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5 Books by Female Authors You Should Add to Your Reading List

5 Books by Female Authors You Should Add to Your Reading List

If you’re looking to broaden your horizons in terms of feminist literature, start with these books. They each offer different perspectives of the female experience and allow readers to reconsider and reflect upon the similarities and differences they share with the characters within their own lives.

 

1. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

“Set in the near future, Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel follows the story of Offred, a young handmaid to a powerful commander, who is a lynchpin in a totalitarian Christian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. What unfolds is a story of female subjugation at the hands of a male dictatorship, and the desperate hope of a young woman who clings to the memories of her former life and identity. As unpleasant as it is brilliant, this cruel and bone-chilling story will stay with you for the rest of your life - not just because it’s terrifying, but because it’s terrifyingly possible.” - The Evening Standard

2. We Should All be Feminists, Chimanda Ngozi Adichie

“The novelist, poet, and essayist's 2012 TEDx talk of the same name was adapted into this excellent 64-page book, in which she deftly does away with the canard that using the word "feminism" isn't necessary: "Some people ask: 'Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?' Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general - but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and problems of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.” - Buzzfeed

3. Bossypants, Tina Fey

“A really interesting book by Tina Fey, giving details about her growing up and her experiences as she worked on various shows such as 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live. Unlike Steve Martin in “Born Standing Up” — another comic’s memoir criticized as insufficiently personal — Fey doesn’t say much about what she thinks is funny or why. But, then, this isn’t really a book about the making of a comedian; it’s a book about the making of a woman. (In fact, after one particularly graphic feminine-hygiene analogy, there is a brief authorial pause during which Fey thanks any hapless male who may be reading for buying the book.) The indignities of budding female sexuality are nothing if not absurd — at least in retrospect — and Fey can’t resist lingering over them.” - The Washington Post

4. Ain’t I A Woman? Bell Hooks

“In Ain’t I a Woman? African-American writer and feminist bell hooks questioned why second-wave feminism only seemed interested in the gains of white middle-class women, and didn't include women of color, queer women, and women with disabilities. Her landmark work looked at negative stereotypes waged against women of color, and argued for feminism to recognize diversity. Ain't I a Woman still remains relevant today, as the push for intersectionality in the feminist movement continues, and strives to recognize different experiences of womanhood.” - Complex 

5. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

“Although some associate Sylvia Plath’s only novel The Bell Jar with angsty adolescent girls, much of its appeal is in the way it brilliantly captures the experience of being a disillusioned woman in 1950s America. With its terse language and unapologetic tone, The Bell Jar shows how women back then were expected to sacrifice their careers and artistic ambitions to pursue a life that left many trapped under a “bell jar.”” - Complex