1.“We Should All Be Feminists” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Adiche makes a ton of relevant points in this extended essay adaptation of a TED talk she gave on the subject. Her message is clearly resonating around the world, as The Guardian reported every 16-year-old in Sweden would receive a copy of what they called “Adiche’s call to arms.” “We Should All Be Feminists” puts into words the argument for feminism infused narratively by Adiche’s own experiences.
2.“A Room of One’s Own” –
Woolf’s book-length essay comes from a speech she was invited to deliver at Cambridge University about Women’s place in the literary canon. Woolf published the work in 1929 with the thesis stating “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” The other often referenced part of the work is Woolf’s inclusion of Judith Shakespeare, the fictional sister of William Shakespeare, as a way of showing how someone with the same skill as the most famous playwright would never publish because of the limitations imposed on their gender.
3.“Frankenstein” – Mary Shelley
An important piece for its place among gothic and Romantic literature, with an intricate narrative and questions of science, power and the self. Also an important book on this list because there are some who would argue that Mary Shelley didn’t write “Frankenstein,” undermining the ability of the young woman to produce such an iconic work.
4.“Yes Please” – Amy Poehler
The comedian details her life and journey through comedy. She talks about her days at SNL, her marriage, and her children. Poehler’s memoir feels like a conversation with her and makes you laugh throughout. She includes stories that are relatable and unbelievable at the same time. As Rolling Stone writes she can “drop life lessons like a boss.”
5.“How The García Girls Lost Their Accents” – Julia Alvarez
This novel traces the stories of the García women and their maturation through youth and into adulthood. While it is in many ways a coming of age story, it is told in reverse chronological order showing us the issues the women face in adulthood and subsequently the childhood events that caused them. The novel interrogates the way their identity is shaped as young women emigrating from the Dominican Republican and how their family life affects their adulthood.