Rad Girls Can
From the New York Times bestselling authors of Rad Women Worldwide and Rad American Women A-Z, Rad Girls Can is a bold collection of stories about a diverse group of young women who are living rad lives, whether excelling in male-dominated sports, speaking out against injustice and discrimination, expressing themselves through dance, writing, and music, or advocating for girls around the world. Each profile is paired with the dynamic paper-cut art that made the authors’ first two books New York Times bestsellers.
A House Full of Females
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich won the Pulitzer Prize. She also gave feminists one of their most memorable catch phrases: “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” Now, in an unexpected move, she has turned her attention to women who have generally been regarded as “well-behaved,” in that they have lived within a religion that strictly disciplines their bodies. A House Full of Females looks at the origins of the Mormons through examining the debates over “plural marriage” in the period 1835-1870. Her observations about fertility patterns among Mormon women are especially revelatory in an era before the advent of many modern means of contraception.
Jane Austen, the Secret Radical
Think of “Jane Austen” and what comes to mind? Period dramas featuring polite young men and decorous women engaged in the pas de deux that is courtship? Well, prepare to have that image disrupted by Oxford professor Helena Kelly, who argues that Jane Austen held radical views that she communicated in her novels.
The Little Book of Feminist Saints
Every girl should own a copy of this marvelous compendium of illustrations and biographies of 100 of matron saints. These women’s names should be known to every person, and after enjoying this book, they will be. Whether looking for a matron saint of radicals (Kanno Sugako), or a matron saint of discovery (Lise Meitner), or more, readers will find much to delight in this book that is sure to find its way into the feminist liturgy.
Who says that feminists don’t have a sense of humor? In this ultimate collection of cocktail recipes, biographical sketches, and assorted bits of knowledge, Grashin offers a bartender’s guide with a sense of revolutionary politics and laughs. Make mine an “Emma-Gold-Manhattan.”
We Should All Be Feminists
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of sexual politics, Adichie explores what it means to be a woman now and explains why we should all be feminists. Clocking in at 64 pages, this is a one-day read that will have the impact of a lifetime.
Frankenstein: The 1818 Text
Two centuries ago, Mary Shelley composed Frankenstein and changed the world. 2018 marks the bicentennial of one of the most important novels written in English, and this book reproduces Shelley’s original 1818 text. Shelley was the daughter of one of the earliest radical feminists, Mary Wollstonecraft, who argued that women deserved full equal rights with men. Reading Frankenstein with a feminist lens is sure to heighten the marvelous experience of reading about Dr. Frankenstein’s lonely, sympathetic monster.
The Princess Diarist
Oh, Carrie. How we miss you. Each time a new revelation comes out about yet another man caught with his hands where they shouldn’t be, I think of Fisher’s response to a sexual predator: a cow tongue in a box. In her last book, Fisher recounts life on the set of the “Star Wars” movies.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.
It takes talent to cause a reader to laugh out loud, especially when relating supremely uncomfortable moments. Irby takes no prisoners in her writing about such disparate topics as scattering her estranged father’s ashes to the most awkward of awkward subjects: sexual encounters. A gift for the reader who wants to laugh as part of her revolution.
If you have ever wondered what it might be like to cross the vast Australian desert alone, this book – which was made into a 2013 film – will answer those questions. Whether you believe that such a journey is a sure suicide mission or if it’s on your bucket list, Davidson’s writing evokes heat and dust.
The Handmaid's Tale (Movie Tie-in)
An entire new generation was introduced to Atwood by Hulu’s brilliant adaptation of Atwood’s dystopian story about women forced to serve as surrogate mothers for powerful men and their wives. Offred’s story of life as controlled in America as a theocracy will keep readers up long into the night.
Big Little Lies (Movie Tie-In)
HBO’s surprise hit series chronicled the lives of women who lived among the one percent in mansions on the California beach. But inside those houses lived terrible secrets and lies that Liane Moriarty writes about with style. For anyone who has ever wondered what lies on the other side of “perfection.”
Alias Grace (Movie Tie-In Edition)
It’s impossible not to include a second work by Atwood on this list. Alias Grace, now a Netflix mini-series, is based on the true story of a young woman in Canada who went to jail for murders she may not have committed. What complicates the story is the role that gendered expectations of female behavior had on the way that Grace lived. It also demonstrates that Atwood is as comfortable telling the fictionalized stories of real women as she is imagining the lives of those in speculative fiction.
Mary Oliver has been writing her poems about nature and the soul for decades. In this collection of some of her best works, her genius shines. Oliver is a national treasure; this book demonstrates why she deserves the accolades.
As a bibliophile, I love nothing more than introducing someone to a book that I have loved and making a gift of it to them. I always hope that the recipient will love the book as much as I have, and sometimes envy that they will be experiencing the book for the first time. But matching people to books can be difficult, especially if the subjects that interest them are outside of your own favored genre or subject matter.
For the feminist book-lover in your life, consider choosing one of these selections in fields that range from history to graphic novels. This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start.
Featured image: @trendsandtolstoy via Twenty20