Reading a Book



Or even just a chapter, there’s lots to discover about feminism, activism, gender, sexuality, body image, oppression, liberation and creativity online of course, but online consumption of information can feel hectic, and the backlit screens are bad for our eyes! We’re a bunch of bibliophiles so we have cobbled together some reading lists online and a big (but not exhaustive) list of books we love for you to peruse.Reading does of course, need time, a luxury not everyone has but most of us have to wait around from time to time; lunch breaks are great for a good read, trips on public transport, waiting rooms,  in the SYC team most of us tend to have a book on us in case we have to hang about. Sometimes it seems that there are so many to choose from, so where do we start? Well anywhere really, there’s no shame in not having read ‘Feminist Classics’ the most important thing is to be curious, critique what you read and let fiction and non-fiction add to how you feel about the world we live in and how you might help to change it for the better in your own way.

A Reading List of One’s Own (The Atlantic)

Top 10 Feminist Books (The Guardian)

50 Essential Feminist Books (Stylist Magazine)

15 Books to Spark Your Feminist Awakening (Buzzfeed)

Top 10 Queer Feminist Books

A reading list from Bluestockings NYC (an amazing radical bookstore- cannot recommend highly enough if you’re visiting The Big Apple).

100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader (Bitch Media)

Ms Readers’ 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of all Time

Shape Your Culture Team Recommends (we’ve probably left loads out!!)

Feminism, Politics, Work, Race, Class, Sexuality

Feminism is for Everybody – Bell Hooks

Different for Girls – Joan Smith

Misogynies – Joan Smith

Meat Market – Laurie Penny

Unspeakable Things – Laurie Penny

Women of the Revolution – Kira Kochrane

Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates

Backlash – Susan Faludi

Ain’t I a Woman – Bell Hooks

Sister Outsider – Audre Lorde

The Second Sex – Simone de Beauvoir 

The Female eunuch – Germain Greer

Full Frontal Feminism – Jessica Valenti 

Playing the Whore – Melissa Gira Grant

Feminism in Our Time: WW II to the Present – Miriam Schneir (US based)

A Vindication of the Rights of Women – Mary Wollstonecraft

The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues – Angela Davies

Half the Sky – Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

The Vagenda – Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Living Dolls – Natasha Walter

Female Chauvinist Pigs – Ariel Levy

Stitched Up – Tansy Hoskins

Biographies and Memoirs

I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai

How to be a Woman – Caitlin Moran

Unbearable Lightness: A story of loss and gain – Portia di Rossi

Bossypants – Tina Fey

Lucky – Alice Sebold

Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? – Jeanette Winterson

Fun Home – Alison Bechdel (Graphic Novel)

Desert Flower – Waris Dirie

Body Image & Health

Fat is a Feminist Issue – Susie Orbach

On Eating – Susie Orbach

Bodies – Susie Orbach

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters – Courtney Martin

Women, Food and God – Geneen Roth

Rethinking Thin – Gina Kolata

Fat Politics – Eric Oliver

The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf

The Politics of the Body – Alison Phipps (brilliant though quite academic)

Health at Every Size -Linda Bacon

The Good Body – Eve Ensler

Lessons from the fat-o-sphere: quit dieting and declare a truce with your body – Kate Harding (really funny and easy reading)

The diet survivors handbook: 60 lessons in eating, acceptance and self care – Judith Matz

‘This is who I am: our beauty in all shapes and sizes’ – Rosanne Olson

Feminist Perspectives on eating disorders – Patricia Fallon. This is great because it’s basically a reader so lots of short pieces on all different aspects. 

Consuming Passions: feminist approaches to weight preoccupation and Eating disorders – Karin Jasper.

Fat! So? Because you don’t have to apologise for your size – Marilyn Wann

The End of Food – Paul Roberts (it’s enormous but don’t be put off, it’s quite an easy read)

Food, the Body and the Self – Deborah Lupton

Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body – Susan Bordo

The Obesity Myth – Paul Campos

Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall – Kjerstin Gruys

Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image edited by Ophira Edut (Adios Barbie)

Art and Culture

Women’s Camera work – Judith Fryer Davidov

But is it Art – Nina Felshin

The Female Nude – Lynda Nead

Suffragettes to She-Devils – Liz McQuiston

Let’s Start a Pussy Riot – Emily Neu, Jade French and Pussy Riot

Feminist Fiction

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

The Color Purple – Alice Walker

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

Cider House Rules – John Irving

Not the End of the World – Kate Atkinson

Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf

The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing

The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter

The Electric Michaelangelo – Sarah Hall

The Yellow Wallpaper (short story) – Charlotte Perkins Gillman 

Herland – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Collector – John Fowles

A Summer Without Men – Siri Hustvedt

The Blindfold – Siri Hustvedt

Orange are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson

Written on the Body – Jeanette Winterson

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Push – Sapphire

Sophie’s World – Jostein Gaarder

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Jamaica Inn – Daphne Du Maurier

Lady Chatterley’s lover – D H Lawrence

A Girl is a Half Formed Thing – Eimear Mcbride

Hotel world – Ali Smith

Matilda – Roald Dahl

Rape: A Love Story – Joyce Carol Oates (Trigger Warning)