Donna Woolfolk Cross
For a thousand years, her existence has been denied. She is the legend that will not die: Pope Joan, the ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female ever to sit on the throne of St. Peter. In this riveting novel, Donna Woolfolk Cross paints a sweeping portrait of an unforgettable heroine who struggles against restrictions her soul cannot accept.
The Woman Who Would Be King
Hatshepsut—the daughter of a general who usurped Egypt’s throne and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty—was born into a privileged position in the royal household, and she was expected to bear sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her improbable rule as a cross-dressing king. At just over 20, Hatshepsut ascended to the rank of pharaoh in an elaborate coronation ceremony that set the tone for her spectacular reign as co-regent with Thutmose III, the infant king whose mother Hatshepsut out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne.
Prayers for the Stolen
Ladydi Garcia Martínez is fierce, funny, and smart. She was born into a world where being a girl is a dangerous thing. Here in the shadow of the drug war, bodies turn up on the outskirts of the village. School is held sporadically, when a volunteer can be coerced away from the big city for a semester. In Guerrero the drug lords are kings, and mothers disguise their daughters as sons; when that fails, they “make them ugly”—cropping their hair, blackening their teeth—anything to protect them from the grasp of the cartels. Despite it all, Ladydi tells a story of friendship, family, hope, and determination.
“Whom to marry, and when will it happen—these two questions define every woman’s existence.” So begins Spinster, a revelatory and slyly erudite look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why she—along with over 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing—remains unmarried.
The Underground Girls of Kabul
At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America’s longest war. Divided into four parts, the book follows four girls practicing—for different reasons—bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as “dressed up like a boy”). The Underground Girls of Kabul charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere.
In 2013, the New York Times published an obituary for Yvonne Brill. It began: “She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job, and took eight years off from work to raise three children.” It wasn’t until the second paragraph that readers discovered why the Times had devoted several hundred words to her life: Brill was a brilliant rocket scientist who invented a propulsion system to keep communications satellites in orbit, and had recently been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The obituary—and its subsequent outcry—raised the questions: who are the role models for today’s female scientists, and where can we find the stories that cast them in their full light?
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
On a Farther Shore
Elegantly written and meticulously researched, On a Farther Shore reveals a shy yet passionate woman more at home in the natural world than in the literary one that embraced her. William Souder also writes sensitively of Carson’s romantic friendship with Dorothy Freeman and of Carson’s death from cancer in 1964. This extraordinary new biography of the author of Silent Spring captures the essence of one of the great reformers of the 20th century.
No Higher Honor
No Higher Honor takes the reader into secret negotiating rooms where the fates of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Lebanon often hung in the balance, and it draws back the curtain on how frighteningly close all-out war loomed in several parts of the globe. Surprisingly candid in her appraisals of various administration colleagues and the hundreds of foreign leaders with whom she dealt, Rice also offers keen insight into how history actually proceeds.
She's Not There
Jennifer Finney Boylan
By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Jennifer Finney Boylan explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of family. Told in Boylan’s fresh voice, She’s Not There is about a person bearing and finally revealing a complex secret. As James evolves into Jennifer in scenes that are by turns tender, startling, and witty, a marvelously human perspective emerges on issues of love, sex, and the fascinating relationship between our physical and intuitive selves.
I Shall Be Near to You
Erin Lindsay McCabe
Rosetta doesn’t want her new husband, Jeremiah, to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they’ll be able to afford their own farm someday. When Jeremiah leaves, Rosetta decides her true place is by his side, no matter what that means, and follows him into war. Rich with historical details and inspired by the many women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is a courageous adventure, a woman’s search for meaning and individuality, and a poignant story of enduring love.
HRC offers a rare look inside the merciless Clinton political machine, as Bill Clinton handled the messy business of avenging Hillary’s primary loss while she tried to remain above the partisan fray. Exploring her friendships and alliances with Robert Gates, David Petraeus, Leon Panetta, Joe Biden, and the president himself, Allen and Parnes show how Hillary fundamentally transformed the State Department through the force of her celebrity and her unparalleled knowledge of how power works in Washington. Filled with deep reporting and immersive storytelling, this is a remarkable portrait of one of the most important female politician in American history.
The People of Forever Are Not Afraid
Yael, Avishag, and Lea grow up together in a tiny Israeli village, attending a high school made up of caravan classrooms, passing notes to each other to alleviate the universal boredom of teenage life. When they’re conscripted into the army, their lives change in unpredictable ways, influencing the women they become and the friendship they struggle to sustain. Yael trains marksmen and flirts with boys. Avishag stands guard, watching refugees throw themselves at barbed-wire fences. Lea, posted at a checkpoint, imagines the stories behind the familiar faces that pass by her. They gossip about boys and whisper of an ever more violent world just beyond view. They drill, constantly, for a moment that may never come. They live inside that single, intense second just before danger erupts.
I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced
Nujood Ali’s childhood came to an abrupt end in 2008 when her father arranged for her to be married to a man three times her age. With harrowing directness, Nujood tells of abuse at her husband’s hands and of her daring escape. With the help of local advocates and the press, Nujood obtained her freedom—an extraordinary achievement in Yemen, where almost half of all girls are married under the legal age. Nujood’s courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has inspired other young girls in the Middle East to challenge their marriages. Hers is an unforgettable story of tragedy, triumph, and courage.
March is Women’s History Month, and we have some titles to inspire you. Our collection includes an alchemy of fiction and nonfiction, featuring women with various backgrounds, unique viewpoints, and riveting stories. So celebrate the strong, smart, defiant women in your life—including yourself!—and pick up one of these fantastic reads.
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