15 Books Every 20-Something Feminist Should Read

Books have the ability to let us escape reality into a world of suspense, romance or imagination. But most importantly, they can teach us a lot of valuable lessons that will impact our lives. Feminism is one special topic that has been highlighted and talked about in a wide range of books, and as graduettes, it's important to be both educated about it and inspired by it. By the time we turn 25, we’ve faced many milestones and obstacles such as graduation, break-ups, losses and maybe even marriages and having children. These books are fundamental reading for every feminist before they reach this age, allowing them to be inspired and empowered. Be sure to give this list a look!

1. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

In this work, Roxane Gay shares her brilliant essays regarding popular topics such as violence, race, The Hunger Games and more. She’s able to combine humor and power while simultaneously connecting to her own personal past.

2. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

Allende describes this novel as that of a young woman seeking self-knowledge. The obstacles the woman faces in these stories, along with her struggle to define the role of feminism in her life, make the narratives ones to read over and over again. 

3. What Will it Take to Make a Woman President? by Marianne Schnall

This eloquently-voiced book highlights interviews with women such as Nancy Pelosi, Melissa Etheridge and more. Their answers to the title will inspire you to be a better leader in the fight for an increased presence of women in politics.

Related: 16 Books Every College Grad Should Read

4. Bossypants by Tina Fey

In this read, the hilarious Tina Fey steps forward to defy the (incorrect) notion that women can’t be funny. Shannon Slocum, a student at University of New Hampshire, says, “The part when Amy Poehler tells Jimmy Fallon that she 'doesn’t care if he likes it,' was a pivotal moment for me—it reminded me that a feminist doesn’t have to act or look a certain way, a feminist just wants women and men to be treated equally.” Fey not only teaches valuable lessons about feminism and body image but also succeeds in making us laugh again and again.

5. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

This fiercely feminist story takes us into the imaginations of Meggie and her father. As they read books together, the characters enter the real world and fantasy takes flight. Meggie’s journey is a great fit for any woman of any age.

6. Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by Bell Hooks

If you’re struggling to determine how feminism impacts your life and views, this is the book for you. In it, Hooks teaches women who are curious about feminism more on the subject, as well as how to make a difference as a feminist.

7. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

In this title, Amy Poehler shares her collection of stories filled with laughs and success. Emily Izzo, a student at New England School of Law highly recommends this book, saying, “Amy’s humble beginnings make her book very relatable. It’s hysterically funny, and she is very honest about her experiences along the way.” Her anecdotes will give you a new take on life and will prove that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. 

8. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

From dumpster diving to selling vintage clothes on eBay, this book follows Sophia Amoruso as she becomes the CEO of a multimillion-dollar business. Her drive to never give up, and to never take no for an answer, proves that girls are indeed the ultimate bosses

9. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar draws readers into protagonist Esther’s mind so intensely that you can't help but feel the real and rational story. A haunting American classic, this work combines aspects of the psyche and feminism and is a book that will be hard to put down. 

10. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft

Published in 1792, this book was arguably the first great essay on feminism. Wollstonecraft beautifully explores how women acquire strength through both mind and body, posessing undeniable power. 

11. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

This essay was inspired by a series of lectures Woolf delivered at Newnham College and Girton College. Catie Deiley, a student at University at New Hampshire, says this is a personal favorite: “This basically states that if a woman wants to write or create something artistically, she needs a space she can call her own.”

12. How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Moran uses cheeky British sarcasm to call out the imbalance between men and women. She urges women of all ages to reclaim the word 'feminism,' addresses the real problems that can arise without it and discusses why the movement is so important to us all.

13. The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou

This book is perfect for anyone striving to be a better feminist. Her pieces will touch your heart and prove there’s hope for all of us in this world. 

14. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

Moran draws from her personal experiences to create both an honest and hilarious story. Her uncensored sense of humor and confessions of her youth make this a refreshingly authentic classic concerning feminism. 

15. Into the Go-Slow by Bridgett M. Davis

A finalist for the 2005 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Davis made positive noise when this title hit the stands. After an intriguing plot twist involving her sister's death, main character Angie must retrace her sibling's final steps, ultimately uncovering what type of woman she wants to be.