Our colleagues are celebrating International Women’s Day by picking out favorite books by or about inspiring women. Whether you’re looking for a nonfiction book about real-life pioneers, or a novel with a memorable heroine, we’ve got something for everyone.
Based on the true story of Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the first women in history to take her sexual assault case to court, it is a book full of courage, ferocity and the determination to not be silenced.
— Felicity, Penguin Young Readers, Digital Marketing
This intersectional anthology was an inspired commission by our assistant editor Elizabeth Vogt to publish for the 2020 centennial of women’s right to vote. It is an illuminating look not just at well-known suffragists, but at the Native American and African American women who had been overlooked but were crucial to the history of the movement.— Elda, Penguin Classics
Back Talk by Danielle Lazarin is an incredible collection of short stories about the kinds of women whom we all know intimately but who are rarely seen in fiction: women straining against the bounds society imposes on them and compelled by powerful desires, even and especially those that are quiet and hard to name. Getting to know these women on the page through Lazarin’s expert storytelling is bracing, galvanizing, electrifying.
— Patrick, Penguin Books Editorial
Emika Chen in Warcross is an incredible woman. She charges through adversity, proudly owns the skills she’s worked for years to master, and doesn’t compromise her beliefs in the face of hard choices. Emika is flawed and she makes mistakes but she’s stronger because of it and I think that’s beautiful.— Bree M., Publicity
Female knights! Enough said! But really The Afterward’s strong cast of female warriors save the world not once, but twice and if that’s not inspiration enough to go out there and conquer the world (my inbox), I don’t know what is!
— Vanessa, PYR Publicity
Louisa May Alcott was ahead of her time in the way she portrayed strong female characters. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy are creative, strong and motivated to pursue their passions. — Hanna, Random House Children’s Books
Liberated Spirits tells the little known, very true story of Mabel Willebrandt and Pauline Sabin. These two strong ladies played major roles in the history of Prohibition, a time that enabled women to redefine themselves and their place in society. This book made me feel proud of women’s roles in the history of this country and showed the difference individuals can make in changing the world.— Elisha, Berkley Marketing
This beautifully written story about a mermaid who triumphs over P.T. Barnum’s attempts to exploit her may be set in the oppressive 1800s, but Amelia’s battle to forge the life she wants – and the way her friendship with other women helps her to do it – is utterly timeless.
— Jessica, Berkley Marketing
Helen Gurley Brown was a dynamo—unafraid, whip-smart, and utterly inspiring. Her participation in the sexual revolution, and her journey to rebrand Cosmopolitan magazine, in the 1960s, is one women today will find more in common with than they think.
— Fareeda, Marketing
Everyone thinks they know the story of Milady de Winter and the Three Musketeers, but Laura L. Sullivan brings Milady’s story into a whole new light in her story. She’s not just this evil villainess—she is a woman who has had to live in a male-dominated society and play by their rules for too long and she refuses to become a victim of circumstance. I loved that about her and felt so empowered reading this book.
— Jessica, Marketing