My Obnoxiously Feminist List of Must-Reads
Some book recommendations that put your unspoken thoughts, questions, and feelings into print
By: Anna McClean
I was an avid reader in middle school, but somewhere between then and now, I went from completing a 700-page book a week to barely getting through 10 pages of assigned text. Last year, however, I did my annual re-discovering of Brookline Booksmith and left the store with a hefty stack of literature, which I have been plowing my way through since.
To start off on a light note, the first book I picked up was “How To Date Men When You Hate Men” by Blythe Roberson, a young comedy writer. Although this book was not exactly the how-to I was hoping for, it is definitely entertaining and relatable as Roberson discusses her experiences, thoughts, and opinions of today’s dating realm in a casual and funny way.
My next recommendation is “Black Women Writers at Work,” which is a compilation of interviews with well-known names edited by Claudia Tate. Last semester, we read a Toni Morrison novel in one of my elective classes (which I am ashamed to admit was the first time I had heard of her), so when I saw her name listed on the cover of this book alongside Maya Angelou and Sonia Sanchez, I just had to get it. This book gives insight into the minds of 14 brilliant authors and poets and was by far the most engaging Q&A I have ever read.
Although my bell hooks bookmark currently resides on page 26, I will definitely finish reading “Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive” by Kristen J. Sollee before this article is even published. Learning about the history of misogyny through the lens of witchcraft is so fascinating to me and also pretty empowering (to this day, I’m not, not convinced I have magical powers).
“The Future Generation” by China Martens would have to be my next draft pick. This Zine-Book that I got off the clearance shelf for $4.99 at Harvard Book Store has the aesthetic that I wish I could achieve in my own personal journal. It explores parenthood in the 1990s from the perspective of a young punk mother with a young daughter, making for an engaging read even for someone like myself who has very little interest in ever having children. The structure and tone of “The Future Generation” helped me remember that parents weren’t always parents and this is just as much their first time doing the whole life thing as it is ours.
Last but not least, I have to honor my late-elementary and early-middle school self by including the graphic memoir “Tomboy” by Liz Prince. This book was practically my religion in that it so clearly spoke to my feelings and interests at the time. It is no longer the exact reflection of my experiences that it used to be because the only-shops-in-the-boys-section preteen to “hi Barbie” 20-year-old pipeline is just about the strongest and most consistent thing this world has ever known. However, the book is still worth mentioning because its themes of self-discovery and youth are relevant to everyone regardless of gender identity.
As I have a pile of books in this category that I have yet to read, including “Brujas: The Magic and Power of Witches of Color” and “The Right To Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century,” I’m sure there will eventually be a part two to this article. But in the meantime, I highly recommend you check out some of these amazing books!