Megan Rapinoe, Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women’s World Cup champion, has become a galvanizing force for social change; here, she reflects on the choices she has made, her victories and her failures, and embarks on a thoughtful discussion of her personal journey into social justice, urging all of us to take up the mantle, with actions big and small, to continue the fight for equality.
The Golden Cage
Faye arrives in Stockholm as a young woman and makes a life for herself essentially out of nothing. She gets into a prestigious business school where she meets Chris and Jack, her best friend and soon-to-be husband, respectively. Faye also comes up with the idea for the business she and Jack build—though he takes the credit. When the business takes off, they marry, have a baby, and Faye finds herself a wealthy woman, but one who stays home all day, bored and lonely. Until, that is, she discovers her husband’s affair. When they divorce, she begins plotting her revenge.
The Gifts of Imperfection: 10th Anniversary Edition
For over a decade, Brené Brown has found a special place in our hearts as a gifted mapmaker and a fellow traveler. That all started with The Gifts of Imperfection, which is now available in hardcover for the first time. The book is filled with effective daily practices that are the ten guideposts to wholehearted living and a chance to say “My story matters because I matter.”
In present-day New York City, co-working spaces are in, and none is quite as buzzy as The Herd, a space exclusively for women and other marginalized genders. With its trademark purple H-E-R in the name, a waiting list as long as a Manhattan block to get in, and the charismatic founder Eleanor, The Herd is the place to be for someone seeking mentorship, a creative boost, and empowerment. Which is just what journalist Katie needs after her last book fell through. When Eleanor goes missing, Katie and her adopted sister, Hana, head of The Herd’s PR, find themselves unexpectedly involved.
Southern Lady Code
Helen Ellis is back with a raucous essay collection that will have you in stitches. Southern Lady Codes, which Alabama-raised Ellis is well-trained in, include the subtle art of being both honest and tactful. For instance, saying “if it happens, it happens,” is how to tell people you don’t actually want kids. In 23 brief essays, Ellis mocks various cultural trends, such as tidying, while also falling prey to the trends herself (she loves the Container Store); shares hilarious tips for maintaining a fun-loving marriage; and irreverently keeps her Southern attitudes alive even as she lives in the urban jungle of New York City.
If I Had Your Face
Kyuri and Miho are roommates in Seoul with very different jobs: Kyuri, with a face hard-won through plastic surgeries, works as a drinking companion to wealthy businessmen; Miho is an artist recently back from studying in New York and hoping to rise on the beauty of her work rather than her face. Down the hall are their friends Ara, who works as a hairdresser, and Sujin, who is saving up for plastic surgeries like Kyuri’s. These four women, and married Wonna a floor away, struggle with the expectations placed on them as women in financially precarious times.
Decisions and Dissents of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
2020 will, among other things, be remembered as the year we lost Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Give the woman in your life the trailblazing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her own words. This collection incorporates her most essential writings on gender equality and women’s rights, reproductive health care, and voting and civil rights, including key concurrences, dissents, and selected writings by Justice Ginsburg—sure to inspire every reader to fight for what they believe in.
In this bold critique, Cornell philosopher Kate Manne offers a radical new framework for understanding misogyny. In clear, lucid prose, Manne shows how privileged men’s sense of entitlement—to sex, yes, but more insidiously to admiration, care, bodily autonomy, knowledge, and power—is a pervasive social problem with often devastating consequences. She argues that male entitlement can explain a wide array of phenomena, from mansplaining and the undertreatment of women’s pain to mass shootings by incels and the seemingly intractable notion that women are “unelectable.” Moreover, Manne implicates each of us in toxic masculinity: It’s something we all perpetuate, conditioned as we are by the social and cultural mores of our time. The only way to combat it, she says, is to expose the flaws in our default modes of thought while enabling women to take up space, say their piece, and muster resistance to the entitled attitudes of the men around them.
All My Mother's Lovers
“Maggie is in the midst of a second lazy orgasm when her brother, Ariel, calls to tell her their mother has died.” So begins the highly anticipated debut novel from Read it Forward contributor Ilana Masad. Bereft and compelled to better understand her mother, who never accepted her daughter’s sexuality, Maggie follows the siren call of five sealed envelopes included in her mother’s will, each addressed to a mysterious man. Discovering her mother’s second, secret life upends Maggie’s world, including her budding relationship with Lucia—the first person to whom Maggie’s ever felt truly committed.
The Knockout Queen
Meet Bunny: 6-foot-3, blond, with rock-hard abs and Olympic aspirations. Meet Michael, her new next-door neighbor: shorter than Bunny (like most people), long-haired, septum-pierced, gay, closeted. Michael has just moved in with his aunt after his mom was imprisoned for stabbing his violent dad; Bunny’s mom is dead, and her dad’s alcoholism is getting harder to hide. They can’t fix what’s happening to their families, but they can strike up a friendship as two semi-weirdos trying to fit in amongst the normies. But soon, another act of violence occurs that will define them both for years to come.
In the tradition of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, this provocative novel features a young woman who’s retreated to her new husband Max Winter’s opulent estate in the Hamptons after a whirlwind romance. But there are mysteries upon mysteries in her new home, including the strange antagonism that Max’s daughter displays toward her, and she must figure out what’s really going on—before the Winters’ secrets spell her end.
Louisa Clark still hasn’t quite gotten over Will’s death, as depicted in Me Before You, but she’s ready to start living life on her own terms again. She’s moved to the U.S. and is living high-class with her new job. But when someone reminiscent of Will shows up in Lou’s life, she must decide who the real Lou is, and what exactly she wants.
It’s hard to overstate Michelle Obama’s influence on the nation during her eight years as the First Lady. Now that she’s once again a private citizen, she’s written an honest and candid memoir about her childhood, adulthood, and time in the White House, chronicling her greatest successes—but also her failures, and how they’ve shaped her.
We’ve heard a lot about the women who’ve changed history, but often ladies and nonbinary people from marginalized communities are sidelined when it comes to the credit they’re due. Now, this book takes 70 activists—people of color, people who are disabled, who are queer and trans—and gives them back their rightful place in our history.
Shakespeare's Sonnets, Retold
William Shakespeare’s sonnets are some of the most beautiful poems in the world, but the English they’re written in can be difficult to understand. That’s why James Anthony has taken Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets and rewritten them in a more accessible modern-day English, delivering a beautiful collection of love poems that make a romantic gift.
The Girl Before
Jane’s ready to start fresh, so a move to a new place seems like just what she needs. She finds a gorgeous house, one in which the architect charges low rent but has strange restrictions on what the tenant can and can’t do. But when Jane discovers that the previous tenant looked remarkably like herself and died under mysterious circumstances, she begins to wonder what’s really going on around her.
What If This Were Enough?
This striking essay collection confronts our culture’s materialism head-on, as writer Heather Havrilesky discusses our pursuit of new products and technology. She makes the case that this will lead to a shallow future, one that will never be satisfying, and advocates instead for rejecting products in favor of living in the current moment—and accepting that it’s enough.
The Independent Woman
Simone de Beauvoir
This collection contains excerpts from The Second Sex, a groundbreaking modern classic first published in 1949 that confronted the inequality between men and women, and the ways women are othered in society. Now, The Independent Woman takes three chapters from The Second Sex that look at practical steps to cultivate a more equal society.
The Flight Attendant
When Cassandra wakes up next to a dead man after a night of binge-drinking with no memory of what happened, she begins to lie. She lies to her fellow flight attendants, she lies to the authorities, she lies to everyone. After all, it’s better than the truth: she has no idea what happened, and she’s starting to wonder if she’s guilty of this terrible crime.
Waiting for Eden
Eden Malcolm is trapped within his own mind in a hospital bed. But when he begins to wake up and find a way to communicate, he discovers the world around him has changed. He’s far away from the war, and he’s not sure if his marriage is as stable as he once thought. In his new state, he begins to meditate on life—and wonders what makes a life worth living.
Looking for great books for women? You’re in the right place. If there’s an important woman in your life, you know it can be trying to find the perfect gift for her. Even if she’s relatively easy to shop for, how will you find something that conveys the depth of your feelings and how important she is to you? Inspirational books for women are able to do that and so much more, which is why they make wonderful gifts. Whether the woman you’re shopping for is an avid reader or only occasionally picks up a book, there’s a read on this list that will suit her to a tee. And, if you’re looking for other great ideas for books for women, check out these 17 Books with Fierce Female Protagonists.
Featured Image: Chelsea Fone