Did You Know…
March is Women’s History Month?
And to celebrate each week I’ll publish a reading list in a certain sub-genre including:
1. Books focusing on individual women of the 21st century
2. Books focusing on individual women of the 19th & 20th centuries
3. Books focusing on individual women prior to the 19th century
4. Books that focus on several women or events, i.e. the 2017 Women’s March
And as a bonus, next week I will also publish a list of books on prominent women in politics & government.
Here is the reading list for this week:
Books focusing on modern individual women (21st century):
Becoming by Michelle Obama:
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America, she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private. A deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations.
Chanel: A Woman of Her Own by Axel Madsen:
A fascinating look at the real Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, the designer who forever revolutionized the way women look. She was a free spirit, brilliant business woman, and beauty who never found reciprocated love. Madsen, with authority, delves into this fashion doyenne’s business and private lives to reveal one woman’s extraordinary progress: from orphan to millinery shopkeeper, from lodestar of feminine style to a very rich woman with a closet full of dark secrets.
Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Spy Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Woman by Larry Loftis:
With evident sympathy, Loftis (Into the Lion’s Mouth) tells a well-researched, novelistic story of a heroine and patriot whose face recently graced a postage stamp in the U.K. This exciting portrait of Odette Sansom, a French Mata Hari at the forefront of the Resistance, vividly captures her years in occupied France, complete with lively dialogue. Marriage to an Englishman finds Odette raising a family in Somerset when, at age 30, she is recruited by the spy branch of England’s War Office, known as Special Operations Executive, or SOE, to help “set Europe ablaze.” Loftis follows Odette as she undergoes rigorous training, assumes a new identity (“Lise”), and is shipped abroad. Guided by a strong moral imperative in her fight against Nazis, Odette risked her life on multiple occasions yet managed to cheat death each time. Swift and entertaining, Loftis’s work reads less like a biography and more like a thriller.
Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston:
“How do we become who we are in the world? We ask the world to teach us.”
On her 120-acre homestead high in the Colorado Rockies, beloved writer Pam Houston learns what it means to care for a piece of land and the creatures on it. Elk calves and bluebirds mark the changing seasons, winter temperatures drop to 35 below, and lightning sparks a 110,000-acre wildfire, threatening her century-old barn and all its inhabitants. Through her travels from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska, she explores what ties her to the earth, the ranch most of all. Alongside her devoted Irish wolfhounds and a spirited troupe of horses, donkeys, and Icelandic sheep, the ranch becomes Houston’s sanctuary, a place where she discovers how the natural world has mothered and healed her after a childhood of horrific parental abuse and neglect.
In essays as lucid and invigorating as mountain air, Deep Creek delivers Houston’s most profound meditations yet on how “to live simultaneously inside the wonder and the grief…to love the damaged world and do what I can to help it thrive.”
The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Wei:
Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. It was 1994, and in 100 days more than 800,000 people would be murdered in Rwanda and millions more displaced. Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, ran and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries searching for safety. They did not know whether their parents were alive. At age twelve, Clemantine and Claire were granted asylum in the United States. Raw, urgent, yet disarmingly beautiful, this book captures the true costs and aftershocks of war: what is forever lost, what can be repaired, the fragility and importance of memory. A riveting story of dislocation, survival
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb:
“I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.”
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.
On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.
Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.
I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.
I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay And A Mother’s Will To Survive by Stephanie Land:
“At 28, Stephanie Land’s plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly. She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn’t feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.”–IndieBound.org
My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsberg:
My Own Words “showcases Ruth Ginsburg’s astonishing intellectual range” (The New Republic). In this collection Justice Ginsburg discusses gender equality, the workings of the Supreme Court, being Jewish, law and lawyers in opera, and the value of looking beyond US shores when interpreting the US Constitution. Throughout her life Justice Ginsburg has been (and continues to be) a prolific writer and public speaker. This book’s sampling is selected by Justice Ginsburg and her authorized biographers Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams, who introduce each chapter and provide biographical context and quotes gleaned from hundreds of interviews they have conducted.
Witty, engaging, serious, and playful, My Own Words is a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of America’s most influential women and “a tonic to the current national discourse” (The Washington Post).
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock:
In her profound and courageous New York Times bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community—and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.
With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman’s quest for self at all costs, Redefining Realness is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.
Trailblazer: A Pioneering Journalist’s Fight to Make the Media Look More Like America by Dorothy Butler Gilliam:
Told with a pioneering newspaper writer’s charm and skill, Gilliam’s full, fascinating life weaves her personal and professional experiences and media history into an engrossing tapestry. When we read about the death of her father and other formative events of her life, we glimpse the crippling impact of the segregated South before the civil rights movement when slavery’s legacy still felt astonishingly close. We root for her as a wife, mother, and ambitious professional as she seizes once-in-a-lifetime opportunities never meant for a “dark-skinned woman” and builds a distinguished career.
With the distinct voice of one who has worked for and witnessed immense progress and overcome heart-wrenching setbacks, this book covers a wide swath of media history — from the era of game-changing Negro newspapers like the Chicago Defender to the civil rights movement, feminism, and our current imperfect diversity.
Have a great day!
National Women’s History Month Resources. American Library Association. Online. Accessed March 4, 2019, http://www.ala.org/aboutala/national-womens-history-month-resources
PBS. Women’s History Month Reading List. Online. Accessed March 4, 2019, http://www.pbs.org/book-view-now/blogs/news/2018/03/13/womens-history-month-reading-list/
ThoughtCo. Women’s History. Online. Accessed March 4, 2019, https://www.thoughtco.com/womens-history-4133260
National Women’s History Museum, https://www.womenshistory.org