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Keep Reads

6 Books for Our Times by Female Writers

06 March 2019

In celebration of World Book Day (WBD), and with International Women’s Day on the horizon, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite reads written by women we admire.

From new perspectives on race and body image, to lauding unknown female leaders and inciting everyday activism… these books have all, in some way, shaped the way we (at The Keep) live our lives. And, in the spirit of WBD, we thought we’d pass these titles on for you to be inspired by.

Reni Eddo-Lodge | Image credit: keepthefaith.co.uk
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race | Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race
Reni Eddo- Lodge

Subject: Tackles race, equality and discrimination in the now.

Perfect if: You’re facing such issues in the home, at work or out in your local community and don’t know where to turn.

What it’s about: After Eddo-Lodge’s original post (titled the same as the now famous book) went viral in 2014, it sparked a great new debate about race and racism in the modern world. Speaking on eradicated black history, white-washed feminism and the political purpose of white dominance, she offers the floor to many other sidelined women to let everyone know their voices deserve a bona fide platform.

Why we love it: This could be the most important read of our generation and one that we think is pivotal in truly understanding the deep-rooted issues that are too often glazed over. It is powerfully confronting and fantastically coherent in dissecting these powerful, anecdotal stories.

Forgotten Women: The Leaders | Publication date: 08 Mar 2018
Zing Tsjeng is making sure women’s stories are never forgotten again. | Image credit: gal-dem.com

Forgotten Women: The Leaders
Zing Tsjeng

Subject: Biographical accounts of influential female figures of the past.

Perfect if: You’re searching for inspiration to make a real difference.

What it’s about: This illuminating book sheds light on 48 Nobel-prize winning women from the past, in categories such as Rebels; Warriors; Rulers; Activists and Reformers. These women shaped their own futures and our realities but are often downcast, overshadowed by male counterparts or left out entirely from our history textbooks. They include Sylvia Rivera who spearheaded the modern transgender rights movement and Amina of Zazzau, the formidable ancient Muslim warrior queen of Northern Nigeria.

Why we love it: Not only were we shocked not to have known about half of these revolutionary figures, we were angered their victories aren’t lauded more openly. This novel is part of an inspiring series, with sequels The Scientists and The Writers. We can’t wait to finish the lot.

Whipsmart comedian and writer Sara Pascoe | Image credit: Matt Crockett
Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body | Publisher: Faber & Faber

Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body
Sara Pascoe

Subject: An entertaining and informative tour around the female body.

Perfect if: You’re a trying to manoeuvre modern life while being unapologetically yourself.

What it’s about: Menstruation, broodiness, public hair and infidelity. Pascoe shares hilarious autobiographical accounts mixed cleverly with evolutionary facts about the female anatomy; how we deal with our inner and outer complexities in todays society. Secretly serious, the award-winning comedian flits between anthropological investigation and engaging insights into why we should inspect but ultimately accept all our animalistic urges and insecurities.

Why we love it: Pascoe makes the perfect narrator of the myriad of issues facing women in particular. We appreciate how she doesn’t shy away from the difficult topics whilst returning to that perfect rhythm of inclusivity, positivity and humour that we love her for.

Silent Spring | Originally published: 27 September 1962
Perhaps the finest nature writer of the Twentieth Century, Rachel Carson (1907-1964)

Silent Spring
Rachel Carson

Subject: Environmental science and the gradual erosion of the natural world by man.

Perfect if: You’re a budding environmentalist.

What it’s about: With great insight, Carson relays stories from communities across the globes, the affects of chemical pesticides continuously causing harm to wildlife, agriculture and humans. This “fable for tomorrow” compiles at least six years of her utilisation of federal science and private research proving the misuse of such chemicals, ringing as true today as at the time this book was originally published in 1962. She identifies that human conceit and financial interests are at the crux of the issue and ultimately poses the question whether we can live once more as an equal part of the earths eco-systems rather than trying to be their master.

Why we love it: We unanimously agreed this is even more a relevant read today. An astounding body of research and analysis by a phenomenal figure who obviously cares intensely for our planet. A real get-up-and-go read.

Journalist, author and voice behind the hugely successful Wardrobe Crisis podcast, Clare Press | Image credit: peppermintmag.com
Rise & Resist: How to Change the World | Publisher: Melbourne University Press

Rise & Resist: How To Change The World
Clare Press

Subject: An exotic trip through the new- age activism taking the world by storm.

Perfect if: You want to burn your bra in the name of social and environmental justice.

What it’s about: In the void of digital chatter, the call to arms today requires greater creative strategies than ever before to be heard. Press makes a compelling case for everyday activism and travels far and wide to speak with eco-warriors, zero-wasters and intersectional feminists leading the charge for this new united front. We need to react today to forge a better tomorrow; feeding this progressive counterculture for a more sustainable future. The book houses insightful interviews with the likes of model activist Cameron Russell, designer Orsola de Castro and feminist icon Anne Summers.

Why we love it: In some way or another we all have the capacity to affect change, we just have to figure out how. This book provides you with solid tools and a hefty helping of motivation to do so; one to reach for time and again.

Flight Behaviour | Publisher: HarperCollins
Orange Prize for Fiction winner, Barbara Kingsolver

Flight Behaviour
Barbara Kingsolver

Subject: The affects of climate change told through science and story.

Perfect if: You enjoy an interesting conversion of fiction and non-fiction.

What it’s about: Flight Behaviour follows a tale of a restless farm-wife (Dellarobia Turnbow) who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. After a decade of domestic disharmony and mis-fortune, she finds herself hiking up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst where she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. Thrown into the spotlight, Turnbow confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.

Why we love it: This is our current book club read and so far we are totally immersed in Kingsolver’s unique story-telling. With a full review to follow, stay tuned!

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