Books can be so powerful. We all have our own personal list of books that have changed our lives — the novels or memoirs or poetry collections that made us who we are. It's really amazing to think about how much can be contained, just by putting ink on paper.
Books can help us grow, they can take us to new worlds, they can help us see the world through other people's eyes. They can bring us to tears, and they can make us laugh during the hardest of times. Books can inspire us to build new lives for ourselves, and they can remind us where we came from.
Sometimes when a book changes your life, it happens instantly, as your eyes are opened to an experience or a new way of thinking. Other times, it's a slow, gradual change. As your mind works over what you were reading about, you come to form new ideas and new opinions about the world around you.
Here are eight books that every woman needs to read at least once. These books will shock you, they'll send your brain whirring, and they'll make your heart swell with emotions. From the moment you crack open their spine, you'll be a different person than you were before.
'Sister Outsider' by Audre Lorde
Really, every woman should read everything Audre Lorde has ever written. But Sister Outsider is a great place to start. In fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde tackles a number of social issues — sexism, racism, homophobia, poverty, and more — and calls on her readers to do more to make the world a better place.
'The Awakening' by Kate Chopin
This classic has come to mean more to me as I grow older. The story of a woman who breaks free of a stifling marriage, this book treats the female experience with an honesty that shocked readers of its time.
'The God of Small Things' by Arundhati Roy
The God of Small Things is the story of two twins growing up with a single mother in Southern India, amidst a devastating sea of family turmoil. I promise that you won't ever forget this beautiful story.
'Bad Feminist' by Roxane Gay
This book of essays is full of astute and relatable observations that will have you shouting, "Yes, that's exactly right!" It's an essential read that will reshape your own view of the world.
'Stone Butch Blues' by Leslie Feinberg
An LGBTQ+ classic, this book has meant so much to so many. Stone Butch Blues tells the story of Jess Goldberg, a young lesbian coming out in the 1940s and '50s.
'The Art of Asking' by Amanda Palmer
This book made me feel so empowered as an artist. Part memoir, part manifesto, The Art of Asking is a guide to asking for help and a reminder that getting help doesn't make you weak.
'Persepolis' by Marjane Satrapi
The graphic novel memoir is, quite simply, an unforgettable, electrifying read. Persepolis tells the story of a young girl growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution, and how the politics of her country shape her life.
'The Bell Jar' by Sylvia Plath
I first read this book a decade ago, and I still think about it almost daily. Plath exposes so much truth about womanhood and mental illness in this story about a young girl coming-of-age while dealing with mental illness. This is a book you will feel in your heart, your gut, your mind — every part of you.