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Feminist Books of 2018 to Watch Out For

Here is my list of feminist literature I plan on reading this year as it comes out. Some of them I’m hoping to read immediately, but with my final semester of graduate school being 3 courses, part time work, and independent research…they may have to wait until May 20th.

 

Red Clocks Leni Zumas

Launches January 16th, 2018

Description:

Five women. One question. What is a woman for?

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro’s best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling herbalist, or “mender,” who brings all their fates together when she’s arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.

RED CLOCKS is at once a riveting drama, whose mysteries unfold with magnetic energy, and a shattering novel of ideas. In the vein of Margaret Atwood and Eileen Myles, Leni Zumas fearlessly explores the contours of female experience, evoking THE HANDMAID’S TALE for a new millennium. This is a story of resilience, transformation, and hope in tumultuous-even frightening-times.

Why it’s on my list:

Let’s be honest. This feels like an actual thing that could happen soon, so I might as well brush up on how to be a “forest-dwelling herbalist”.

 

Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship by Kayleen Schaefer

Launches February 6th, 2018

Description:

“Text me when you get home.” After joyful nights out together, female friends say this to one another as a way of cementing their love. It’s about safety; but more than that, it’s about solidarity.

From Broad City to Big Little Lies to what women say about their own best friends, the stories we’re telling about female friendship have changed. What used to be written off as infighting between mean girls or disposable relationships that would be tossed as soon as a guy came along are no longer described like that. Now, we’re lifting up our female friendships to the same level as our other important relationships, saying they matter just as much as the bonds we have with our romantic partners, children, parents, or siblings.

Journalist Kayleen Schaefer relays her journey of modern female friendship: from being a competitive teenager to trying to be one of the guys in the workplace to ultimately awakening to the power of female friendship and the soulmates, girl squads, and chosen families that come with it.

Schaefer has put together a completely new sociological perspective on the way we see our friends today, one that includes interviews with dozens of other women across the country: historians, creators of the most iconic films and television shows about female friendship (and Galentine’s Day!), celebrities, authors, and other experts. The end result is a validation of female friendship that’s never existed before.

Why it’s on my list:

I’m sick and tired of women tearing each other down.

 

I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope by Chessy Prout and Jenn Ableson

Launches March 6th, 2018

Description:

A young survivor tells her searing, visceral story of sexual assault, justice, and healing in this gutwrenching memoir.

The numbers are staggering: nearly one in five girls ages fourteen to seventeen have been the victim of a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. This is the true story of one of those girls.

In 2014, Chessy Prout was a freshman at St. Paul’s School, a prestigious boarding school in New Hampshire, when a senior boy sexually assaulted her as part of a ritualized game of conquest. Chessy bravely reported her assault to the police and testified against her attacker in court. Then, in the face of unexpected backlash from her once-trusted school community, she shed her anonymity to help other survivors find their voice.

This memoir is more than an account of a horrific event. It takes a magnifying glass to the institutions that turn a blind eye to such behavior and a society that blames victims rather than perpetrators. Chessy’s story offers real, powerful solutions to upend rape culture as we know it today. Prepare to be inspired by this remarkable young woman and her story of survival, advocacy, and hope in the face of unspeakable trauma.

Why it’s on my list:

This was on my list anyways because of the content, but when I found out it focused on an assault near my hometown I wanted to read it even more.

Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain by Abby Norman

Launches March 6th, 2018 (although I have a request in on NetGalley so if I get it sooner I will post a review!)

Description:

In the fall of 2010, Abby Norman’s strong dancer’s body dropped forty pounds and gray hairs began to sprout from her temples. She was repeatedly hospitalized in excruciating pain, but the doctors insisted it was a urinary tract infection and sent her home with antibiotics. Unable to get out of bed, much less attend class, Norman dropped out of college and embarked on what would become a years-long journey to discover what was wrong with her. It wasn’t until she took matters into her own hands–securing a job in a hospital and educating herself over lunchtime reading in the medical library–that she found an accurate diagnosis of endometriosis.

In Ask Me About My Uterus, Norman describes what it was like to have her pain dismissed, to be told it was all in her head, only to be taken seriously when she was accompanied by a boyfriend who confirmed that her sexual performance was, indeed, compromised. Putting her own trials into a broader historical, sociocultural, and political context, Norman shows that women’s bodies have long been the battleground of a never-ending war for power, control, medical knowledge, and truth. It’s time to refute the belief that being a woman is a preexisting condition.

Why it’s on my list:

First off, THE COVER IS SO PRETTY!!! Secondly, as a woman with a secondary sex characteristic disease, I’m looking forward to finding comfort and identity in this story.

 

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture by Roxanna Gay

Launches May 1st, 2018

Description:

In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and bestselling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are “routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied” for speaking out. Contributions include essays from established and up-and-coming writers, performers, and critics, including actors Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, Claire Schwartz, and Bob Shacochis. Covering a wide range of topics and experiences, from an exploration of the rape epidemic embedded in the refugee crisis to first-person accounts of child molestation, this collection is often deeply personal and is always unflinchingly honest. Like Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, Not That Bad will resonate with every reader, saying “something in totality that we cannot say alone.”

Searing and heartbreakingly candid, this provocative collection both reflects the world we live in and offers a call to arms insisting that “not that bad” must no longer be good enough.

Why it’s on my list:

Roxanne. Gay.

 

Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum by Jennifer O’Toole

Launches July 3rd, 2018


Description:

Autism in Heels, an intimate memoir, reveals the woman inside one of autism’s most prominent figures, Jennifer O’Toole. At the age of thirty-five, Jennifer was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, and for the first time in her life, things made sense. Now, Jennifer exposes the constant struggle between carefully crafted persona and authentic existence, editing the autism script with wit, candor, passion, and power. Her journey is one of reverse-self-discovery not only as an Aspie but–more importantly–as a thoroughly modern woman.

Beyond being a memoir, Autism in Heels is a love letter to all women. It’s a conversation starter. A game changer. And a firsthand account of what it is to walk in Jennifer’s shoes (especially those iconic red stilettos).

Whether it’s bad perms or body image, sexuality or self-esteem, Jennifer’s is as much a human journey as one on the spectrum. Because autism “looks a bit different in pink,” most girls and women who fit the profile are not identified, facing years of avoidable anxiety, eating disorders, volatile relationships, self-harm, and stunted independence. Jennifer has been there, too. Autism in Heels takes that message to the mainstream.

From her own struggles and self-discovery, she has built an empire of empowerment, inspiring women the world over to realize they aren’t mistakes. They are misunderstood miracles.

Why it’s on my list:

I vowed to read more diverse books this year, and this one spoke to me. It’s a perspective I hadn’t thought about before, and I’m eager to add Jennifer’s thoughts to my brain.

 

 

What feminist books are on your watch this year?

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blissfullybookish View All →

Graduate student in Masters of Library and Information Science programming trying to save the world one book at a time.

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