9 2017 Books That Your Feminist Book Club Needs To Read

by Sadie Trombetta
Hannah Burton for Bustle

The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and you know what that means: summer is finally almost here. If you're starting to get your TBR list together, make sure to include these powerful books that your feminist book club needs to read this summer. From moving memoirs to cultural critiques, these new and upcoming releases are guaranteed to inspire you this season.

The most fun (and stressful) part of organizing your feminist book club is choosing what to read next. When it comes to picking a pro-feminist book, you want to find something that is not only empowering to readers, but diverse, inclusive, engaging, and thought-provoking. The ideal selection is a book that sparks conversation in your group, that challenges conventional thinking, and that inspires action and change.

Luckily for you, there are plenty of new releases this spring and summer that fit the bill. From provocative books about race and class to informative essays about the current political climate to hilarious collections every woman can relate to, there are so many different feminist reads to look forward to in 2017. The real question will be, how can you fit them all into your reading schedule?

Ready to plan your summer reading list with your book club? Make sure to put these nine powerful feminist books at the top of the list.


'One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter' by Scaachi Koul

The most relatable book of the year, Scaachi Koul's One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter is the kind of read that will make you laugh until you cry, cry until laugh, and proclaim, "Exactly!" on more than one occasion. A fun yet powerful essay collection that covers everything from family to fashion, race to religion, womanhood to Western culture and more, this May release is a must-read for every book club, especially those made up of millennial women who will see their own experiences in Koul's essays.

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'Jane Austen, the Secret Radical' by Helena Kelly

Since your feminist book club has already read all of her iconic novels, it's time to learn even more about the fascinating life and writing of Jane Austen in Helena Kelly's latest book. Jane Austen, the Secret Radical reassess the work of one of the world's most widely celebrated authors, and argues that for over 200 years, we've been reading her all wrong. Reframing her most beloved novels in terms of their historical moment, Kelly goes to great lengths to show just how radical of a writer the famed romantic really was. After reading this fascinating book, you'll never see (or read) Austen the same way again.

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'Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays' by Mary Gaitskill

From the celebrated author of the iconic feminist work, Bad Behavior, comes a new and compelling essay collection, which takes a deep-dive into everything from contemporary fiction to modern politics to American womanhood, will shake you to your core. Somebody with a Little Hammer is a beautiful, thought-provoking work cements Mary Gaitskill as one of the sharpest critical thinkers and most important cultural critics of our time.

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'The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness' by Jill Filipovic

For a fresh new perspective of the feminist agenda, make sure to add celebrated writer and journalist Jill Filipovic's The H-Spot to your book club's summer reading list. A fascinating look at women's quest for contentment in the realms of love, sex, careers, families, friendships, and more, this absorbing read will challenge the way you've looked at equality and inspire you to fight for everyone's right to the pursuit of happiness. A truly radical take on the modern feminist movement, The H-Spot just might become your new guidebook to the resistance.

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'Too Much and Not the Mood' by Durga Chew-Bose

A powerful and timely collection about identity, culture, and art, Too Much and Not the Mood is the perfect feminist read to share with your book club. Filled with lyrical and poetic essays that examine what exactly it means to be not only a creative working woman, but a first-generation daughter of immigrants, Durga Chew-Bose's will hit you with all the feels and challenge you to think about womanhood outside of your own. If you're book club is filled with writers or artists, make sure to include this book in your summer TBR pile.

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'Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body' by Roxane Gay (Harper, June 13)

One of the most anticipated feminist releases of the year, Hunger is the second Roxane Gay book to be published in 2017, and deserves a spot at the very top of your summer reading list. A stunning and intimate look at the iconic feminist author's own experiences with body image, weight, food, and hunger, both the physical kind and the emotional, this poignant and thought-provoking book will challenge you to think outside of your own body and make you question what it means to be a big woman in a society that values skinniness above all else.

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'Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys Into Race, Motherhood, and History' by Camille Dungy (Norton, June 13)

Step into someone else's shoes award-winning African American poet and teacher Camille Dungy's Guidebook to Relative Strangers, out this June. A powerful and evocative memoir about what it means to be a black mother, woman, and outsider, this unique and lyrical book chronicles the author's travels across the country with her daughter, unflinchingly exposing the current climate of the United States and its complicated history. Intimate and powerful, Guidebook to Relative Strangers will be exactly that: a map to navigating experiences outside of your own.

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'Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman' by Anne Helen Petersen (Plume, June 20)

Find the inspiration you need to keep smashing the patriarchy in Anne Helen Petersen's bold and empowering collection, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud. An engaging exploration of the women celebrities who are defying stereotypes and redefining what it means to be female, this analytical book includes intimate and provocative profiles of everyone from Hillary Clinton to Madonna to Serena Williams, and more. An absorbing and unapologetic feminist read, this examination of the world's unruly women will make you proud to be one.

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'Sour Heart' by Jenny Zhang (Lenny, Aug. 1)

The first book from Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner's Lenny imprint at Random House, Sour Hearts is the summer debut you and your feminist book club won't want to miss. A stunning collection of stories that pull readers into the lives of Chinese American girls growing up in the hear of New York City, this beautiful book is at turns heartbreaking, funny, and insightful, the kind of novel you won't be able to get our of your head. In other words, the perfect kind of book to discuss with your reading group.

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