Here are some of the women whose stories deserve a read (maybe two, three, or four reads). I’ve split the list between women whose books I’ve already read, and ones I’m looking forward to reading.
- Ida B. Wells, Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells: Ida, a pioneer on so many levels, is one of my top responses to the question “If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be?” Many, but not enough people know how integral her activism and journalism were in creating a country where African Americans could feel safe against lynching. Even if you don’t read this book, give her a quick search– she’s absolutely worth learning about.
- Sonia Sotomayor, My Beloved World: For those who don’t follow American politics (I know there are a good deal of foreign readers out there!) , Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina Supreme Court Justice in American history. She’s insightful, brilliant, and accomplished so I’m positive this book is something I should have on my TBR list. At the very least, I hope some of her determination rubs off on me.
- Padma Lakshmi, Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir: I’m in love with Padma Lakshmi, and I’m not afraid to scream it from the hills. All I want is to eat a fancy, multi-course dinner with her, and have her pick up the tab.
- Misty Copeland, Firebird: Misty has a traditional memoir on the shelves, but this children’s book is just too pretty to overlook. I, along with so many other people, haven’t been able to get enough of Misty Copeland these last few years. She’s beautiful, tough, charming, and amazing at her craft. What more can you want in a role model?
- Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis: If you haven’t read these graphic novels, or at least seen the movie, you’re sorely missing out. Satrapi’s story of growing up during the Iranian Revolution is visually stunning, and the film has a fantastic soundtrack. As someone who has studied international affairs, I found it interesting to read about it from the perspective of a young girl, versus from a policy standpoint.
- Frida Kahlo, The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait: Look. It’s a book about Frida, by Frida. Can my book buying ban be over, yet? This particular book is Frida Kahlo’s diary, including words and images, giving perspective to the last decade of her life. I haven’t picked it up yet, but it seems like it’ll be lots of fun.
- Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography: Assata was required reading the summer before freshman year of college. I’ll be honest, and admit that I didn’t take summer reading very seriously that year (read: many years). After discussing the book in an honors seminar, I quickly realized the significance of the book in wider American and African-American history.
Memoirs aren’t something I read too often, but I figure that it’s impossible to go wrong if I start with women I admire. Women like Assata Shakur and Misty Copeland have empowered so many other women to be their most authentic self, and I could use some of that in my life at the moment.
As always, if you have any fantastic book recommendations for the group, please let me know in the comments!