Little bit indulgent here… but a list of my favourite books on topics ranging from feminism, mental health, food (obviously!) and also some non-fiction ones.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini – my favourite book of all time, hands down. Raw, gripping, and intensely emotional, I’ve read this so many times and it never ever bores me.
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini – an obvious one from the same author. Again, a brilliant book, intensely unforgettable.
Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen – One of my favourite books when I was growing up. It deals frankly with one woman’s experience of spending several years in a mental institution.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood – a difficult read in places. I found I had to take regular breaks from it, but it was worth it – the kind of book you think about long after you put it down.
Harry Potter, JK Rowling – any of the Harry Potter books, although Half Blood Prince remains my favourite. JK Rowling continues to inspire me, and every time I read one of her books it feels like coming home.
We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver – I love the film, but I love the book even more. It’s so creepy and raw, and I think paints a very honest picture of what a lot of people feel about their families, but never find the words to express.
The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir – I wrote a good chunk of my dissertation on this book, so it has to be top of the list! It’s honestly brilliant though – although depressing in that it was written in 1949 but reads like it could have been written in the last few years.
How to be a Woman, Caitlin Moran – Not a very in-depth view of feminism, but hilariously funny and perfect for introducing someone to the very (very, very) basics of feminism.
The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Men and Women Today, Kat Banyard – a brilliant and forthright book, it has lots of facts and figures. Does have a tendency to gloss over issues of intersectionality, however.
A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft – A classic, of course. But I love her writing style: you get a sense of her wit and vitality, even though she was writing over a hundred years ago.
Delusions of Gender, Cordelia Fine – Utterly brilliant breakdown of male and female psychology, and why we’re not so different after all.
He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, Jessica Valenti – she does repeat herself towards the end, but this is a brilliant book for exploring how ingrained sexism is in everyday life.
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on the Scapegoating of Femininity, Julie Serano – for anyone who wants to learn more about trans politics, this is a great place to start. Serrano is incredibly eloquent, and her work is really accessible.
Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law, Dean Spade – possibly the most radical book on this list, Spade explores the ways in which our liberal-capitalist societies have perpetuated violence against marginalised groups, and why equality legislation isn’t the solution.
I am Your Sister: Black Women Organising Across Sexualities, Audre Lorde – a pamphlet rather than a book, Lorde speaks eloquently of the treatment (in her lifetime) of black lesbians within the black feminist movement.