Each January, readers everywhere round up their must-reads for the upcoming year, including exciting young adult releases, the most talked about fiction novels, and the best nonfiction of the year. While my TBR list for the next 12 months is miles long in every category, the titles at very top feature the most anticipated feminist book releases of 2017. After the year we just lived through, I'm making the fight for women's rights one of my top priorities, and it starts by learning as much as I can about it.
People have been writing about feminism as long as the movement has been around. Classics like Kate Millet's Sexual Politics, Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, and Audre Lorde's Sister Outsider were considered groundbreaking at the time of their publication decades ago, and have since become essential reading for the modern feminists who are fighting to keep it alive and moving forward today. Those same feminists aren't just reading the old texts, though. They're also reading, writing, and becoming the subjects of new texts about the current state of the movement, the issues facing modern women, and what we can do to force progress, one step (or page) at a time.
From empowering handbooks to insightful memoirs, here are 15 of the most anticipated feminist book releases of 2017:
1 'Difficult Women' by Roxane Gay (Jan. 3)
Kicking off 2017 the right way, Roxane Gay gifts us with her new collection of short stories about diverse and colorful women from all different walks of life. Intimate and powerful, Difficult Women takes readers to strip clubs and wealthy suburban neighborhoods, inside romantic relationships and complicated families, through kidnappings and bad marriages, all the while weaving an unforgettable story of modern American womanhood. A compelling collection that will stick with you long after you finish the last page, this is the first of two of Gay's titles you won't want to miss this year.
2 'All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers' by Alana Massey (Feb. 7)
In this breathtaking collection of personal essays, columnist and critic Alana Massey explores pop culture and womanhood through the lives of some of the most famous female figures of the last fifty years. All the Lives I Want is at once a fan letter to female celebrities, a sharp cultural critique, and a thorough examination of some of the biggest issues facing women today, including mental illness, sexual violence, and body image. Featuring the likes of Sylvia Plath, Anjelica Huston, Anna Nicole Smith, and many more, All the Lives I Want is a must read for every fangirl out there.
3 'There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé' by Morgan Parker (Feb. 14)
As unbelievable as you may find the title, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé proves that it is possible to create something greater than Queen Bey. Riddled with pop culture references aimed at exploring what it means to be a black American woman in modern times, this beautiful poetry collection probes the realms of American politics, national and family history, race, and gender with unflinching honesty. As soulful as it is timely, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé is a daring collection you'll want to bask in all year long.
4 'Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto' by Jessa Crispin (Feb. 21)
In what's sure to be one of the most controversial books of 2017, writer and cultural critic Jessa Crispin writes her own scathing review of modern day feminism and all of its failings. But instead of rejecting the movement all together, Why I'm Not a Feminist actually calls for more from it,demanding a revolution that will truly break apart the oppressive system that has always worked to hold women down. If you're looking for a dose of radical inspiration, this manifesto is it.
5 'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thomas (Feb. 28)
Debut author Angie Thomas draws real-life inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement in her remarkable, heartbreaking YA novel, The Hate U Give. After witnessing the fatal shooting of her unarmed friend by a police officer, Starr finds herself the center of everyone's attention, including the media, the police, and the local drug lord. What she does next determines not only the fate of her own life, but that of her neighborhood and all those she loves in it. A poignant novel about race and justice in America, That Hate U Give is a vital story that everyone needs to put at the top of their reading list this year.
6 'Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women's Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics' by Marjorie J. Spruill (Feb. 28)
In Divided We Stand, author and women's history expert Marjorie J. Spruill shines a light on the ongoing conflict between liberal feminists and their conservative, Pro-Family opposition. Going all the way back to the 1977 National Women's Conference in Houston, Divided We Stand is a detailed account of the political and cultural differences that has lead us to the fractured political system we have today. Well researched and skillfully written, this is an accessible history every feminist should consider required reading.
7 'All Grown Up' by Jami Attenberg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mar.7)
Though a fictional novel, Jami Attenberg's All Grown Up is the kind of story many modern day women can relate to better than most nonfiction. In it, Andrea Bern, a 39-year-old single, childfree woman, is living on her own terms. While everyone else around her seems to have discovered what it means to be a grown-up, Andrea is defies the traditional expectations and lives her life a she sees fit. But when her niece is born with a crushing ailment, this free-spirited woman begins to see things in a whole new light.
8 'Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Mar. 7)
In another slim yet powerful piece of feminist writing from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, the outspoken activist and rising literary star makes 15 suggestions for becoming a strong and empowered woman. Written as a letter to a friend, Dear Ijeawele is an inspirational guide that will fit perfectly next to your copy of We Should All Be Feminists.
9 'The Mother of All Questions: Further Reports from the Feminist Revolutions' by Rebecca Solnit (March 14)
In this short but compelling follow up to her sharp collection Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit further explores feminist issues with what is sure to be the same wit and honesty that makes all of her work exemplary.
10 'The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir' by Ariel Levy (March 14)
New Yorker writer Ariel Levy devastates and inspires in her daring memoir The Rules Do Not Apply, in which she chronicles her life following a series of heartbreaking losses. A deeply intimate story about love, life, family, and womanhood, this funny but gut-wrenching book is a must-read for women and feminist nonfiction fans alike.
11 'Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays' by Mary Gaitskill (April 4)
Covering a wide variety of topics ranging from pop culture to politics, dating and rape debates, this latest collection from iconic essayist Mary Gaitskill touches upon several feminist issues of interest. Fascinating and fearless, the essays in Somebody With a Little Hammer trace Gaitskill's brilliant insight from the last two decades, offering a peek inside her brilliant (and feminist thinking) mind.
12 'Too Much and Not the Mood' by Durga Chew-Bose (FSG Originals, April 11)
In her debut collection of essays, letters, prose, and poetry, Durga Chew-Bose examines what it means to be a first-generation, creative young woman working in America today. Unconventional and utterly breathtaking, Too Much and Not the Mood is an exciting and unique addition to the ever-expanding library of feminist literature.
13 'The H Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness Nation Books' By Jill Filipovic (May 2)
In one of the most anticipated nonfiction books of 2017, journalist Jill Filipovic dives head-first into the different ways women try (and fail) to find happiness. Featuring the voices of women all across America, The H-Spot explores the wants, needs, and desires of females from New York to LA and everywhere in between in an attempt to devise a plan for an effective feminist movement centered around fulfillment.
14 'Large Animals' by Jess Arndt (May 16)
In her astonishing debut collection, Jess Arndt explores what it's like to have a body in all different stages of life. Bold and brazen, Large Animals promises to pull at the heartstrings of every reader.
15 'Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body' by Roxane Gay (Harper, June 12)
In her second feminist release of the year, Roxane Gay pens a no-holds-barred memoir about body image, self confidence, food, weight, and learning to navigate (and even love) it all.