6 Riveting Books (Written by Women) to Warm You Up This Winter
Giant white snowflakes are twirling around outside my apartment window here in Oslo. By the looks of the sleek, silver-gray sky, I don’t foresee the sun even trying to pop its head out today. And I don’t blame it. If I didn’t have class this morning, I’d stay curled up in my cozy duvet cocoon, devouring a soul-nourishing book and only getting up to refill my American-flag mug with warm tea. Who knows, maybe I will. But while I go double-check to see if that course requires mandatory attendance, below are six titles (all authored by women) currently cluttering my nightstand, in case you want an excuse to stay in, too.
After being on the library wait-list for what seemed like eternity, I finally got my hands on this book and have kept it clutched close to my heart ever since. And unsurprisingly, so have millions of others as Michelle Obama’s autobiographical memoir has already been named one of the hottest titles of the decade. In this compelling book, the former First Lady graciously walks us through her inspiring past—from her childhood in the South Side of Chicago to balancing the demands of work and motherhood, to finding her voice through public service and calling the world’s most famous address “home” for eight years. Through her honest reflection and warm, wise tone, reading this mesmerizing memoir made me feel as if I was sitting right across from Mrs. Obama (I wish!). I simply couldn’t put it down.
If you, like me, have found yourself a bit angry at any point throughout the last few of years, do yourself a favor and read Good and Mad. Written by New York Times bestselling author, Rebecca Traister—who Anne Lamott claims is the “The most brilliant voice on feminism in this country”—this book examines the transformative power of women’s anger and its ability to make a tremendous difference on society. By the time you flip to the last page, you’ll not only feel more educated, enlightened, and perhaps madder, but also empowered to take the next step in seeking change.
Back in 2014, Lacy Johnson was at a reading for her book The Other Side—a moving memoir of her kidnapping and rape—when a woman in the audience asked what she’d like to happen to her rapist. Now five years later, Johnson gives us her answer. The Reckonings is a beautifully written essay collection in which Johnson translates her feelings into action by poetically weaving her thoughts and experiences with art, literature, philosophy, and film to tackle challenging questions of justice, retribution, truth, and fairness.
Like so many other of my haven’t-met-but-still-considered-to-be-extremely-inspiring mentors, I was first introduced to Tererai Trent by the one-and-only Oprah. Acclaimed to be her “favorite guest of all time,” I quickly became captivated by Trent’s remarkable story and have admired her ineffable resilience ever since. As a young girl growing up in a small, rural village in Zimbabwe, Trent dreamed of receiving an education. However, her plans changed when she married young and became a mother of three—all before she turned eighteen.
Years later, she met a visiting American woman who encouraged her to reignite her forgotten dream. And that she did. Trent not only went off to earn her PhD but has since become one of the world’s most recognizable voices in women’s education, building schools for girls all across Zimbabwe. Through this insightful manifesto, Trent shares her wisdom by teaching nine essential lessons to encourage women of all ages to dig up buried dreams and unleash the power hidden within them. Winner of a 2017 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, there is no question these enlightening 289 pages will uplift and inspire.
Are you into graphic novels? While I’ve never really given them a try, I kept hearing good things about this one and decided to not judge a book by its drawings. As it turns out, I fell in love with both the story and graphics.
Named one of the best books of 2018 by The Guardian, New York Magazine, and Refinery 29, Liana Finck, an acclaimed cartoonist in the Big Apple, takes us on her intimate quest for self-understanding and self-acceptance, all while seeking answers to several mighty big questions: What makes us whole? What parts of ourselves do we hide, ignore, or chase away, because they’re embarrassing, strange, different, or just plain weird? And at what cost to our true self? This achingly beautiful graphic memoir is not only what Finck calls “a neurological coming-of-age story,” but also an extraordinary exploration of identity. A must-read, if you ask me.
Although this highly celebrated, provocative New York Times bestseller is not technically new, it is even more relevant today than when it was first published in 2015. Based on her TED talk that instantly went viral (and was famously sampled by Beyoncé), award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie draws extensively on her own experiences to eloquently explain what it means to be a woman today in the twenty-first century, and why it is now more important than ever that we all became feminists. At just 64 pages, everyone should read this tiny, mighty, moving essay.
What about you, what have you been reading lately? Any great must-reads? We’d love to hear!
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Kathryn is a bright-eyed twenty-something who adores adventure, good company, and breakfast for dinner. She appreciates you being here and wishes you a lovely day.