My Top 10 Favourite Feminist Books – Education Series 2/4

You’ll find all these books cover a wide range of intersectional feminist topics, from rape culture, education, post-Trump, culture oppression, and how to take a stand. As well as featuring authors of all colours, races and religions, gay and trans, different shapes and sizes, those with physical and mental disabilities, as well as the able-bodied. Despite being a female, it still surprised me at just how much I had to learn, and still learn, about feminism. These books often feel like my secret weapon against the world in understanding how to use my voice and stand-up for both myself and others.

(Note: For those who struggle to read due to an illness such as M.E, I have added how many pages each book contains and I have rated all the books on how hard they are to read – from “Easy”, to “Moderate”, to “Hard”. The ones which I have labeled “Easy” are generally the shorter books that are concise and to the point, while those I have labeled “hard” are the longer books with often some research in them. If you do not suffer from ill health or have no problems reading, you can ignore this! This is simply for those who struggle to read so they can know which books are easiest.)

*Please also note that some of my reviews of the books use extracts and sentences from the book's synopsis on Goodreads*

1. “Know My Name” by Chanel Miller

I actually listened to this book on audiobook, and it hit me so, so deep. I had to take breaks because it got a little heavy on my heart, and even thinking about Chanel talking makes me tear up today. But please don’t let that off-put you - this book is everything and more. I still remember reading the story of Broke Turner years ago when it broke in the news and to hear Chanel’s story now all these years later feels like a full circle. Please read or listen to this book if you can, it is breathtaking. (Pages – 357. Reading difficulty – Hard.) *trigger warning: rape, trauma *Available as audiobook

2. “Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture” edited by Roxane Gay

This book is a collection of essays from women who have experienced all different kinds of sexual assault: from rape, harassment, unwanted distant masturbation, and so much more. This book is so raw but taught me the absolutely biggest lesson ever: no experience is “not that bad” - every experience is bad, every experience is valid. We often use the phrase “not that bad” or “ it could have been worse” to justify our experiences and what we have been through, but it is that bad, and it needs to change: both our attitude as well as the rape culture. (Pages – 346. Reading difficulty – Moderate.) *trigger warning: graphic depictions of sexual violence and assault *Available as audiobook

3. “Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture - and What We Can Do About It” by Kate Harding

This book taught me SO much. The author clearly did her research and the statistics are staggering. The thing I remember so sharply from this book is her research and voice given to stamping out the stigma of women falsely accusing men of rape: the statistics completely say otherwise. This book tackles rape culture from A to Z, as well as gives you the tools and empowerment to do things about it and to never, ever, undervalue or brush aside your sexual assault experiences. (Pages – 274. Reading difficulty – Hard.)  *trigger warning: some graphic depictions of sexual assault*

4. “Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America” edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding

A brilliant book compromising 23 leading feminist writers on protest and solidarity. This book explores what happens after 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump and 94% of black women voted for Hillary Clinton - how can women unite in Trump's America? Nasty Women includes inspiring essays from a diverse group of talented women writers who seek to provide a broad look at how we got here and what we need to do to move forward. While I am not American, this book is still deeply relevant and all the different layers of intersectional feminism and authors from all different walks of life, giving their perspective and take in this book, gives you a much better and correct idea of feminism, as well as educate you further outside of your own limited perception. (Pages – 248. Reading difficulty – Moderate.) 

5. “Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening” by Manal Al-Sharif

This book is such an insightful look into Saudi Arabia and the attitudes and treatment towards women, especially regarding the law and how it doesn’t protect them. This is a memoir by Manal who was the woman who dared to drive (something technically legal on paper, but illegal in every other sense). During her protest - driving around in a car - she was arrested with no explanation (as they couldn’t charge her with driving because as I said, it is technically legal). But this book doesn’t just cover her protest to drive, it covers her life growing up in Saudi Arabia and everything she couldn’t do simply because she was a young, Muslim woman, and her stand against that. (Pages – 289. Reading difficulty – Hard.)

6. “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A very easy, sweet, and short book. At only 50 pages long, this was my very first feminist book. Chimamanda is one of my favourite authors, and this book offers a simple, no explanation needed, on why we should all be feminists. I also highly recommend her book, “Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions” equally as much as this book (also a short read). This book is actually based on her TED talk, so again, if reading is hard for you, maybe watching the 30 minute TED talk might be easier for you. (Pages – 52. Reading difficulty – Easy.) *Available as audiobook

7. “I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban” by Malala Yousafzai

An amazing insight into Pakistan and the importance of education (something we definitely take for granted in this country). This book is one of those books where when you finish it, you realise how incredibly lucky you are to live in such a safe country. Malala is forever one of my hero’s - like she is to so many people around the world- and she is also an amazing feminist role model for Muslim people too as I think there is a huge amount of misguided stigma’s regarding Muslim women, especially what the Quran says and doesn’t say about women and Malala gives her views and interpretations on it. I also love Malala’s dad in this book - a huge feminist, Muslim man - who takes no credit for Malala and everything she has done and is doing, but only as someone who says he only didn’t clip her wings. This book also has an amazing history and education on Pakistan and has made me want to visit this beautiful country so badly. (Pages – 288. Reading difficulty – Hard.) *Available as audiobook

8. “Everyday Sexism” by Laura Bates

This was my second book on feminism, after Chimamanda’s book, and wow did this completely blow my mind. I had no idea how much sexism was everywhere. It’s one of those things that once you’ve seen and read it, you can never un-see it. I could relate to so many of my own experiences that I had never really considered sexist before in a new light. This book also gave me a huge sense of community and empowerment to stand up against everyday sexism: because it’s not just the big, sexist things, it’s the everyday, little things that are just as much of the issue. (Pages – 384. Reading difficulty – Easy.) *Available as audiobook

9. “The War on Women: And The Brave Ones Who Fight Back” by Sue Lloyd-Roberts

Years on from reading this book and I still struggle to put it into words. I honestly don't think words can even begin to do this book justice. Every word, every chapter, every story, is just as powerful, moving, haunting, and eye-opening as the next. All I can hope is that it reaches more people as everyone needs to read this. It is a book I will never ever forget, nor will I ever forget the name Sue Lloyds-Roberts for all the incredible work she has done. This book explores feminist issues on every continent: tackling so many topics I knew nothing about. This book is heavy though, so if you were looking for a lighter or less triggering read, Stacey Dooley’s book “Women on the Front Line and Those Who Fight Back”, which I loved, is a great alternative to this one and so much easier to read. (Pages – 336. Reading difficulty – Hard.) *trigger warning: graphic depictions of genital mutilation, rape, violence, honour killings, and child marriage*

10. “Here We Are: Feminism For The Real World” edited by Kelly Jensen

43 writers, dancers, actors, and artists contribute essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations about everything from body positivity to romance to gender identity to intersectionality to the greatest girl friendships in fiction. Together, this book shares diverse perspectives on and insights into what feminism means and what it looks like. While you could never cover every perspective of feminism in its entirety, this book comes very close. (Pages – 240. Reading difficulty – Easy.) 

If you have any recommendations for me, please do let me know by leaving a comment below. You can also follow me on Goodreads where you can see all my book reviews and ratings, as well as explore my different shelves for the different types of books I read (I have a shelf on feminism).

Metta, E xx

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