It's pretty disappointing when the female protagonist you thought was a total badass isn't really strong or a feminist. Where are the books for and about confident women? you think, disappointed by the sudden revelation that the woman you've been reading about just turned into a super-flat stereotype.
As a confident woman, I love seeing the best parts of myself reflected in the books I read. When the going gets tough, it's great to know that a strong woman is waiting, only a page-turn away, to remind me of my convictions, and why I've made so many of the choices I have. Luckily, so many of the books published this year have featured women who've kicked ass and taken names. It's been a good year!
These 15 books — all published in 2015 — are awesome. Whether you need a reminder of why your confidence is awesome, or just want to read about women like you, these are the books you need to put on your TBR, pronto.
Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped by Gioia Diliberto
I think we can all agree that the wrap dress is an amazing development in fashion, but the woman behind the dress is even more fascinating. Gioia Diliberto's Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped examines the designer's rise to stardom from her postwar, European childhood to the personal scandals of her adulthood through a feminist lens.
The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella
In 1953, 17-year-old Leonie Putzkammer leaves her hometown to train and rebrand herself as tag-team wrestler Gorgeous Gwen Davies. A big career move may change everything, however, as Gwen transforms herself once again, into The Sweetheart. If the premise of Angelina Mirabella's novel doesn't hook you, I'm not sure what will.
Rising Strong by Brené Brown
Brené Brown's Rising Strong is a study in how our most difficult and painful stories can strengthen our capacity for success in all areas. From business innovations to romantic relationships, Brown argues that our successes may be attributed to how well we handle the bounce-back from failures.
Let Me Explain You by Annie Liontas
Stavros, a Greek immigrant restaurateur who believes he has mere days to live, writes an email to his ex-wife and adult daughters, explaining how he wants them to carry on with their lives, then disappears. Believing he may be dead, his first-generation American family must reconcile their feelings toward their ex-husband and father in this debut novel from Annie Liontas.
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
One step away from the wedding of her dreams, Georgia Ford finds out her fiancé has a secret child. Distraught, she returns to her family's vineyard, only to find that the idyllic place has been wrecked by broken-down relationships and a pending corporate takeover. In Eight Hundred Grapes , Laura Dave's protagonist must dust herself off, time and again, as she gets knocked around by a fickle, fickle world.
Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons
Brittany Gibbons is the confident, body positive best friend you need in your life. Fat Girl Walking is her story: a series of vignettes about growing up as a woman of size and being happy in the moment. From snacks to sex, kids to curves, Gibbons covers everything fat, confident girls already know to be true.
Find Me by Laura van den Berg
Laura van den Berg's debut novel, Find Me , centers on Joy: an abandoned cough syrup addict who is immune to the fatal amnesia epidemic rolling across the country. When a series of strange and stranger events set Joy on the road to Florida, in search of her birth mother, Joy must sift through her own memories to learn who she is outside of the pain.
Disgruntled by Asali Solomon
In Disgruntled , Asali Solomon tells the story of a young girl growing up different within her predominately African American community. Kenya Curtis' family celebrates Kwanzaa, doesn't eat pork, and is supported solely by her mother's income. As she grows up, Solomon's protagonist must reconcile her parents' politics and identities with mainstream America in order to find her place within both systems.
Single, Carefree, Mellow by Katherine Heiny
In Single, Carefree, Mellow, Katherine Heiny gives readers 11 short stories about women in problematic relationships. From the teen who outgrows her history teacher-slash-lover, to the woman who meets her boyfriend's wife for drinks, the women headlining this story collection prove you can be effed-up and confident at the same damn time.
Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon
Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon's memoir, Girl in a Band , presents readers with an authentic look at the gritty New York underground that fostered alternative music. With brutal honesty, Gordon relays stories of lost relationships, motherhood, and growing up girl in a burgeoning music scene.
How to Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis
After a friendly argument forces Samantha Ellis to reconsider her opinion of Wuthering Heights' Catherine Earnshaw, she sets out to reexamine all the literary heroines she's idolized over the years. Who lives up to the hype and who falls short? Find out in Ellis' witty book, How to Be a Heroine.
Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman
The heroines of Megan Mayhew Bergman's Almost Famous Women are, by and large, one degree removed from the spotlight. Here is Marlene Dietrich's lover, there is Lord Byron's daughter, and beyond them are the integrated members of the first all-woman swing band. These are their stories, and Bergman tells them wonderfully.
How to Grow Up by Michelle Tea
Many Millennials feel suspended between adolescence and adulthood, well into our 20s. Gen-Xer Michelle Tea is here to show us there's really nothing new under the sun. How to Grow Up is her story of substance abuse, being a starving writer, and fighting to come out on top.
H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk tells a story you won't read elsewhere. After her father dies, the author sets out to own and train a fearsome bird of prey, the goshawk. Guided by T.H. White, Macdonald pursues falconry as a means of emotional recovery. This is a captivating read you won't want to miss.
This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison
In This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, Jonathan Evison gives us the 75-year-old heroine we didn't know we needed. On an Alaskan cruise planned by her now-deceased husband, Harriet Chance wrestles with his enduring presence and their estranged daughter's re-entrance into her life. This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! is a touching, heartwarming novel about the bonds of family.
Image: Tonglé Dakum/Unsplash