A Belated Women’s History Reading List
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Too often, women’s literature gets overlooked when we discuss great books, especially when written by queer women and women of color. To (belatedly) celebrate Women’s History Month, and in no particular order, here are some of my favorite books written by women about women:
- The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkowski: This is a criminally little known sapphic fantasy set on an isolated and socially stratified island with hidden magic, in which a young woman finally questions everything about the bleak world she knows. This also features a gender queer love interest!
- Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay: Technically a short essay collection, but a great, quick read. Gay tackles issues like negative representation, fatphobia, abortion rights, and racism with her typical droll wit and good sense.
- Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia : Set outside Mexico City in the 1950s, this is a creeping tale of suspense in the style of Jane Eyre and Rebecca, in which the beautiful socialite Noemi visits her cousins’s crumbling new home under suspicion that the other woman’s husband is trying to kill her. A reckoning on colonialism, colorism, paternalism, and all the horror that comes along with those things.
- Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline: An indigenous woman’s husband vanishes without a trace; a year later, she suddenly sees him again–except he has no idea who she is, and goes by a completely different name. Inspired by stories about the rougarou of indigenous folklore, this book is a perfectly unexpected blend of love story and gooey creature feature. (Dimaline also wrote The Marrow Thieves, which is another great read.)
- The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka: A short but powerful book about a boatful of Japanese ‘picture brides’ who land in America in the early 20th century, Otsuka uses first person plural narration to tell the collective story of these women as they age, love, struggle, and survive. Beautiful and painful in equal measure.
- The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper: A cosmic horror novella that takes place largely in a sewer in 1990s New York City, featuring a trans woman fighting like Hell through mutated monsters and brainwashed people alike to find her missing girlfriend.
- A Caribbean Heiress in Paris by Adriana Herrera: Adding a little spice to the list, this is an anti-racist, anti-imperialist take on the classic historical romance paperback. Luz Alana is a Dominican rum heiress looking to make a name for herself in the European market, while Evan is the estranged son of a Scottish dukedom he wants nothing to do with. Features marriage of convenience and various hijinks.
- Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner: Whether you’re familiar with the author’s music as Japanese Breakfast or not, Crying in H Mart is a gripping tearjerker of a memoir about love and loss between a Korean-American daughter and her mother.