Feminist Non-Fiction Recent Reads

Hungry to learn more about feminism and feminist topics? Here are some of my recent reads that are highly recommended for your bookshelf.

  1. Big Girls Don’t Cry by Rebecca Traister. A look at the 2008 presidential election through a feminist lens. Why do feminists love or hate Hillary Clinton? What does Sarah Palin’s bid say about the state of feminism in politics? What was accomplished and how far do we have to go for how the media treats women in politics? This book will make you angry, but it will also make you think.
  2. The End of Men by Hanna Rosin. She examines the decline of men from an economics perspective and the rise of women. There are some fascinating anecdotes and chapters—for example did you know that the once purely masculine field of pharmacy is now dominated by women? Important book for your library, but do be aware that it has some issues including an over-emphasis on ‘hook-up’ culture.
  3. The Birth of The Pill by Jonathan Eig. What led to the creation of the oral contraceptive? Why haven’t there been many advances in this science? This book provides a thorough and engaging look at this important scientific discovery and will make you understand the battles fought to even reach the current reality of family planning and sexual health in the U.S.
  4. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. Gay is my favorite cultural critic. She takes a look at pop-culture touchstones and considers why they’re problematic for women, why they’re popular in the first place, and why she likes them even as a feminist. She is funny, poignant, and a must-read. She doesn’t put feminism on an altar, but shows how important it is to critically engage with the books, movies, and artists that you love from a feminist perspective.
  5. Unspeakable Things by Laurie Penny. She takes a look at gender and power in the 21st century through a series of essays. These are at times heart-breaking, but necessary reads.
  6. Missoula by Jon Krakauer. This is an enraging, upsetting, powerful book about the difficult topic of rape in a small college town. Between 2008 and 2012 there were 350 reported sexual assaults in Missoula. Krakauer investigates rape culture, how rape victims are treated in the justice system, and by academic institutions. If you ever wonder why so many sexual assaults go unreported, this book will enlighten you.
  7. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott. This historical account looks at 4 female historical figures on both sides of the Civil War. During a time period where we know a lot about the men who made history, but very little about the women who influenced events–Abbott spotlights: a woman who dresses as a man and becomes a solider in the Union army, a Southern Belle who uses her wiles to aid the Confederates, a woman who led a spy ring, and a woman who organized prison escapes and other countermeasures in the South. This book reads like a historical adventure novel and really shows that truth can be stranger than fiction.
  8. Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff. Speaking of historical feminist non-fiction, I would be remiss in not including Stacy Schiff. She peels back the myths that surround Cleopatra to reveal her political genius, her affairs, and her leadership. A great look at one of the most powerful and mysterious female historical icons of ancient times.
Feminist Non-Fiction Recent Reads

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

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Digby is trouble with a capital ‘T.’ Ever since his sister disappeared, he has been obsessed with solving the mystery even if it means breaking the law. When another girl goes missing in River Heights he’s convinced that the two disappearances are related and goes on a reckless, hilarious, and dangerous quest to solve the case.

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Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

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There is too much banter in a lot of young adult fiction. I blame Joss Whedon. Brennan has to be a Buffy fan, you can tell it with the pointless jokes during crises, conversations that go nowhere and a group of friends who might as well be the Scooby gang.

I liked Buffy, but so many people are trying to write this way that some are bound to fail.

So. Much. Banter.

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Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Defending Jacob by William Landay

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A teenager is found stabbed to death next to a New England wooded bike trail. Andy Barber, Assistant District Attorney, gets the call and rushes to the scene of the crime. He’s all the more eager to catch the killer when he discovers that the victim is his son’s classmate. However, when Jacob is implicated as a possible suspect, Andy is taken off the case and he must consider the worse while trying to keep his family from imploding.

Defending Jacob is an interesting blend of thriller, mystery, courtroom drama, and family drama. I love it when stories defy genre. It often makes for more complex and interesting stories.

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Defending Jacob by William Landay

Are You Checking Me Out?

Despite the Holiday Book Haul and recently purchased books and another (unseen below) pile of library books, I couldn’t resist returning to the library.

Possible New Year’s Resolution? Read the books I have.

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List from top-down:

  1. Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace
  2. Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
  3. Crooked by Austin Grossman
  4. Father of the Rain by Lily King
  5. The Visitors by Sally Beaumon
  6. Kitchens of the Great Midwest  by J. Ryan Stradal [In my defense, I recently finished this one]
  7. Browsings by Michael Dirda
  8. Passionate Minds by David Bodanis
Are You Checking Me Out?

A Year in Reading

This year, Goodreads did a wonderful infographic for each subscriber that summarizes their year in reading. The infographic is visually appealing, displaying the book covers for all of the books you have read that year, but it also shows you:

  • Longest Book If asked, I would not have guessed that the longest book I read this year was Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, just over 500 pages. I tore through this book quickly. This year, I consumed a lot of shorter fiction and genre fiction than in previous years. The book-stops that frequented book media did not attract my attention. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara was recommended by all of my trusted book news outlets, but its premise of a group of friends growing up in New York City and its promise of abuse and tragedy did not interest me.
  • Shortest Book Lumberjanes was the shortest book, not a surprise because it is a graphic novel.
  • Most Popular and Least Popular categories were the most interesting—breaking down the number of readers for the year of 2015. Vampire Academy a young adult vampire novel had more than 600,000 readers this year, while Alaya Dawn Johnson’s prohibition-era vampire novel Wicked City only had 141 readers. Novels have surprisingly short shelf lives before they become out of print and hard to find. Johnson has recently written popular young adult fiction, but her past forays into paranormal adult fiction are not remembered. This is a shame because she is a creative writer tackling popular subjects with fresh takes. More people should read her.
  • Highest Rated Saga Vol. 2 was the highest rated with 4.5 average stars. The Saga series by Brian Vaughn is so good. It’s hard to believe that the most powerful and groundbreaking graphic novels are by the same person. Vaughn is also the author of Y: The Last Man. It’s encouraging to see graphic novels reach this level of complexity, popularity, and sophistication.

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A Year in Reading

Holiday Book Haul!

Hope you had a holiday filled with books and chocolate. I was so fortunate to be gifted with many books this Christmas.

Usually, the curse of being a bookworm is that people are afraid to give you books. This is a shame; don’t be afraid! Gift the books! Even if already read, they can still be enjoyed either through a re-read or by sharing the gift with someone else who would appreciate it. There are tons of lists out there and sources to help people decide what to buy for their bookish friends and family.

This year, I cheated and created a holiday book list on Goodreads in order to leave non-subtle hints to my family and friends.

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Holiday Book Haul!