read like a feminist

Read Like a Feminist: Upcoming Titles

Read like a feminist

Reading Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist had me wondering what titles with feminist themes might be headed our way over the next several months. The good news is there are quite a few and they come from many corners of the reading world. Prepare your to-be-read lists! Here are ten that caught my eye:

Florence Gordon by Brian Morton – September 23rd, 2014

“Meet Florence Gordon: blunt, brilliant, cantankerous and passionate, feminist icon to young women, invisible to almost everyone else. At seventy-five, Florence has earned her right to set down the burdens of family and work and shape her legacy at long last. But just as she is beginning to write her long-deferred memoir, her son Daniel returns to New York from Seattle with his wife and daughter, and they embroil Florence in their dramas, clouding the clarity of her days and threatening her well-defended solitude.”

The Birth of the Pill by Jonathan Eig – October 13th, 2014

“Spanning the years from Sanger’s heady Greenwich Village days in the early twentieth century to trial tests in Puerto Rico in the 1950s to the cusp of the sexual revolution in the 1960s, this is a grand story of radical feminist politics, scientific ingenuity, establishment opposition, and, ultimately, a sea change in social attitudes. Brilliantly researched and briskly written, The Birth of the Pill is gripping social, cultural, and scientific history.”

The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney – October 14th, 2014

“Scholars of Ancient Egypt have long speculated about why Hatshepsut’s monuments were destroyed within a few decades of her death, effecting the near-erasure of the reign of Egypt’s second female pharaoh. Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, Kara Cooney, a noted expert on Ancient Egypt, presents her own theories on how Hatshepsut methodically consolidated power and ascended through numerous religious and political positions to the title of king at just twenty years old—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly.”

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King – October 14th, 2014

“Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities–but not for Glory, who has no plan for what’s next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way…until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions–and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying: A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps.”

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore – October 28th, 2014

“The Secret History of Wonder Woman is a tour de force of intellectual and cultural history, explaining not only the mysterious origins of the world’s most famous female superhero, but solving some of the most vexing puzzles in the American past. Wonder Woman, Lepore argues, is the missing link in the history of the struggle for women’s rights—a chain of events that begins with the women’s suffrage campaigns of the early 1900s and ends with the troubled place of feminism a century later.”

Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman – January 6, 2015

“Nearly every story in this dazzling collection is based on a woman who attained some celebrity—she raced speed boats or was a conjoined twin in show business; a reclusive painter of renown; a member of the first all-female, integrated swing band. We see Lord Byron’s illegitimate daughter, Allegra; Oscar Wilde’s troubled niece, Dolly; West With the Night author Beryl Markham; Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sister, Norma. These extraordinary stories travel the world, explore the past (and delve into the future), and portray fiercely independent women defined by their acts of bravery, creative impulses, and sometimes reckless decisions.”

I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet by Leora Tanenbaum – February 3, 2015

“The author of the groundbreaking work Slut! explores the phenomenon of slut-shaming in the age of sexting, tweeting, and ‘liking.’ She shows that the sexual double standard is more dangerous than ever before and offers wisdom and strategies for alleviating its destructive effects on young women’s lives.”

Girl Runner: A Novel by Carrie Snyder – February 3, 2015

“Resonant of Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things and Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures, this is an unforgettable, beautifully written novel that celebrates a woman born to reach beyond the limitations of her time. As a young runner, Aganetha Smart defied everyone’s expectations to win a gold medal for Canada in the 1928 Olympics. It was a revolutionary victory, because this was the first Games in which women could compete in track events—and they did so despite opposition. But now Aganetha Smart is in a nursing home, and nobody realizes that the frail centenarian was once a bold pioneer.”

Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon – February 10, 2015

“This is the first book to describe and compare the fascinating and eerily similar lives of Mary Wollstonecraft, English feminist and author of the landmark book, The Vindication of the Rights of Women, and her daughter, Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein and wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Both women are immensely important for their achievements in literature and equality for women, yet most people today don’t even know they were related.”

The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in the Gilded Age by Myra MacPherson – March 5, 2015

“A fresh look at the life and times of Victoria Woodhull and Tennie Claflin, two sisters whose radical views on sex, love, politics, and business threatened the white male power structure of the nineteenth century and shocked the world. Here award-winning author Myra MacPherson deconstructs and lays bare the manners and mores of Victorian America, remarkably illuminating the struggle for equality that women are still fighting today.”

  • Great list. Gay is getting so much attention lately that I think that feminism in all it’s different flavors is really going to come into its own again and we will experiencing a real second or third wave of it.

  • Sarah Says Read

    I am writing down this whole list to add to my TBR. AWESOME.

  • I really enjoyed BAD FEMINIST and I was going to go on an essay reading binge, because they are just perfect for lunch breaks, but I Think this must also be accompanied by a bout of feminist reading, since several of these have piqued my interest.

    • Ooo, I love the idea of a bit of both! Essays are really perfect for those short times when you want to squeeze in something without getting cut off.

  • Books on the Table

    Shannon, great list! I just started reading the ARC of Birth of the Pill — fascinating. Another book with a feminist angle I’m looking forward to reading is Karen Abbott’s Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy — about female spies in the Civil War. I need to get my hands on Bad Feminist ASAP . . .

    • Glad to hear good things about Birth of the Pill – I can’t wait to read that one! I’m excited about Liar, Temptress, Solider, Spy, too, good call on that!!

  • I would like to read Girl Runner!

  • Shannon, you’re killing my TBR. A few of these were already on my radar, but now I have to add all of these to my list! (Love it.)

  • Great list Shannon! The Woman Who Would Be King and The Birth of the Pill are definitely going on my tbr.

  • I’m all over The Woman Who Would Be King and the Wonder Woman! Yay!

    • I have a copy of The Woman Who Would Be King that I plan to start very soon, so be prepared for tweets full of facts!

      • Hot damn! Bring it on!

  • Thisis a great list! I’m only sorry that they aren’t all out right now! I guess this just means that there will be fresh new awesome feminist literature to look forward to all the way into 2015.

  • TJ @ MyBookStrings

    I have to look out for The Woman Who Would Be King. And Girl Runner. And The Scarlet Sisters. And…. Yep, it will be a busy time reading. Thanks for an awesome list.

  • Ooh, the slut shaming book looks fascinating. It’s more of an issue than ever these days, and it can get so ugly. I’d love to read a book analyzing the whole phenomenon.

    • I think that’s one of the books I’m most curious about here, too. It’s a really brand new thing that would be pretty fascinating to read an analysis of.

  • Great list! I wish we didn’t have to wait so long for these books.

  • Perfect follow-up to Gay’s latest book! I had a few of these tagged in Edelweiss but will definitely have to check out the others. I love the Wonder Woman cover. I was a huge fan as a kid and have a damaging homemade Halloween costume picture circa the 80s somewhere. :)

  • lulu_bella

    What an awesome list!!! Thank you for sharing. So many books on this list I want to read.


  • guiltlessreading

    What an AWESOME round-up. My TBR hates you, Shannon ;)

  • Bookmammal

    Bad Feminist is already on my TBR list–but now I must add Florence Gordon and Birth of the Pill. Great list!

  • Ooh, lots of books for the TBR list! Thanks for putting this together :)

  • I’ve heard good things about Florence Gordon and Girl Runner looks interesting too! I’m going to see if I can get those on NetGalley or Edelweiss. I was trying to use a bit of the fall to hit some books from earlier this year that I’ve been meaning to read…this is looking less and less likely as my TBR list for fall releases keeps growing!

  • Rachelia (Bookish Comforts)

    Love this post! I’ve basically added everything to my TBR list, haha! I also like how the books you picked are intergenerational – the stories and focus are on women of all different ages! Sometimes the stories of older women get lost in our culture.

  • This is a great resource, thank you! I’m quite interested in a few of these.