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  • Writer's pictureShira

8 Non-Fiction Books for Nasty Women*

* "Nasty Women" is used here to create a catchy title. I'd recommend these books for people of all genders. As always, I recommend getting these books from your local library or independent bookstore!


In no particular order:


1. Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger -- Rebecca Traister

In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, Traister harnessed the collective emotional response and used it as an introduction to a larger analysis of the historical and current oppression of women's anger. Additionally, this book dives into difficult topics, like the exclusion of women of color from "white feminism." On a personal note, I heard Traister speak and was able to meet her at a book signing. She is incredibly smart and able to report facts with a level of passion that meets this moment.

2. She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement -- Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

(tw: rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment)

In 2017, Kantor and Twohey wrote an article for the New York Times, breaking the story about Harvey Weinstein's years of sexual assault and systematic cover-up. Their reporting helped jump-start society's discussion about the many men who have gotten away with sexual assault and rape because they hold positions of power. In this book Kantor and Twohey lay out what it took to get the story: encouraging survivors to speak, following the trail of money and NDAs, and the efforts of Weinstein and his team to stop them from publishing what they knew. It can be difficult to read at times, but this book is incredibly powerful and an important work within the larger #MeToo movement.

3. Becoming -- Michelle Obama

In her inspiring memoir, the former First Lady discusses her childhood, career as a lawyer, and time in the White House. Not only does this book tell the story of a smart and compassionate woman, it is an insightful commentary on life as a black woman along the spectrum of social class in America.

4. Yes Please -- Amy Poehler

As a huge Parks and Rec fan, Amy Poehler is one of my role models. Her memoir has lighter content than many of the other books on this list, but the openness with which she writes about growing up, comedy, and motherhood is refreshing. Poehler brings a characteristic level of humor to her writing and this book is an enjoyable read after a long day of taking down the patriarchy.

5. A Girl's Guide to Joining the Resistance: A Feminist Handbook on Fighting for Good -- Emma Rose Gray

This is another books written post-2016 election and, as the title indicates, it's an instruction manual for channeling emotions into activism. A reporter at HuffPost, Gray interviewed feminist leaders like Alicia Garza (Black Lives Matter co-founder), Lucy McBath (gun-control activist and Georiga congresswoman), Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts senator), and so many more. Within the research, quotes, and empowering essays, Gray includes an inspirational playlist, TV and movie recommendations, and plenty of reminders on the importance of self-care.

6. Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work -- Edwidge Danticat

In this essay collection, Danticat shares the stories of artists, writers, and creators who persevered in their work, even when their home country did everything possible to suppress their voice. Danticat weaves her own story as an artist and Haitian-American into her exploration of art, power, and the strength it takes to create.


7. The Art of Asking; or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help -- Amanda Palmer

In her memoir, Palmer expands on her popular Ted Talk by the same name. Palmer, an artist and musician, writes about what it means to ask for and accept help from the people in your life and from the world in general. This book is a profound and vulnerable work of self-discovery that forces you to confront your own fears.


8. The Complete Persepolis -- Marjane Satrapi

I love comics and graphic novels (they'll get multiple posts of their own) and Persepolis is a perfect example of how the medium can be used to tell important stories. The complete edition collects the original four volumes of Satrapi's autobiography, and tells her story of growing up in Tehran, fleeing the Iranian regime, and living in Vienna as a teenager without her family or a stable home. Satrapi is a captivating storyteller and this recollection of her life is filled with moments of both heartbreak and hope.



BONUS BOOKS:

Below are a few books that I haven't read yet, but could be potential members of this list. I can't personally recommend them, but I'm looking forward to checking them out.

The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love -- Sonya Renee Taylor

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower -- Brittney Cooper

Heroines -- Kate Zambreno




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