Ellen Orange over at See Orange has proposed a reading challenge: Feminist February. Never one to back down from a challenge, particularly one that revolves around books, I thought I’d join in.
As a fellow UK citizen, I too feel helpless in the face of the hatred coming out of the US. Trump & his cronies seem intent on taking away hard-won rights, such as access to abortion, and stirring up anti-immigration resentment. The Women’s March saw millions of people come together and stand up in the face of adversity. I think Feminist February is an excellent way to keep the momentum going, to remind us of why (and what) we fight.
What makes a book feminist? My personal definition would be fairly wide. I’m interested in any book that features women in a true light, not always painting them as maidens to be saved or as secondary, background characters to a male lead. I want strength; I want revolution. I want to read about real issues that women face, whether that’s in the form of an essay or a memoir, or a fictional story.
If you want to see which books Ellen is reading, visit her blog here. Since I’ve read most of the ones on her list, I thought I’d do my own.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I’ve been meaning to read this for a while. Adichie’s essay asks what does feminism mean today? A current, relevant question. And it’s only 99p on Kindle at the moment, so this is the perfect time to grab a copy!
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
First published in 1899, The Awakening not only shocked readers with its honest portrayal of female infidelity, but it also questions gender roles. This is the first book I’ll be reading.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
I watched the film, starring Whoopi Goldberg, a few months ago, and it made me cry. The story is brutal, harsh, yet breathtaking. I can’t wait to read the book.
Unslut by Emily Lindin
Marketed as a diary and a memoir, Unslut is described as an honest portrayal of bullying & slut-shaming. This will be great research for the book I’m currently writing, Some Girls Do.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
“One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe’s life is irrevocably transformed.” I’m not sure of the male perspective in this book, but I’ll reserve judgement until I read it.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
This has been on my to-read pile for ages. Angelou needs no introduction, nor explanation as to why she’d included in this list.
These are books that I’ve already read, but would recommend to anyone looking for a fabulous feminist book for this challenge.
Girls On Fire by Robin Wasserman
Girls On Fire was one of my books of 2016, and it’s easy to see why. This is the best kind of cult classic book. Set in the 90s, the best decade, my birth decade, and full of Nirvana, the characters in Girls On Fire are also incredibly complex. The writing is utterly captivating, chapters full of gorgeous, glorious prose. This is not YA. This is not suited for girls currently on fire; it’s for when you’re older, and still remember not only the flicker, but also the darkness around it. Girls On Fire is dark, complex, and irresistible, and it will burn you up. You can read my full review here.
What’s A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne
I described Holly Bourne as this generation’s Louise Rennison, & I stand by that review. This series is great, and particularly good for teenagers to get into.
All The Rage by Courtney Summers
Beautifully written & deeply affecting. “All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?” You can read my review here.
Alice by Christina Henry
Probably the darkest take on Alice In Wonderland you’ll ever read. “In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…”
How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran
“Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women.” Caitlin Moran’s book is hilarious and honest, describing modern life for modern women.
Will you be joining in with Feminist February? Let me know your recommendations in the comments below!