The best feminism books 📚

Browse the best books on feminism as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Beauvoir in Time

Beauvoir in Time

By Meryl Altman

Why this book?

This recently published excavation of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex is almost as thick as Beauvoir’s massive tract, but don’t let that put you off. The photo of Beauvoir on the cover conveys an insouciant “Yeah, sure” attitude, and Meryl Atman uncannily channels that sentiment into a dazzlingly authoritative and entertaining discussion of why the overwhelming majority of the criticism of Beauvoir’s famous tome happens to be misguided and wrong. The book is about gender, race, sexuality, class, and privilege, but it isn’t a polemic. It is an exercise in critical reading at its most invigorating.

From the list:

The best books that will make you see the world with fresh eyes

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

Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language

By Amanda Montell

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books that put the fun in feminism

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

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

By Carina Chocano

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books that put the fun in feminism

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

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot

By Mikki Kendall

Why this book?

As much as I like to poke fun to express the angst of fighting for equal rights with men, we can’t overlook the fact that so many women aren’t equal to other women. The title of this book refers to the fight for women of color to get basic necessities of access to food and shelter. Kendall combines her own personal struggle for health care with challenges of generations born into “the hood” where the struggle has always been real. In researching A Boob’s Life, I already knew that the suffragettes fought for civil rights long before they got…

From the list:

The best books that put the fun in feminism

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Book cover of The World According to Garp

The World According to Garp

By John Irving

Why this book?

I first read Garp in my early 20s, back when I was single, working at a grocery store in Chicago, pining for the love and companionship of someone I hopefully would one day meet. I reread it last year, now in my early 30s, in love with someone who I now share a home with in New York. Garp is a perfect example of what life, and stories about it, feel like to me—how our time on Earth is spent holding on to things we can only lose. In my 20s, Garp stirred up dreams of domestic artistic bliss but…

From the list:

The best books for building community

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Book cover of Sisters of the Lost Marsh: the atmospheric new story from Waterstones Prize-shortlisted author Lucy Strange

Sisters of the Lost Marsh: the atmospheric new story from Waterstones Prize-shortlisted author Lucy Strange

By Lucy Strange

Why this book?

I absolutely adore Lucy Strange’s books and her latest one, Sisters of the Lost Marsh, is a gloriously Gothic mystery with sisterhood at its centre. The story is about a family of six sisters reigned over by their tyrannical father. When one of the sisters goes missing, 12-year-old Willa decides to take matters into her own hands and uncover what happened. This book is a beautiful blend of mystery, folktale, and feminism and one I simply could not put down. 

From the list:

The best middle grade books with strong female protagonists

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