Feminist Book Club: Books Every Woman Should Read

We should all be feminists, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, and what better way to dive into the world of feminist criticism, thinking and culture than with a powerful book? These novels by brilliant, bad-ass female authors provide unique, cultivated insights on not only the beliefs of feminism but the diverse, varied lives of women throughout history. Whether you’ve only just started to explore feminist literature, or you’ve read Mary Wollstonecraft’s manifesto a hundred times, these are a few books every woman should read in her lifetime.

A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf is one of the most famous female writers of the early 20th century, her work giving a voice to many of the struggles of both modern and historic women. Her lengthy essay, A Room of One’s Own explores the challenges and restrictions faced by female writers, imagining how William Shakespeare’s sister Judith was turned away from the literary society for a more conventionally feminine path.

Feminism is for EVERYBODY – Bell Hooks

Touching on the topic of intersectional feminism for the first time in popular culture, Bell Hook’s book discusses and persuades us towards complete and total equality for ALL women. Simply put, this book provided the modern definition for a united, intersectional feminism.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou

Angelou’s powerful autobiography sheds light on the hardships and challenges faced by women of colour, recounting the discrimination and oppression, the violence and sexual exploitation and strength and hope she and the women in her life had encountered.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Maybe you’ve already seen the hit tv show or heard whispers of the intensely dark dystopian book that provides a look at a world without feminism. Atwood’s iconic novel imagines a world where women are slaves to their ‘reproductive responsibilities’ and they must fight to survive and be free. Although a future dystopia, critics, and Atwood herself, have commented on the relevance of the story to the current state of women’s reproductive rights in the United States. Definitely worth a read!

The Vagina Monologues – Eve Ensler  

The play by Eve Ensler has been published as a book and, although it was first performed nearly twenty years ago, still touches on relevant topics such as sexual consent, reproduction, sex work and body image.

Bad Feminist – Roxanne Gay

One of the most influential voices of the modern feminist movement, Roxanne Gay’s collection of essays captures the essence of what it means to be a woman in today’s society. Through personal anecdotes and humorous moments in her life, she delves into why feminism is so important and what it means to be a bad feminist.

I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzia

Most of us still remember hearing about Malala Yousafzia on the news; a young girl advocating for the right of education for girls in the middle east, targeted by the Taliban for speaking out and for attending school. Her autobiography discusses her life, her passion for women’s rights, global issues and her love for school. Her book will give you an intense surge of #GIRLPOWER.

We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This short personal essay by Adichie takes us to a moment in her childhood when she was first told that being a feminist was a bad thing - yeah, right! She goes on to prove that feminism is essential for not only women but for society as a whole and tells the world why we should all be feminists.

She Caused A Riot: 100 Unknown Women Who Built Cities, Sparked Revolutions & Massively Crushed It – Hannah Jewell

This was one of my favourite summer reads this year. She Caused A Riot collection of 100 stories of women, previously unknown and unrecognized by history, who changed the courses of their lives, influenced massive events and kicked serious ass. Inspirational, educational and empowering, this book is a must-read for any woman looking for a little girl-boss inspo.

Men Explain Things to Me – Rebecca Solnit

A play on the term “Mansplaining”, Solnit’s book recounts an event every woman has experienced at least once. In a collection of essays, she tackles the power dynamics within conversations between men and women and the inequality that stems from the ignorance and assumed superiority of men.

The Power – Naomi Alderman

Alderman’s novel borrows from Atwood’s dystopian landscape but flips it on its head when she gives women the power to inflict pain, injury and even death to men simply with the snap of a finger. The Power reverses the historical dynamic of power and shows how the world would function if women possessed total control.

 

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