From providing comforting escapism to offering practical advice, books can help us heal, grow and see the world in a whole new light. Here are ten incredible titles that should be on every woman’s TBR list:

  • Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde: In this collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Audre Lorde incisively explores issues like sexism, racial prejudice and homophobia. The revolutionary black writer and activist roots for using social difference as a vehicle for change. She urges women to speak their truth and seek common ground with those who are doing the same. Even though the collection was penned between the 1970s and 80s, the hard-hitting prose is just as relevant as ever.
  • Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen: “Often an entire family is crazy, but since an entire family can’t go into the hospital, one person is designated as crazy and goes inside,” writes Susan Kaysen in her searing account of the time she spent in a psychiatric hospital as a young girl. Kaysen also comments on subjects like suicide, the mind and brain dualism and stigma associated with mental illness. The poignant and concise reconstruction will keep you hooked till the very end.
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar is known for it’s raw, honest depiction of mental illness. But Plath’s autobiographical account also offers a sneak peek into the women’s lives in the 1950s. Their struggle with identity, exploration of sexuality and the enormous pressure to conform to society’s sexist conventions. Originally published in 1963, the intensely emotional novel continues to resonate with readers even today.
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou: It’s the first installment of her seven-part series of autobiographical novels. The harrowing memoir explores her struggle to break away from the shackles of racial oppression and sexism. While offering constructive critique, the acclaimed poet also delivers a message of strength and hope.
  • Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay: This collection of essays on feminism, class and race is equal part entertaining and thought-provoking. A perfect blend of fierce and funny. Gay eloquently describes the underlying contradiction of being a feminist who likes hip-hop music and kitschy reality shows that the sisterhood might not approve of. She suggests that there’s no need to have definitive opinions, that there’s room for inconsistency and subjectivity. For instance, in an essay, she vehemently speaks against using “rape as entertainment fodder” and then lightly adds, “I watch SVU [Law & Order: Special Victims Unit] religiously and have seen every episode more than once. I am not sure what that says about me.”
  • I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This by Kate White: In this New York Times bestseller, Kate White offers practical advice to achieve and manage professional success. The former Cosmopolitaneditor-in-chief shares tips on everything from landing a job and managing projects to networking and handling office gossip. Each chapter is short, snappy and peppered with humor and personal anecdotes. It’s a great read for all working women, regardless of their career stage.
  • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed:Before all the furore over her fascinating memoir Wild, Strayed used to be an advice columnist called “Sugar” for The Rumpus. Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of those columns that cover issues like love, loss, grief and infidelity. Delivered with emotional sagacity and some tough love, her responses are clear, honest and relatable. PsychCentral’s Lauren Suval has aptly put it, “Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things is a testament to the human condition. Don’t pass it by.”
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: Narrated in the form of graphic panels, Satrapi’s memoir is a riveting tale of a young girl’s life caught up in the Islamic Revolution of Iran. The novel clearly depicts Satrapi’s struggle to comprehend and adapt to the chaos that surrounds her. It’s an exhilarating read that will make you ponder, laugh and cry.
  • There are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker: “There are more beautiful things than Beyoncé: self-awareness,” writes Parker in the title poem. The beautiful collection explores race, sexual identity and complexities of black womanhood. Rife with pop culture references, the poems highlight how the labels that society forces upon women can shape their identity. Parker urges women to break these stereotypes and challenge the status quo. To fight racial prejudice and oppression that’s deeply ingrained in our society even today. And lastly, to embrace our imperfections and celebrate self-awareness instead of beauty.
  • The Confidence Code by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman:This New York Times bestseller is a must-read for all working women. Backed by groundbreaking research in genetics, gender and behavior, it discusses the crucial role self-confidence plays in achieving professional success. It’s USP is the insightful and actionable advice it offers, including first-hand accounts of powerful women like Sheryl Sandberg and Valerie Jarrett.
See also  Forbes: Proven Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation.


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