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7 Feminist Books You'll Want to Read ASAP

Feminism might be one of the most popular trends in the last few years, but it's also still an often-misunderstood concept. Unfortunately, women and men alike continue to shy away from the term because they’re worried they'll say or do something incorrect or offensive that will reflect poorly on them as an individual. In reality, feminism isn’t just about labeling yourself or your beliefs; it’s also about being unafraid to stand up for what you believe in and letting your voice be heard.


The Power by Naomi Alderman

This captivating, provocative novel imagines a world in which women hold all of society's power and control. What would it be like for everyone to walk around aware that at any moment we could electrocute someone with our touch or paralyze them? How would our relationships, work and sex lives differ? This book will make you question everything you thought you knew about power, gender and freedom.


Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things to Me will change you. The book’s compilation of essays tackles a wide range of issues related to gender and power, but one quote in particular is emblematic of Solnit’s work as a whole: Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they’re talking about. Some men. A lot of men. This has been going on since long before I was born ... And it only occurs to me much later that these men mean well.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give follows Starr Carter, a 16-year-old who lives in two worlds. In one world, she lives with her poor family in a neighborhood filled with gangs and drugs; in another, she attends a private prep school with kids from rich families. When Starr witnesses her friend Khalil's murder by a police officer at a party one night, she must decide whether or not to speak out—risking her life and reputation as well as breaking up both of their families. An easy pick for our list because of its sweeping popularity (and award nominations), Angie Thomas' YA novel tackles racism and police brutality while telling an emotional story that gives voice to people on all sides of racial injustice. It's also fantastic young adult fiction!


The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

This novel tells a different story of Dinah, a character in Genesis whose story has always been told through men's eyes. Written by Anita Diamant, The Red Tent offers readers a fresh, feminist take on an old tale. Diamant approaches her writing with sensitivity and insight about what life was like for women living inside biblical times. She shines a light on issues many modern women still struggle with and exposes how much of women's oppression is cultural rather than Biblical. It's an important reminder that those who claim to speak for God are often just speaking from their own perspective—and it is our job as Christians to hold them accountable when they don't live up to Christ's example of radical equality.


Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

This award-winning novel tells a story of an unhappy housewife, her cheating husband, and their very fat cat. The world she inhabits is one in which women exist only as appendages to their husbands, as caretakers of children and clean homes. It’s not until she begins an affair with her daughter’s professor that Hausfrau really comes alive. In its exploration of sexuality and feminism, it’s considered a modern feminist classic—one that will certainly make you think about what you want out of life.


Hunger by Roxane Gay

Gay’s debut novel Hunger is a powerful and gripping account of living as a woman in America. Throughout her memoir, Gay examines not only her own experiences with rape, but also cultural expectations for women who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances. By writing from a perspective that is rarely heard—and one that may not always be comfortable—Gay puts forward an important message for readers: no matter what your identity or background, you are entitled to tell your story. (Sign up here for TIME’s free weekly e-newsletter featuring our best stories and photos from around the globe.)


Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

Terese Marie Mailhot’s debut memoir, Heart Berries, blends poetry and prose as it tells her story of growing up on a reservation in Montana, being sexually assaulted at 13, giving birth out of wedlock, being taken from her family and forced into foster care as a teen and ultimately coming back home. But Heart Berries is not just an account of Mailhot’s life; it’s also a journey through indigenous identity and history. Her writing is honest yet poetic as she details her struggles with mental illness, addiction and finding love again. Heart Berries is raw but captivating—perfect for feminists who are looking for more intersectional reads.


Conclusion

Being a woman isn’t easy. It takes hard work, bravery, and often sacrifice. But being a feminist is simple. It means treating others as equals, valuing your own accomplishments over those of others, and fighting for social justice regardless of gender or cultural norms. Here are seven books that remind us what it really means to be a feminist


Sherlock Holmes

Private Detective, London