Editor's Pick: Our Required Reading List - 11 Truly Intersectional Titles
Don’t y'all just love this time of the year? There's a chill is in the air, the days are shorter and the nights are perfect for cozying up with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa. Need a recommendation for your next great page-turner? Read on for our 11 essential titles of feminism, sexuality, race and gender, and please add your own literary faves in the comments below!
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
Shonda gave us Greys, Scandal and a badass memoir. Year of Yes chronicles what happens when one boss babe faces her fears head-on. If you need a kick in the ass to get out of a rut and get inspired, this is the book for you.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
You can’t have an essential reading list without at least one YA novel. The New York Times Bestseller The Hate U Give is a powerful and timely debut novel. It chronicles the life of 16-year old Starr Carter who witnesses the shooting of her childhood friend Khalil. In this novel, Thomas tackles the topics of police brutality, racism, and interracial dating (among many others) with brutal honesty and true heart.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
A must-read for any modern feminist. Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist covers everything from politics and popular culture to food and the state of modern feminism. With her sharp eye and critical insights, she examines it all – from the politics of the film The Help to her love for the color pink. Best of all, she does it with wit and stunning empathy.
Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein
First published in 1994, Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw was ahead of its time. Painfully honest, witty, and brave, it outlines Borstein’s transition from a heterosexual man to a lesbian writer and actress. It's a powerful book that makes us question and examines our notions of what it means to be 'male' or a 'female.'
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
The powerful and eye-opening memoir Redefining Realness is one woman’s coming of age story. Mock grew up biracial, trans and poor in Honolulu, Hawaii She is unflinchingly honest about her experiences with her transition, sexual assault, and sex work. Through it all, Mock manages to make her story universal and relatable for anyone who's ever experienced struggles with their own identity.
The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer
The Female Eunuch was published in 1970. At the time of its publish, the book was highly controversial. Despite the controversy, the book was also recognized as an essential text for the feminist movement. As her thesis, Greer posits that women’s liberation can only be achieved through sexual liberation. All these decades later, Greer's text is celebrated as a foundational text in the women's liberation movement.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Written in 1937, Hurston’s gripping novel tells the story of Janie Crawford, a passionately independent woman. The text captures how Janie persevered through life’s challenges and tribulations without giving into fear. At the time it was published, the book was poorly received. Today it is widely regarded as one of the most important American novels.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Suspenseful and complex, Beloved was inspired by the true story of Margaret Garner. Margaret was an African-American slave who managed to escape slavery and settle in the free state of Ohio. The story is set in the period after the American Civil War and follows the story of a former slave Sethe and her daughter Denver. Beloved examines pain, family bonds and the devastating intergenerational trauma of slavery. Beloved received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Written against the backdrop of the turbulent 1940s, Ellison’s Invisible Man examines the issues of race and personal identity. It is considered a pivotal book on the African American experience. The powerful story is just as relevant today as it was when it was first published.
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
Baldwin’s novel chronicles the life of David, a young American man who begins an affair with an Italian bartender named Giovanni in Paris. Giovanni’s Room masterfully tackles the topics of isolation, masculinity, identity, and sexuality. This novel is considered by many to be a classic work of gay literature.
Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg
Stone Butch Blues follows the story of Jess Goldberg, who is aware from a young age they are different from their peers and struggles with their identity. Growing up in working class upstate New York in the 1950s, Jess is haunted by the feeling of not fitting in. With Stone Butch Blues, Feinberg examined the complexities of the transgender experience with raw honesty and compassion.