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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

The month of March is acknowledged as Women’s History Month, and one way that I can personally connect with my feminine side is through reading. So many phenomenal women authors exist, and each one is able to articulate specific aspects of being a woman. There are books on motherhood, youth, marriage, and being in school. Each book tells a different story; embracing each facet of femininity that is able to come together to form a unique experience.

Joan is okay by weike wang

This Indie Next book zeroes in on how a career can be an essential part of your life. It follows Joan, a thirty-something ICU doctor working in New York City. After the death of her father, she starts to view her relationship with everything around her in a different light. Her bosses think she’s overworked, but it’s one of the only things keeping her afloat. This book is a candid, slightly awkward story that really struck a chord in me as I consider what career I potentially want to pursue in the future.

the Once and future witches by alix e. harrow

This fantasy novel is about three sisters in a world where magic — actual, true magic — reigns and is only permitted for housekeeping and domestic chores. This story ties in so many real-life themes, and especially sheds light on sisterhood. These sisters work together after years apart to discover what’s making the city roll and thunder under their feet. As someone who fights with my sister in the same breath as asking her to go to Target with me, this story did a really good job of making their relationships so honest and relatable that I forced both my mom and sister to read it and agree with me.

northern spy by flynn berry

In this mystery thriller, Tessa is working for the BBC in Northern Ireland when she sees her sister on the news, in a ski mask, robbing a convenience store with the IRA. This leads to a police investigation, and turmoil within Tessa herself. Throughout the novel Tessa must combat her worry for her sister with protection for her young son, providing a great inside look into the ties that bind families together. This fresh look at motherhood really shows how far a mother is willing to go for her son, and how far a sister is willing to go for her sister.

at the water’s edge by sarah gruen

This historical fiction is set during World War II, where Philadelphia socialite Maddie and her husband Ellis (along with Ellis’s best friend Hank) are exiled, and Ellis drags them to Scotland to find the Loch Ness Monster. While there, Maddie begins to reevaluate her marriage to Ellis and forms friendships with the girls working at the local Inn. This title definitely encompasses romance and provides a rather thrilling story of a lady just trying to get some satisfaction in this world.

the secret to superhuman strength by alison bechdel

Now, this is the only graphic novel on the list and doubles as a memoir for the author as she details stages of her life with different modes of exercise she was obsessed with. Funny, candid, and painfully relatable at some points, she tells how as she ages she must find new ways to exercise her body and mind. Through relationships, family drama, college, and what comes next, this graphic novel made me actually laugh out loud at some points and tear up at others. A great memoir, especially for those of us who are exercise-inclined.

Each of these titles provides an intimate view into different points in life. From romance to family to aging gracefully, there are so many different parts to femininity that fiction rarely taps into. Maybe the books that fill this criterion aren’t marketed as such, or maybe this isn’t a tapped market. Either way, there are so many different stories about so many different experiences, and the more that are written, the more advanced we will get.

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Fiona MacLaughlin

U Mass Amherst '24

Fiona is a sophomore Nature Resources Conservation major and Forestry concentration student at University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is originally from Newtown Square, PA and enjoys books, conversations about books, and long walks on the beach.