If your yearly book loving habits look anything like mine, chances are you’ve already got a few (or, like, a couple dozen) reading resolutions lined up for 2018. Some of my personal favorites from past years include: reading more books (although, who am I kidding, that’s my reading resolution every year), reading more — or only — books by women writers, reading more diverse books, and expanding my regularly scheduled reading across the genres that don’t normally make my TBR pile. But now, with the energy from 2017’s Women’s March on Washington still going strong and feminists taking the country by storm — from the streets, to mainstream media, to the sound stages of Hollywood, to the halls of Congress, and beyond — the best 2018 reading resolutions are definitely going to include a healthy dose of feminism. In fact, this just might be the year to execute your ultimate feminist reading plan; one that will not only totally transform your bookshelves, but might even help change the world too.
After all, you don’t need me to remind you that a woman’s place is in the resistance — and for book-lovers, that includes plenty of resistance reading. Here is your ultimate 2018 feminist reading plan, from my feminist bookshelves to yours.
1Revisit the classics.
There’s that old expression: we can’t know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been. (And we can’t appreciate how far we’ve come, if we don’t know where we started.) Kick off your ultimate year of feminist reading by revisiting some of the classic titles of feminist literature. Is Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique as relevant to Millennial women as it was to 1950s housewives? Maybe not — but it’s a must-have on any self-respecting feminist’s bookshelves. Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects might not be your favorite title of the year, but it’s definitely worth another glance. Plus, there are plenty of feminist classics that will still totally rock your resistance: Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks, Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, Sexual Politics by Kate Millett — the list goes on.
2Check out some new stuff.
New feminist titles pass through indie presses and land on big box bookstore shelves every year, and your year of feminist reading will hardly be one for the record books if you’re not keeping an eye out for the latest titles that will have all the feminists in your life buzzing. Some of the latest feminist titles to make my own TBR pile include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, Joanna Scutts's The Extra Woman: How Marjorie Hillis Led A Generation Of Women To Live Alone And Like It, Difficult Women by Roxane Gay, Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, Rebecca Solnit’s The Mother of All Questions, and more.
A lot of good can be said about the Women’s Rights Movement (I mean, obviously) but a consistent struggle of those fighting for equality across genders, since the fight for suffrage in the United States first began, is that of intersectionality. Since former slave Sojourner Truth spoke publicly about the fact that women’s rights needed to include ALL women, the Women’s Rights Movement has long been critiqued as being a “white women’s movement”, failing to adequately take into account the diverse needs and desires, and unique injustices, that women of color face. So don’t just read feminist titles this year! Read diverse feminist books too.
4Join a feminist book club — like OSS.
Already globally recognized, Our Shared Shelf is a feminist book club founded by actor and activist Emma Watson, and is hosted on Goodreads. Inspired by her work with UN Women, Watson decided to bring the feminist literature she was reading to readers around the world. Since its inception, OSS has gathered together over 207,000 members, and counting, to read titles like The Power by Naomi Alderman, Hunger by Roxane Gay, and The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf.
Or, consider Read the Resistance, hosted by New York City-based literary organization PEN America. Just launched in 2017, the mission of Read the Resistance is to highlight books and literature of and about acts of resistance. Over 2000 readers each month share titles like Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder, and Twitter and Tear Gas by Zeynep Tufekci.
5Check out GERTIE Book Club.
OK, OK — just one more book club for your ultimate feminist reading plan. (I mean, can there ever be enough book clubs, really?) Launched in September of last year and shipping out its first book box before the new year, GERTIE Book Club is the first queer book box subscription and book club, highlighting books by LGBTQ authors and those that feature LGBTQ characters. It’s housed by Gertrude Press — a queer publishing company and 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1998, with it’s journal, Gertrude being the longest consecutively published queer journal. Basically, if you’re going to subscribe to an LGBTQ book club and book box, these are the folks you want stocking it for you.
6Treat yourself to The Book Hookup: Feminist Literature Subscription.
Heralding from New York City’s 18 miles of books — Strand Books, that is — is the Strand Subscription, feminist literature edition. Described by the book loving folks at Strand as “the perfect experience for any book-loving nasty woman”, aka: you, The Book Hookup: Feminist Literature subscription is a quarterly subscription box that includes a recently released first edition of a new feminist title (added bonus: it’s signed by the author!) plus all kinds of fun, feminist goodies from Strand and its partners. #Winning.
7Start your own feminist book club.
Can you tell I’m all about the book clubs this year? (I mean, what’s not to love about books and feminism with your favorite pink-pussy-hat-wearing pals? Sign me up.) While there are plenty of ways to get all kinds of great feminist book club vibes online, there’s nothing quite like some face-to-face feminist reading (and wine drinking. And resistance plotting.) The U.S. women’s suffrage movement started with a small tea party, after all. Who knows what your year of feminist book clubbing could inspire?
8Take yourself on a feminist bookstore road trip.
From New York to Oregon there are feminist bookstores across the United States (although, not nearly enough) to make for one epic, feminist bookstore road trip this year. Places like Tucson, Arizona’s Antigone Books — the oldest feminist bookstore in the country, New York’s Bluestockings — a collectively owned and volunteer-run bookstore that stocks all-things-feminist, and Common Language, Ann Arbor, Michigan’s feminist and LGBTQ bookstore.
9Buy books that support good causes.
I’m not just talking about indie, feminist-forward presses here (although, that is an awesome place to start: Haymarket Books, Seal Press, The Feminist Press, Alice James Books, Jaded Ibis, and others.) In addition to stocking your TBR pile with titles from these folks, consider seeking out books that’s proceeds actually go directly to good causes. Two great, recent examples are Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn — which supports the economic efforts of oppressed women around the world, and The World Is Just A Book Away — an anthology and a nonprofit that brings both standing and mobile libraries to children around the world who otherwise wouldn’t have access to books.
10Support feminist literary causes.
From organizations that support writers, like VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Lambda Literary, PEN International, and Girls Write Now, to organizations that support readers, like We Need Diverse Books, Book Aid International, Room to Read, and more, there are tons of ways to advance the causes of women and girl readers and writers, all year long. And if you’re tight on cash yourself (I feel ya) there are tons of ways to make a difference that don’t include making a donation: volunteer, spread the word, donate some of your own most-loved books, or simply reach out to an organization and ask what’s needed. You might be surprised just how easy it is to pay your love of feminist literature forward.
11Spread the feminist book love with other young feminists in your life.
Finally, don’t just keep all the feminist book love to yourself. Use your 2018 ultimate reading plan for feminists to share some feminist titles with the young readers in your life. Everything from feminist-friendly infant board books to middle grade and YA titles with all kind of girl power themes are landing on bookstore shelves lately, just waiting for the latest generation of feminist readers to pick them up. It’s never too early to start your feminist library — am I right?