March. It’s the time of the year that we take to think back and reflect on all the wonderful things that women have done throughout history, and to appreciate their contributions to the world we live in. It’s also time to consider and remember the ways in which they have been oppressed and disregarded. It’s Women’s History Month. This year, I want to take time to appreciate and learn about women’s history, ongoing issues, and female-oriented genres. Here are five books for Women’s History Month that I want to get into!
Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive by Kristen J. Sollee
I checked this one out from the library and I’m actually reading it right now! This book is right up my alley and I’m super into it! Lately I’ve been really interested in the idea of women as witches and the history that’s there. Such demonization of women is so deeply rooted in the patriarchy and I just want to know more!
Witch, Slut, Feminist: these contested identities are informing millennial women as they counter a tortuous history of misogyny with empowerment. This innovative primer highlights sexual liberation as it traces the lineage of ‘witch feminism.’ Juxtaposing scholarly research on the demonization of women and female sexuality that has continued since the witch hunts of the early modern era with pop occulture analyses and interviews with activists, artists, scholars, and practitioners of witchcraft, this book enriches our contemporary conversations about reproductive rights, sexual pleasure, queer identity, pornography, sex work, and more.
The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
Witches again! This one is a historical account of the Salem Witch Trials. I know the basics of what went down, but I want the details! This book is from Pulitzer prize winning author Stacy Schiff and I’m eager to how she recounts this important aspect of women’s history in America. I think I might like to check this one out on audio.
The panic began early in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister’s niece began to writhe and roar. It spread quickly, confounding the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, husbands accused wives, parents and children one another. It ended less than a year later, but not before nineteen men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death.
Women’s health and women’s pain are overlooked and undervalued so often. Female bodies are different and have their own set of needs. However, men’s health gets more funding for research. It’s then assumed the same knowledge applies to women. Not only so, but doctors often tell women they are exaggerating and that their pain is in all their head. This medical memoir has me very interested. Another similar new release has my interest piqued as well: Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery.
In Ask Me About My Uterus, Norman describes what it was like to have her pain dismissed, to be told it was all in her head, only to be taken seriously when she was accompanied by a boyfriend who confirmed that her sexual performance was, indeed, compromised. Putting her own trials into a broader historical, sociocultural, and political context, Norman shows that women’s bodies have long been the battleground of a never-ending war for power, control, medical knowledge, and truth. It’s time to refute the belief that being a woman is a preexisting condition.
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
Lately I’ve been trying to read more romance. Romance is one of those genres that often get relegated to the “guilty pleasure” sector and honestly, that’s kind of ridiculous. I think a big reason for that is because it women-centric. It’s books by women for women about women’s fantasies and desires. So many fellow Book Rioter’s recommend this book, so I decided I had to preorder it. It sounds really cute and fun and sexy and I’m really looking forward to picking it up. It’s the first book in Cole’s new companion series Reluctant Royals. I’m hoping to this will be a good gateway into the genre.
The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace
I absolutely adored Lovelace’s first book of poetry in this collection, The Princess Saves Herself in this One and can’t wait to get my hands on this next one! Lovelace writes such simple yet strong poetry about life as a women. With strong feminist themes and symbols, I’m really excited to read The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One.
The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.
Want some more recommendations? Check out these great works of feminist non-fiction.
What books are you reading this Women’s History Month?
Beth O’Brien is a library assistant and book blogger. Born and raised in Atlantic Canada, she lives in picturesque Nova Scotia with her cat Edith. You can often find her rocking double denim with her nose in a book and a craft beer in her hand. Follow her on Twitter @fuelldbyfiction.