10 Books Every Woman Should Read During Women's History Month

By Chase K. Encalade

March is Women’s History Month. The following 10 books are written by women and exemplify what it has meant—and what it means—to be a woman both in the past and now. These works are both thoughtful and engaging; if you dig deep enough you may just see a glimpse of yourself in them.

Eat Pray Love

Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love is the story of a young woman leaving behind the frills and adornments of modern day American life and embarking on a journey to find herself. The journey takes her from Italy to Bali, and paints a picture of what self-fulfillment looks like in this decade.   


Toni Morrison

Beloved recounts the tragedy of the post-Civil War United States. It is a story of trauma that gives voice to the “sixty million and more” forcibly transported to the states during the African Slave trade, related by a family of runaway slaves struggling to survive as the Fugitive Slave Act goes into effect. The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988, Beloved is enchanting and not only captures, but keeps your attention.   

Tiny Beautiful Things 

Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of Strayed’s work as “Dear Sugar,” her alias while she worked for The Rumpus as an advice columnist. The compilation is blunt and sincere, but it comes face-to-face with the issues we as women face in relationships and other facets of everyday life. The book is certainly brazen, but reveals how it is possible to adapt and become stronger after facing adversity.   

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a nonfiction novel that recounts the story of the corruption of government and how it impacts members of society, providing an account of desperation in the slums of Mumbai. This is definitely not a “feel-good” book, but it is nonetheless important. Understanding foreign issues is an important component to being socially aware.   

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings 

Maya Angelou 

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an autobiography of Maya Angelou’s early life. She tells of life in a male-dominated society and what that meant for a young black girl growing up in the south. The memoir is a reminder that our character outweighs our circumstance. We are not simply the sum of what has happened to us, but we are much more. It is a celebration of womanhood and all of the vulnerability that comes along with it.   

The Bell Jar 

Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar is by all accounts a classic, and for good reason. The story is of Esther Greenwood, a young girl, struggling with change and the roles of womanhood. Esther soon finds herself in the psych ward of a local hospital, dealing with the expectations that have been placed on her life. It is a story of self-reliance, coming of age, and the struggles women faced in in 1950s.

Girl, Interrupted 

Susanna Kaysen 

Girl, Interrupted is the tale of 18-year-old Susanna, who has been recently committed to a psychiatric facility. In flashbacks and vignettes, we get a glimpse of the facility, the people she meets there, and the realities of sexism in the ’60s and ’70s. It also tells of the failure of mental health theory in past decades. Girl, Interrupted is a story of the discrimination women once faced, and how far we have come.

Diving Into the Wreck 

Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich is one of the most brilliant poets of the 20th century. This collection by the late poet is full of imagery that paints pictures of the gender and political struggles faced in the last half of the 1900s. Each poem is in itself an experience waiting to happen. It is definitely a must-read for any poetry buff out there.   

The Portable Dorothy Parker 

Dorothy Parker 

Here we have yet another collection. The Portable Dorothy Parker is an assemblage of poetry, essays, journal entries, and stories by Dorothy Parker. To find all of Parker’s major works in one book is certainly something special. The 20th century’s “most quotable author” is witty and intelligent while expressing her take on the human condition and the state of relationships in our society.   

Feminism is for Everybody 

Bell Hooks

Feminism is for Everybody is a common-sense introduction to feminism. Feminism has gotten a bad rap since its inception, due to lack of understanding of the subject. The book is an excellent and encouraging read for women. It explains the places feminism has been in detail, yet remains readable and understandable for its audience. It is, after all, Women’s History month. There is no better time to read this one!

Chase K. Encalade is a Sophomore English for Corporate Communications major at Christian Brothers University and a staff writer at the Galleon.
Posted by Josh Colfer at 1:53 PM

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