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To celebrate Womxn's History Month, we've curated a list of books that celebrate womxn!
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Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto by Legacy Russell

A new manifesto for cyberfeminism.

The divide between the digital and the real world no longer exists: we are connected all the time. How do we find out who we are within this digital era? Where do we create the space to explore our identity? How can we come together and create solidarity?

The glitch is often dismissed as an error, a faulty overlaying, but, as Legacy Russell shows, liberation can be found within the fissures between gender, technology and the body that it creates. The glitch offers the opportunity for us to perform and transform ourselves in an infinite variety of identities. In Glitch Feminism, Russell makes a series of radical demands through memoir, art and critical theory, and the work of contemporary artists who have travelled through the glitch in their work.

Timely and provocative, Glitch Feminism shows how the error can be a revolution

 

The Verso Book of Feminism: Revolutionary Words from Four Millennia of Rebellion. Edited by Jessie Kindig

An unprecedented collection of feminist voices from four millennia of global history.

Throughout written history and across the world, women have protested the restrictions of gender and the limitations placed on women’s bodies and women’s lives. People–of any and no gender–have protested and theorized, penned manifestos and written poetry and songs, testified and lobbied, gone on strike and fomented revolution, quietly demanded that there is an “I” and loudly proclaimed that there is a “we.” The Book of Feminism chronicles this history of defiance and tracks it around the world as it develops into a multivocal and unabashed force.

Global in scope, The Book of Feminism shows the breadth of feminist protest and of feminist thinking, moving through the female poets of China’s Tang Dynasty and accounts of indigenous women in the Caribbean resisting Columbus’s expedition, British suffragists militating for the vote and the revolutionary petroleuses of the 1848 Paris Commune, the first century Trung sisters who fought for the independence of Nam Viet to women in 1980s Botswana fighting for equal protection under the law, from the erotica of the 6th century and the 19th century to radical queer politics in the 20th and 21st.

The Book of Feminism is a weapon, a force, a lyrical cry, and an ongoing threat to misogyny everywhere.

The White Album by Joan Didion

Joan Didion's hugely influential collection of essays which defines, for many, the America which rose from the ashes of the Sixties. We tell ourselves stories in order to live.

The princess is caged in the consulate. The man with the candy will lead the children into the sea. In this now legendary journey into the hinterland of the American psyche, Didion searches for stories as the Sixties implode.

She waits for Jim Morrison to show up, visits the Black Panthers in prison, parties with Janis Joplin and buys dresses with Charles Manson's girls.

She and her reader emerge, cauterized, from this devastating tour of that age of self discovery into the harsh light of the morning after.

 

Slouching With Bethlehem by Joan Didion

Joan Didion's savage masterpiece, which, since first publication in 1968, has been acknowledged as an unparalleled report on the state of America during the upheaval of the Sixties Revolution. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget.

We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were In her non-fiction work, Joan Didion not only describes the subject at hand - her younger self loving and leaving New York, the murderous housewife, the little girl trailing the rock group, the millionaire bunkered in his mansion - but also offers a broader vision of the world, one that is both terrifying and tender, ominous and uniquely her own.

 

Fears to Fierce: A Woman’s Guide to Owning Her Power by Brita Fernandez Schmidt

 

Brita Fernandez Schmidt has spent 25 years championing women's rights across the world, nurturing her own fierce and inspiring others to do the same. Through a combination of guidance, storytelling and practical tools, her rallying call in Fears to Fierce will inspire you to realise your purpose and potential, ignite your fierce and create the life you have been dreaming of.

 

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

 

For many years, Glennon Doyle denied her discontent. Then, while speaking at a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There. She. Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high but soon she realised they had come to her from within. This was the voice she had buried beneath decades of numbing addictions and social conditioning. Glennon decided to let go of the world's expectations of her and reclaim her true untamed self.

Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanising wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. It is also the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honour our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts.

Untamed shows us how to be brave. And, as Glennon insists, 'The braver we are, the luckier we get.'

 

Strange Situation: A Mother’s Journey Into the Science of Attachment by Bethany Saltman

 

How can we create strong attachments with our children and why does it matter? In this intimate, rigorous book, a mother investigates the often misunderstood science of attachment theory while navigating her relationships with her own daughter and mother.

After Bethany Saltman gave birth to her daughter, Azalea, she began to feel that there was something 'off' about her experience of motherhood. She loved her daughter, but would often be angry, short on patience, even unkind. She worried that her own childhood had left her unable to properly bond. So she went on a journey to better understand herself, her daughter, and their relationship through the science of attachment.

Saltman launched a broad inquiry into attachment theory, a field of developmental psychology that answers the question of why - from an evolutionary point of view - love exists between parents and children. Focusing on the data from a famous laboratory procedure, the 'Strange Situation', she discovered that love is unbreakable. Each and every one of us - including her - is built for it.

In this deeply researched and enormously personal account, Saltman boldly asks science to answer to love, giving readers the tools with which to interpret and understand their own connections with others, and to have better, healthier relationships, whatever their situation.

 

Queer Intentions: A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ+ Culture by Amelia Abraham


Combining intrepid journalism with her own personal experience, in Queer Intentions, Amelia Abraham searches for the answers to these urgent challenges, as well as the broader question of what it means to be queer right now. With curiosity, good humour and disarming openness, Amelia takes the reader on a thought-provoking and entertaining journey. Join her as she cries at the first same-sex marriage in Britain, loses herself in the world’s biggest drag convention in L.A., marches at Pride parades across Europe, visits both a transgender model agency and the Anti-Violence Project in New York to understand the extremes of trans life today, parties in the clubs of Turkey’s underground LGBTQ+ scene, and meets a genderless family in progressive Stockholm.

 

Call Them By Their True Names by Rebecca Solnit

 

Beginning with the election of Donald Trump ('The Loneliest Man in the World') and expanding back and forth into American history, surveillance, violence against the individual, the denormalizing of misogyny and the rehumanizing of public space. The ultimate focus of the book is climate and feminist activism, bringing Solnit's trademark deep analysis to bear on a range of contemporary crises.

And again, and spectacularly, she shows us how to hope.

 

Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto by Cinzi Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, Nancy Fraser

 

This is a manifesto for the 99 percent.

Unaffordable housing, poverty wages, inadequate healthcare, border policing, climate change—these are not what you ordinarily hear feminists talking about. But aren’t they the biggest issues for the vast majority of women around the globe?

Taking as its inspiration the new wave of feminist militancy that has erupted globally, this manifesto makes a simple but powerful case: feminism shouldn’t start—or stop—with the drive to have women represented at the top of their professions. It must focus on those at the bottom, and fight for the world they deserve. And that means targeting capitalism. Feminism must be anticapitalist, eco-socialist and antiracist.

 

Rape: From Lucretia to #MeToo

Thanks to Title IX cases, #MeToo, and #Times Up, the issue of rape seems to be constantly in the news. But our thinking on the subject has a long history, one that cultural critic Mithu Sanyal elegantly reconstructs. She narrates a history spanning from Lucretia—whose legendary rape and suicide was said to be the downfall of the last Roman king—to second-wave feminism, Tarzan, and Roman Polanski.

Sanyal demonstrates that the way we understand rape is remarkably (and alarmingly) consistent across the ages, even though the world has changed beyond recognition. It is high time for a new and informed debate about sexual violence, sexual boundaries, and consent.

Mithu Sanyal shows that our comprehension of rape is closely connected to our understanding of sex, sexuality, and gender. Why is it that we expect victims to be irreparably damaged? When we think of rapists, why do we think of strangers rather than uncles, husbands, priests, or boyfriends? And in the era of #MeToo, what should “justice” look like?

Rape: From Lucretia to #MeToo examines the role of race and the recurrent image of the black rapist, the omission of male victims, and what we mean when we talk about “rape culture.” Sanyal takes on every received opinion we have about rape, arguing with liberals, conservatives, and feminists alike.

 

Straight Sex: Rethinking the Politics of Pleasure by Lynne Segal

Is heterosexual sex inherently damaging to women? This is the central question of Straight Sex, Lynne Segal’s account of twentyfive years of feminist thinking on sexuality. Covering the thought of sixties-era sexual liberationists, alongside the ensuing passionate debates over sex and love within feminist and lesbian communities, Segal covers certain shifts toward greater sexual conservatism in the eighties. Straight Sex examines an array of issues, including sex as a subversive activity, the “liberated orgasm,” sex advice literature, gender uncertainties, queer politics, anti-pornography campaigns and the rise of the moral right.

 

If They Come in the Morning...Voices of Resistance by Angela Y. Davis

One of America’s most historic political trials is undoubtedly that of Angela Davis. Opening with a letter from James Baldwin to Davis, and including contributions from numerous radicals such as Black Panthers George Jackson, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale and Erica Huggins, this book is not only an account of Davis’s incarceration and the struggles surrounding it, but also perhaps the most comprehensive and thorough analysis of the prison system of the United State.

Since the book was written, the carceral system in the US has seen unprecedented growth, with more of America’s black population behind bars than ever before. The scathing analysis of the role of prison and the policing of black populations offered by Davis and her comrades in this astonishing volume remains as pertinent today as the day it was first published.

 

The Dialectic of Sex: The Case For Feminist Revolution by Shulamith Firestone

 

An international bestseller, originally published in 1970, when Shulamith Firestone was just twenty-five years old, The Dialectic of Sex was the first book of the women’s liberation movement to put forth a feminist theory of politics.

Beginning with a look at the radical and grassroots history of the first wave (with its foundation in the abolition movement of the time), Firestone documents its major victory, the expansion of the franchise in 1920, and the fifty years of ridicule that followed. She goes on to deftly synthesize the work of Freud, Marx, de Beauvoir, and Engels to create a cogent argument for feminist revolution.

Ultimately she presents feminism as the key radical ideology, the missing link between Marx and Freud, uniting their visions of the political and the personal. The Dialectic of Sex remains remarkably relevant today—a testament to Firestone’s startlingly prescient vision. The author died in 2012, but her ideas live on through this extraordinary book.

 

Ain’t I A Woman? By Sojourner Truth

A collection of Sojourner Truth’s iconic words, including her famous speech at the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio

A former slave and one of the most powerful orators of her time, Sojourner Truth fought for the equal rights of black women throughout her life. This selection of her impassioned speeches is accompanied by the words of other inspiring African-American female campaigners from the nineteenth century.

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives–and upended them. Now Penguin brings you a new set of the acclaimed Great Ideas, a curated library of selections from the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

 

Suffragette Manifestos: We Women Are Roused

 

A collection of writings, speeches, and pamphlets documenting Britain’s fight for women’s right to vote

Bringing together the voices of the British women who fought for equal rights and representation – from aristocrats and actresses to mill workers and trade unionists – these speeches, pamphlets, letters and articles form an inspiring testament to the power of a movement.

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives–and upended them. Now Penguin brings you a new set of the acclaimed Great Ideas, a curated library of selections from the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

 

Faith and Feminism in Pakistan: Religious Agency or Secular Autonomy by Afiya S. Zia

Are secular aims, politics, and sensibilities impossible, undesirable, and impractical for Muslims and Islamic states? Should Muslim women be exempted from feminist attempts at liberation from patriarchy and its various expressions under Islamic laws and customs? Considerable literature on the entanglements of Islam and secularism has been produced in the post-9/11 decade, and a large proportion of it deals with the “Woman Question.”

 

Queens of the Conquest by Alison Weir

Love, murder, war, betrayal

This is the story of the five extraordinary queens who helped the Norman kings of England rule their dominions. Recognised as equal sharers in the royal authority, their story is packed with tragedy, high drama, even comedy.


Heroines, villains, stateswomen, lovers

Beginning with Matilda of Flanders, who supported William the Conqueror in his invasion of England in 1066, and culminating in the turbulent life of the Empress Maud, whoc claimed to be queen of England in her own right and fought a bitter war to the end, the five Norman queens are revealed as hugely influential figures and fascinating characters.

In Alison Weir's hands, these pioneering women reclaim their rightful roles at the centre of English history.

 

Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary by Anita Anand

In 1876 Sophia Duleep Singh was born into royalty. Her father, Maharajah Duleep Singh, was heir to the Kingdom of the Sikhs, a realm that stretched from the lush Kashmir Valley to the craggy foothills of the Khyber Pass and included the mighty cities of Lahore and Peshawar. It was a territory irresistible to the British, who plundered everything, including the fabled Koh-I-Noor diamond.

Exiled to England, the dispossessed Maharajah transformed his estate at Elveden in Suffolk into a Moghul palace, its grounds stocked with leopards, monkeys and exotic birds. Sophia, god-daughter of Queen Victoria, was raised a genteel aristocratic Englishwoman: presented at court, afforded grace-and-favour lodgings at Hampton Court Palace and photographed wearing the latest fashions for the society pages. But when, in secret defiance of the British government, she travelled to India, she returned a revolutionary.

Sophia transcended her heritage to devote herself to battling injustice and inequality,a far cry from the life to which she was born. Her causes were the struggle for Indian independence, the fate of the Lascars, the welfare of Indian soldiers in the First World War – and, above all, the fight for female suffrage. She was bold and fearless, attacking politicians, putting herself in the front line and swapping her silks for a nurse's uniform to tend wounded soldiers evacuated from the battlefields. Meticulously researched and passionately written, this enthralling story of the rise of women and the fall of empire introduces an extraordinary individual and her part in the defining moments of recent British and Indian history.

 

Women of the World: The Rise of the Female Diplomat by Helen McCarthy

Throughout the twentieth century and long before, hundreds of determined British women defied the social conventions of their day in order to seek adventure and influence on the world stage. Some became travellers and explorers; others business-owners or buyers; others still devoted their lives to worthy international causes, from anti-slavery and women's suffrage to the League of Nations and world peace. Yet until 1946, no British woman could officially represent her nation abroad. It was only after decades of campaigning and the heroic labours performed by women during the Second World War that diplomatic careers were finally opened to both sexes.

Women of the World tells this story of personal and professional struggle against the dramatic backdrop of war, super-power rivalry and global transformation over the last century and a half. From London to Washington, Geneva to Tehran, and in the deserts of Arabia, the souks of Damascus and the hospitals of Sarajevo, resolute women undaunted by intransigent officials and hostile foreign governments proved their worth.

 

My Past Is A Foreign Country: A Muslim Feminist Finds Herself by Zeba Talkhani

28-year-old Zeba Talkhani charts her experiences growing up in Saudi Arabia amid patriarchal customs reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale, and her journey to find freedom in India, Germany and the UK.

Talkhani offers a fresh perspective on living as an outsider and examines her relationship with her mother and the challenges she faced when she experienced hair loss at a young age.

Rejecting the traditional path her culture had chosen for her, Talkhani became financially independent and married on her own terms in the UK. Drawing on her personal experiences Talkhani shows how she fought for the right to her individuality as a Muslim feminist and refused to let negative experiences define her.