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Books

Michelle Obama is an inspiration to countless women, including this writer. When I found out I had been approved to cover the kick-off to her Becoming book tour in her and my home city of Chicago, I was thrilled. The night was one of candid conversation and deep reflection. We all know Michelle Obama as the former First Lady, as a former lawyer, and as a graduate of Harvard Law School and Princeton. We know about her life in the White House and the microscope she lived under for...

For writer-turned-rare-book dealer A.N. Devers, collecting and selling titles exclusively by women is her way of challenging the male-dominated literary world. “It just became very clear to me one day at a rare book fair that [book collecting] is really messed up for women,” she says. “Essentially, the whole field is male, and they’re mostly interested in books by men.” In contrast, Devers’ online bookshop and quarterly print publication, The Second Shelf (TheSecondShelf.com), offers not only a way to get your hands on tough finds by...
Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers' Rights, recently released by Verso Books, is everything I hoped it would be. This is an important read for anyone interested in feminism, labor rights, racial equality, and immigration. The book is not focused on whether or not sex work is legitimate work (it is), but rather the “assault, exploitation, arrest, incarceration, eviction, and deportation” that often comes with it. The authors, Juno Mac and Molly Smith, are both sex workers and activists. Mac works with Sex Worker Advocacy...
When I Spoke in Tongues: A Story of Faith and Its LossBy Jessica Wilbanks (Beacon Press) Raised a “Holy Roller,” author Jessica Wilbanks drew strength from her family’s exuberant church. But when her parents discovered her flirting with drinking, drugs, and girls, they staged an intervention that drove her from faith and family. Even after renouncing Christianity, however, Wilbanks found herself in college on mushrooms, speaking in tongues. This compelling debut is shaped like a search for a long-lost friend, or an examination of a...
Michelle Obama is getting candid about fertility issues. In her new memoir Becoming, the former first lady opens up about her difficult road to the birth of her two daughters, Malia and Sasha. In an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts for a special on the book, she reveals she had a miscarriage 20 years ago, and eventually turned to in vitro fertilization to conceive her daughters. “I felt lost and alone, and I felt like I failed because I didn't know how common miscarriages were, because...
If your day job in the city is keeping you from your dream of living on a farm and filling your days with crafts, cooking, and creativity, let independent magazines Taproot and Making take you there. Both are published in Maine, and you can almost smell the maple syrup boiling down, hear the fire crackling in the woodstove, and feel the warm, hand-knit socks on your feet as you leaf through page after page of gorgeous photography, sweet illustrations, and inspired instructions on things like...
Relationships and sex have been topics of discussion and subjects of art since the beginning of time. We’ve seen sex depicted in cave paintings, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Greek frescos. Due to the Christian Protestant history of the United States, our overall culture privileges heteronormative, monogamous relationships; however, things are changing. As our culture continues to shift, so do our views on what a healthy and happy relationship looks like. In Open Earth, author Sarah Mirk takes the subjects of sex, monogamy and climate change to a...
Fall is here, and love is in the air. Or, rather, fake dating is in the air. Where first To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before captured the internet’s hearts with a damn cute high-school fake dating story, followed by Sierra Burgess Is A Loser’s re-imagining of Cyrano de Bergerac with a side of catfishing, now Analee, In Real Life, the latest novel by Janelle Milanes, has arrived to give you all the dramatic irony via high-school fake dating you crave. Will those two kids...
The Periodic Table of Feminism, written by Marisa Bate, features one-page bios of a variety of women, movements, and organizations. The majority of the book focuses on authors, activists, politicians, musicians, actresses, poets, artists, and other individuals, including Sojourner Truth, bell hooks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo, and Roxane Gay. Bios are also dedicated to movements including Riot Grrrl, organizaitons including Bitch Media, and activist groups including Femen. Some of the bios are accompanied by illustrations of subjects, along with powerful quotes (One of my favorites is from Nellie McClung of...
  Faking It: The Lies Women Tell About Sex—And The Truths They RevealBy Lux Alptraum(Seal Press)        Why do women lie about sex? And do we really lie, or are our truths just misunderstood? These are questions Lux Alptraum ponders in Faking It by examining everyday untruths like lying about relationship status, lying about orgasms, and lying about being on your way when you’re really still outfit-planning. According to Alptraum, women lie to stay alive, to stay safe, and to have fun. And these lies say...