Today I’m wrapping up my favorite nonfiction reads of 2011 by focusing on a subject near and dear to my heart: feminism! A lot of these were some of the best books I read all year in any genre. Without further ado, here were my five favorite feminist reads listed in alphabetical order by title:
A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness: Writings, 2000-2010 by Cherríe Moraga (2011)
With its focus on learning from the past and the concept of “(w)riting to remember,” Moraga’s latest work positively blew me away. It’s a mix of poetry and personal essays that explore the painful realities of being a mother and queer woman of color in the 21st century. It will always have a permanent place on my shelf. Read my review here.
Arab & Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence, & Belonging ed. by Rabab Abdulhadi, Evelyn Alsultany, and Nadine Naber (2011)
Hands down, one of the top three books I read in 2011. It’s an anthology of essays that focus on Arab and Arab American feminists’ experiences. I cannot stress enough how much I learned from these essays. I’m not exaggerating: every self-identified feminist needs to read it. Read my review here.
F ‘em!: Goo Goo, Gaga, and Some Thoughts on Balls by Jennifer Baumgardner (2011)
In you’re looking for a nuanced book on feminism that’s accessible to a wide audience (i.e., something not mired in academic jargon), F’ em! is a great option. Baumgardner collects some of her previously published essays and interviews various prominent second, third, and fourth wave feminists. Read my review here.
Making a Killing: Femicide, Free Trade, and La Frontera ed. by Alicia Gaspar de Alba and Georgina Guzmán (2010)
I wish this book had been around a few years ago when I was in grad school. Hundreds of mutilated female bodies have turned up in and around Juarez, Mexico, with thousands more unaccounted for. This book is a collection of essays that examines the Juarez femicide from various angles. Read my review here.
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano (2007)
I could kick myself for not having read Whipping Girl sooner. Serano, a lesbian trans woman and biologist, brilliantly dissects the ways that sexism, gender, and femininity are related, and the detrimental effects they have on trans women in particular. This is another book that every feminist needs to read.