One of my more attainable New Year’s resolutions for 2016, was to round out my reading list, and start checking out the books every feminist should read. Rather than picking up the latest installment of the next hot dystopian young adult fiction novel (guilty), I want to read with intention. I’ve always been a bookworm, so reading more would be a bit of a copout as a New Year’s resolution. But given my tendency to pick up quick, juicy reads, reading more books that have a feminist angle absolutely qualifies as a resolution. (Not to mention it totally fits in with the rest of my feminist New Year’s resolutions.)
Whether the book is by a female author, or tells a feminist tale, there are plenty of books out there to add to your bookshelf. From fiction, to memoirs, to collections of essays, this list has it all. If you want to go one step further and sign up for a reading challenge, I recommend checking out Bustle’s reading challenge, #BustleReads. But if you don’t have the time (or the willpower) for a full challenge, try starting with one or two of the recommended below. Whether you pick up one, or all 15, keep your eye out for these empowering books on your next trip to the library. You and your feminist agenda won’t regret it.
1. 'The Feminine Mystique' By Betty Friedan
2. 'Girlboss' By Sophia Amoruso
3. 'The Joy Luck Club' By Amy Tan
Examining the unshakable bonds between mothers and daughters, The Joy Luck Club follows four mother-dughter duos as they traverse life together and apart as immigrants in San Francisco. Expertly crafted, and keeping the reader guessing at the truth of each situation, Amy Tan weaves an undeniably complex and mysterious tale that will keep you turning the pages.
4. 'Spinster' By Kate Bolick
5. 'A Room Of One's Own' By Virginia Woolf
In A Room Of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had an equally as talented sister, but who leaves an entirely different legacy behind. Diving into the subject of creative expression, and how being a woman can limit the experience, Woolf takes on the patriarchy, and remains as relevant as ever.
6. 'How To Be A Woman' By Caitlin Moran
7. 'Bad Feminist' By Roxane Gay
8. 'The Bell Jar' By Sylvia Plath
Perhaps one of the most acclaimed novels to highlight severe depression, The Bell Jar is a classic. Beautiful and harrowing, Sylvia Plath simply bestows the idea of struggling as a young woman in the reader. Reading this book is a challenge, but one you'll be glad you took on when you finish.
9. 'The Round House' By Louise Erdich
Telling the story of a boy's coming of age after a brutal, racist attack on his mother, The Round House stuns and saddens. Based on real-life statistics of racially-inspired attacks on U.S. reservations, Louise Erdich weaves a believable, heart wrenching tale of justice and understanding.
10. 'Bossypants' By Tina Fey
11. 'Fear Of Flying' By Erica Jong
12. 'Redefining Realness' By Janet Mock
With honesty and grace, Janet Mock relays what it's like to grow up poor, multiracial, and transgender in America. Redefining Realness is a beautiful window into intersectional feminism, if you find yourself grasping for more. Mock's quest to find herself is inspiring, powerful, and unapologetic.
13. 'Lean In' By Sheryl Sandberg
14. 'My Life On The Road' By Gloria Steinem
15. 'I Feel Bad About My Neck' By Nora Ephron
Nora Ephron brings her whip smart humor to the table in I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman. Wading through issues that women face as they age, the book is a perfect read for women of any age (and men too, to be honest). Whether it's menopause or wrinkles, Ephron tackles being at home in your own skin as an aging woman, and delivers a hilarious punch.
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