Here Are 12 Inspiring Books To Read In Celebration Of Women's History Month
Celebrate women's achievements and learn about unique female experiences through these prodigious novels.
In honor of Women's History Month, we've put together a list of book recommendations that celebrate and honor the achievements of women. These novels by female authors, highlight various stories and experiences of all kinds of women over the world. These inspiring books highlight the accomplishments, but also the pains of women from various walks of life. Thank you to Bookshop.org for highlighting these novels, and offering readers a way to buy books while supporting local and small bookstores! From June Jordan's Civil Wars, a meditation on the private and public fault lines which divide American society, to We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival: Essays on Sex Work and Survival, this list has all the best books to crack open this Women's History Month... or anytime!!
Before you continue, we'd like to let you know that this post may contain affiliate links. Meaning if you click through and make a purchase, we might receive a small portion of the profit. Support our editorial work by supporting these authors!
1. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name: A Biomythography
About the Author: The author, writer, activist, and mother of two, Audre Lorde grew up in 1930s Harlem. Many of her experiences are highlighted in this novel. In 1992, Lorde died of cancer at the age of 58, however, her memory and voice live on throughout her twelve amazing novels.
About the Book: "ZAMI is a fast-moving chronicle. From the author's vivid childhood memories in Harlem to her coming of age in the late 1950s, the nature of Audre Lorde's work is cyclical. It especially relates the linkage of women who have shaped her . . . Lorde brings into play her craft of lush description and characterization. It keeps unfolding page after page." --Off Our Backs
2. Civil Wars
About the Author: June Jordan (1936-2002) was a writer, activist, and educator. Her unique works blended together various art forms from poetry and essays, to fiction. An example of her work that's especially inspiring is the our recommendation, which examines "the private and public fault lines which divide American society".
About the Book: "In Civil Wars, June Jordan's battleground is the intersection of private and public reality, which she explores through a blending of personal reflection and political analysis. From journal entries on the line between poetry and politics and a discussion of language and power in White versus Black English, to First Amendment issues, children's rights, Black studies, American violence, and sexuality, Jordan documents the very personal ways in which she meshes with the social issues of modern-day life in this country."
3. Women and Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology
About the Author: Jess Zimmerman is the editor-in-chief of Electric Literature. Zimmerman's various notable essays, fiction, opinion pieces, and poetry have been featured in some of the world's most notable publications. This novel of hers is a must-read for any modern-day feminist!
About the Book: "A fresh cultural analysis of female monsters from Greek mythology, and an invitation for all women to reclaim these stories as inspiration for a more wild, more monstrous version of feminism."
4. Living for Change: An Autobiography
About the Author: Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) was a first-generation Chinese American author, philosopher, and social activist. Read about her inspiring, compelling, and all-out amazing life story of dedicating her life to activism, in this autobiography.
About the Book: "Grace Lee Boggs's fascinating autobiography traces the story of a woman who transcended class and racial boundaries to pursue her passionate belief in a better society...Living for Change is an exhilarating look at a remarkable woman who dedicated her life to social justice."
5. We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival: Essays on Sex Work and Survival
About the Author: This is a collection of essays written by sex workers themselves, edited by Natalie West and Tina Horn.
About the Book: "This collection of narrative essays by sex workers presents a crystal-clear rejoinder: there's never been a better time to fight for justice. Responding to the resurgence of the #MeToo movement in 2017, sex workers from across the industry--hookers and prostitutes, strippers and dancers, porn stars, cam models, Dommes and subs alike--complicate narratives of sexual harassment and violence, and expand conversations often limited to normative workplaces."
6. Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir
About the Author: Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books! She has also authored many essays on feminism, activism and social change, hope, and the climate crisis. She explores her life's journey through her own words in this novel.
About the Book: "In Recollections of My Nonexistence, Rebecca Solnit describes her formation as a writer and as a feminist in 1980s San Francisco, in an atmosphere of gender violence on the street and throughout society and the exclusion of women from cultural arenas."
7. Renegade Women in Film and TV
About the Author: Elizabeth Weitzman is a journalist, film critic, and the author of more than two dozen books for children and young adults. Having interviewed thousands of celebrities and covering countless movies as one of the best movie critics in the industry, we knew her book would be a MUST-read!
About the Book: "A charmingly illustrated and timely tribute to the women who broke glass ceilings in film and television, debuting during an historic time of change in the entertainment industry."
8. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot
About the Author: Mikki Kendall is a New York Times bestselling writer, speaker, and blogger. In this searing collection of essays, Hood Feminism, Kendall draws from her own experiences to critique the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement, arguing that it has failed to address the needs of all but a few women.
About the Book: "A potent and electrifying critique of today's feminist movement announcing a fresh new voice in black feminism."
9. In the Dream House: A Memoir
About the Author: Carmen Maria Machado is an award-winning author who writes about her own personal account of domestic abuse in this enthralling novel.
About the Book: "In the Dream House is an engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming."
10. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
About the Author: Julia Serano is a highly regarded, award-winning writer and thinker on the subjects of gender, feminism, and LGBTQ issues. She is most well-known for her book recommended below, which garnered rave reviews, check it out!
About the Book: "In this updated second edition, biologist and trans woman Julia Serano reveals a unique perspective on femininity, masculinity, and gender identity."
11. Frantumaglia: A Writer's Journey
About the Author: Elena Ferrante is an award-winning writer and literary phenomenon whose works have inspired both readers and viewers (through their many tv and movie adaptations). This recommended novel is extremely unique, as Ferrante herself who usually tries to separate her name from her work, actually delves into what it's like being a female author in today's society.
About the Book: "Consisting of over twenty years of letters, essays, reflections, and interviews, it is a unique depiction of an author who embodies a consummate passion for writing. In these pages, Ferrante answers many of her readers' questions. She addresses her choice to stand aside and let her books live autonomous lives."
12. An American Sunrise: Poems
About the Author: Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is the author of nine poetry collections and was named Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019.
About the Book: "In this stunning collection, Joy Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where the Mvskoke people, including her own ancestors, were forcibly displaced. From her memory of her mother's death, to her beginnings in the Native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo's personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings."
We Want to Hear From You
Have you read any of the books on this list?