Here at MyDomaine, we believe that the books you read have the power to shape who you are. Regardless of genre, they can empower you with new ideas, inspire you to spark change, and connect you with people who might look and think differently than you.
In honor of Women's Equality Day, we asked well-read women to share their required reading lists for 2018. Ahead, Miriam Chan, founder of The Lev, an L.A.-based community bookstore that promotes women writers; Ebony LaDelle, founder of Coloring Books, a newsletter that recommends books by up-and-coming authors of diverse backgrounds; and Eliza Wexelman, co-founder of Girls at Library, an online journal featuring interviews with women who have a passion for reading, offer empowering recommendations from the shelves of their own libraries.
Spanning an enlightening nonfiction read that explores the intersection of feminism and racism to a heartwarming novel about women defying patriarchial strictures to a ground-breaking collection of first-person essays on the topic of sexual assault, these are the thought-provoking books well-read women would add to your shelves.
Miriam Chan, founder of The Lev
"Although written almost 40 years ago, Women, Race & Class is an essential read on the history of American feminism—a reminder that all women should be heard regardless of race and class. Political activist and scholar Angela Davis explores the intersection of feminism and racism in the women's movement."
"Taking place outside of London, the novel centers around Nikki who signs up to teach a creative writing course to older Sikh women, and unbeknown to her, they are largely illiterate. With themes of oppression among women that is based on tradition and religion, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows demonstrates the power of community among women and sex positivity."
"Not your average management book, Nilima Bhat and Raj Sisodia explore the need for balance between the 'masculine' and the 'feminine' in our culture, and by virtue, creating gender equality. This is a must read for those who want to elevate themselves as leaders by learning 'Shakti Leadership,' a framework for leading consciously."
"By using a definition for feminism that is rooted in inclusion and awareness, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie breaks down the 'barrier' around the word feminism. This is an essay that will inspire you to be a better human, a feminist."
"If you ever need facts to back up why there should be more women in leadership roles, this is your book. Journalist Jay Newton-Small offers a well-research look to how women are transforming government, politics, business and how it is creating a positive change in America."
Ebony LaDelle, founder of Coloring Books
"Investigative journalist Rebecca Traister studies how, throughout history, single women have shaped the world we live in today through massive social change. But what I appreciate about Rebecca the most in her examination is how she shows what it means to be single based on race and socioeconomic class. This book is a must read for every woman, single or not."
"This novel follows a biracial boy, named Jojo, and his mother Leonie, a drug addict that is haunted by the ghost of her brother, who was killed due to racial violence. What follows is a cross-state road trip to pick up Jojo's father at the state penitentiary, and it's on this trip that he comes face to face with racial tensions in the South and the realization that his mother may never be the mother her needs her to be. I had no words after reading this one."
"Barracoon is the story of the final slave-ship survivor Cudjo Lewis, written by renowned writer Zora Neale Hurston. Zora spent three months with Cudjo, who was captured from his tribe and sold into slavery, even though the slave trade had been illegal in the United States for 50 years."
"If They Come for Us by Fatimah Asghar is an exploration of womanhood, sexuality, grief, and so much more, told through the lens of poet and Emmy-nominated writer Fatimah Asghar. Through the sadness though, Fatimah manages to make you smile and find hope in the pain."
"After a failed engagement, Ruth quits her job and goes back home to her parents to find her father, whom she avoided for years, is losing his memory. Somehow Rachel is able to make this heavy book quirky at times, and stays with you long after the last page."
"This collection, edited by Roxane Gay, is brave in so many ways, as it is [made up of] first-person accounts from women who have been raped. A call to arms that yes, it IS that bad."
Eliza Wexelman, co-founder of Girls at Library
"The origin of mansplaining. This collection of essays explores the struggles women face in the world by analyzing how and why the gender-based power dynamics exist from Solnit's perspective."
"An incredibly enlightening and important text. Davis looks closely at the lack of intersectional feminism within the women's movement, underlining classist and racial biases that exist inside the structure and system of women's emancipation. Spoiler alert: These problems still exist today. Required reading for everyone."
"Because a book by women, for women, about women is a great tool. Recommended for all."
"Martha P. Cotera is a key feminist figure still fighting for equal rights for Chicanas (Xicanisma) today. This book is centered around several stories of her experience within the Chicana movement."