American novelist Toni Morrison once said, “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” As women, there is always some untold story or the other that we harbour within us, at some point of time. We’re either too afraid to tell it, or we’re being silenced by louder mouths.So, while we figure out a way to tell our own stories, we’ll read the ones that have been written by those who decided to tell them, against all odds and amongst all crowds.
And after having personally read each and every one of these, I have just this to say. That, if there’s only one thing you had to do for realising love for yourself and understanding feminism for the world, then, you read. Start with the following 10. You can thank me later. ;)
Inferior - Angela Saini
For the longest time, men have brandished their ‘scientific knowledge’ about why they are superior to women. But, what if that science, in itself was flawed, for the simple reason that it was developed by a man? Wouldn’t that be like men writing holy scriptures that venerated men? Angela Saini turns the age-old acceptance of what scientists have discovered on its head and how. It’s a brilliant book that will have you wide-eyed and open-minded, feeling duped and enlightened, at the same time. In fact, you’d probably not have known you could feel this perplexity until you’ve read Saini’s fascinating corroboration of how science got women wrong.
Wild Embers - Nikita Gill
In an age when the internet - read, Instagram - has stirred up an entire sea of ‘Instagram poets’, it’s easy to get lost in the milieu. But, Nikita Gill has managed to stand out of the lot. Her first book, Your Soul Is A River started out as a digital favourite, instantly. During that time Gill garnered even more following on Instagram; thereby, becoming an inspiration and voice for many young women who wanted to be and say more. In her second book, Wild Embers, the young poetess and author explores subjects of love, life, depression, hurt and social issues in beautiful poetry and prose that even a Robert Frost, or Lord Tennyson lover would delve into, voluntarily. It’s empowerment for the modern young woman, told in simple words and beautiful lines.
Hunger: A Memoir Of (My) Body - Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay is no stranger to popularity. She’s one of the more prominent names when it comes to female writers with a voice and words that could intimidate an entire audience. The Bad Feminist author ruffled quite a few feathers with that one and found ardent fans amongst the likes of Emma Watson. In Hunger: A Memoir Of (My) Body, Roxane beautifully reveals what it’s like to deal with issues concerning weight, body image, eating and taking care of one’s self. This is the author’s first hand account and it really shocks the reader that the kind of sensitivity and intimacy to one’s body can actually affect us in ways that we don’t even see most times. It’s a book that every woman; especially those making conscious and -sometimes - contorted efforts to “maintain” a certain kind of body image.
Little Black Book - Otegha Uwagba
African women in English Literature is the 21st century literary revolution we, as readers, didn’t know we needed. Otegha is well known writer and brand consultant at AMV BBDO, the renowned English creative agency. She also runs the popular Women Who community for women who work and balance life alongside. Otegha is important for her Little Black Book which is, quite literally the ToolKit For Working Women. In her little pocket-sized book, she lists out easy lessons that every modern young woman should know and abide by in an environment that is increasingly competitive, challenging and quite disappointingly so, tailored majorly to suit only one type of species - men. You will find yourself finishing the book on the train ride to work, smiling as you read through it - whilst making a mental note of her intelligent hacks. My advice: read it like you would follow a diet - one lesson, one day at a time.
Lab Girl - Hope Jahren
When I picked up Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl, I didn’t see myself instantly falling in love with the narrator, or the narrative. And that’s where I was wrong. The American geochemist and geobiologist is one of the more respectable women in the world of science. But, it wasn’t always like that for her. Lab Girl is Jahren’s personal account of her life while growing up as the only girl in the household; albeit one who was more interested in sciences than she was in dolls. From starting out in a broken down lab with just one other assistant Jahren went on to create a name of her own; along the way making sacrifices that are somehow, only known to women. It doesn’t bore you as much as it hooks you in, in a subtle way. You don’t even realise how you’re suddenly in love with her words and engrossed in her life. You relate to how women have to work twice as hard as men, no matter what the field may be.
Dear Ijeawale Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions - Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
I came across Chimamanda one morning as I browsed through my channel of TED Talks. Her talk was titled, ‘We Should All Be Feminists.’ That’s when I learned about her book - a pocket-sized guide to being a feminist, in 15 steps. The book is written in the form of a letter to her best friend, Ijeawale, who has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl. Chimamanda, in her letter, writes to Ijeawale, telling her to let her daughter be raised as a beautiful human being who is proud of being a woman. Given the kind of patriarchal culture in Africa, the tenets of the book are specifically tailored so as to inspire the girls of the region. However, when read by any woman - never mind what age, race, or culture - you see that Chimamanda’s words hold true for everyone society in the world today; more so the third world and developing countries. If you don’t know what feminism is and whether or not you even associate with one, this book will acquaint you with the real reason behind feminism and why we need it now more than ever.
Penance - Kanae Minato
There’s this thing about Japanese authors, I can’t quite put a finger on it. But, they have a way of grabbing hold of your attention from the very first line of the very first chapter. I started reading Minato’s Penance on a Sunday morning. The plot and the mysteries of the four girls’ lives had me so deep in the story that I didn’t realise when noon turned to evening! Minato cleverly weaves a story of how women in Japanese prefectures have their own battles to fight; and through the circumstances of their time, the author adds an element of shock and surprise that grips you the way most works of fiction fail to.
Real Love: The Art Of Mindful Connection - Sharon Salzberg
This is one of the most beautiful books you will read. It’s not easy to turn a book around self love into a beacon of hope and positivity. But, Salzberg’s Real Love will leave you feeling good about yourself in a holistic and mindful way. True, that books on self help and affirmation might just be a little done and dusted. But, truer still, is the fact that now, more than ever, we need to be uplifted and sometimes, people don’t do that for us, as well as words do. Read Salzberg’s book because it teaches you to love and respect yourself in ways you may not have thought you deserved.
Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
I have Emma Watson to thank for this one. Persepolis is the story of the author herself. Set in Iran at a time during and after the Islamic Revolution, Satrapi chronicles her childhood and adulthood in the pages of Persepolis - a name that referred to the ancient capital of the Persian Empire. This graphic novel teaches you about living and growing up in a country that is on the brink of revolution and, therefore, veiled in political tension. It makes you aware of class consciousness in the Muslim country and how it affects women, more than men. It’s a book that teaches you. And that’s why, you need to read it.
The Power - Naomi Alderman
Imagine what would happen to the world if power lay solely with all the women in the world. If by the touch of a hand, they could cause immense pain; death, even… That’s what Alderman’s The Power is all about. A dystopian novel, it explores how the weighing scales tip to the side of women in a new world order because women have a certain power; that they could send electric jolts through their fingers. It makes women the dominant gender in the book and shows us how a new world order, powered by women would really be like. A must read for every woman about there who dreams of being empowered in tremendous ways.