My Top Five Favorite Feminist Non-Fiction Reads of the Year

Books have always been (and still are) a safe haven for me. This has become especially true throughout 2020. This year has been a whirlwind of anxiety and worries, so using books as a temporary escape has become a comfort that I am truly grateful for. However, I really wanted to expand upon the types of books that I read. I have a tendency to only read young adult fiction, so I thought that this year was a good time to try to grow as a reader and to find new genres that I would typically stray away from. This is what led me towards developing a newfound love for nonfiction intersectional feminist novels.

As a teenager, I convinced myself that nonfiction books weren’t all that interesting or exciting. But as I traversed through different genres to take my mind off of the chaotic happenings of the year, I found that nonfiction can actually be extremely insightful as long as you find books that fit into your interests. I came across the feminist nonfiction book section in Barnes and Noble and, needless to say, I was in love. Here are a few of my favorite reads from the past year that definitely held a positive impact on me.

  1. Becoming has become one of my all-time favorite autobiographies. Former First Lady Michelle Obama describes her life growing up, going to school, and how she met and fell in love with Barack Obama. She then goes on to describe having her daughters and her eventual time in the White House. This memoir was so personal and intricate, and it truly reflects upon how inspiring Michelle is as a person. She is so genuine and honest, and the caring nature that she holds towards others truly changed me and has made me aspire towards being as good of a person as she is.

  2. One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is My Favorite Murder, a true crime comedy podcast hosted by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff. I’ve been an avid listener of this podcast for a few years now, so I was extremely excited to read through everything they had to say in this book. Georgia and Karen both wrote about their lives and the struggles they’ve gone through, such as mental health issues and struggles with addiction, and this book holds so much advice and guidance for young womxn who are trying to discover who they are.

  3. Scrabble tiles spelling "feminist"

    Chimamanda is probably most well known for her book We Should All Be Feminists (and for being featured on “***Flawless” by Beyoncé), but I think that this book isn’t talked about enough! It’s only around 80 pages long and it’s written as a letter to one of Chimamanda’s friends who asked her how to raise her daughter to be a feminist. Chimamanda offers an array of suggestions that provide a foundation for raising a powerful young womxn. It was so empowering and inspirational to read through.

  4. This book provides an open dialogue about race and institutionalized racism within the United States and I am so glad I read it. I was absolutely blown away by how good this book was. It was thought-provoking, insightful, and so educational. The way that Ijeoma wrote this book was stunning to read through, and she details the complexities of intersectionality, discrimination, white privilege, police brutality, being an ally, and more in such an effective manner. I couldn’t set the book down when I started reading it, and I genuinely think that it’s a book that everyone should read.

  5. Couple drinking coffee together

    Trigger warning for rape, sexual assault, and violence

    This book is a collection of essays that are extremely raw and real. These essays discuss rape culture openly and honestly, and I felt the impact of so many emotions as I read them. The stories featured in this collection are difficult to read through at times because of their content, but they need to be read. They discuss topics that should not be ignored any longer. The writers of these stories are extremely diverse, and the narratives they convey are powerful and haunting.

There are so many more nonfiction reads that I’m hoping to get to eventually. Books like Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World (which is an intersectional anthology edited by Kelly Jensen) and One Life (a newly released autobiography by USWNT soccer player and activist Megan Rapinoe) are definitely at the top of my to-be-read list. If you haven’t really given nonfiction books a chance, I definitely recommend picking up some of these feminist novels. These true stories are awe-inspiring and they deserve to be read.