Proving that she really is a real-life Hermione, Emma Watson announced on Twitter thsi week that she’s starting a feminist book club. Called “Our Shared Shelf,” the book club will hold monthly discussions on Goodreads with one book chosen per month. For January, it’s Gloria Steinem’s new book My Life On The Road — an excellent choice and one that made our Top 10 Books of 2015 (BTW, don’t miss our interview with Ms. Steinem about it!). We’ve rounded up 10 other books we’d love to see featured.
1. Feminism Is For Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks
On Twitter, Emma writes that bell hooks will “defo” be included later on, and we hope it’s this one! hooks introduces feminist politics in an easy-to-understand way. “Every time I leave one of these encounters, I want to have in my hand a little book so that I can say, read this book, and it will tell you what feminism is, what the movement is about,” hooks writes.
2. Americanah by Chimanada Ngozi Adichie
This novel by Nigerian author Chimanada Ngozi Adichie (whose TED Talk was featured in Beyoncé’s “***Flawless”) shows, not tells, intersectional feminism as we follow lead character Ifemelu as she moves from Nigeria to the US and back again, experiencing racism, sexism, sexual assault and, thankfully, life-changing love as well.
3. Outrageous Acts & Everyday Rebellions by Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem’s 1983 book of essays has become a feminist classic. As well as thought-provoking and brilliant, many of the essays are hilarious — like the short, satirical “If Men Could Menstruate.”
4. The Girl With The Dragon Tattooby Stieg Larsson
Larsson’s crime series has been praised for the character of Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant hacker and sexual assault survivor. It’s been called “unflinching … commonsense feminist social commentary.”
5. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
This essay collection covers topics from The Hunger Games to Sweet Valley High to Quentin Tarantino from a feminist perspective, calling on us to look at pop culture more critically while embracing our own “bad feminists.”
6. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
This comic novel follows a 15-year-old in search of her missing mother. It’s been praised for its nuanced portrayal of Bernadatte, an older woman who doesn’t fit the traditional “mother” role.
7. Zami: A New Spelling Of My Name by Audre Lorde
This 1982 “biomythography” by radical feminist and civil rights activist Audre Lorde follows her life through a feminist lens, from her childhood in Harlem, to her pre-Roe V. Wade abortion, to her coming out story and more.
8. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Over the past few years, anonymous Italian author Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels have taken the world by storm, causing #FerranteFever. The books show an intimate portrayal of a complicated friendship between two women in Naples, from childhood to their elder years.
9. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
This graphic memoir (and now a Broadway musical) confronts gender roles, coming out, abuse and mental illness as Bechdel tells the story of her relationship with her father, a closeted gay man who committed suicide, and her own struggle with her sexual identity.
10. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This dystopian novel is a sci-fi AND a feminist classic. Set in a near future where a Christian theocracy has overthrown the government and controls women’s bodies, it’s just as relevant today as it was in 1985.
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