feminist. But Crispin’s voice is fresh and compelling, and whether or not you agree with her entirely, her critique is impossible to ignore.

By Jessa Crispin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why I Am Not A Feminist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Outspoken critic Jessa Crispin delivers a searing rejection of contemporary feminism . . . and a bracing manifesto for revolution.

Are you a feminist? Do you believe women are human beings and that they deserve to be treated as such? That women deserve all the same rights and liberties bestowed upon men? If so, then you are a feminist . . . or so the feminists keep insisting. But somewhere along the way, the movement for female liberation sacrificed meaning for acceptance, and left us with a banal, polite, ineffectual pose that barely challenges the status quo. In this bracing,…


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