This past January, a record number of American women were sworn in as governors, state senators, and congresswomen. Soon after, many of these women, their supporters, and other advocates for women’s rights took the streets to march in the third-annual Women’s March. We wanted to keep the good femm-tastic vibes going with a list of recommended reads for all you Women’s March attendees.
These eight books are about love, sexuality, power, race, and community, and—of course—feminism. March (and read) on!
1. All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks
“One of the best guides to how to be self-loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming about receiving from others,” bell hooks writes in her life-changing book All About Love. In one of her most personal works, hooks writes about her quest to understand love as a verb by offering a definition and examining how to undo some of the harmful ways we’ve been taught to give and accept love into our lives.
A collection of poetry published in 1978, The Dream of a Common Language examines the varied experiences of womanhood through an exploration of power, history, lesbianism, and politics. The poems reflect Rich’s own identity, integrating her personal life, political beliefs, and understanding of love. The book poignantly argues for a “common language” that has the capacity to communicate and be bestowed with feminist ideals.
3. Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde is the champion of the essay form. In her collection of fifteen essays and speeches, she critically examines the intersections of identity along the lines of sexism, racism, homophobia, and class. The book asserts Lorde’s identity, highlighting the importance of legitimizing poetry and personal narrative as important forms for combatting patriarchy.
4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The novel follows the story of Pecola Breedlove and critiques society’s obsession with beauty and conformity to whiteness. The book encourages readers to think about internalized racism, family trauma, and the history of racism in the United States. Today, it is still regarded as one of the most important works of American literature.
Set in a predominantly Latinx neighborhood in Chicago, The House on Mango Street explores the novel’s protagonist, Esperanza Cordero, through her relationships, trauma, and experiences while growing up. Because Cordero is also the novel’s narrator, we’re given a first-hand account of immigrant life and what it means to be marginalized in a predominantly white country.
6. This Bridge Called My Back edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa
One of the most important anthologies to feminism, This Bridge Called My Back focuses on the experiences of women of color and their intersectional identities. The book propelled forward third-wave feminism by highlighting of the voices of African American, Native American, Asian American, and Latina women, arguing for an intellectual framework that expanded what it means to be a feminist.
7. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
This collection of The Rumpus’s Dear Sugar advice columns offers painstakingly honest advice on all of the ups and downs of life, big and small. Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, carefully crafts solid advice to her readers through the experiences of her own life and careful insight. Her bluntness and compassion is refreshing and provides a place to turn during times of uncertainty.
In We Should All Be Feminists, Adichie recognizes the importance of creating a shared definition of the term feminist, arguing that it is a label that should be understood and embraced by all—particularly at this moment in history. She writes about the wage gap, the gendered nature of economic power, and how we do a disservice to both women and men by teaching them to adhere to rigid gender roles.