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Celebrating Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and to celebrate, we’ve put together a list of twelve fiction and nonfiction titles that honor the lives of remarkable women across continents and centuries. From courtrooms to tennis courts, from the Scottish Highlands to Sierra Leone to London to New York, and from the 17th century to the 21st, these books recognize the incredible achievements and stories of women in the arts, academia, politics, and more.


A Woman’s Life is a Human Life by Felicia Kornbluh

The first in-depth study of a winning campaign against a state’s abortion law and the first to chronicle the sterilization abuse fight side-by-side with the one for abortion rights, A Woman’s Life Is a Human Life delivers the untold story of everyday activists who won resounding victories in demanding bodily and reproductive autonomy—a history that resonates all the more powerfully today.

“Kornbluh makes public policy and legal history come alive by demonstrating the power of women’s collective action. The result is an inspiring study of how progress happens.”Publishers Weekly


The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

The Yellow House is a brilliant, haunting and unforgettable memoir about the inexorable pull of home and family, and about place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows, set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East.

“Heartfelt but unflinching . . . Broom’s lyrical style celebrates her family bonds, but a righteous fury runs throughout the narrative at New Orleans’ injustices, from the foundation on up. A tribute to the multitude of stories one small home can contain, even one bursting with loss.”Kirkus Reviews


The Devil That Danced on the Water by Aminatta Forna

As a child, Aminatta Forna witnessed the upheavals of postcolonial Africa, danger, flight, the bitterness of exile in Britain, and the terrible consequences of her dissident father’s stand against tyranny. This is the story of Forna’s search for the truth that shaped both her childhood and the nation’s destiny, beginning among the country’s elite and taking her into the heart of rebel territory.

“At once impassioned, lucid, and understandably enraged, The Devil That Danced on the Water illuminates the troubled, tragic history of a country and a continent.”O, The Oprah Magazine


How to Think Like a Woman by Regan Penaluna

From a bold new voice, How to Think Like a Woman is an exhilarating account of the lives and works of influential 17th and 18th century feminist philosophers Mary Wollstonecraft and her predecessors who have been written out of history, and a searing look at the author’s experience of patriarchy and sexism in academia.

“Her writing is sharp and rousing. Her message is consoling and motivating. If this is what it means to think like a woman, sign me up.”Wall Street Journal


Radical by Xiaolu Guo

From award-winning author Xiaolu Guo, Radical is a provocative memoir and an intercultural feminist lexicon of a sojourn in New York that upended her sense of self as a woman, partner, mother, and artist. It is an exploration of a city, an electrically honest rendering of what it means to be an outsider, and an individual and etymological journey.

“An elegant and unreserved account of a life lived in full recognition of its possibilities.”Kirkus Reviews


Queen of the Court by Madeleine Blais

Queen of the Court is the dramatic and colorful story of legendary tennis star and international celebrity, Alice Marble, placing one of America’s greatest female athletes and most charismatic characters back on the center stage.

“Details not only her rise in the sport of tennis but also her work as a writer, fashion maven, and civil rights activist . . . An informative and intriguing story of the life of a formidable woman. An essential read for anyone who loves learning about the women whom history threatens to forget or erase.”Library Journal 



Neighbors and Other Stories by Diane Oliver

A bold and haunting debut story collection that follows various characters as they navigate the day-to-day perils of Jim Crow racism from Diane Oliver, a missing figure in the canon of twentieth-century African American literature, with an introduction by Tayari Jones.

“These short stories confront living through racism in Jim Crow America in intimate, often chilling tales. An engrossing book by a talent lost too young.”People


Invisible Woman by Katia Lief

In Invisible Woman, a dangerous secret held for too long between estranged best friends rises to the surface, and a long marriage comes apart with devastating consequences. Invisible Woman is at once a literary thriller about the lies we tell each other (and ourselves), and a powerful psychological examination of the complexities of friendship, marriage, and motherhood.

“Part domestic thriller, part psychological mystery, this is a tight, well-paced novel . . . Absolutely a novel of its time–and a novel of women’s stories across time.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela

From award-winning and New York Times Notable author Leila Aboulela, Bird Summons is an enchanting, heartfelt novel about three Muslim women in search of freedom, faith, and happiness, who embark on a journey of self-discovery while grappling with the conflicting demands of family, duty, and belief.

“Elegant . . . Possesses all the pleasures we’ve come to expect from Aboulela: psychological acuity, rich characterization, intricate emotional plotting. And prose that is clear, lovely and resonant as a ringing bell.”Washington Post


Cat Brushing by Jane Campbell

Published in Campbell’s 80th year, Cat Brushing vigorously explores the sensual worlds of thirteen older women, unearthing their passions, libidinal appetites, integrity, and sense of self. Keep an eye out for Campbell’s debut novel Interpretations of Love, coming this August.

“Campbell’s commanding voice — and wise insights about female empowerment, about embracing one’s twilight years and about feeling seen no matter how old you are — is one damn well worth listening to.”San Francisco Chronicle


Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Winner of the Booker Prize, Girl, Woman, Other is a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity and a moving and hopeful story of an interconnected group of Black British women that paints a vivid portrait of the state of contemporary Britain and looks back to the legacy of Britain’s colonial history in Africa and the Caribbean.

“A breathtaking symphony of black women’s voices, a clear-eyed survey of contemporary challenges that’s nevertheless wonderfully life-affirming.”—Ron Charles, Washington Post


The Incredible Events in Women’s Cell Number 3 by Kira Yarmysh

The startling, vivid debut novel by Alexey Navalny’s press secretary, The Incredible Events in Women’s Cell Number 3 follows a woman who is arrested at an anti-corruption rally in Moscow and sentenced to ten days in a special detention center, where she shares a cell with five other women from all walks of life.

“Yarmysh shows us the whole world through a single cell: frightening and funny, absurd and all too real.”—Julia Phillips, author of Disappearing Earth