Seven Feminist Books to Read in Your Free Time

As the semester comes to a close, the question of how we will spend our free time returns to the front of our minds. Whether you’re an avid or casual reader, there are books out there worth said free time - especially if you take interest in women’s personal stories and tribulations. With the help of my fellow ladies at HerCampus ODU, I present to you a list of autobiographies and other books essential to your feminist reading agenda.

  1. 1. Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up by Naya Rivera

    From DIY hair highlights to broken relationships, former Glee star Naya Rivera details the highs and lows of her life and confesses what she is sorry, or not sorry, for. Rivera’s autobiography is the perfect blend of heartfelt and funny, while also reminding women and girls alike that mistakes of all kinds are necessary whilst navigating life and following one’s dreams.

  2. 2. Women, Race and Class by Angela Y. Davis

    Standing in as a history lesson for everyone, Women, Race and Class discusses the women’s liberation movement in America and how it has both succeeded and failed. Davis emphasizes the intersectionality of subjects like racism, gender equality, education and the workplace and sets the scene for today’s prevalent controversies.

  3. 3. Know My Name by Chanel Miller

    Predicted to become a literary classic, Know My Name is a memoir by Chanel Miller that explores her experience with sexual assault, the corruption of the justice system and how to regain one’s identity and courage in the traumatic aftermath. Miller’s story is simultaneously heartbreaking and empowering, and challenges a society bent on silencing survivors.

  4. 4. Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

    On the fiction side of things, Breasts and Eggs is a story about three women who are in the process of coming to terms with their changed and changing bodies. Kawakami touches on topics such as inner strength and women’s varying identities, as well as speaks out against the repression of women, particularly in Japan.

  5. 5. 20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-Life Women’s Guide to Balance and Direction by Christine Hassler

    Inspired by her struggles with career and identity, Christine Hassler addresses the quarter-life crises women often face when considering what it is they truly want from life. She recognizes how alone women may feel whilst in their 20s and 30s, reassures them that they aren’t, and aims to help steer them in their own directions to becoming who they are or want to be.

  6. 6. The Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography by Deborah Levy

    By sharing a variety of women’s experiences, Deborah Levy explores the ways in which women have been suppressed - and ultimately erased - for decades. She calls attention to the binding gender roles within our society, explains the cost of “breaking free” from them and inspires women to strive for change on every possible level.

  7. 7. Becoming by Michelle Obama

    Through the use of honesty and wit, former First Lady Michelle Obama reflects upon the experiences of her life that have continued to shape her. From raising two daughters to creating social change, Obama encourages everyone to defy the expectations they face and always be themselves.