Following on from last week, here are a few more of my favourite brain-friendly wonderful-women laden books. Add them to your reading lists or gift them to the feminists in your lives and above all enjoy them!
- Wild Nights – Kim Addonizio
Kim just knows what it is to be a woman. She’s living it and her poetry is full of that rawness. It’s gritty, it’s clever, thought-provoking and more importantly, it’s incredibly beautiful, linguistically. Her words make me burst at the seams with their stunningness, their rebelliousness and how much of my own female experience I recognise in them. I’m so in love with the line, ‘‘watching this slut of a river smear kisses all over/ east Manhattan, letting ferries slide under her dress’ from ‘Invisible Signals’. Addonizio is an absolute winner. Some of my other personal favourites from this collection are ‘Scrapbook’, ‘Muse’ and the overwhelmingly wonderful ‘What do women want?’.
- The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Everyone knows the toughest women wield crossbows, Merida, Hanna, Susan Pevensie and, above all, Katniss Everdeen. Katniss spends her time in both the YA books and films kicking ass. In a complete turnaround, it is her who is the resilient, skilled hunter and fighter, whereas Peeta, her romantic interest, is the more emotional, artistic peace-oriented character. But it’s not just her skills with a bow and arrow that make Katniss strong, but also certain elements of her femininity; first and foremost the sisterhood and maternal protection she provides for both Prim and Rue. The Hunger Games is also great in that it doesn’t fall into the trap of creating just one perfect female character. Instead it boasts a whole array of women, whose power and strength manifest in different ways.
- The Roaring Girl – Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton
I wouldn’t normally recommend Jacobean plays plucked off reading lists from my university days, but this one is an absolute hidden gem. The main character, Moll Cutpurse is a cross dressing, sword-wielding, canting, pickpocket who refuses to fit inside the box Jacobean England has carved out from her. Moll is apparently based on real life roaring girl Mary Frith who would definitely be on my dream dinner guest list. In one of my favourite lines Moll admits that she likes to lie ‘o’both sides o’th’bed myself’ and then fabulously adds ‘a wife you know ought to be obedient, but I fear me I am too headstrong to obey.’.
- Girl Meets Boy – Ali Smith
Oh, Ali Smith. She is one of those rare gems whose writing is clever, acclaimed and at the same time an absolute page-turner. I drink Smith’s books like they’re a large glass of red. All at once, with pure pleasure. Smith’s take on the traditional ‘girl meets boy’ narrative is thoroughly modern with mass corporations, lesbian love and a spate of important feminist messages that get spray painted around town.
- I am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
This weeks list has been full of a lot of strong, fictional ladies, but Malala is important in the fact that she a real life superwoman. Aged just fifteen years old Malala was shot at point blank range by the Taliban, simply because she was an advocate for women’s education in her . Despite almost dying, to this date Malala still fights for women’s education, she made a speech at the UN aged just 16 and remains the youngest winner of a Nobel Peace Prize. I Am Malala details her history, her fight for women and girls to be educated in her home country, Pakistan, and her almost miraculous recovery. Malala is still only nineteen years old, yet she has achieved more than most, and never given up. Her words should inspire us all.