At university, I discovered feminism, or rather I discovered that feminism wasn’t just the dictionary definition of the pursuit of women’s rights (anyone who tells you that lacks nuance and understanding…). Instead I learnt that the word was political, changing and multifaceted. Fourth-wave feminism is in fact far closer to egalitarianism than first-wave feminism – where the definition originates – ever was.
I took two modules relating to this at university: Transnational Feminism which opened me up to a global, intersectional perspective on the topic and North American Women Writers which reminded me of how pale, male and stale the traditional literature canon is.
Although I read lots of articles on feminist topics, I haven’t been reading as much feminist literature since I graduated. I might lose my Woman Card if I continue this way so, in no particular order, here are the top 8 feminist books on my TBR.
Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies): Amazing Women on What the F-Word Means to Them – edited by Scarlett Curtis
This is what I needed as a teenager! When I scoffed at feminism and when I didn’t realise how many perspectives there are on the topic. There are tons of amazing contributors from Evanna Lynch to Bridget Jones (yes!) to my fave Jameela Jamil. Royalties from this book will be supporting Girl Up so it’s definitely worth a purchase.
Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love it – edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea
Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who – edited by Deborah Stanish and L.M. Myles
Science fiction is a huge love of mine, but has traditionally been a masculine space. Although SF fandoms can still be full of toxic masculinity (see: the backlash for The Last Jedi), women who love sci-fi are no longer a rarity. These books celebrate and analyse Doctor Who from a female perspective and I am here for it.
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture – Roxanne Gay
Whilst this has been on my TBR for a while, I’m not 100% sure when I will be able to read it. Frankly rape is a topic I find really hard to read about or watch depicted in films and TV. Rape culture is such an important topic however, so I’m keeping it on this list with the intention to read it (even if it means one chapter at a time).
Geisha, a Life – Mineko Iwasaki
If Memoirs of a Geisha was published today I’d like to optimistically believe it wouldn’t have been as successful. Memoirs was written by a white American professor who took bits and pieces of a geisha’s life and is rife with problems of Orientalism. This is about the very same Geisha and an attempt to rectify the mistakes of Memoirs with this own voices memoir.
The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write – edited by Sabrina Mahfouz
A collection of short stories, essays, poetry, and a play. Having grown up in a Muslim household but since then having moved away from religion, there is definitely a gap in my understanding of what it means to be a British Muslim woman today. I want to see the variety of voices featured and fill that gap of knowledge.
The word flâneur is a French term that grew in popularity in the 19th Century. It describes a young, affluent man who spent his days leisurely strolling through the city. The world flâneuse does not exist. I love exploring new cities, especially on foot so this book – featuring the author’s relationships with various cities – is right up my street.
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories – Angela Carter
Last, but not least is the only 100% fiction book on this list! Whilst I didn’t love The Magic Toyshop when I studied it, Carter’s writing is fantastic and how can I resist a book that is influenced by fairy tales? Carter herself has stated that these aren’t retellings but parts of the original tale that she’s coaxed out.
My intention was not to do ‘versions’ or, as the American edition of the book said, horribly, ‘adult’ fairy tales, but to extract the latent content from the traditional stories