160 books directly related to feminism 📚

All 160 feminism books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Beauvoir in Time

By Meryl Altman,

Book cover of Beauvoir in Time

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.


Feminism for the Americas: The Making of an International Human Rights Movement

By Katherine M. Marino,

Book cover of Feminism for the Americas: The Making of an International Human Rights Movement

Why this book?

When global diplomats formed the League of Nations in 1919, feminists were forced to lobby for women’s rights from outside the halls of power. As a small measure of progress, after World War II six states would appoint women to the 1945 conference charged with drafting a charter to govern the League’s successor: the United Nations. Half of the female delegates were appointed by Latin American nations, and together, the three feministas would lobby tirelessly to ensure that the UN Charter bound the body to promote human rights “without distinction as to race, language, religion, or sex.” Marino’s fabulous book explains why, in the 1920s and 1930s, Latin American feminists came to play such an outsized role in the global quest for sexual equality and human rights.


Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay

By Shanna Greene Benjamin,

Book cover of Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay

Why this book?

Benjamin’s Half in Shadow is an excellent exploration of the life of Nellie Y. McKay (1930-2006), a pioneering scholar of black women’s literature. Fearing it could damage her career in the academy, McKay declined to be caricatured as an older, divorced, black single mother of two children. So, she hid this from all her academic colleagues and friends, including her closest ones. The driving force of Benjamin’s book is trying to make sense of the private life and professional motivations of McKay’s choice to live her life “half in shadow.” Benjamin suggests that black women in the academy face similar pressures to achieve in and conform to predominantly white spaces in ways that do not easily allow them to bring their entire selves into the light.


The World According to Garp

By John Irving,

Book cover of The World According to Garp

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 now, finally with someone to lose, Garp feels like a flashing sign to keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times, as our shared roller coaster dips into the dark ahead of us.


Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times

By Elizabeth Wayland Barber,

Book cover of Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times

Why this book?

Women’s Work is considered a seminal text in the study of fashion - whether that’s costume history, the culture of fashion, the history of textiles, or even the intersection of labor and feminism. If you’re interested in the study of garments, in learning why thread and cloth and sewing were so important in the past as well as why it continues to be important today, there is no better place to get started. This book has been popular for decades for a reason. Women’s Work helps to restructure and reorient your thinking around what we wear, a necessary component to understanding fashion.


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

By Lucy Strange,

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


Interrogating Antigone in Postmodern Philosophy and Criticism

By S.E. Wilmer (editor), Audrone Zukauskaite (editor),

Book cover of Interrogating Antigone in Postmodern Philosophy and Criticism

Why this book?

This excellent collection of essays brings some of the key readings of Sophocles’ Antigone in an ethical and feminist key. It includes, among others, interpretations by Tina Chanter, Luce Irigaray, and Bracha L. Ettinger. In the fascinating lineup of chapters, the book guides us through political, psychoanalytical, and sexual genealogies and classical interpretations of this Greek myth, thus providing the authoritative scholarship on a female figure of Antigone.  


How to Raise a Boy: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men

By Michael C. Reichert,

Book cover of How to Raise a Boy: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men

Why this book?

We all need more than buzz phrases and simplistic solutions. Parents, teachers, and coaches need a clear analysis of the harms we currently do boys. Michael Reichert draws both on his experience as a therapist and a teacher to give us tools to raise more self-aware, caring, and compassionate men.


For the Love of Men: From Toxic to a More Mindful Masculinity

By Liz Plank,

Book cover of For the Love of Men: From Toxic to a More Mindful Masculinity

Why this book?

I always get pissed off when I hear some guy ranting that feminists are anti-male. In fact, I think feminists are the most pro-male humans on the planet: in spite of 8,000 years to prove the contrary, they believe that men can be peaceful and loving, and can be equal and equitable partners with women. Liz Plank is one such woman. Her book shows exactly that.


The Museum of Lost Love

By Gary Barker,

Book cover of The Museum of Lost Love

Why 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.


The Bridge

By J.S. Breukelaar,

Book cover of The Bridge

Why this book?

The Bridge is a terrific and terrifying novella about womanhood, the patriarchate, technology, identity, and, ultimately, freedom. Its theme appeals to me as I have always been an ally of the women’s cause and JS Breukelaar does a great job describing a disturbing future if we are not more careful and respectful. What’s more, it is a great story, which embarks the reader in a dark and fascinating labyrinth. Both nightmarish and poetic, with references to ancient mythologies, The Bridge offers a unique reading experience. Although it’s very different stylistically from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I nonetheless consider it to be a top-class feminist speculative fiction classic.


A Room Of One's Own

By Virginia Woolf,

Book cover of A Room Of One's Own

Why this book?

When re-reading A Room Of One’s Own a couple of years ago, I was reminded of how funny Woolf is. Room is an extended essay of sorts and it is based on a series of lectures  Woolf gave to female students at Cambridge University in 1928. I cannot overstate how much I recommend reading this work. It is slight in size but mighty in its power to inspire, revitalize, and stimulate! It is also biting and laugh-out-loud funny at times and this is simply heaven to me: feminism, phenomenal writing, pointed wit? Yes, please!  Does this text hold up? You bet your arse it does. Please do yourself a favor and read this. Go, do it now!  


Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World

By Kumari Jayawardena,

Book cover of Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World

Why this book?

Sri Lankan historian Kumari Jayawardena’s book Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World, published in 1986, is the canonical work that continues to inform and inspire much of the contemporary scholarship on feminism in the Global South. Her preface lays bare the political stakes of this historical project: “Those who want to continue to keep the women of our countries in a position of subordination,” she explains, “find it convenient to dismiss feminism as a foreign ideology... It should, therefore, be stressed that feminism… has no particular ethnic identity.” For those seeking to reclaim the indigenous origins of feminism outside Europe and North America, this book remains the fundamental starting point.


Here She Is: The Complicated Reign of the Beauty Pageant in America

By Hilary Levey Friedman,

Book cover of Here She Is: The Complicated Reign of the Beauty Pageant in America

Why this book?

I’ve been watching the Miss America pageant since elementary school, when I wore a tin foil crown, a towel pinned as a cap, and stuffed my swimsuit with tennis balls for boobs. So learning the history – how suffragettes used beauty pageants as a way to get attention – was fascinating. Friedman is a sociology professor whose mom was Miss America 1970, so there is no greater expert. We get both sides here: the sparkly benefits plus a dive into the body-shaming and bulimia of the 80s when they printed measurements in the program. A Boob’s Life, covers the history of breast implants in the contest, so I quote her as a source. But I would have read it just for fun.


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

By Carina Chocano,

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

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 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.


My Life on the Road

By Gloria Steinem,

Book cover of My Life on the Road

Why this book?

I am recommending this as the most personal of Steinem’s books. No list of books on the history of women’s rights would be complete without something about and by the most courageous, most consistent spokeswoman for feminism over the last half-century. Here Steinem tells the tale of her family, focused – surprisingly – on her eclectic and wandering father. The reader will be left with even great appreciation for Steinem and for the many and various routes women take to find their way to feminism and their full, true selves.

Groundswell: Grassroots Feminist Activism in Postwar America

By Stephanie Gilmore,

Book cover of Groundswell: Grassroots Feminist Activism in Postwar America

Why this book?

By looking at three local NOW chapters around the country, Gilmore shows that the leading organization of 1960s feminism wasn’t nearly as centralized as people think. Memphis NOW, for example, was a radical feminist group simply by being a feminist group in the South. San Francisco NOW, by contrast, made coalitions with many more radical groups as they worked together to make change. A great read and an important insight into how NOW actually worked as an organization.


They Didn't See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties

By Lisa Levenstein,

Book cover of They Didn't See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties

Why this book?

Levenstein’s subtitle says it all: we generally don’t think there was a ‘90s feminism. Her book pairs especially well with the others on this list, because it demonstrates how women of color took the lead in an intersectional feminism that focused on a huge range of issues at the end of the 20th century. It’s also a great read about the role of the early internet in 1990s feminist organizing. If you think social media was the first time computer technology shaped grassroots activism, her chapter on technology alone will blow your mind.


The Left Hand of Darkness

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of The Left Hand of Darkness

Why this book?

This story is a masterclass in worldbuilding, it has an intricate plot, it’s science fiction that also talks about hate and fear and the differences in culture, and oh yeah, it features a whole entire gender-fluid species. The book is both about gender and not about gender, and the main character of Genly goes through a period of self-reflection and realizing his shortcomings. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s Ursula K. Le Guin, what more do I need to say?


Feminism's Forgotten Fight: The Unfinished Struggle for Work and Family

By Kirsten Swinth,

Book cover of Feminism's Forgotten Fight: The Unfinished Struggle for Work and Family

Why this book?

Kirsten Swinth’s fantastic new book argues that our understanding of feminism as asking women to have it all is deeply misunderstood. The second wave did want women to be able to balance their lives as homemakers and workers, but not by having a double shift. Instead, they wanted women’s household burden to be shared—by their husbands, by employers, by the government, and by society as a whole. Swinth shows how feminists tried to deploy the philosophy that “the personal is political” against the problem of laundry and other household tasks. Wives’ strategies ranged from household labor strikes (Don’t Iron While the Strike Is Hot! was the motto of the Women’s Strike for Equality) to drawing up their own individual marriage contracts. These homespun contracts delineated a fairer division of household labor between husbands and wives. Swinth shows that despite these measures and some legal successes, women nonetheless mostly retained their disproportionate household burdens.


A Door Into Ocean

By Joan Slonczewski,

Book cover of A Door Into Ocean

Why this book?

Microbiologist professor Joan Slonczewski loved Dune (as do I), so she decided to create a living world with no dry land (which would work) instead of a living world without free water (which, sadly, wouldn’t...). Shora, colonised by an all-female human society, and maintained in continual creation (but untamed) by Shoran microbiologists, is dangerous, beautiful—and threatened by the Evil Empire of Profit. Gripping, harrowing take on how to win a war, save the world, and utterly renounce violence all at the same time.


Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life

By bell hooks,

Book cover of Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life

Why this book?

What bell hooks has shown me about the possibility of personal narrative and memoir writing is endless because she consistently shows that your story is never-ending. But mostly bell hooks likes to hurt me on purpose. This is my favorite memoir by her because it centers on two of my favorite topics: words and whirlwind romance that refuses to interfere with the words at stake, and I knew this book would be one I would return to in order to figure out my own priorities once I read, “I’m willing to give up everything I love if it means I won’t be crazy.”


Sisters in Spirit

By Sally Roesch Wagner, John Fadden (illustrator),

Book cover of Sisters in Spirit

Why this book?

This provocative book examines the role and status of women in the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy and how 19th-century white feminists used them as role models in beginning their own fight for rights, including suffrage. It’s a quick read and kind of a life-changing one, really, especially if (like me) you’re completely ignorant of Native history and its relation to US history.  

Among other things, Haudenosaunee women had the right to choose and advise tribal leaders, and had far more control over their persons and their children than Euro-American women did. Wagner argues that close relationships with the Haudenosaunee influenced people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage leading up to the famous Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.


Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

By Julia Serano,

Book cover of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

Why this book?

Every list should have a classic, and Whipping Girl is a classic in spades. Written for a mainstream audience in 2007, but still vibrantly relevant to today’s trans lives, it brought the terms ‘cissexual’ and ‘cisgender’ into the mainstream, and introduced crucial concepts, such as ‘cissexual privilege’ and ‘trans misogyny’. Julia does brilliantly the difficult balancing act required to make complex ideas easily accessible to a general readership and covers a wide spectrum of debate. It’s a tour de force, and a favourite of mine when thinking or teaching about LGBT social justice. 


Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine: Creativity, Ecstasy, and Healing

By Maria Papaspyrou (editor), Chiara Baldini (editor), David Luke (editor)

Book cover of Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine: Creativity, Ecstasy, and Healing

Why this book?

Psychedelic literature is unquestionably dominated by the white, male author. If, like me, you yearn to hear other voices and other perspectives, then this collection of essays couldn’t be more timely. The twenty-three chapters, from academic and non-academic authors, cover a range of perspectives, and while you may not agree with all of them, they’re refreshing nonetheless. It’s hard to single out any particular essay, but it’s always a pleasure to read Kathleen Harrison. Harrison, who was once married to Terence McKenna, spent years living with the Mazatec people, and treats us to her animistic vision of the world as something that’s alive and communicative. But the whole book contains riches and paves the way to a more diverse psychedelic literature.


My Brilliant Career

By Miles Franklin,

Book cover of My Brilliant Career

Why this book?

Every Australian bookish girl knows Sybylla from My Brilliant Career. She is the original feisty heroine, the unashamed young feminist who rejects the isolation and low expectations of the bush and marriage at the turn of the twentieth century, wanting to strike out on her own as a writer. That her yearnings are so irrelevant to those around her and her ambitions unfulfilled act as a dare to all of us, and to me – to have that brilliant career, to tell your truths and have your independence, whether anyone else likes it or not. Equally as vivid, witty, and socially acute as Twain, if you read only one old and dusty novel about Australia, read this one.


The Female Man

By Joanna Russ,

Book cover of The Female Man

Why this book?

The Female Man gives the reader a slice of the 1970s up close and personal from the perspective of young women who don’t fit it, who don’t want to be used as an object, who both come from and see into a different way of life. A challenging read, but as one of my students said when you get finished, you have so much to talk about you could talk for days. Russ, too, is somewhat overlooked today, which is a shame because she was brilliant, funny, and angry, really, really angry and somehow, I appreciate the depth of that anger—and share it. Joanna was also a dedicated teacher/scholar and her book How to Suppress Women’s Writing still hits the nail on the head.


The Light Princess

By George MacDonald,

Book cover of The Light Princess

Why this book?

The 19th-century Scottish writer George MacDonald is said to be the father of the modern fairy tale, inspiring C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and many others. I chose The Light Princess because I find it his most charming tale: it's about a princess under a wicked spell who has been made weightless, unable to obey the laws of gravity. As in all good fairy tales, a prince eventually comes along to drag her back down to earth. He must sacrifice himself for her, but in the end, it is she who rescues him – from a feminist perspective, a most gratifying conclusion.

Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism

By Camille Paglia,

Book cover of Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism

Why this book?

Professor Paglia’s books are a tad academic for most people’s taste, but I find it important to feature her here. In this book, she stirs up important questions around gender and sex. It seems that we are steadily moving towards a growing acceptance of diversity to the point in which androgyny is even becoming a desirable trait. Being genderfluid myself, I’ve sometimes asked myself these questions daily. In order to have more spiritual sex, it’s important that we accept and acknowledge our desires, and I’m all for supporting the full expression of feminine and masculine in both women and men. On top of this, Paglia is a real provocateur, which I like and can relate to. Truly one of the bright minds of our time.


Feminist Biblical Interpretation: A Compendium of Critical Commentary on the Books of the Bible and Related Literature

By Luise Schottroff, Martin Rumscheidt (illustrator),

Book cover of Feminist Biblical Interpretation: A Compendium of Critical Commentary on the Books of the Bible and Related Literature

Why this book?

I'm recommending this book because just—wow. Almost a thousand pages of articles that are feminist in their biblical interpretation. Pity this didn't exist in the late 1980s when I wrote my own book. (It was published in 2012.) (Actually, better that it didn't exist back then—I might not have seen the need for my own modest contribution to the field!)


The Woman Destroyed

By Beauvoir Simone De,

Book cover of The Woman Destroyed

Why this book?

Abandonment and the end of love terrify me. In The Woman Destroyed, the happy diary of a fifty-year-old woman turns into a descent into hell when Beauvoir's narrator finds out that her husband is having an affair and is actually leaving her. Beauvoir wrote it in order to send a feminist message to women in the fifties, to convince them to get a job and define their identity outside their family life. I wonder, however, whether the intensity of the grief we feel in that novella wasn't experienced by Beauvoir herself the summer when her American lover, the novelist Nelson Algren, broke up their transcontinental passion of four years. 


Not Here to Be Liked

By Michelle Quach,

Book cover of Not Here to Be Liked

Why this book?

Eliza is passed over for editor-in-chief of her school paper in favor of a less experienced boy... then her private manifesto against the injustice is leaked, and the resulting school conflict becomes about more positions than just hers. It’s a layered, thoroughly feminist look into the complexities of ambition, against the broader backdrop of Asian diaspora communities. 


Does My Body Offend You?

By Mayra Cuevas, Marie Marquardt,

Book cover of Does My Body Offend You?

Why this book?

This is a YA novel told from the perspectives of two very different strong women. It’s part coming-of-age, part coming-of-action as they learn the best ways to affect change in their communities and how to voice their frustrations with the patriarchy. And we loved how it dealt with these issues in a nuanced and complex way that didn’t offer easy answers.

Thick: And Other Essays

By Tressie McMillan Cottom,

Book cover of Thick: And Other Essays

Why this book?

A National Book Award finalist, Tressie McMillan Cottom’s Thick is a brilliantly written compendium of essays that should be read by everyone. This awe-inspiring collection tackles beauty standards, media, capitalism, and white supremacy all with a fierce wit and through a Black feminist lens. You will count yourself lucky to read these essays by one of the most important thinkers of our time. Cottom is wildly sharp and funny. She is an academic and profound but this book is accessible and readable. If you are like me you will want to read this twice.  


Struggling With the Current

By A.R.K. Horton,

Book cover of Struggling With the Current

Why this book?

This book is straight-up Fantasy, so it’s notable in my list because I read so little trad fantasy these days. But don’t be fooled, this book is not what you expect. Every trope of fantasy gets turned on its head, kicked over, rearranged, and then the characters just straight up do something other than what you expected. There are no hunky but boring heroes. There are no damsels in distress. Even the Gods in this world are… well that would be spoilers. Super well told gripping fantasy trilogy that you won’t regret picking up. Except you won’t be able to put it down.

Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt

By Margot Badran,

Book cover of Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt

Why this book?

Readers of my book frequently tell me how surprised they are by Chapter 3, which tells the story of the fearless Egyptian women who took to the streets in 1919 to demand an end to British colonial rule and the establishment of a democratic state. To those readers interested in learning more about Egypt’s female revolutionaries, I happily point to Margot Badran’s pathbreaking scholarship and, in particular, to this book, which explains why feminism and nationalism ran hand-in-hand for so many Egyptian women in the early twentieth century.


The Beauty

By Aliya Whiteley,

Book cover of The Beauty

Why this book?

Aliya Whiteley is one of my all-time favourite writers. I could’ve easily included a few of her books on my list!

The Beauty imagines a future world where the women are all gone, and the last men are eking out a survivalist existence. While the main protagonist is a man, the return of ‘the beauty’ shines a light on female power and importance. This gut-wrenching tale sits somewhere between body horror and ancient fable—a place where your skin crawls and your mind can’t stop thinking about what you’d just read.


A Doll's House

By Henrik Ibsen,

Book cover of A Doll's House

Why 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 she could have out of the dollhouse, then you can read Elfriede Jelinek’s play Was geschah, nachdem Nora ihren Mann verlassen hatte oder Stützen der Gesellschaften (What Happened After Nora Left Her Husband or Pillars of Society) to check if in 1984 a woman with ambitions in a capitalist background has significant changes.


In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose

By Alice Walker,

Book cover of In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose

Why this book?

This anthology of some of Walker’s most powerful works with a focus on discovering ourselves through studying those who came before us is both incredibly informative and emotional. It explores motherhood not only through the biological role but also in a sense of community mothering and foremothers. There is much to learn about our present by examining lessons laid out for us by generations past.


Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

By Audre Lorde,

Book cover of Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Why this book?

Classic essays on Black women, Caribbean resistance, language, anger, and the combinations of race, class, gender, sexuality. These essays are now fundamental as we think through issues of sexual difference, the ways that poetry and the creative are accessible once we open ourselves to experience and express our deep feelings, and how it re-names the erotic as a place for women that is not wholly sexual but is orgasmic if we are able to reach that zone of creativity.


If Women Counted: A New Feminist Economics

By Marilyn Waring,

Book cover of If Women Counted: A New Feminist Economics

Why this book?

A great—and very readable--explanation of how unpaid work, including care for dependents, has been rendered economically invisible. You may consider the “national income accounts” a hopelessly boring topic. This book will change your mind, and economists today are actually paying attention to it. Sooner rather than later the very concept of “income” is going to be redefined.


Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics

By Marianne A. Ferber, Julie A. Nelson,

Book cover of Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics

Why this book?

This classic anthology reveals “rational economic man” as a naked and misshapen emperor pretending to be grandly dressed. While unpacking the androcentric (and plain old sexist) assumptions of conventional economic theory, it also provides rich examples of new ways of explaining the links between gender, care, and inequality.


Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind

By Mary Field Belenky, Blythe McVicker Clinchy, Nancy Rule Goldberger, Jill Mattuck Tarule

Book cover of Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind

Why this book?

This book was part of my women’s studies in nurse-midwifery school at the University of Florida. It affirmed what I already knew on a soul level about how women’s senses hold unique sub-strata. We “know” but have been unable to define the “why” over the centuries.  As an empath, this book resonated with me and helped me understand how my gift brought to the bedside when caring for women at the most primal moments of their lives, was innate. It taught me how to trust my instincts.


Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language

By Amanda Montell,

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

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 nothing to do with dogs? And why are some words considered feminine and others, male? Read this book to find out. 


The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

By Friedrich Engels,

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

Why 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. 


Women in American Music Women's Studies Kresge College University of California

By Nancy Flixson,

Book cover of Women in American Music Women's Studies Kresge College University of California

Why this book?

Possibly the best and rarest of all publications about the start of the women’s music movement, this volume was prepared by the students at the University of California at Santa Cruz to serve as a textbook (and record of their experiences) for the first-ever course on feminism and music. Still available to good sleuths who find used copies floating around, the title page is Women in American Music. Women’s Studies, Kresge College, University of California, Santa Cruz, Spring 1975.

The idea for the class was initiated by Karlene Faith, who went on to be an influential producer and distributor; the book she helped edit includes interviews with early Olivia artists who were guest speakers and performers in the class. Before her untimely death, she too was working on a history of Olivia Records.


The Feminist Promise: 1792 to the Present

By Christine Stansell,

Book cover of The Feminist Promise: 1792 to the Present

Why this book?

I am recommending this book because it is a beautifully written, originally argued overview of women’s rights long history. Stansell organizes her compelling history of women’s rights around the shift from mothers’ perspectives (nineteenth-century feminism) to daughters’ perspectives (twentieth century). She writes beautifully and sweeps over this long tradition without minimizing the disagreements, shifts, and changes, all the while emphasizing the consistent theme of women’s individual freedom and collective struggle.

The Big Letdown

By Kimberly Seals Allers,

Book cover of The Big Letdown

Why this book?

Kimberly writes from personal experience and from the heart. She pulls no punches. Her book covers a lot of the obstacles you’d expect – societal attitudes to breastfeeding, the formula industry, and so on – but it’s her chapter on ‘the feminist fallacy’ that really spoke to me. I’ve always been baffled by the lack of support that feminist writers have shown for breastfeeding. They talk about it as a chore, as a restriction on women’s freedom, not as something amazing that a woman’s body can do. Kimberly challenges this thinking head on, fearlessly exposing the flawed thinking that has, in the name of equality, blindly followed an agenda set by men, with the result that motherhood is devalued and breastfeeding is framed as simply an issue of ‘choice’. Her conviction provides me with the hope that we can reverse this. Brilliant.

From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies

By Molly Haskell,

Book cover of From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies

Why this book?

Molly Haskell, like Thomson, is one of my idols. Her pioneering feminist account of how Hollywood depicted women from its golden age to the late twentieth century is also a monument to its supreme women actors, including Stanwyck and Davis, Hepburn and Bergman, and Monroe. Haskell is an expert at understanding how art shapes and responds to its era, and how film actors refine their roles.

Gender on Ice, Volume 10: American Ideologies of Polar Expeditions

By Lisa Bloom,

Book cover of Gender on Ice, Volume 10: American Ideologies of Polar Expeditions

Why this book?

This slim but explosively dramatic book makes everything you were ever told about the history of polar exploration seem like nothing more than random trivia. Lisa Bloom takes those stories you think you know and offers up the hidden realities of them in ways that explain the race, gender, and sexual politics of not just polar exploration but the idea of “modernity” itself as a crutch for justifying the “penetration” of people and spaces existing at the “ends of the earth.”

The Spectacular Modern Woman: Feminine Visibility in the 1920s

By Liz Conor,

Book cover of The Spectacular Modern Woman: Feminine Visibility in the 1920s

Why this book?

This might be my favorite history book, period. Conor explains how “modern womanhood” in Australia came into being and was marked by the successful managing of one’s (sexualized and objectified) public appearance, including the way “primitive woman” (aboriginal or black) was constructed as a colonialist foil for the modern (white) Australian woman—whether she was a “screen-struck” movie fan, beauty contestant, or flapper. This book makes clear how women, as the principal focus of a newly visual mass media, came to define their “liberation” in sexual as well as racial and nationalist terms.

Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement

By Cathleen D. Cahill,

Book cover of Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement

Why this book?

Recasting the Vote retells the familiar story of the movement for women’s suffrage with a new cast of characters and an expanded set of goals. Focusing on Indigenous, African American, Hispanic, and Asian American activists, Cathleen Cahill places the fight for women’s voting rights within the context of BIPOC communities’ struggles for self-determination. For these women, the battle for women’s suffrage was connected to protests against lynching and segregation and demands for tribal self-government and freedom of religion, among other issues. By highlighting the work of Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (Zitkala-Sa), Laura Cornelius Kellogg, Carrie Williams Clifford, Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, and Adelina Nina Luna Otero-Warren, Recasting the Vote demonstrates that the fight for the Nineteenth Amendment was neither the beginning nor the end of women of color’s struggle for equal citizenship.


Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces

By Davina Cooper,

Book cover of Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces

Why this book?

The word, utopia, derives from the Greek terms ou “not” + topos “place”---“no place.” Yet, the idea of a perfect “place” or society is one that has captured the imagination of artists, writers, politicians, and governments for centuries. I really love the concept of “everyday utopias” because it focuses on small, local spaces of joy and pleasure that people create for themselves outside and beyond the boundaries of social norms and expectations. Inherent in the term “utopia” is the impossibility of the idea and yet, readers witness thriving communities that show the possibilities of alternative systems of governance, self-sufficiency, civility, and citizenship, as well as well-being and pleasure.

Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-1980

By Kimberly Springer,

Book cover of Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-1980

Why this book?

Springer’s book was one of the first to outline the multiple Black women’s feminist organizations that developed in the late 1960s and 1970s. Situating now fairly well-known groups like the Combahee River Collective alongside lesser-known organizations like the Third World Women’s Alliance, Springer’s brief book is a fabulous primer to Black women’s feminism in an era when many people still think such a thing didn’t exist.


Chicana Power!: Contested Histories of Feminism in the Chicano Movement

By Maylei Blackwell,

Book cover of Chicana Power!: Contested Histories of Feminism in the Chicano Movement

Why this book?

Blackwell’s book is very different from Springer’s, and that difference is my favorite part. Instead of giving an overview of several Chicana feminist groups, as Springer does with Black feminists, Blackwell dives deep into one major ones, Las Hijas, in Los Angeles. Oral history is a major source for Blackwell, and the way she includes some of her major characters not only talking about their historical actions but reflecting on them several decades later makes this a great read.


To Exist is to Resist: Black Feminism in Europe

By Akwugo Emejulu (editor), Francesca Sobande (editor),

Book cover of To Exist is to Resist: Black Feminism in Europe

Why this book?

While the Black freedom struggle is often approached through the activism of Black males, the history of the struggle in Europe—like in the United States and elsewhere in the world—owes much to Black women, Black female scholar-activists, and Black feminist and Queer networks. Yet they remain woefully underrepresented in scholarship and collective memory.

I, therefore, chose this edited volume, because it uniquely presents the stories, intersectional experiences, and visions of contemporary Black female activists, artists, and scholars from across the continent. This not only uncovers the significant intellectual, political, social, and cultural contributions of Black women, but also expands definitions of (political) activism to include, among others, motherhood and the home.


The Yellow Wallpaper

By Charlotte Perkins Gilman,

Book cover of The Yellow Wallpaper

Why this book?

I fell in love with The Yellow Wallpaper in high school. It is one of the earliest, if not only, stories we were reading about a woman’s mental health. The protagonist is depressed but is not taken seriously by her husband. He locks her away and ridicules her worries. She goes mad and becomes part of the wallpaper that first disturbed her. 

What first caught my attention is that she is not allowed any mental stimulation including reading and writing. It speaks to society’s expectations of women – they should be content with being wives and mothers, and nothing more.


The Women's Room

By Marilyn French,

Book cover of The Women's Room

Why this book?

I read this book over thirty years ago and despite not returning to it, count it as having a significant impact on my work. It is an emotionally charged and powerful book, and I remember being incredibly angry, and sad, and passionate for change. It introduced me to feminism and feminist literature. It shone the light on the need to hear women’s voices in the public realm.


The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays

By Casey Wilson,

Book cover of The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays

Why 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.  


Women of Ideas: And What Men Have Done to Them

By Dale Spender,

Book cover of Women of Ideas: And What Men Have Done to Them

Why this book?

Feminist theorist Dale Spender wrote, in Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them, “We need to know how women disappear….”  Although she spoke of women who disappear from the historical record, all too many women seem to disappear from any sort of public life as soon as they leave high school: so many shine there, but once they graduate, they become invisible. What happens?  

Marriage and kids is an inadequate answer because married-with-kids straight-A boys are visible.  Everywhere. Even the straight-B boys are out there. So what happens?

This is what happens.


The Madman's Daughter

By Megan Shepherd,

Book cover of The Madman's Daughter

Why this book?

This atmospheric novel, a retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau, is a perfect blend of gothic romance and haunting mystery. It’s beautifully written, well-paced, and filled with unexpected twists. I love the feminist theme presented through the main character, Juliet, who is independent despite the hardships she endures, is not dissuaded from pursuing her passion for science even though it wasn’t proper for a woman to do so at the time. There is also an underlying theme throughout the book that expertly juxtaposes sanity and madness, eliciting the question of where the line should be drawn.


The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

By Melinda Gates,

Book cover of The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

Why this book?

“When you lift up women, you lift up humanity." These words from Melinda Gates’ book resonate deeply with my own story and experiences. Melinda gives several examples of women driving change on different levels in their families, communities, and societies. Similar to the pages in my book, Melinda shares heart-rending conversations she’s had with women all over the world and offers practical solutions for how we can get involved to make the world a better place.


The Matrixial Borderspace

By Bracha Ettinger,

Book cover of The Matrixial Borderspace

Why this book?

In her work, Bracha L. Ettinger proposes to depart in our thinking from a difference that is feminine and argues for the “matrixial” sphere as a corporeal locus that incarnates in our various human becomings toward the other – such as through compassion or empathy. This book has a Foreword written by Judith Butler and navigates through some of the key phenomena in ethics of femininity, including the original Ettingerian concept of prematernal and prenatal compassion.


Antigone

By Jean Anouilh,

Book cover of Antigone

Why this book?

Jean Anouilh wrote his Antigone during WW2 and it was first performed in 1944 in occupied Paris. This book is one of the most powerful interpretations of the Greek myth of Antigone and her unsurpassable ethical deed. The statement of Anouilh’s Antigone – to say “No!” to whatever she would not be willing to affirm, is the sign of an ultimate and universal ethical demand for justice. 


King Kong Theory

By Virginie Despentes, Frank Wynne (translator),

Book cover of King Kong Theory

Why this book?

A hard-hitting work of theory that hinges heavily on Despentes’ personal experience in the worlds of punk and sex work, the French writer and filmmaker goes further than most in her demands for feminist solidarity. Brilliant, fun, and captivating, King Kong Theory sits alongside Paolo Freire, James C. Scott, and Emma Goldman in my personal pantheon of thinkers.


What the Body Remembers

By Shauna Singh Baldwin,

Book cover of What the Body Remembers

Why this book?

There are only a few novels that I like to re-read, and this is one of them. Layered with descriptions of jarring political and sexual violence occurring amidst separatist tensions in 1937 in India, this narrative allows for the usually silenced (girls and women) to speak, through the voice of Roop. The complicated relationship between Roop and Satya (both wives of a rich landowner) is only one layer in this richly woven novel. Ancestral trauma, truth, silence, atonement, sacrifice, love, and memory, themes that continue to ripple and resonate for me. 


Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,

Book cover of Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Why this book?

Like many people, I was really impressed by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk on the problem of a single story. So when I saw that she’d written a short chapbook of feminist advice for a friend who’d recently become a mother to a baby girl, I had to get my hands on a copy. My own daughter was still a preschooler when it came out, so I figured I had just enough time to make good on the fifteen pieces of advice she offers. Witty, wise, and supremely accessible, this is a book for mothers and daughters equally – as well as anyone with an interest in building a more just and equitable world for all.


Mary and The Wrongs of Woman

By Mary Wollstonecraft,

Book cover of Mary and The Wrongs of Woman

Why this book?

The eighteenth-century writer Mary Wollstonecraft is one of my literary heroines. This may not seem like the best book to pick as she died before she could finish it, but there’s enough here to make her personality – intelligent, trenchant, independent – shine through. It tells the story of upper-class Maria, imprisoned by her husband in a lunatic asylum; and working-class Jemima, an asylum attendant. Jemima was born out of wedlock and into poverty, and has suffered economic exploitation, sexual violence, hunger, and destitution. Jemima’s story forms only part of the novel, but the bond formed across the class divide between the two women is the catalyst for Maria to start to understand the roots of her own oppression.


The Triangle

By Katharine Weber,

Book cover of The Triangle

Why this book?

This first-person narrative historical novel tells in chilling detail the real-life events of the Triangle shirtwaist fire of 1911 seen through the eyes of one of the few survivors. Over 150 workers, mostly women, died in the inferno due to the management's decision to keep the doors locked so that the workers produced more shirts. You will turn each page feeling the horror, the fear, the rage, the disbelief this tragedy evokes.


The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love

By bell hooks,

Book cover of The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love

Why this book?

The world of individual men is shaped by our continuing social, economic, and political power. But “men” aren’t one uniform group. We experience the world through our socio-economic class, ‘race’, sexual and gender orientations, ethnicity, physical differences, and more. When bell hooks died in 2021, we lost one of the US’s great feminists who long explored the intersectional nature of women’s oppression. She also wrote with great compassion about men, as you can also see in her book, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity.


The Malady of Death

By Marguerite Duras, Barbara Bray (translator),

Book cover of The Malady of Death

Why this book?

I suspect that I was led to take The Malady of Death from my shelf by a subconscious directive. I admit that I am afraid of this book, its relentless probing, afraid I will never understand it however much I struggle. Confounded by it twenty-five years ago, I put it aside until my consciousness could mature. (Ha!) The fault must be mine, since her style, language, and structure are as limpid as Ernaux’s or Davis’s, although Duras’s prose carries a poetical charge deliberately absent in the other two writers. I begin to think that the trouble lies in my sex, that as a man, an Other to women, I can’t possibly know what Duras’s narrator is being made to gradually reveal not with the leer of a striptease artist but with the solemnity of a priestess presiding over ancient feminine mysteries.

Would feminists accuse me of being obtuse and, perhaps misogynistic? Or might it be that the gulf between men and women, between one human and another is so great that we will never see one another truly? Duras gives this to the narrating man to say as he interrogates the unseen and unspeaking man whose malady it is, “Nor will you, or anyone else, ever know how she sees, how she thinks, either of the world or of you, of your body or your mind, or of the malady she says you suffer from. She doesn’t know herself. . . . She is incapable of knowing.”

The man is easier for me to fathom; he is cut off from the source of life and, therefore, suffers the malady of death. He pays this woman to spend several nights with him in the hope that he can learn to love, although he fails. “A dead man’s a strange thing,” says the woman in this erotic novel, if a text so short and dispassionate can be said to be one. What, I wonder, do contemporary feminist writers and theoreticians think of this work, written forty years ago, and of the oeuvre of Marguerite Duras, who gave us The Lover and Hiroshima Mon Amour, among many other frank explorations of women’s sexuality? 


The Story of an Hour

By Kate Chopin,

Book cover of The Story of an Hour

Why this book?

I love The Story of An Hour: Short Story by Kate Chopin because this tale has a delicious plot twist and portrays irony at its finest. I resonate with the feminist message — the oppression and the realization of what the heart truly desires and the heartbreak of that being ripped away. Very emotive. I felt what the main character was feeling and didn’t see the ending coming. This is my favorite type of story and the kind I love to write.


The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage

By Cathi Hanauer,

Book cover of The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage

Why this book?

Cathi Hanauer and I were editors together at Seventeen Magazine in New York City in our 20s. She tried, unsuccessfully, to convince me not to leave the magazine to marry an abusive man. I obviously regretted not listening to her – but I did get great material to write my memoir. I read The Bitch in the House one snowy Christmas Day lying in front of the fireplace as my three young children played with their presents around me. I recognized myself in the essays about the experience of being female in America, and the book inspired me to corral 26 moms in my own essay collection. I’m forever grateful to Cathi for assembling a group of badass truthtellers with great stories to tell.


The First Woman

By Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi,

Book cover of The First Woman

Why this book?

The First Woman is perhaps the best novel you haven’t yet read. Kirabo has never known her mother and she is looking for answers at the same time as she is becoming a woman. She is guided first by the village’s blind witch Nsuuta, who has her own reasons for getting involved. Nsuuta tells Kirabo that women were once, “huge, strong, loud, proud, brave, independent. But it was too much for the world.” The writing in this ambitious novel is sometimes funny and sometimes poignant.


Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can't Learn about Sex from Animals

By Marlene Zuk,

Book cover of Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can't Learn about Sex from Animals

Why this book?

Written by one of the great experts in the field this wonderful book takes a look at animal sexual behavior broadly. It introduces the amazing complexity of adaptations to sex and how they evolved. What is plain fascinating to the biologist may be a little odd to humans from time to time, but we have to learn not to view everything from a human perspective. This book is written for a broad audience and is very easy to read.


Lots of Mommies

By Jane Severance,

Book cover of Lots of Mommies

Why this book?

This book was published by Lollipop Power Press, an iconic feminist publishing house formed in 1969. I have a soft spot for old-school one-color illustrations (these ones are forest green against an off-white background). Emily is raised in an intentional community of four women. One mom is studying to be an electrician. Another is a healer. Vicki drives a school bus. Annie Jo is a carpenter who loves to cook. No one at school believes that Emily has so many mothers, but that all changes when she falls on the playground and her amazing parents get called into school. Suddenly it's très cool to have so many moms. I want this book to have a revival. It’s so good.


You've Changed: Fake Accents, Feminism, and Other Comedies from Myanmar

By Pyae Moe Thet War,

Book cover of You've Changed: Fake Accents, Feminism, and Other Comedies from Myanmar

Why this book?

I love the boldness of putting “comedy” right there in the subtitle, and Pyae Moe Thet War absolutely delivers. This memoir-in-essays, about being a millennial woman in Myanmar, has one of the strongest voices I’ve encountered in recent essay collections. She writes back against the expectation that racialized and minoritized writers perform their trauma for the reader, or must be restricted to certain topics and tones. You’ve Changed sets a precedent I know other writers will feel empowered to follow.


Trust Exercise

By Susan Choi,

Book cover of Trust Exercise

Why this book?

Full disclosure: we are both theatre kids, so we appreciated this look at an incestuous and often toxic high school drama department. While much of it is set in high school, Trust Exercise is not a YA novel. It’s told from the perspectives of three different characters who view the events (and each other) very differently, and who force the reader to question what’s real. It’s a beautiful, dark, onion with a lot of layers and a lot of humor. And a pretty smart look at the trauma caused by problematic relationships.

Data Feminism

By Catherine D'Ignazio, Lauren F. Klein,

Book cover of Data Feminism

Why this book?

If you’ve never thought of “intersectional feminism” or “the gender binary” as essentially data-scientific terms, please allow this book to correct that. Data science is a locus of power, and that power can be wielded in the service of oppression or liberation. This book raises essential questions about the predominantly white, male, technocratic interests served by the traditional narratives of data analysis and what feminism and data science have to offer each other. Bottom line: the data doesn’t speak for itself, never has, and never will.


The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey Into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred

By Chanda Prescod-Weinstein,

Book cover of The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey Into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred

Why this book?

This Harvard-trained cosmologist takes us on a journey into the universe, from colliding black holes to neutrons and protons “faking it” as elementary particles. If you ever wondered why the universe has more matter than antimatter, and what is dark matter made of, this book is for you. And physics is about more than theories; it’s about people doing physics. Black lives matter, and Black lives are the stuff of stars. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her exploration of a universe that is “bigger than the bad things that are happening to us.” Along the way, we gain new clues to the fate of our galaxies full of stars.


The Evolution of a Girl

By L.E. Bowman,

Book cover of The Evolution of a Girl

Why this book?

So, a totally underrated, amazing writer and poet. I don’t know much about poetry. I was told by a friend to read this book and I’m so pleased I listened to her. Love the poems in here as some really spoke to my soul, my heart. Beautiful, relatable, powerful, original, heartfelt, heart-warming. I mean I could list adjectives until the cows come home people! Any book which helps women to understand and inspire them on how to grow and become happy in what is sometimes a world full of toxic masculinity gets my thumbs up, esp when it doesn’t read like a feminist on a power rant!! Read it, you can thank me on Instagram after.


Cinderella Is Dead

By Kalynn Bayron,

Book cover of Cinderella Is Dead

Why this book?

Bayron made the classic Cinderella fairy tale something modern girls can relate to. Black, LGBT girls will especially find a kindred spirit in Sophia. I loved how determined Sophia was to fight back against society’s expectations of her. She was willing to fight for her happily ever after, even if it didn’t look like how the world thought it should. To see Sophia’s struggles rewarded with her love story with Constance was great to read.  


Delicacy: A memoir about cake and death

By Katy Wix,

Book cover of Delicacy: A memoir about cake and death

Why 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.  


Girls Made of Snow and Glass

By Melissa Bashardoust,

Book cover of Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Why this book?

This feminist adaption of Snow White, peppered with elements from The Snow Queen, The Bloody Chamber, and even a touch of Frankenstein, is a gripping delight of a novel. I really enjoyed the mother-daughter relationship that develops throughout the narrative—it felt natural and authentic—and then to watch it unravel in new and familiar ways as the plot thickens. Our heroines have been shaped or altered in a Frankenstein-esque manner that becomes the crux of their quest for self-discovery and liberation, which is just one of the innovative touches that has breathed new life into the vintage tale. With alternating points of view, the reader is able to better understand the innermost emotions, struggles, and motivations of the perceived “evil” stepmother, and the truth is heartbreaking as well as empowering.  


Portia: The World of Abigail Adams

By Edith B. Gelles,

Book cover of Portia: The World of Abigail Adams

Why this book?

Gelles has written several books and articles about Abigail (and John) Adams, but this is my favorite. Not a classic cradle-to-grave biography, It examines a series of episodes in Abigail’s life and her relationships with her husband, two sisters, and her children, especially her daughter Abigail junior (Nabby) and her son John Quincy. The series of well-crafted vignettes convey great insight into this important “founding mother,” the wife of the second president, mother of the sixth, and a lively intellect in her own right.


The Care Manifesto: The Politics of Interdependence

By The Care Collective, Andreas Chatzidakis, Jamie Hakim, Catherine Rottenberg

Book cover of The Care Manifesto: The Politics of Interdependence

Why this book?

You may not agree with everything in this book (I don’t) but its extraordinarily compelling critique of profit worship built on utter disregard for the well-being of others illustrates powerful synergies between patriarchal and capitalist norms. At the same time, the care collective offers powerful examples of the ways in which people sometimes rally quite effectively around principles of mutual aid.


Gender, Development and Globalization: Economics as if All People Mattered

By Lourdes Beneria, Günseli Berik, Maria Floro

Book cover of Gender, Development and Globalization: Economics as if All People Mattered

Why this book?

It’s a great and up-to-date overview of gender inequality on a global scale, covering paid and unpaid work, public policies, and the impact of patriarchal institutions. It also explains why current trajectories of economic development are both inadequate and unsustainable.


Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes

By Elizabeth Lesser,

Book cover of Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes

Why this book?

We know that the classics - from Adam and Eve, to Greek myths, and fairy tales - were written by men. But I had no idea how much we take them for granted, how much they influence us in how we think and live. So when Lesser tells these stories from a woman’s point of view, it’s a revelation. Now, instead of taking for granted that Eve was weak and immoral when she bit that apple, an assumption of original sin that influences how women have been seen for centuries, I can interpret it as agency, an intelligent sense of curiosity that compelled her to take action. That makes Adam content to just laze around in Paradise, like a dude on a Barcolounger, drinking a beer on game day. Crazy, right? That may be the most controversial example, but all of them make you think. I’d love to sneak this book onto the desk of every English teacher in the land. 


Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot

By Mikki Kendall,

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

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 the vote and when they did, women of color were left behind. But Hood Feminism brings us right up to the present, as voting patterns continue to undermine progress. It proves the importance of inclusive feminism, the need to work together for the good of all. Only then can any of us truly put the fun in feminism. 


The Chronology of Water: A Memoir

By Lidia Yuknavitch,

Book cover of The Chronology of Water: A Memoir

Why 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.

Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate

By Leila Ahmed,

Book cover of Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate

Why this book?

This pioneering volume was the first major single-author work to survey this important subject, and it remains an essential read. Ahmad examines the major issues in the treatment of women in a clear-eyed way. She theorizes that urbanizing families in early Islam constrained women’s freedom beyond what had been common among pagan rural and Bedouin society, but admits that the picture is mixed, and that at the core of the Muslim religious tradition are accounts and insights of the wives of the Prophet Muhammad.


Western Women and Imperialism: Complicity and Resistance

By Nupur Chaudhuri (editor), Margaret Strobel (editor),

Book cover of Western Women and Imperialism: Complicity and Resistance

Why this book?

A collection of very short but incredibly interesting and illuminating essays, this book inaugurated the field of study we might call “feminism and empire.” Strobel and Chaudhuri gathered up the most important histories written to that date that explained how nineteenth and twentieth-century feminism emerged from colonialist contexts all over the world. Asking the question “what difference does gender make?” each author teases out the importance of gender for colonial travel and politics in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Reading this book made me want to contribute to that kind of historical understanding of gender, modeling for me what an “intersectional feminist” method of historical investigation might look like.

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

By Hannah Arendt,

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

Why 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.”


More Than a Woman

By Caitlin Moran,

Book cover of More Than a Woman

Why this book?

Despite the title, I think that any gender can draw something from this book. It is the sequel to her phenomenally successful book “How to be a woman”, which quite frankly changed my life and made me decide to have children. This new book can be read as a stand-alone and charts Caitlin’s thoughts on her late 30s and 40s. It begins with her usual hilarious and irreverent tone, speaking about the pressures put on you by children, parents, work, best friends, basically everything. It suddenly becomes very serious in a way I didn’t expect though, and the message of balance is one that is important for anyone to read in this way. I rarely say this and mean it but… it made me laugh and it made me cry.


Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives

By Phyllis Trible,

Book cover of Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives

Why this book?

Published in 1984, this book is an enduring classic. Filled with sympathy for victims and survivors, it is a groundbreaking, poignant feminist reading of biblical “texts of terror” about violence against women who were raped, enslaved, ritually sacrificed, or forced to become surrogate mothers. This book transformed the way people now read stories of biblical violence. It calls on readers to acknowledge and remember the suffering of victims—in biblical times and in our own. 


American Girls in Red Russia: Chasing the Soviet Dream

By Julia L. Mickenberg,

Book cover of American Girls in Red Russia: Chasing the Soviet Dream

Why this book?

Julia Mickenberg’s American Girls in Red Russia touches on a wide array of topics: American women’s participation in pre-1917 revolutionary movements, famine relief in during the Civil War period, the creation of an American colony in Siberia, the establishment of an American-run English language newspaper in Moscow, modern dance, African-American theater and film performances, and the creation of pro-Russian World War II propaganda. But she masterfully weaves these topics together using a central theme: American women, from various cultural spheres, seeking the equality and freedom they thought redefined gender roles in the Soviet Union would give them.

Mickenberg’s book captures the real depth of interest, hope, and fascination that the Soviet Union held for many well-educated, left-leaning American women, and how these feelings were colored by the gap between Soviet ideals and realities. She provides a fascinating account of these women’s willingness to uproot their lives in search of careers, sexual liberation, and the ability to participate in the construction of a new communal society, contrasting the opportunities the Soviet Union offered with the limitations these women faced at home.

American Girls in Red Russia is a well-researched and engaging book that uses the vibrant and humanizing personal histories of a handful of women to show the enthusiasm and hope that many people had for a new, utopian world in the Soviet Union and how those hopes were dashed by Soviet realities.


Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong-And the New Research That's Rewriting the Story

By Angela Saini,

Book cover of Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong-And the New Research That's Rewriting the Story

Why this book?

If scientists wanted to exclude women, a powerful approach would be to use science itself to demonstrate that female skills would not be fit for science’s purpose, to prop up the idea of female weakness and vulnerability, that there was some kind of evolutionarily determined biological inevitability about women’s status as inferior. Saini’s forensic filleting of the science behind such arguments is a must-read for those wishing to arm themselves against ‘gotcha’ culture, where someone will triumphantly cherry-pick research findings from any branch of science in favour of their own argument. Of course, this works both ways. We are taught to challenge research rather than just accept that it must be true because it is published. Another ire-inducing and thought-provoking read.


The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace

By Lynn Povich,

Book cover of The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace

Why this book?

The book takes place beginning in the 1960s – a time of economic strength and cultural change. An increasing number of young, educated women entered the workforce, yet the newspaper help wanted ads were segregated by gender and the discrimination was common. In the midst of this time, Lynn Povich was hired at Newsweek, renowned for its strong coverage of civil rights and the changing social mores. But in reality, the job was a career dead end. Women researchers only occasionally became reporters, very rarely writers, and never editors. The limitations for women journalists were obvious.

Then in March 1970, Newsweek published a cover story about the Women’s Liberation Movement called “Women in Revolt”. It was at the time that more than 40 Newsweek women charged the magazine with employment discrimination. Povich was one of the plaintiffs. In the book, Povich details the lives of several lawsuit participants. She explains the impact of the women’s personal experiences to their professional lives at a changing time. This book is helpful in understanding how lawsuits helped create a change for women in the workforce, and journalism specifically.


Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution

By Sara Marcus,

Book cover of Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution

Why this book?

In the early 1990s, a group of women-centric punk bands and their young fans created a radical feminist movement, one that is still deeply inspiring. This book of Riot Grrrl is a fascinating look at the interplay between music and revolt, as well as an enraging analysis of how media took young women’s anger and turned it poisonous. I have long been obsessed with Riot Grrrl; although I was of the age to participate at the time, I lacked information and access. So I look back now at my Gen X peers and celebrate the music and rage that created this holy thing. And in my book, some of my stories are based on these songs and the spirit of these girls.


Parity of the Sexes

By Sylviane Agacinski, Lisa Walsh (translator),

Book cover of Parity of the Sexes

Why this book?

This slim volume by the French philosopher is one I have read many times; nearly every sentence is underlined. Though not strictly about international affairs, it was Agacinski that first sparked in me the sight of the far horizon: diarchy as the political system that should obtain between men and women. Once you understand that the face of humanity is dual, not single, everything changes. Agacinski was one of the crucial voices that led to the adoption of party candidate parity as the law of the land in France.


Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving Global Security

By J. Ann Tickner,

Book cover of Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving Global Security

Why this book?

If Enloe’s book set the stage, Tickner’s 1992 book was the first to openly challenge the then-conventional verities of IR Theory in a systematic way. In her book, Tickner takes on the two major subdivisions of IR thought—Security/Conflict Studies and International Political Economy, and mounts a devastating critique of the major approaches in each. She lambasts how gendered our understandings of, say, deterrence are, and how the state is viewed in IR theory as a “masculine” entity, and how this has warped our understandings and even the very questions we ask in IR. Tickner does the same with the clearly male-focused world of microeconomic theory with its womanless world of rational utility maximizers. This book set IR back on its collective heels. 


Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol

By Mallory O'Meara,

Book cover of Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol

Why this book?

Mallory O’Meara’s book, Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol, has become my new bible.

I spent years working to advance women around the world before taking on a new challenge – starting a new craft distillery in Rwanda! You might be wondering how women's rights and alcohol intersect, but O’Meara sums it up best in her book: “If you want to know how a society treats its women, all you have to do is look into the bottom of a glass.”

For an amusing and eye-opening look at the history of women alcohol producers and drinkers around the world, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Girly Drinks. Best enjoyed with your favorite beverage in hand.


Polaris Rising

By Jessie Mihalik,

Book cover of Polaris Rising

Why this book?

This book is just pure fun. As you probably guessed, I’m a huge fan of Firefly and this book really sated my Firefly need. Set in the far future, an heiress of one of the major houses or large corporations that run the “ ‘verse” is on the run from her family to avoid a political marriage. She and one of the galaxy’s most ruthless outlaws are forced to team up to stay alive. This book has it all: sexy outlaw dudes, space chases, snarky heroines, and political espionage.   


City of Shattered Light

By Claire Winn,

Book cover of City of Shattered Light

Why this book?

The two girls in City of Shattered Light could not be fiercer! Asa’s a runaway rich girl who flees home to save her sister, a victim of scientific tests. Riven’s a tough smuggler gunning for a big bounty to guarantee her a place in one of the city’s matriarchal (!) crime syndicates. There’s kidnapping, a wild neon sci-fi world, and a healthy portion of romantic longing. I loved this misfit team!


The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories

By Angela Carter,

Book cover of The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories

Why this book?

Decades before the TV series Grimm, Angela Carter rewrote Grimm’s and other classic European fairy tales with a feminist bent, heightening the sexuality just under the surface of the original tales. Even more exciting, this collection is sentence-forward, meaning that the dazzling, tumbling-long, and flawless sentences are front and center in this gifted author’s work.

The content is strong and includes a retelling of the Bluebeard tale with a grotesque patriarch forbidding his young bride to enter a locked room. In Carter’s version, the old pervert never gets a chance to murder his curious wife. Another story describes fetishistic, depraved customs in an isolated village so unnervingly that your view of forests will permanantly shift. Carter’s short stories have been heralded by literary writers for years as a precious secret.


Rosa Luxemburg, Women's Liberation, and Marx's Philosophy of Revolution

By Raya Dunayevskaya,

Book cover of Rosa Luxemburg, Women's Liberation, and Marx's Philosophy of Revolution

Why this book?

Dunayevskaya’s Rosa Luxemburg, Women’s Liberation, and Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution. This book contained the first-ever analysis of Luxemburg as feminist, the first widely disseminated analysis of gender in Marx’s late Ethnological Notebooks, and a hard-hitting discussion of feminism, race, and revolution that pulled no punches in terms of critiquing dominant forms of feminism, especially in the U.S. The treatment of the late Marx featured a searing critique of Engels’s economistic reductionism on women’s liberation, and this was followed up by unstinting critiques of Lenin and Trotsky as well as Luxemburg herself on the failures of what Dunayevskaya termed “post-Marx Marxism” to fulfill the profound legacies left to them by Marx.  


In the Beginning, She Was

By Luce Irigaray,

Book cover of In the Beginning, She Was

Why this book?

Luce Irigaray’s book includes her powerful interpretation of Antigone but also brings a mature account of her on the role of the feminine within Western thought. In the Beginning, She Was, Irigaray guides us back to the Presocratics in order to reinstate the Goddess which was absent in the Western philosophical and religious discourses until the 20th century.       


Feminist Readings of Antigone

By Fanny Soderback (editor),

Book cover of Feminist Readings of Antigone

Why this book?

This book is a fascinating collection of essays on Antigone, written by key contemporary thinkers, such as Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler, Bracha L. Ettinger, and Adriana Cavarero. Hegel daringly compared Antigone to Socrates and Jesus and this book shows the full range of ethical questions and consequences, related to Antigone and her highest ethical demand. Through this book, the fictitious woman from Sophocles’ drama written 2,500 years ago, incarnates in front of us as a living figure of contemporary feminine ethics.


The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories

By Charlotte Perkins Gilman,

Book cover of The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories

Why this book?

The Yellow Wallpaper inspired my book and brand. Gilman not only defined the madwoman of Gothic literature by writing one of the most haunting and empowering stories of the 19th century, but she also lived it. Her experience inspired her story and exposed the horror of hysteria treatments. This story inspired me because I could relate to Gilman and her main character. Though hysteria is no longer a recognized condition and women have gained many more rights, ideologies left over from the hysteria panic still creep in our culture and generational memory. Women are still called crazy. The assumption that women are emotionally unstable is still used to discredit, invalidate and control women. In an era where women couldn’t fight for their rights as we do, Gilman found her power by embracing madness, and so do I.


Real Estate: A Living Autobiography

By Deborah Levy,

Book cover of Real Estate: A Living Autobiography

Why this book?

Writers are not generally supposed to publicly acknowledge books that track too closely to their own, but of the spate of autobiographical books by women about property ownership that came around at the same time as my book, Levy’s stood out for its intellectual honesty and consideration of the meaning of home. Haunting.


The Soul of a Woman

By Isabel Allende,

Book cover of The Soul of a Woman

Why this book?

In The Soul of a Woman, renowned novelist Isabel Allende tells her own story of a woman living through several iterations of the feminist movement.  Allende learns how to open and grow as a woman, with and without a partner—when to commit, and when to step away—and how to embrace her own sexuality. Her journey is all of our journey, and has strong parallels with the journey of the protagonist in my own novel.


If I'm Being Honest

By Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka,

Book cover of If I'm Being Honest

Why this book?

I love a good Taming of the Shrew retelling. Ten Things I Hate About You is one of my favorite movies, and this book elicits all the same feelings. Watching an unlikeable main character redeem herself is so satisfying, and of course, the lead guy is a loveable nerd, which I always appreciate. I loved how the main character Cameron learns that it’s ok to be different and that maybe it’s better to be yourself than a queen bee everyone respects but doesn’t like. The snarky dialogue kept me turning pages and I couldn’t wait to see how this book ended.


Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World

By Vicki Noble,

Book cover of Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World

Why this book?

I admire and deeply respect Vicki Noble, a wild, witchy woman whose legacy and ongoing activity paved the path for reviving the Goddess. Her book, Shakti Woman, was bequeathed to me from my best friend’s magickal collection after she crossed to the Other Side. This book is a fierce reclamation of the Divine Feminine within each of us and a rallying cry for equalizing the imbalance of energy that has caused so much mental, physical and spiritual instability, and pain. When the female is left out of the divine, we all suffer, and our Magick and Witchcraft are covered up. Shakti Woman brings us to wholeness because when we see ourselves as equally God and Goddess then we come to know that self-care is how we tend the Divine within. 


Women, Art, and Society

By Whitney Chadwick,

Book cover of Women, Art, and Society

Why this book?

As an undergrad, I was blessed to have two professors who changed the course of my life: Angela Davis and Whitney Chadwick. Both of these professors discussed the intersectionality of gender, race, and class. Women, Art, and Society was published in 1990, and in 2020, the sixth edition was released. Although women artists’ representation in art history pedagogy has improved since 1990, the art world in general still favors men over women, making Chadwick’s book a relevant read. It provides a historical and critical look at women artists from the Middle Ages to the present, covering a range of media and artists from various cultural and geographical backgrounds. It challenges the assumption that great women artists are the exception to the rule and charts the evolution of feminist art history. 


Florence Gordon

By Brian Morton,

Book cover of Florence Gordon

Why this book?

Seventy-five-year-old Florence is clever, outspoken and belligerent, sharp-witted, and sharp-tongued. Reliving memories of the American Feminist Movement at its height, she’s a great character forced to confront her own aging and the difficult dynamics of her family life. Crackling dialogue makes this book a slick and entertaining read.


This Woman's Work

By Julie Delporte,

Book cover of This Woman's Work

Why this book?

This raw, experimental, poetic, and challenging graphic memoir began as an exploration of the work of artist/writer Tove Jannson (the creator of the Moomin novels and comics), but Julie Delporte goes well beyond the confines of criticism or biography to examine deep and difficult questions of gender and the challenge of creating a space to exist as a woman in a world haunted by the legacy of traumas past and present. Delporte’s colored pencil artwork is disarming in its beauty and simplicity, and her spare, intimate insights will stay with you for years to come. An essential read for our times.


All about Love: New Visions

By bell hooks,

Book cover of All about Love: New Visions

Why this book?

All about Love is such a gift to humans, as was bell hooks. Reading this book is all at once heartbreaking, inspiring, confronting, soothing, illuminating, and a true call to action. The action being love. In the very first chapter, only four pages in, hook states, “Love and abuse cannot co-exist.” That hit me hard in the heart and made me question my entire understanding of love. While the non-dualist in me says that there isn’t any separation on the absolute level, on the relative and human level this quote rings with such profound truth.

I experienced many kinds of abuse at the hands (and in the words) of people who said they loved me, and the idea that maybe that wasn’t love after all, has been incredibly validating and freeing. As a reminder, I am only referencing one short sentence on page 4. This book is a limitless treasure trove of insights on love, which can benefit romantic love immensely. How are we supposed to love our partners well, and be loved well, if we haven’t explored the meaning of love with intention? The next time I’m settling into a romantic partnership, I plan to have a two-person book club starting with this epic piece of writing genius. 


Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work

By Reshma Saujani,

Book cover of Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work

Why this book?

In Pay Up, Reshma Saujani astutely addresses the moment that working women exist in today: a moment when burnout is more common than not and inequality persists both at work and at home. Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code and author of Brave, Not Perfect challenges the dangerous myth that women can "have it all" and pushes readers to redefine our notions of success. The book contains bold calls for change and tools for working women and leaders in the corporate space to implement to help achieve this.


Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative

By Melissa Febos,

Book cover of Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative

Why this book?

Melissa Febos is having a moment. Who wouldn’t love a queer feminist firebrand who was once a professional dominatrix and now writes memoir and essays that surge with sensual detail, set your mind in action, and then rip your heart out? She recently won the National Book Critics Circle award for her excellent collection of essays on growing up female, Girlhood. This short book, which followed fast on that one’s tail, brings together four pieces on the craft of personal narrative. If you’re worried you’re a narcissist or opportunist for writing a memoir, or just wallowing in your own trauma, this book will help you think about where (or who) those criticisms are coming from, and fire you up to get back to the open page.


The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror

By Daniel M. Lavery,

Book cover of The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror

Why 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.


Play Like a Feminist.

By Shira Chess,

Book cover of Play Like a Feminist.

Why this book?

If we want a better world, we have to be able to enact change. Play Like a Feminist is about feminism, equality, and games. But it’s also really about how we make change, how we rise up, and how we lift others up. Games can help to reveal not only the problems, but how we can protest those problems and make solutions. It shows us that play itself can be a form of protest.


Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar

By Jess Wells,

Book cover of Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar

Why this book?

I love Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar for its magic realism. For me, the story reads as real, even when it travels into the fantastic. Jess Wells’ writing is like music: it goes on singing in the back of my mind long after I’ve closed the book.

Jaguar Paloma is a larger than life woman in a setting that is more intense than everyday reality. Strong and vulnerable, audacious and cunning, Jaguar’s compassion inspires a splendid collection of men and women.


Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals

By Alexis Pauline Gumbs,

Book cover of Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals

Why this book?

Many of us ground our relationship to nature and ecosystems through animals: a pet, the songbirds at our feeder, a glimpse of an urban coyote or deer, a favorite species. This short, profound, joy-filled book offers glimpses into the world of bowhead whales, leopard seals, river dolphins and so many others. But it doesn’t stop with natural history, as fascinating as the walrus whiskers and spinning dolphins in this book are: Gumbs teaches us about each species so they can teach us about our own societies. The result is so poetic it begs to be read aloud, and an exuberant but never sentimental eye for living with a sense of wonder and justice. And if Undrowned leaves you wanting more whales, take a look at Rebecca Gigg’s Fathoms and Nick Pyenson’s Spying on Whales.


Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media

By Susan J. Douglas,

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

Why 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.


The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women

By Naomi Wolf,

Book cover of The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women

Why this book?

I first read this when it came out in 1992, at a time when few people were publicly connecting body image and feminism. This book literally changed the way I saw the world! It liberated me to stop spending so much time and energy trying to make my body fit an impossible mold and to start using my talents for more important things.


Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft & Mary Shelley

By Charlotte Gordon,

Book cover of Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft & Mary Shelley

Why this book?

The giants of English biography (Janet Todd, Claire Tomalin, Lyndall Gordon) have written brilliant books about Wollstonecraft, but the one I went back to time and again (most dog-eared, underlined, annotated) was this dual biography of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley. An absolute page-turner, it reads like a novel, bringing this extraordinary mother and daughter to vivid life in alternating chapters that reveal parallels in who they were, what they believed, and how they lived.


All We Know: Three Lives

By Lisa Cohen,

Book cover of All We Know: Three Lives

Why this book?

Through sheer magic, Lisa Cohen manages to combine three lives that defy biography into a beautifully written group portrait of mid-century lesbian modernism. Although Cohen writes that “every biography is a disappointment of some kind,” her book about Esther Murphy, Mercedes de Acosta, and Madge Garland thrilled me from start to finish.


Daughters of Smoke and Fire

By Ava Homa,

Book cover of Daughters of Smoke and Fire

Why this book?

I have immense admiration for Ava Homa, the first female Iranian Kurd to publish in English. Her novel is part political expose, part history, and part feminist coming-of-age story, all wrapped up in a nail-biter of an adventure. The narrator is a woman, adding unexpected plot twists. Given the repression faced by Kurds in Iran, and the wall of silence maintained by the regime, Homa’s book is an important and courageous plea to the world for empathy and action -- plus it’s a downright riveting read.

Songs in Black and Lavender: Race, Sexual Politics, and Women's Music

By Eileen M. Hayes,

Book cover of Songs in Black and Lavender: Race, Sexual Politics, and Women's Music

Why this book?

Featuring an Introduction by artist Linda Tillery, the book offers a timely critique of white-centered women’s music events and the possibility of Black women’s music festivals. The author looks at the different experiences of Black audiences in primarily white feminist festival spaces and the role of Black lesbian artists across several generations.


To Change the World: My Years in Cuba

By Margaret Randall,

Book cover of To Change the World: My Years in Cuba

Why this book?

In 1968, Margaret Randall, an American radical fleeing political repression in Mexico, moved to Cuba with her children. She remained there until 1980. Her memoir of her years in Cuba provides insight into the lived experience of revolutionary change. She charts her everyday life and struggles and offers a compelling picture of the broader political and economic context. A pioneering feminist, oral historian, and photographer, Randall, with the permission of the Cuban government, interviewed women throughout the country about how the revolution shaped their lives. Acknowledging the revolution’s failures, blind spots, and shortcomings, she remains committed to changing the world.


We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.

By Samantha Irby,

Book cover of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.

Why 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.


Decolonizing Feminisms: Race, Gender & Empire Building

By Laura E. Donaldson,

Book cover of Decolonizing Feminisms: Race, Gender & Empire Building

Why this book?

This book takes a tour through the most impactful and influential popular literature circulating in the 19th and early 20th centuries—the stories that laid the groundwork for a collective Anglo-American consciousness—and explains how these stories produced a set of feminist ideologies that were reliant upon a racist and imperialist imaginary. Whether it is her chapter on the “King and I” in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” or her tracking of the “picanninies” romping through “Peter Pan” and a “Passage to India,” Donaldson explains how we came to associate feminism with the ideologies of slavery and colonialism in the deepest recesses of our imaginations.

Females

By Andrea Long Chu,

Book cover of Females

Why this book?

A short, powerful investigation of how we construct and succumb to the lies of gender. Chu explores our fears of desire and how we allow politics to corrupt identity, believing gender to be so constructed that it can only be given and not created. Female is a quality we all carry, whatever label we use. Chu forces the reader to look in the mirror with a question instead of a statement, always uncertain about who that person really is. 


To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice

By Jessica Wilkerson,

Book cover of To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice

Why this book?

Wilkerson finds feminists everywhere in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, which makes this the most geographically unexpected book on this list. By showing how women were central to many social justice movements – not only feminism but environmental justice, health care, and welfare rights – Wilkerson shows us how women truly did lead in the 1970s, in parts of the country where stereotypes suggest they shouldn’t be active at all.


Stop Telling Women to Smile: Stories of Street Harassment and How We're Taking Back Our Power

By Tatyana Fazlalizadeh,

Book cover of Stop Telling Women to Smile: Stories of Street Harassment and How We're Taking Back Our Power

Why this book?

This book about street art and feminism is an important reminder that the dangers of solo female travel are not so different from the dangers of walking the streets of your home city. Issues like street harassment and sexual violence are global; staying at home may seem like playing it safe, but gender-based violence crosses every border. This book tells the stories of various women in the United States and their experiences with street harassment. I believe it offers an important complement to the other books on my list: In order to embrace the solo travel journey, women must often first address the very real fears of harassment and violence, which we are socialized to carry with us no matter where we travel. To overcome these fears, it is important to first recognize and dissect them—and the patriarchal systems from which they have emerged.


Sophonisba Breckinridge: Championing Women's Activism in Modern America

By Anya Jabour,

Book cover of Sophonisba Breckinridge: Championing Women's Activism in Modern America

Why this book?

You might be surprised to learn that some prominent suffrage leaders had intimate relationships with women, including Susan B. Anthony and Jane Addams. However, some of these women destroyed their papers to make it difficult for historians to learn about their personal lives (ahem, Anthony and Addams). Scholars are in the process of recovering these stories as much as possible, and Anya Jabour’s Sophonsiba Breckenridge gives us an amazing glimpse into one woman’s experiences. Born in 1868, Breckinridge became one of the first American women to earn a PhD in Political Science. She was a prominent social worker, peace activist, and women’s rights activist until she died in 1948. Breckinridge navigated the spotlight and same-sex relationships, and Jabour tells us how she did it.


The Power and Passion of M. Carey Thomas

By Helen Horowitz,

Book cover of The Power and Passion of M. Carey Thomas

Why this book?

M. Carey Thomas is an excellent example of the generation of “new women”: a cohort of mostly well-to-do white women who pursued higher education and professional careers at the turn of the century. Thomas, thwarted in her ambitions by gender discrimination in the United States, traveled to Europe to pursue higher education and became one of the first American women to earn a Ph.D., in 1882. She subsequently became the president of a women’s college, Bryn Mawr College. Thomas also was a dedicated feminist, advocating for both women’s suffrage and an equal rights amendment. The Power and Passion of M. Carey Thomas exemplifies feminist biography by placing her career in the context of her personal life. Helen Horowitz highlights her long-term romantic relationship with philanthropist Mary Elizabeth Garrett, who used her fortune to promote Thomas’s career and to advance educational opportunities for women.


Partner and I: Molly Dewson, Feminism, and New Deal Politics

By Susan Ware,

Book cover of Partner and I: Molly Dewson, Feminism, and New Deal Politics

Why this book?

Susan Ware, who describes herself as a serial biographer, is a champion of feminist biography. I like this one so much because she so forthrightly acknowledges the importance of Mary W. Dewson’s partnership with Polly Porter in her wide-ranging activism, which included “Minimum Wage Dewson’s” battle for a living wage and “More Women Dewson’s” campaign to appoint women to prominent positions in the New Deal administration. Not to be missed are the wonderful images from the “Porter-Dewson” scrapbook, including the women’s photographs with their beloved canine companions. In addition to highlighting the couple’s personal relationship and political activism, Partner and I is one of a small (but growing) handful of studies that highlight women’s continuing activism after the successful achievement of women’s suffrage.


Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy

By Angela Garbes,

Book cover of Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy

Why this book?

This book delves into the science of pregnancy, but through a feminist lens. Through extensive research, Garbes details just how the female body creates life, a sometimes grisly and often wonderous process, as well as pans across our culture, with all its pitfalls, to explain just why women deserve better support through medical care and social nets.


Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger

By Rebecca Traister,

Book cover of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger

Why this book?

The name of this book alone tells us what we need to know. And the timing was inspired; it came out during 2018, where women’s anger was making headlines. This book takes a step back, examining the political history of women’s anger in the last century. I particularly loved the analysis of how women’s anger is belittled and defused compared to men’s anger, how our anger is perceived differently based on race and class, and how it’s often turned inward and towards other women. It’s a complicated and infuriating book. But also one that reminds us that our fury is powerful – or else the world wouldn’t try so hard to bury it.

Rosie Revere, Engineer

By Andrea Beaty, David Roberts (illustrator),

Book cover of Rosie Revere, Engineer

Why this book?

I love this one for being a feminist book that never once addresses feminism. The titular character is a smart, driven little girl with a passion for engineering. The message of the book is powerful: failure is an important step in growth! The book teaches young readers that sometimes the things you put your time and energy towards will not go as planned and that’s ok! Those failures help us learn, move forward, and grow. 


Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

By Leta Hong Fincher,

Book cover of Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

Why this book?

This book by the leading expert on China’s feminist movement speaks to the modern-day realities of women in China – where the promise of the Communist revolution to deliver gender equality has been betrayed. Today’s women in China have experienced a dramatic rollback of the rights and gains they achieved early on. The structural discrimination against women in all sectors, from politics to business to relationships, is not easily overturned.



Three Daughters of Eve

By Elif Shafak,

Book cover of Three Daughters of Eve

Why this book?

The individual conflicts described in this book stem from the reality of relationships that are supposed to be in a certain way, but somehow get twisted into something different, rather forbidden, or at least with blurred boundaries. I love the interweaving of spirituality, cultural diversity, and the parallel timelines, past and present. The characters are complex and represent different value systems. Swinging between their own personal struggles, trying to find suitable answers to the big questions of life, they get caught in a web of events that lead to surprising consequences. 


Gaudy Night

By Dorothy L. Sayers,

Book cover of Gaudy Night

Why this book?

Gaudy Night puts mystery writer and amateur sleuth Harriet Vane front and centre as she reluctantly investigates a series of crimes at her Oxford alma mater. Like my heroine, Astra, Harriet was orphaned in her early 20’s and had to make her own way in the world. She pursued a college education at a time when this was very unusual for women, lived with a man (scandalous!), and rejects the romantic attentions of an aristocrat until she feels the two can come together on equal terms. She’s fantastic and I adore her. I also love how, in this novel, she carefully examines women’s struggles to widen their roles in the world and achieve more independence. No wonder this has been called “the first feminist mystery novel”. 


Event Factory

By Renee Gladman,

Book cover of Event Factory

Why this book?

The first in a series of surreal, poetic short novels, set in the fictional city of Ravicka, a linguist-travelerarrives during an unspecified state of emergency. Event Factory feels like a travelog of an unsettling yet beautiful dream. I return to this book often and always get something differentthe events evaporate, but the details remain. You can easily enjoy Event Factory as a standalone novel. Gladman is a master. Fun fact: Dorothy, the small feminist press which publishes these books, began specifically to launch these singular novels. 


Colette: Earthly Paradise

By Colette,

Book cover of Colette: Earthly Paradise

Why this book?

The first time I went to Paris, I found a copy of this book at a bouquiniste on the Quai de la Tournelle. I can honestly say it has never left my bedside. Colette, born Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette in 1873, was a ferocious talent, a novelist, memoirist, journalist, and colossal French cultural figure until her death in 1954. Earthly Paradise is an autobiography in essays, and hers is an extraordinary story. Born in small-town Burgundy, she was a showgirl at the Moulin Rouge, a traveling performer, was married twice, lived as a lesbian for a decade, had a facelift in the 1920s and at the height of her literary fame, opened a beauty salon in Paris. She was to the core a sensualist and though she claimed to dislike feminism, she was a tower of female strength. But the reason this book—just one of her fifty-five—endures is her achingly gorgeous writing.

No one writes about the natural world with such passionate detail, or as keenly about the raw emotion of love, or as passionately about her country. One of the last essays in the book, Paris from my Window, written during the German occupation in 1940-41, is unforgettable, and perhaps the greatest tribute I have ever read to the resilience both of France and its people.  


Five Days of Fog

By Anna Freeman,

Book cover of Five Days of Fog

Why this book?

There aren’t many novels featuring professional female crooks, and Anna Freeman’s gripping story, set in London during the Great Smog of 1952, portrays a really believable all-female gang. Florrie Palmer is torn between her allegiance to the Cutters, led by her mother, and a desire to go straight. It’s a suspenseful, atmospheric read, and partly inspired by the real Forty Elephants.


Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community

By Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, Madeline D. Davis,

Book cover of Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community

Why this book?

First published in 1993, Kennedy and Davis focus on working-class women who were part of the butch-femme lesbian bar culture in Buffalo, New York from the 1930s to the 1960s. Through 45 oral histories, Kennedy and Davis allow their subjects—Black, white, and Native American—to speak poignantly for themselves. They help the authors argue that far from emulating traditional heterosexual relationships (which had been an accusation often hurled at butch-femme couples), these women were pioneers of resistance; and that far from living lonely lives (drowning in a “well of loneliness”) they formed a vibrant community.  


Spending: A Utopian Divertimento

By Mary Gordon,

Book cover of Spending: A Utopian Divertimento

Why this book?

Spending is about a divorced artist and mom. It starts with a middle-aged protagonist reluctantly giving a gallery talk. She complains that male artists often have muses to do their laundry and supply sex, thereby providing practical and “therapeutic” support. A man in the audience stands up and offers to be the artist’s muse. The story is about what happens when this stubbornly independent woman takes him up on it. I totally related to the crusty heroine who has fought for everything she has and distrusts fortune when it offers abundant gifts. 


When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America

By Paula J. Giddings,

Book cover of When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America

Why this book?

The writings in this book illuminate the experience of African American women from the 17th through 20th century. Its pages inform and inspire. I enjoy the narratives and absorb wisdom from the amazing women whose stories are recorded within. A lot has happened since the book was published in 1984. Yet the narratives recorded and explored in Giddings’s book include heroines barely mentioned in present-day: Ida B. Wells and anti-lynching campaigns, the National Colored Women’s Club movement of which my great-grandmother was an enthusiastic participant, feminism, and African American women. Even the chapter and section titles captivate: “To Choose Again, Freely”, “Black Brainmaster: Mary McLeod Bethune”. “Inventing Ourselves” is a caption inspired, I believe, by Toni Morrison in describing African American women: “…she may well have invented herself.”


Little Children

By Tom Perrotta,

Book cover of Little Children

Why this book?

I love a book rich with flawed characters; this one is full of them. Perrotta’s peek into the mundane life of a stay-at-home mother at war with her lot in life is delicious. Sarah once coined herself a feminist, and now, she’s wiping noses. It’s a struggle many mothers of little children face, and while most don’t go to the lengths Perrotta’s characters explore, it’s a valiant example of losing oneself for the sake of a higher calling: motherhood. 

I first read this book at graduate school, with two babies at home. Perrotta taught me that exploring the human condition is necessary for connecting with readers. I’ve received many letters from readers citing that they connected with Veronica on the pages of Trespassing, and that’s the best accolade.


Rise of the Red Hand

By Olivia Chadha,

Book cover of Rise of the Red Hand

Why this book?

Oh wow, the world in this book was as amazing as it was scary and realistic. The country is ruined by climate change and ruled by a ruthless, technocratic government that sacrifices the poor to finance a utopia for the rich. So two poor, revolutionary girls from the streets work with a politician’s son (and secret hacker) to change that. I really enjoyed reading about these kick-ass heroines!


Woman at Point Zero

By Nawal El Saadawi, Sherif Hetata (translator),

Book cover of Woman at Point Zero

Why this book?

A feministic milestone, a must-read for all activists and people engaged in the battle for a better society. It tells the story of Firdaus, a young woman coming of age in the male-dominant Egyptian society, who never eyes an escape from the hardships and trials imposed on her by senseless men. It’s such a strong description of women as an underclass, as slaves in a male dominant society, that it changes your basic outlook on life. “Every single man I did get to know filled me with but one desire: to lift my hand and bring it smashing down on his face.– Firdaus


The Girls I’ve Been

By Tess Sharpe,

Book cover of The Girls I’ve Been

Why this book?

Love can make us braver than we are, smarter than we ever thought, and strong enough to face the unthinkable. Tough-minded Nora is caught in a predicament she turns out to be well-prepared for. It's the other ten hostages in the bank robbery that are not, especially her ex-boyfriend Wes and her current girlfriend Iris. Now, it’s all about saving them. Warning: this is a guns-in-your-face thriller that deals with abuse and violence. As a survivor of a violent crime, I can’t normally read books like this, however, The Girls I’ve Been is a beautifully-crafted love story, and the reckoning at the end is worth the read. Listen to Tess Sharpe's chilling narration on Audible, and don’t miss the upcoming film starring Millie Bobbie Brown.


Delta of Venus

By Anaïs Nin,

Book cover of Delta of Venus

Why this book?

As a teenager this collection of short stories blew my mind; it’s one of the first to really explore sexual pleasure from a female perspective and I loved the way it wove psychology, power, culture, and erotic play up seamlessly and provocatively. It was most likely an unconscious template for my own collections of erotic short stories, the perfect format for the pillow book (to be read out loud to one’s lover/husband/guilty pleasure). Nin, a friend of Henry Miller and a number of Paris-based groundbreaking artists and intellectuals in the 1920s, is the perfect conduit for the louche erotic experimentation of the era, and yet this book is still timeless and still delivers in terms of fantasy.  


A Frozen Woman

By Annie Ernaux, Linda Coverdale (translator),

Book cover of A Frozen Woman

Why this book?

Why does an intelligent young woman who is ambitious to occupy a place of her own in the world collaborate with men, in this instance, a husband, in constructing a life that is “perfectly organized unto death?” The story, you say, is a familiar one. What makes Ernaux’s different and painful to read is her narrator’s awareness of her gradual surrender (that of Ernaux herself) to patriarchal expectations, regardless of how strenuously she would deny them, delay their satisfaction, struggle to follow her passion (for teaching and writing), and, in ever-increasing panic, remind herself that even Virginia Woolf baked pies. By what deception does she come to accept that her existence is a purposeful one, knowing that it has been arranged by others?

This abnegation to the reductive role of womb and breast is all the stranger in this book (part novel, part memoir, part sociological study) because only in those roles can she escape, now and then, into her own thoughts, independent of the urgencies of her husband’s career, which is the means of their common survival. To read French feminist author Annie Ernaux’s A Frozen Woman is to be present at the autopsy of a woman who assists in the suicide of selfhood, as dismaying for her as her first menstruation. (Autopsy is inaccurate – say, instead, “vivisection,” since the narrating consciousness is, at the end of this chilling work, “Just on the verge, just” of disappearing.) Annie Ernaux’s talent and courage allow her to confront her betrayal of the person she imagined for herself, related by the author in a dispassionate voice and with a prose as unsparing of lard (narrative and emotional) as a surgeon’s knife.  


The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton

By Anne Sexton,

Book cover of The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton

Why this book?

While, yes, this is not a novel, there is a true character journey in reading the complete works of Ms. Sexton in sequence; a sort of poetic analysis the likes of which I have not read to such a soul-baring degree, as she depicts her thoughts and struggles with marriage, relationships, motherhood, her own parents and various other facets of her life. To me, Ms. Sexton is very much the symbol of what became the confessional poetry movement. The eloquence and depth of her writing, especially in poems like " The Double Image", "Flee on Your Donkey" and " For My Lover Returning to His Wife", are remarkable.

Sisters in the Mirror: A History of Muslim Women and the Global Politics of Feminism

By Elora Shehabuddin,

Book cover of Sisters in the Mirror: A History of Muslim Women and the Global Politics of Feminism

Why this book?

In the post-9/11 period, we were inundated with images of veiled Muslim women in Afghanistan and elsewhere. However, there is a long and rich history of Muslim women’s feminism that many people don’t know about. This book is an accessible entry point to this history. It also illustrates the interaction between Western feminists and Muslim feminists and shows the limits and possibilities of transnational feminism.


Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

By Shiri Eisner,

Book cover of Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

Why this book?

If you’re interested in bisexual activism, and how to mobilise people to fight for Bi+ rights, this book is for you. 

It is a dive into bisexual politics written by one of the world’s most prominent bisexual activists. It is also one of the most mentioned books within the bi community, helping a generation of people to feel empowered to deconstruct monosexuality. Inspiring best-selling authors, journalists, and many of the bisexual researchers I have worked with over the years, this book has become an important part of bi culture.


Black Girl, Call Home

By Jasmine Mans,

Book cover of Black Girl, Call Home

Why this book?

I love pretty packaging, so it's no surprise that Mans' Black Girl, Call Home stopped me in my tracks. The cover art, an over-the-shoulder shot of a young Black girl, her head bedazzled in a rainbow assortment of brightly colored barrettes. For me and Black women across the globe, the image evokes instant nostalgia. Luther on the radio. Me between my mama's legs. And the smell of Blue Magic hair grease slathered on the back of her hand.

Both painful and empowering, Mans' candid approach to feminism, race, and LGBTQ+ identity is wrapped in undeniable realness. Whether readers identify as Black and queer or simply as women on the path to healing, Mans' rhythmic collection of truths inspires self-acceptance and sisterhood. Do yourself a favor — order the audiobook and be blown away by Mans' heartfelt spoken word!