10 New Books To Read To Better Understand #MeToo

by Kerri Jarema
Originally Published: 

In fall 2019, a new crop of nonfiction releases — focusing on the #MeToo movement, rape culture, and sexual assault — are hitting bookstores.

A few of these books focus on the major stories of the #MeToo movement: The allegations of assault made against Harvey Weinstein by dozens of women, the hearing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and two other women accused him of sexual misconduct, and the conviction of Brock Turner in the sexual assault of Chanel Miller (formerly known as Emily Doe) that resulted in him serving just three months in prison. Other books focus on the personal costs of sexual assault — how it can haunt and burden a person years after the experience. And others focus on rape culture in society at large and how it insidiously it seeps into pop culture, politics, business, and more.

She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, as well as Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow are nonfiction accounts of the reporting that opened the floodgates to allegations against Harvey Weinstein; Know My Name by Chanel Miller and Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl by Jeannie Vanasco are memoirs about the aftershocks of rape; and The Witches are Coming by Lindy West is an exploration of rape culture and toxic masculinity in media.

Here are 10 new books about #MeToo to read in fall 2019:

'Whose Story Is This?: Old Conflicts, New Chapters' by Rebecca Solnit (Sept. 3)

In Rebecca Solnit's latest essay, she writes about climate change, gun control and the #MeToo movement, recalls her own sexual assault, and examines the cases of Harvey Weinstein, Jian Ghomeshi, and Brett Kavanaugh.

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'What Is a Girl Worth?: My Story of Breaking the Silence and Exposing the Truth about Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics' by Rachael Denhollander (Sept. 10)

Former gymnast Rachael Denhollander made her voice heard around the world when she became the first victim to publicly accuse former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, exposing his abuse of hundreds of young athletes over decades. In her memoir, Denhollander tells her full story for the first time, sharing her harrowing experience, and the strength of her fellow athletes in their pursuit of justice.

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'The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation' by Robin Pogrebin & Kate Kelly (Sept. 17)

In September 2018, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by at least three women, including professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Despite a week-long investigation, he was ultimately confirmed to the Supreme Court. New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly now attempt to fill in the blanks in this exploration Kavanaugh's prep-school and Ivy League upbringings.

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'She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement' by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey (Sept. 10)

In 2017, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey began an investigation of prominent producer Harvey Weinstein for the New York Times. They uncovered long-buried allegations, as well as a web of secret payouts and nondisclosure agreements. Because of their reporting — which earned them, as well as New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow, a Pulitzer Prize — the #MeToo movement was reenergized.

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'The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls' by Mona Eltahawy (Sept. 17)

Feminist activist and sexual assault survivor Mona Eltahawy advocates for dismantling the patriarchy through the "seven necessary sins" that women and girls are not supposed to commit: anger, ambition, profanity, violence, attention-seeking, lust, and power. Illuminating her call to action are stories of women around the world who are crossing the lines of race, class, faith, and gender to make their voices heard.

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'Know My Name' by Chanel Miller (Sept. 24)

Chanel Miller, until this month known simply as Emily Doe, was the woman sexually assaulted by Brock Turner. She is finally ready for the world to know her name. In her memoir, Miller tells the story behind the powerful victim impact statement that was read around the world, speaks to her struggles in the trial's aftermath, and unflinchingly examines a culture that protect perpetrators, not victims.

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'Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators' by Ronan Farrow (Oct. 15)

In 2017, New Yorker writer Ronan Farrow investigated Harvey Weinstein, too, and published a piece — just five days after Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey's story went live — that detailed how the Hollywood producer kept his alleged transgressions from becoming national news for so long. In Catch and Kill, Farrow reveals how he uncovered the surveillance and intimidation tactics deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse.

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'Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl: A Memoir' by Jeannie Vanasco (Oct. 1)

Jeannie Vanasco's memoir details her relationship with one of her closest high school friends, a boy named Mark, who raped her when they were in college. Fourteen years after the assault, she reaches out to Mark to speak in person. You can read the transcripts from those conversations in this book, alongside Vanasco's nuanced, complicated feelings about her assault.

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'Ordinary Girls' by Jaquira Díaz (Oct. 29)

In her memoir, Jaquira Díaz recounts her upbringing in the projects of Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, where her mother battled schizophrenia and her own life was upended by sexual assault and depression. As Díaz triumphantly maps a way out of despair toward love and hope, she takes readers along on the journey to becoming her own version of the girl she always wanted to be.

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'The Witches are Coming' by Lindy West (Nov. 5)

Shrill author Lindy West's latest essay collection is a thoughtful and funny examination of rape culture in media. Some of the topics she tackles: Adam Sandler, Donald Trump, South Park, "reverse sexism," and classic movies like Sixteen Candles that make rape look like "silly fun."

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