Welcome to my book recommendations!
Love to read? Picking up a book for the first time in 10 years? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! (Get it?… book cover…)
I have put together a list of books written by women, about women, feminism, womanhood, traveling around the world… you get the point. I’ve included both true stories that will make you laugh and cry and totally made up, wonderful, can’t-put-down stories. I’ve read all of the books listed below, so they are real recommendations. If you’re not sure why this list is important, you should read about why Lilit Marcus spent a year only reading female authors.
If you click on a link to buy a book, I receive a small commission from affiliates. If you’d prefer to purchase it from a local store or rent it from a local library – I’d be incredibly happy with that too!
A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout
This book has two distinct parts to it. The first half describes Amanda’s life as a wanderlust-filled teen who follows her dreams to various parts of South America, Asia and the Middle East. The imagery made me long for my own travels, laughing at common observations and lusting for that carefree backpack style again. The second half is devastating. Amanda was kidnapped in Somalia for 15 months and she painstakingly carries us through her life as a hostage, including her feelings of forgiveness. A truly powerful story that kept me reading well-into the night.
I read this book during my trip to Cambodia and it enriched my entire experience in Phnom Penh. A first-person memoir of what happened to Loung Ung during the Pol Pot regime during the Khmer Rouge years. Did I cry? Absolutely. The story starts off when Loung Ung is not yet old enough to understand what is happening and it is her innocence that is the hardest to breathe in. As her family disappears and she is literally worked to the bone, you can’t feel anything but sorrow for the recent history in Cambodia. If you’re going to read anything about Cambodia… make it this book.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
I’m sure you have heard about Malala Yousafzai by now as she has become a symbol of courage and a fierce advocate of the right to an education. If you want to learn more about Malala or why her message is so important to Pakistan and the world – make sure to pick up a copy this International Women’s Day.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Another book that captivated me into all hours of the night. Jeannette Walls grew up in an unconventional family life; one of four children, with an alcoholic father and a mother who seeks art and adventure rather than stability. They moved cities often and lived in condemned houses but they made it work. Walls creates her world for us to walk through – for us to feel every grain of desert sand, every road trip between homes, every responsibility of taking care of siblings and every moment of despair. Her life was a giant adventure and she makes sure to bring us along.
The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett & Amanda Pressner
I had to include a happier book on this list! Written by three friends, we follow Jennifer, Holly and Amanda on the greatest trip of their lives! Of course I loved their stories about places I’ve visited and places I’ve longed to add to my list. They dealt with the impending big 3-0 age in the boldest ways possible and are sure to inspire a few more ladies to grab rucksacks and board a plane.
Bad Dyke: Salacious Stories from a Queer Life by Allison Moon
If you’re looking for a book that talks about sex, life and queerness – then this will definitely satisfy you! I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting Allison Moon and a few of the other names mentioned in the book, which made it extra fun to read about the queer adventures. This book explores the evolution of Moon’s sexual discoveries. Definitely NSFW… but isn’t that the best kind?
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Lovely Bones is a bone-chilling story about a teenage girl, Susie Salmon, who is raped and murdered. Susie watches from her own personal heaven as her friends and family try to move on from what happened, uncertain of whether Susie is alive or who killed her. This heavy topic is written so thoughtfully into a beautifully complex story.
Room by Emma Donoghue
I’m sure you’ve heard of the movie – but you absolutely need to read the book. The story is told by Jack, a 5-year old boy who has only ever lived in a single room. He doesn’t know that his mother was kidnapped, he doesn’t know that they are both being held hostage. All he knows is the world around him – the world his mother has created for him in order to protect him and prepare him for the day that they escape. Emma Donoghue has so carefully created Jack’s character that even his vocabulary makes us believe in his one-room world.
Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution by Laurie Penny
This book is so thought-provoking and important for our world, that I wrote a whole separate post about it! Check out the top 10 Quotes here.
Zaatardiva by Suheir Hammad
You won’t find much poetry in my recommendations… but this one… this one needs to be mentioned. I’ve actually read through this poetry book more than once, which I think is a testament to just how powerful Suheir Hammad’s words are. This collection is about love, politics and Brooklyn as an American daughter of Palestinian refugee parents, born in Jordan. Her works ‘First Writing Since’ and ‘Mike Check’ are necessary readings.
Link for Amazon: click here
Link for Indigo / Chapters: click here
I realized after making this list that the authors are not particularly diverse – and I plan on changing that in the future, so keep checking back for more updates!
If you have your own reading recommendations – send me an e-mail!