Whether you’re seeking career advice, a laugh, or a serious read, this comprehensive list is for the diverse maven navigating the beautiful complexity of womanhood.
1. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Author: Of Jewish descent, Sheryl Sandberg is chief operating officer at Facebook and was previously vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, chief of staff for the U.S. Treasury Department under President Clinton, a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, and an economist with the World Bank. Through her storytelling and career, she has worked to create a more equal and resilient world.
Plot: This books takes a look at the facts; though women make up 50 percent of college graduates in the U.S. men still hold the majority of leadership positions in government and industry. Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, giving accessible and real-word explanations of root causes, and compelling, commonsense solutions that will help women women achieve their full potential.
Reader: This thematic, self-help style of narrative is ideal for the reader seeking professional development advice and tools.
2. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer of novels, short stories, and nonfiction. Known for her compelling social and political critiques, she is an acclaimed modern speaker and storyteller, as well as a critically acclaimed author of African literature.
Plot: This personal essay is adapted from a TEDx talk from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the 21st century that is rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing on her own experiences and understanding of sexual politics, it is a poignant exploration of what it means to be a woman and a feminist today.
Reader: Centered on experiences and lessons earned from those experiences, this is a story for the reader seeking personal exploration and development.
3. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Author: Toni Morrison is an African American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor. She has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, American Book Award, Nobel Prize in Literature, Jefferson Lecture, National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.
Plot: The fictional story centers on a young black girl who desperately wants to be beautiful. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes, she yearns for the normalcy of her peers who have blond hair and blue eyes. It is an examination of society’s obsession with beauty and conformity and how they relate to race, class, and gender.
Reader: This story is for the fiction lover who is also seeking a compelling and inspiring narrative that address real issues.
4. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
Author: Azar Nafisi is a professor at John Hopkins University. In addition to being an acclaimed Iranian American author, she is a published journalist and has won several literary awards, including Non-Fiction Book of the Year.
Plot: Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Azar Nafisi as a teacher secretly gathered seven of her female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the women in Nafisi’s living room spoke of the books they read and about themselves, their dreams and disappointments.
Reader: This non-fiction narrative is for the reader seeking empowerment and inspiration.
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