Feminist Bookshelf pt.2 – Mini Feminist Book Reviews

Feminist book reviews

Y’all know that I’m proud to call myself a feminist and as a result you may have seen last year’s post on the modern feminist books that I’d read recently. Since then I’ve continued to read up on the subject and the work of authors who align themselves with feminism, so I thought it was about time for another round of mini feminist book reviews.

Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandburg

I found this book in my local library when I was looking for the original Lean In – it’s the same book with a few additional chapters at the end for recent graduates, which actually were quite interesting to read, if not really that applicable to me. I may be late on the bandwagon but I think this book, written by Facebook’s COO, is brilliant and I found so many take-away points from it, particularly when it comes to planning too far into the future and mentoring. Sandburg has had some flack for her middle-class background and aiming the book at a particular type of profession, but I do think that anyone in any career could find parts of this book insightful and inspiring.

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay

A collection of essays by writer, blogger and feminist Roxane Gay, this book had me laughing out loud at some points (most notably the essay on competitive Scrabble – yes, seriously) and shaking my head at others. I chose it for the book club I’m part of and although I found myself disagreeing with Gay on several issues, the book generated some fantastic discussions on race, sexuality and how women are portrayed in the media. The collection covers pop culture references, some of which I struggled with because I didn’t grow up in America, but also delves into ‘hard’ topics too.

The Female Eunuch by Germain Greer

Some might call this a seminal text, the feminist manifesto of of the 20th century, but for me it was a tough read, which makes me feel much like the title of Roxanne Gay’s book. It’s very academic, with references to studies, papers and research in every chapter, so I wouldn’t call it a light read, but then I guess it’s not supposed to be. Had I been around to read this when it was published in the 1970s it may have felt more relevant, but at the same time it’s interesting how women are still battling the same issues (discrimination in the work place, sexual ‘promiscuity’ etc) 40 years on.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

I’m a Lena Dunham fangirl so I was eager to read this collection of autobiographical essays. Dunham goes into a LOT of detail about her sex life and bodily functions and many casual sentences sound like they could have come straight out of her Girls character Hannah’s mouth. This being said, there are some heart-warming chapters, particularly those focused on the joy of female friendships and the importance of helping other women. Also, the lists of what she has learned that are sprinkled sporadically through the book are laugh out loud hilarious.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

This is my current read and although it is similar to The Female Eunuch in that is a heavily academic text, it feels a lot more digestible. It’s so interesting to see the patterns throughout modern history that have bound women to their looks and the wider impact this has on society. I’m only half way through but already enjoying  it and learning a lot – I’m currently half way through the Hunger chapter that looks at the female relationship with food, a particularly pertinent one given that I’m currently doing my first Whole30!

If you’ve read any of these books I’d love to hear what you thought of them, and if there any you think I should read next, please let me know in the comments!

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  1. Karen C
    August 25, 2015 / 4:20 pm

    Great list of books! The The Female Eunuch sounds fascinating :) Thanks for sharing this with your readers. I wanted to recommend a book I think you might really enjoy (and feel inspired from) called “The Pedestriennes” by author Harry Hall (http://www.pedestriennes.com/). During the Industrial Revolution the sport of endurance walking was taking off (of course it was hugely dominated by men) until a group of women, calling themselves the Pedestriennes, took over. Endurance walking was a BEYOND difficult sport that required the competition to last for days and weeks. Madame “Ada” Anderson (top walker among men and women) walked 1,008 miles and it took her one week. Her feet were so swollen they had to wrap them in turpentine and raw beef! The book tells the story of many successful women endurance walkers and the controversy and difficulty that followed their career choices. I cannot recommend this book enough. It is a fascinating look into a sport I had no idea existed! Hope you will give it a read and it can be added to a list of yours in the future!

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