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2017 Books for the Holidays: Feminist Reading List

A reading list of books by insightful and accomplished women, including Joan Didion, Jennifer Finney Boylan, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, among others.

Check out all our 2017 holiday lists here.

  1. 1

    The Goddesses

    The Goddesses Book Cover Picture
  2. 2

    What We Lose

    Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor. In arresting and unsettling prose, Thandi’s life unfolds, from losing her mother to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood.

    What We Lose Book Cover Picture
  3. 3

    We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.

    With We Are Never Meeting in Real Life., “bitches gotta eat” blogger and comedian Samantha Irby turns the serio-comic essay into an art form. Whether explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette, sharing awkward sexual encounters, or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms, she’s as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past.

    We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. Book Cover Picture
  4. 4

    Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

    A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response.

    Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions Book Cover Picture
  5. 5

    South and West

    Joan Didion has always kept notebooks: of overheard dialogue, observations, interviews, drafts of essays and articles–and here is one such draft that traces a road trip she took with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in June 1970, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

    South and West Book Cover Picture
  6. 6

    Stay with Me

    This celebrated, unforgettable first novel, shortlisted for the prestigious Bailey’s Prize and set in Nigeria, gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage–and the forces that threaten to tear it apart.

    Stay with Me Book Cover Picture
  7. 7

    The Idiot

    The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. With superlative emotional and intellectual sensitivity, mordant wit, and pitch-perfect style, Batuman dramatizes the uncertainty of life on the cusp of adulthood.

    The Idiot Book Cover Picture
  8. 8


    From the celebrated poet Yrsa Daley-Ward, a poignant collection of poems about the heart, life, and the inner self.

    bone Book Cover Picture
  9. 9


    Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver presents a personal selection of her best work in this definitive collection spanning more than five decades of her esteemed literary career.

    Devotions Book Cover Picture
  10. 10

    The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers

    A landmark collection documenting the social, political, and artistic lives of African American women throughout the tumultuous nineteenth century.

    The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers Book Cover Picture
  11. 11

    Enchantress of Numbers

    New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini illuminates the fascinating life of Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace—Lord Byron’s daughter, the world’s first computer programmer, and a woman whose exceptional contributions to science and technology have been too long unsung.

    Enchantress of Numbers Book Cover Picture
  12. 12

    Coming to My Senses

    The New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed memoir from cultural icon and culinary standard bearer Alice Waters recalls the circuitous road and tumultuous times leading to the opening of what is arguably America’s most influential restaurant.

    Coming to My Senses Book Cover Picture
  13. 13

    Courage Is Contagious

    A collection of essays celebrating the influential former first lady, Michelle Obama, by an array of acclaimed contributors and with a foreword by Lena Dunham.

    Courage Is Contagious Book Cover Picture
  14. 14


    From Patricia Lockwood—a writer acclaimed for her wildly original voice—a vivid, heartbreakingly funny memoir about balancing identity with family and tradition.

    Priestdaddy Book Cover Picture
  15. 15


    Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Two old friends—Daniel, a centenarian, and Elisabeth, born in 1984—look to both the future and the past as the United Kingdom stands divided by a historic, once-in-a-generation summer.

    Autumn Book Cover Picture
  16. 16

    Long Black Veil

    For fans of Donna Tartt and Megan Abbott, a novel about a woman whose family and identity are threatened by the secrets of her past, from the New York Times bestselling author of She’s Not There.

    Long Black Veil Book Cover Picture
  17. 17

    Woman Enters Left

    In parallel tales, three women, Louise, Florrie, and Ethel, discover that not all journeys follow a map. As they rediscover their carefree selves on the road, they learn that sometimes the paths they follow are shaped more by their traveling companions than by their destinations.

    Woman Enters Left Book Cover Picture
  18. 18

    The Last Girl

    In this intimate memoir of survival, a former captive of the Islamic State tells her harrowing and ultimately inspiring story. Nadia’s story, as a witness to the Islamic State’s brutality, a survivor of rape, a refugee, a Yazidi, has forced the world to pay attention to the ongoing genocide in Iraq. It is a call to action, a testament to the human will to survive, and a love letter to a lost country.

    The Last Girl Book Cover Picture
  19. 19

    Lab Girl

    Lab Girl is geobiologist Hope Jahren’s revelatory treatise on plant life as well as a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that drive every scientist.

    Lab Girl Book Cover Picture

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