7 Inspiring Books That Should Be On Every College Woman's Spring Break Reading List

Whether you're spending your spring break on a beach, with your family, or napping in your bed, none of us can deny the benefits of a ton of free time — especially after midterm season. One perfect way to spend your hours off is with a book, because reading for fun is actually really fun. And, instead of another formulaic romance novel whose ending you can predict before you get five chapters in, why not opt for something that will inspire you? Here are my picks for seven feminist, badass books that you should read before heading back to campus — and, if not all of them, at least one: 

  1. 1. Voices of Powerful Women by Zoe Sallis

    In Voices of Powerful Women: Words of Wisdom from 40 of the World’s Most Inspiring Women, author Zoe Sallis interviews 40 influential women from a range of fields, including Maya Angelou, Judi Dench, Sinéad O'Connor, and more. Each of the women are asked the same ten questions, which provides insight into how they reached success in their career, hardships they overcame, and advice they have for women leaders to come. Reading about their amazing achievements will no doubt have you motivated to get back on campus and start working toward what you want.

  2. 2. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is rightfully revered for her storytelling talent; she’s one of Barack Obama’s favorite authors, and Beyonce featured part of the TEDx Talk We Should All Be Feminists in her iconic song “Flawless.” It’s safe to say, then, that reading her book will be worth your while. A quick read at only 64 pages, this book packs a punch that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it: Adichie blends her own experiences with larger discussions of what it means to be a feminist, and it’s a rallying cry for the modern feminist movement.

  3. 3. The Future Is Feminist, edited by Mallory Farrugia

    Mindy Kaling, Chelsea Handler, and Salma Hayek are some of the modern voices who shine through in this essay collection, but The Future Is Feminist: Radical, Funny, and Inspiring Writing by Women also includes the historic writing of Audre Lorde, Sojourner Truth, and Mary Wollstonecraft. The effect is a wide-ranging, universally inspiring array of feminist perspectives that will have you laughing, crying, and ready to make some damn change in the world.

  4. 4. Training School for Negro Girls by Camille Acker

    If getting through an entire novel may be too big a commitment for you over spring break, how about a thought-provoking short story collection? In Training School for Negro Girls, Camille Acker delves into what it’s like to grow up as a black woman in America, and how to find freedom in a world that is structured against you. It breaks down the idea that the black female experience is a monolithic one, and the characters are so well-developed and complex that it’s easy to imagine them as real people.

  5. 5. Circe by Madeline Miller

    Circe was one of the most-talked about books last year, and for good reason—its pages combine magic, witchcraft, family dynamics, and gender hierarchies into a thrilling tale of a woman who was historically cast as a villain becoming a hero in her own right. Even if your only knowledge of Greek mythology comes from reading Percy Jackson novels in middle school, you’ll be pulled into this world of godly power and tension through Miller’s skilled storytelling.

  6. 6. the witch doesn’t burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace

    Maybe poetry is more your speed—that’s fine, as there’s plenty of feminist poetry out there just waiting to be devoured, and the witch doesn’t burn in this one is no exception. Amanda Lovelace is a master poet, and she is focused on subverting the tropes about women that exist in fairytales, which make them either powerless and in need of a man’s help, or too powerful and therefore evil. This book exists as part of a series, the other two being the princess saves herself in this one and the mermaid’s voice returns in this one—no matter which you choose, you’re bound to find some poems that make you reconsider the stories you loved as a child, and want to reclaim the power that has been taken away from women for centuries.

  7. 7. Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

    If anyone is the symbol of a strong, badass woman, it’s Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg looks at the impact Ginsburg has had on the American political and legal landscape in terms of gender equality, as well as on the collective hearts of women all across America. RBG’s history comes to life through interviews with those who are close to her, her annotated dissents from important court cases, and other forms of narrative that will leave you itching to start fighting for gender equality yourself.