Feminist Books of Poetry, Fiction, and Essays - recommended by Susan Rukeyser, author of Not On Fire, Only Dying and editor of Feckless Cunt: A Feminist Anthology
Statement from our curator:
From the moment I realized, as a little girl, that my gender was considered inferior, I’ve sought an explanation. I was heavily influenced by 2nd wave feminists, and I find myself equally drawn to, and educated by, the younger, 3rd wave feminists, who insist the conversation be intersectional. On this list, you’ll find essay collections, books of poetry, novels, even a craft book. It is not intended to be definitive. These are personal recommendations, representing ideas and solutions from a diverse group of writers and thinkers from the late 19th century to present day. I hope that this list, along with the book I edited, Feckless Cunt: A Feminist Anthology, offer inspiration and fuel for the continued fight.
-Susan Rukeyser, www.susanrukeyser.com
Susan Rukeyser (Editor)$10.00
Anthology edited and published by this section's curator Susan Rukeyser
Megan Abbott$16.98 $15.62
Recently adapted as a TV series, this beautifully written book draws us into the world of darkly competitive teenage girls.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie$8.94 $8.22
Adapted from her viral TEDx talk, this long essay suggests a more diverse, inclusive definition of feminism for the 21st century.
Maya Angelou$30.00 $27.00
Best known for her autobiographies, Angelou wrote acclaimed and groundbreaking poetry, including the famous, “Phenomenal Woman” and “Still I Rise.”
Dorothy Allison$17.00 $15.64
This semi-autobiographical novel tells a heartbreaking story of “illegitimacy” and abuse in the rural South.
Margaret Atwood$15.95 $14.67
This dystopian classic, which spawned the popular TV series, is required reading. Eerily prescient, it imagines a near future in which women lose their bodily autonomy. Also, her novel Oryx & Crake, an astonishing work of science fiction that blurs current genetic experimentation and corporate control with a wholly altered future world.
Bomer’s debut challenges the way we talk about “sacred” motherhood with this story of a wife and mother, unexpectedly pregnant for the 3rd time, who abandons her family for a reckless road trip.
The Destruction of Hillary Clinton: Untangling the Political Forces, Media Culture, and Assault on Fact That Decided the 2016 Election
Susan Bordo$16.98 $16.99
Cultural historian Bordo gives a detailed account of how patriarchal politics and systemic misogyny contributed to Clinton’s defeat in 2016.
Another contributor to the Feckless Cunt Anthololgy, Brandeis explores craft with ideas and exercises to liberate the sensual writer within.
Kate Chopin and Carmen Maria Machado$8.00 $7.36
First published in 1899, this important work of early feminism is a tragic tale of domestic oppression and passionate regret.
Lilly Dancyger$27.00 $24.30
A modern, cathartic anthology of essays by women exploring their relationships with rage.
Gillian Flynn$16.00 $14.72
The outstanding debut novel by the author of Gone Girl, this is a psychological thriller with a compellingly dark female protagonist.
Roxane Gay$15.99 $14.71
A smart, funny collection of personal essays and criticism about being feminist and imperfect. Also, Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, which Gay edited, a powerful, even uncomfortable, anthology of personal yet universal experiences.
Andrea Gibson$16.00 $14.72
One of the most popular spoken-word performers, Gibson writes with tenderness and generosity about nonbinary gender, love, and more.
Charlotte Perkins Gillman$8.75
. Published in 1892, it remains a feminist classic, as relevant today as ever, in its protest of a patriarchal medical profession that disbelieves and mistreats women.
Hillary Jordan$15.95 $14.67
A beautifully written, provocative book about a stigmatized woman in a near-future dystopia, this book is a reimagining of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.
Collected prose on race, human rights, politics, American culture, and more from this great poet and activist.
Cheryl Clarke and Audre Lorde$16.98 $15.62
Lorde, a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” offers her bold, intersectional, feminist perspective in endlessly quotable prose.
Inga Muscio$18.98 $17.46
In this classic book, newly revised, Muscio celebrates the “c” word and encourages other women to claim its power while discussing a host of feminist issues.
Sharon Olds$17.00 $15.64
The first collection by this award-winning poet, Olds writes scorching, intensely personal poems with domestic themes.
Piercy’s passionate and plain-spoken poetry addresses social and environmental issues. This volume includes her iconic, “For Strong Women.”
Sylvia Plath$15.99 $14.71
The classic story of a smart young woman’s dissatisfaction and descent.
Adrienne Rich$15.95 $14.67
. Rich, one of the most important writers of feminism’s 2nd wave, explores the political and personal in woman-to-woman relationships, in all their forms.
Rukeyser’s timeless, timely poetry explores equality and social justice. Highlights include “Poem (I lived in the first century of world wars…)” and “Käthe Kollwitz.” Also, Breaking Open, which includes the notable, “Despisals” and “The Ballad of Orange and Grape.”
Avital Ronell and Valerie Solanas$12.95 $11.91
A wild ride of madness or canny provocation? Solanas delivers a furious, rebellious manifesto of female empowerment and male subjugation.
Rebecca Solnit$12.95 $11.91
Historian and activist Solnit writes about the modern, female experience, inspiring the now-ubiquitous term, “mansplaining.”
Laurie Stone$18.00 $16.56
A longtime writer for The Village Voice, Stone is an irreverent, independent thinker, unafraid to challenge popular trends in social justice.
Rebecca Traister$17.00 $15.64
An empowering, journalistic survey of feminist anger over the last 100 years and its historically proven power to effect change.
Alice Walker$16.98 $15.62
Walker’s essays outline a new, intersectional way to talk about feminism, identifying and acknowledging the differences between white and black women’s experiences.
Rachel Wiley$16.00 $14.72
Slam poet and body positive activist Wiley uses humor and plain-spoken candor to discuss gender, sexuality, problematic female “intensity,” and fatphobia.
Lidia Yuknavitch and Chelsea Cain$17.95 $16.51
With brutal honesty and fierce love, Yuknavitch lays herself bare, offering other broken, misfit women permission to do the same.