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Challenge Your Shelf: Women’s History Reading Challenge

Mar 9, 2016 Reading Challenges

Who said reading can’t be competitive? Every few months, we’ll be challenging you to read a list of selected books. Print out the challenge and cross the titles off as you go. Show off how much you’ve read by taking a picture and tweeting @penguinrandom or Instagramming (@penguinrandomhouse) with the hashtag #challengeyourshelf.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The highly acclaimed, provocative New York Times bestseller from the award-winning author of Americanah, “one of the world’s great contemporary writers” (Barack Obama).

In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a... Read more >

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Mrs. Dalloway

By Virginia Woolf

 Mrs. Dalloway chronicles a June day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway–a day that is taken up with running minor errands in preparation for a party and that is punctuated, toward the end, by the suicide of a young man she has never met. In giving an apparently ordinary day such immense resonance and... Read more >

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore

The Secret History of Wonder Woman

By Jill Lepore

A riveting work of historical detection revealing that the origin of Wonder Woman, one of the world’s most iconic superheroes, hides within it a fascinating family story—and a crucial history of twentieth-century feminism

Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore has uncovered an... Read more >

My Life in France by Alex Prud'homme,Julia Child

My Life in France

By Alex Prud'homme and Julia Child

The bestselling story of Julia’s years in France—and the basis for Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams—in her own words.
Although she would later singlehandedly create a new approach to American cuisine with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef,... Read more >

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

The Aviator's Wife

By Melanie Benjamin

In the spirit of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, acclaimed novelist Melanie Benjamin pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
 
“The history [is] exhilarating. . . . The Aviator’s Wife soars.”—USA Today
 
NEW YORK TIMES... Read more >

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Middlemarch

By George Eliot

From A to Z, the Penguin Drop Caps series collects 26 unique hardcovers—featuring cover art by type superstar Jessica Hische

It all begins with a letter. Fall in love with Penguin Drop Caps, a new series of twenty-six collectible and gift-worthy hardcover editions, each with a type cover showcasing a gorgeously... Read more >

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

My Life on the Road

By Gloria Steinem

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | ONE OF O: THE OPRAH MAGAZINE’S TEN FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR | NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Harper’s Bazaar • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Publishers Weekly

Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and inspiring leader—now tells a story she has never told before, a... Read more >

About Women by Francoise Gilot,Lisa Alther

About Women

By Francoise Gilot and Lisa Alther

A provocative and wide-ranging conversation between two distinctive women—one American and one French—on the dilemmas, rewards, and demands of womanhood.

Lisa Alther and Françoise Gilot have been friends for more than twenty-five years. Although from different backgrounds (Gilot from cosmopolitan Paris, Alther... Read more >

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

The Paying Guests

By Sarah Waters

The “volcanically sexy” (USA Today)   bestseller about a widow and her daughter who take a young couple into their home in 1920s London.
 
It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa—a... Read more >

DESERT QUEEN by Janet Wallach

DESERT QUEEN

By Janet Wallach

This “richly textured biography” (Chicago Tribune) inspired the mesmerizing documentary, Letters from Baghdad, soon to air on public television.

Here is the story of Gertrude Bell, who explored, mapped, and excavated the Arab world throughout the early twentieth century. Recruited by British intelligence during... Read more >

Eighty Days by Matthew Goodman

Eighty Days

By Matthew Goodman

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

On November 14, 1889, Nellie Bly, the crusading young female reporter for Joseph Pulitzer’s World newspaper, left New York City by steamship on a quest to break the record for the fastest trip around the world. Also departing from New York that day—and heading in the opposite direction by... Read more >

Victoria by A. N. Wilson

Victoria

By A. N. Wilson

“[A] shimmering and rather wonderful biography.” —The Guardian (London)

When Queen Victoria died in 1901, she had ruled for nearly sixty-four years. She was the mother of nine and grandmother of forty-two and the matriarch of royal Europe through her children’s marriages. To many, Queen Victoria is a ruler... Read more >

Joan of Arc by Kathryn Harrison

Joan of Arc

By Kathryn Harrison

Kathryn Harrison gives us a Joan of Arc for our time—a shining exemplar of unshakable faith, extraordinary courage, and self-confidence on the battlefield, in the royal court, during a brutally rigged inquisition and imprisonment, and in the face of her death. In this new take on Joan’s story, Harrison deftly... Read more >

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved

By Toni Morrison

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a spellbinding and dazzlingly innovative portrait of a woman haunted by the past. Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by... Read more >

Michelle Obama by Peter Slevin

Michelle Obama

By Peter Slevin

This is the inspiring story of a modern American icon, the first comprehensive account of the life and times of Michelle Obama.

With disciplined reporting and a storyteller’s eye for revealing detail, Peter Slevin follows Michelle to the White House from her working-class childhood on Chicago’s largely segregated... Read more >

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis

By Marjane Satrapi

A New York Times Notable Book
A Time Magazine “Best Comix of the Year”
A San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times Best-seller

Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

In powerful black-and-white comic strip images,... Read more >

Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

Fear of Flying

By Erica Jong

A striking deluxe edition commemorating the 40th anniversary of Erica Jong’s groundbreaking classic

Before Hannah from Girls, Anastasia Steele from Fifty Shades of Grey, and Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, there was Isadora Wing, the uninhibited, outspoken protagonist of Erica Jong’s revolutionary novel.... Read more >

The Liars' Club by Mary Karr

The Liars' Club

By Mary Karr

The New York Times bestselling, hilarious tale of Mary Karr’s hardscrabble Texas childhood that Oprah.com calls the best memoir of a generation—now with a foreword by Lena Dunham in celebration of its twentieth anniversary.
 
“Wickedly funny and always movingly illuminating, thanks to kick-ass storytelling and a... Read more >

Motorcycles I've Loved by Lily Brooks-Dalton

Motorcycles I've Loved

By Lily Brooks-Dalton

“What the PCT is to Cheryl Strayed, the open road is to Brooks-Dalton.”—Cosmopolitan 

A powerful memoir about a young woman whose passion for motorcycles leads her down a road all her own.

At twenty-one-years-old, Lily Brooks-Dalton is feeling lost; returning to New England after three and a half years traveling... Read more >

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary

By Gustave Flaubert

The award-winning, nationally bestselling translation, by Lydia Davis, of one of the world’s most celebrated novels

Emma Bovary is the original desperate housewife. Beautiful but bored, she spends lavishly on clothes and on her home and embarks on two disappointing affairs in an effort to make her life everything... Read more >

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Kindred

By Octavia Butler

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back... Read more >

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein

By Mary Shelley

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

A stunning new clothbound edition of Mary Shelley's infamous work of horror fiction, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. These delectable and collectible Penguin editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile... Read more >

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

The Second Sex

By Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir’s essential masterwork is a powerful analysis of the Western notion of “woman,” and a revolutionary exploration of inequality and otherness. Unabridged in English for the first time, this long-awaited edition reinstates significant portions of the original French text that were cut in the first... Read more >

Mary Tudor by Anna Whitelock

Mary Tudor

By Anna Whitelock

An engrossing, unadulterated biography of “Bloody Mary”—elder daughter of Henry VIII, Catholic zealot, and England’s first reigning Queen
 
Mary Tudor was the first woman to inherit the throne of England. Reigning through one of Britain’s stormiest eras, she earned the nickname “Bloody Mary” for her violent... Read more >

Martha Washington by Patricia Brady

Martha Washington

By Patricia Brady

With this revelatory and painstakingly researched book, Martha Washington, the invisible woman of American history, at last gets the biography she deserves. In place of the domestic frump of popular imagination, Patricia Brady resurrects the wealthy, attractive, and vivacious young widow who captivated the... Read more >

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