2020 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge, Feminist-Style

Several years ago, Book Riot assigned a feminist book for one of its reading challenge prompts, and people seemed to keep picking from the same 2-3 titles over and over and over. But one can find feminist themes in pretty much every genre, and to prove it, I created a list of feminist book recommendations for every single prompt. I’ve been doing it ever since.

This year, I’m changing things up and doing POPSUGAR’s challenge instead of Book Riot’s. I won’t do the whole list — because whewwww … time consuming! — but here are some feminist recommendations for several prompts:

PUBLISHED IN 2020

  • A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry & Kali Nicole Gross
  • Conditional Citizens by Laila Lalami
  • Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
  • We Served the People: My Mother’s Stories by Emei Burell
  • Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch

TRANS OR NONBINARY AUTHOR

  • Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation ed. by Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman
  • Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  • Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love So Much More by Janet Mock
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano

RECOMMENDED BY A BLOG (<– ME! This is a blog!)

  • 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter
  • Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody
  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
  • Night at the Fiestas: Stories by Kirstin Valdez Quade
  • Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender

A SUBJECT YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT

  • The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures by Dossie Easton & Janet W. Hardy
  • Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free by Linda Kay Klein
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman
  • Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper

SET IN COUNTRY BEGINNING WITH “C”

  • Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister by Jung Chang (China)
  • Don’t Whisper Too Much and Portrait of a Young Artiste from Bona Mbella by Frieda Ekotto (Cameroon)
  • Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald (Canada)
  • First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung (Cambodia)
  • House of Mist by Maria Luisa Bombal (Chile)

PINK COVER

  • Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life by Darcey Steinke
  • Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
  • The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama
  • The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America by Tamara Winfrey Harris
  • What Every Girl Should Know by J. Albert Mann

WESTERN

  • Battleborn: Stories by Claire Vaye Watkins
  • Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather
  • The Widow Nash by Jamie Harrison

ONLY WORDS ON THE COVER

  • Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
  • Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly
  • Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids ed. by Meghan Daum
  • She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey
  • So Sad Today: Personal Essays by Melissa Broder

A PUN IN THE TITLE

  • A Broom of One’s Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning & Life by Nancy Peacock
  • Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski
  • A Queer and Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein
  • Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way by Molly Birnbaum
  • We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy by Yael Kohen

BIRD ON THE COVER

  • Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories by Megan Mayhew Bergman
  • A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Monstress: Stories by Lysley Tenorio
  • When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams

BY OR ABOUT A JOURNALIST

  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
  • The Good Women of China by Xinran
  • It’s What I Do by Lynsey Addario
  • Molly Ivins by Bill Minutaglio & W. Michael Smith
  • Trailblazer by Dorothy Butler Gilliam

BY A WOMAN OF COLOR

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich
  • When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele

SET IN 1920s

  • The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
  • Glorious by Bernice L. McFadden
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • So Big by Edna Ferber
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

AN AUTHOR WHO HAS WRITTEN 20+ BOOKS

  • The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Carrie by Stephen King
  • The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  • We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

4 thoughts on “2020 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge, Feminist-Style

  1. I’m a big fan of theme-ing this kind of reading challenge too: why not?! And in recent years I have made a point of looking for non-fiction choices when the option is there. (In younger reading years, I naturally gravitated towards fiction and I have never really let go of that instinct.) Enjoy your 2020 reading!

  2. Thanks.  We always need your suggestions.

    Just want to add my own praise for /A Black Wome/n’s /History. /I loved it.  Innovative in structure and full of people and events I never knew–despite my own readings on the topic.

    Keep up your good work.  I am here even if I seldom comment any more.

    Marilyn

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