Around this time last year, I was just a wee freshman new to Her Campus Kenyon, and one of my first articles was “The Best of Feminist Literature.” While I stand by my original choices, it occurred to me while recently rereading the article that there were several fantastic works of literature that I left out. Some books simply slipped my mind, while others did not enter my life until this year. Below are eight additions to my previously list, enjoy!
How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
I am genuinely ashamed of myself for failing to include How To Be a Woman the first time I wrote this article. Moran, a British journalist and broadcaster, does not hold back on the humor when she gets real on the struggles of womanhood, both personal and universal. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs a good laugh, a good cry, a good crying laugh, or all of the above.
Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy
I read Headscarves and Hymens over the summer and it instantly became a favorite of mine. Although not a light read, it was a quick one; Elthaway is very honest about the overt sexism that exists in the Middle East, and the inclusion of personal anecdotes and stories of other women makes it an experience of intimate storytelling between the writer and the reader.
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
This is probably not the first time you’ve heard someone rave about Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey–Kaur’s poetry is famous for its realness, retrospectiveness, and relatability. Kaur’s poetry subtly comments on public and personal issues of both the past and the present in the most simple, beautiful way. Her writing focuses not only on problematic issues, but also on life’s most positive experiences such as love and healing.
Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions from a Writing Life by Kim Addonizio
Bukowski in a Sundress is another book that came into my life recently that made me fall in love instantly. As a woman and aspiring writer, I found Addonizio’s hilarious account of the struggles of being a woman, a mother, and a writer, an inspiring read.
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Many debate that this work of fiction, written by a man, is not a very feminist piece of literature. Although a tragic story, I found this riveting novel about young women grappling for control of their own lives to be an incredible story that touches on many issues young women face today in an a way that is both empowering and heartbreaking.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
This book was assigned as my summer reading between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, and it remains to this day one of my favorite pieces of required reading. The Joy Luck Club is told from the perspective of several women, young and old, dealing with the struggles of being an Asian woman in the United States.
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
A Room of One’s Own was another summer reading assignment, but my experience reading it was the opposite of that of The Joy Luck Club. As a high school junior eager to finish my summer reading, I failed to fully appreciate A Room of One’s Own until I came to college and started studying Women’s and Gender Studies and English, to both of which Woolf is a significant figure. A Room of One’s Own emphasizes the importance of individuality and intellectuality for women, at a time when many people argued the opposite.
Although I’m sure that I’ll have a plethora of additions to make at this time next year, for the time being these are my additions to my list of the best feminist literature. Get reading!
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