March is women's history month, so in honor of that, here are some books by and about women that I think are worth reading. As always, it benefits everyone to read widely and diversely, outside your own experiences. Because of deeply entrenched prejudice in the publishing industry, the most space is given to white men, so when you read a book by a woman by checking a book out from the library, downloading an audiobook, buying one from your bookstore or from amazon, etc, you're giving voice and power to those who haven't given, and still aren't given, an equal shot, so it does matter very much.
Additionally, there's a difference between sympathy and empathy, and reading is a great way to gain empathy towards people who's hurt or struggles you may not agree with or understand. So have a look at what you've read lately, and try to extend it a little. It's a good exercise to do all year long. and has been incredibly eye opening to me as I've worked on this in my own reading life.
Here are some recommendations:
Bad Feminist, by Roxanne Gay - I LOVE Roxanne Gay's lyrical, yet no-nonsense approach to everything she writes about. This collection of essays was one of the first things I read that broadened my understanding and went right up to the idea that you can like something that is problematic, and what does it mean to have both of those feelings at once? Highly recommend this collection. Need my own copy to read again and underline.
Convenience Store Woman: a memoir, by Sayaka Murata - Fascinating and strange and lovely. This is a tender and eye-opening memoir about a woman who just wants to be a good convenience store clerk and the pitfalls and struggles she endures in trying to maintain a tidy and focused life. Nothing like you're expecting and you won't forget it.
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death, by Maggie O'Farrell - An incredible account of near death experiences the author wrote to demonstrate bravery to her daughter. Terrifying, moving, and empowering this book made me angry, made me cry, and inspired me to live better.
Goodbye, Vitamin, by Rachel Khong - One of my favorites of the past several years, this novel deals with a year of a woman's life when she goes back home to help her parents as her father deals with Alzheimer's. It is beautifully saturated with feeling but as sparse as poetry. I LOVE this book and hope you'll read it.
The Woman Next Door, by Yewande Omotoso - This is like Golden Girls, but woke, and without the laugh track. It's another one of the best books I've read in the past several years and I think it deserves more recognition. It's phenomenal and deals with race, friendship, aging, and life in a way that I haven't encountered much, but hope to see more often. Please go read it. It's SO good.
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, by Jenny Lawson - Lawson is incredibly honest about her struggles with mental illness. This is her second book about her own experience and it is hilarious and poignant and it made me feel validated and gave me language and perspective for something that seems to be so difficult to talk about. I cried so hard, and laughed so hard, reading this. If you struggle with any type of anxiety or depression I recommend it. If you know someone who struggles with anxiety or depression (and you most likely do), read this. It's sooooooo good (*note: If I remember right, there's a significant amount of language in this book but I thought it was important enough, and often funny enough, that it didn't bother me, but I think some people would appreciate a heads up about that).
Anything by Agatha Christie, Tana French, Jane Harper, Phoebe Robinson, Louise Penny, Martha Wells, Vivien Chien, or Kate Morton.
So many good books! If you ever need or want a more personalized recommendation, email me! I live for that stuff. Happy Reading!
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