To celebrate International Women’s Day today, we’ve put together a collection of fantastic non-fiction by women to add to your reading list. Whether you’re after something fierce or funny, a manifesto or a meditation, you’ll find something to resonate with you.
10 inspiring non-fiction books written by women
by Lindy West
A laugh-out-loud feminist memoir from one of the boldest new voices on the web.
Guardian columnist Lindy West wasn’t always loud. It’s difficult to believe she was once a nerdy, overweight teen who wanted nothing more than to be invisible. Fortunately for women everywhere, along the road she found her voice – and how she found it! That cripplingly shy girl who refused to make a sound, somehow grew up to be one of the loudest, shrillest, most fearless feminazis on the internet, making a living standing up for what’s right instead of what’s cool.
In Shrill, Lindy recounts how she went from being the butt of people’s jokes, to telling her own brand of jokes – ones that carry with them with a serious message and aren’t at someone else’s expense. She reveals the obstacles and stereotyping she’s had to overcome to make herself heard… Learn more.
by Margot Lee Shetterly
Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as ‘Human Computers’, calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts, these ‘coloured computers’ used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, ‘Hidden Figures’ interweaves a rich history of mankind’s greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world… Learn more.
The Secret History of Wonder Woman
by Jill Lepore
Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she also has a secret history.
Drawing from an astonishing trove of documents, including never-before-seen private papers, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore reveals the fascinating family story that sparked the invention of the most popular female superhero of all time. Delving into the life of Wonder Woman’s eccentric creator, psychologist William Moulton Marston, Lepore her feminist origins: from the warrior princesses of the Amazon, to suffragists including Emmeline Pankhurst, and the women Marston shared his life with – his wife and his mistress. The Secret History of Wonder Woman is at once a riveting work of pop culture history, and a crucial insight into the struggle for women’s rights in the twentieth century and the troubled place of feminism today… Learn more.
Men Explain Things To Me
by Rebecca Solnit
In her comic, scathing essay, Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don’t, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters.
This updated edition with two new essays of this national bestseller book features that now-classic essay as well as “#YesAllWomen,” an essay written in response to 2014 Isla Vista killings and the grassroots movement that arose with it to end violence against women and misogyny, and the essay “Cassandra Syndrome.” Learn more.