8 Must-Read Books In Celebration Of International Women’s Day

Some books highlight the intricacies of what it means to be a woman. Source: Pexels

“Books are the mirrors of the soul.”―Virginia Woolf

Women are spearheading in various fields across the world. Be it politics, economics, science business, arts…women are not waiting for a seat at the table, rather they are building a bigger and better table, creating inclusive spaces for fellow women and others. Women of the 21st century are leading the next generation, pioneering innovation, breaking sexist stereotypes and fighting for social justice.

This International Women’s Day, we have curated a list of 8 books written by phenomenal women who have revolutionised the way we perceive and understand women’s position in society. From an everyday design guide to a novel on race and identity to a thrilling family memoir, these books highlight the intricacies of the female experience and get to the heart of what it truly means to be a woman.

  1. The Namesake

Author: Jhumpa Lahiri

Source: Goodreads

Jhumpa Lahiri elegantly depicts a family’s quest to follow the traditions of their native India while reconciling with the paradoxical American cultural cocoon they exist in. This is a story of passion, kinship, and identity. Despite the novel’s focus on her son’s identity crisis, it respects the protagonist- Ashima’s tenacity, as well as the tenacity of all women who compromise their aspirations in the name of a brighter future for their children.

2. The Autobiography of a Sex Worker

Author: Nalini Jameela

Source: Goodreads

While many women hide away and live a life of solitude, Nalini Jameela has acted as a role model of self-acceptance and unexceptional bravery by writing about her lived experiences in “The Autobiography of a Sex Worker”. The book has been acclaimed as one of Malayalam literature’s most sensational and controversial books.

This book, which was originally written in Malayalam, became an instant hit and was quickly translated and published in English, allowing it to reach a wider audience.

3. The Second Sex

Author: Simon De Beauvoir

Source: Goodreads

Amongst all pioneering works in women’s studies, this book almost certainly had the most widespread and long-lasting impact of all the existential writings since the 1930s.

It’s an anthropological and sociological study, as well as a work of biology and psychoanalysis, from the pen of a writer and philosopher with a keen imaginative vigour. The Second Sex stands as the first monumental milestone in the modern feminist upsurge that has revolutionised conceptions of man and womankind’s social interaction in our day.

4. The Bell Jar

Author: Sylvia Plath

Source: Goodreads

The Bell Jar is a novel about Esther Greenwood, a college grad who aspires to be a poet. She is chosen for a month-long summer internship as a guest editor at Ladies’ Day magazine, but her stay in New York City is joyless as she grapples with identity and societal conventions.

Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar was first published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas in January 1963 and later republished posthumously. The novel, which is ostensibly an autobiography, follows a young woman’s journey through mental turmoil and ultimate rehabilitation while also delving into 1950s cultural expectations for women. Plath committed suicide exactly after a month of her only novel- ‘The Bell Jar’ was published.

5. Bad Feminist

Author: Roxane Gay

Source: Livraddict

In these witty and enlightening essays, Roxane Gay takes us on a voyage through her journey as a woman of colour in America while also taking readers on a ride through the recent pop-cultural revolution and commenting on the condition of feminism today. The picture that emerges is not only of an extraordinarily perceptive lady who is constantly learning about herself and society, but also of one’s own culture.

Bad Feminist is a razor-sharp, hilarious, and spot-on look at how the various content we consume shapes who we are, as well as a motivating call to arms for all the things we still need to improve on.

6. We Should All Be Feminists

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Source: Women’s Republic Net

With wit and levity, Adichie provides readers with a distinct understanding of feminism and its evolution in the twenty-first century- one anchored in inclusivity and awareness. She illuminates not only the brazen gender and racial discrimination in America, but also the more subtle institutional behaviours that marginalise women all over the world, to enable readers to better comprehend the often veiled reality of sexual and racial politics. She leans heavily on her own experiences — in the United States, in Nigeria, and elsewhere — to provide an ingeniously nuanced understanding of why the gender difference is destructive for both women and men.

7. Lifting the Veil

Author: Ismat Chughtai

Source: Goodreads

In “Lifting the Veil”, Ismat Chughtai examined female sexuality with exceptional frankness and analysed the political and social conventions of her time, at a time when academic writings by and about women were unusual and often considered scandalous.

She wrote about the world she knew, introducing the middle-class vernacular to Urdu prose and completely changing the face of Urdu literature.

8. She said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement

Authors: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

Source: Google Books

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists who tell the incredibly perilous story behind their New York Times exposé that brought down Harvey Weinstein, accelerated the #MeToo movement, and left an indelible mark on womenkind.

This book is a powerful testimony to the journalistic endeavours and courageous truth-tellers who sparked a fire in all of us.

Books not only reflect upon the intersectional and socio-political position of women but provide a deeper insight into the intricacies of multiple cross-cultural societies and the various emotional and spiritual layers of a woman’s mind and the multifaceted complexities of her heart.

We are positive these books are bound to make you laugh, cry, and introspect but most importantly, they will etch your heart, open old wounds and take you on a magnificent journey of experiences of resilient women, who continue inspire us every day.

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