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14 Best Feminist Books To Take Away For College

College gives you quite a bit of free time. Spend it wisely by reading these awesome feminist books!

College is a brave new world for a lot of students every year. But newfound freedom also require education about the healthy ways to act towards other people. These books are essential items for any college student going away for college. With no one there to look over them, a book from this list will definitely help them make the right decisions.

Plus, it’ll be a great gift to remember you by while they’re away!

#1 Driven: A Daughter’s Odyssey by Julie Heldman

The Heldman’s were, and are still considered tennis royalty. Julie Heldman is a retired American tennis player, Olympian, and legend within the tennis community. She ranked number 2 in the U.S. and number 5 in the world.

Her mother, Gladys Heldman founded World Tennis Magazine, was a world-renowned tennis promoter and engineered the woman’s tennis revolution. Julie won 22 tennis tournaments, with victories over the top stars in her era like Billie Jean King, Margaret Court, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. She is a part of what they call the Original 9, and played a huge role in obtaining equal pay for female tennis players, and athletes.

The beginning of the women’s pro tour is often overlooked. The book not only discusses Julie’s professional tennis career, but the relationship she had with her mother, Gladys, the emotional abuse she suffered and her struggle with bipolar disorder and cataclysmic breakdown. She goes on to describe her retirement from tennis. This is an important moment in sports history that should be read about by all college students.

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#2 Searching for God in the Garbage by Bracha Goetz

Experience what goes on inside the mind of a feminist Harvard grad who broke the habits that were imprisoning her in this raw and candid memoir about overcoming eating disorders – joyfully!

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#3 Beginner’s Pluck by Liz Forkin Bohannon

Beginner’s Pluck is Liz Forkin Bohannon’s counterintuitive take on what it means to build “purpose” in life. A motivational, self-help memoir, Beginner’s Pluck is approachable and hilarious, rich with personal anecdotes of pluck while Forkin Bohannon started up her social enterprise, Sseko Designs. Beginner’s Pluck is perfect for those that want to build a meaningful life, but feel stuck, unqualified, or scared while “finding their passion – which, we know is cliche and unhelpful advice most-often given to women. Instead, Liz Forkin Bohannon encourages and empowers young women to take ownership of their lives in the most sincere, relatable way.

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#4 Maternal Optimism: Forging Positive Paths through Work and Motherhood

This book is a resource for all prpfessional women as they approach the difficulties and the joys of growing a family and a career.

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#5 The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

This is the book that launched the second wave of the feminist movement. This is the book that challenged the belief in the 1950’s that women had to be housewives. It consists of women’s interviews sharing their feelings, voicing their opinions, making the necessary changes need in society. IT truly was the start of how women joined the work force, got an education and developed political views.

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#6 Want: 8 Steps to Recovering Desire, Passion, and Pleasure After Sexual Assault by Julie Peters

Between 19-27% of women in college experience sexual assault (that gets reported). Want is Julie’s story of getting through the devastation of sexual assault to living a full life. In this book, she shares how to implement the eight steps Julie took back to recovery. Survive, feel, rage, forgive, pleasure, eat, sex, and love. We have plenty of stories about the helplessness, frustration, and vengeful feelings that can come up after trauma. Culturally, we have started a conversation about these experiences, and we’re all confused about what this all means for our relationships with each other. We badly need stories of hope, healing, and recovery.

Survivors of assault, if you’ve been thinking to yourself, “I thought it was just me,” Julie is here to show you that you are not alone. Your loved ones may not know how to support you, but they can learn more about your experiences and how to walk alongside you through this book, just as you can learn how to recover from the trauma you’ve experienced. Want offers a window into one person’s experience of recovery―plus the happy ending we all need to know is possible after trauma.

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#7 The Year of No Nonsense by Meredith Atwood

The Year of No Nonsense is the upcoming book by Meredith Atwood. This revolutionary book is for the woman who is already amazing, but is ready to take herself to the next level on her terms, to rid herself of the Nonsense that is holding her back from her best health, (pursuit of) happiness, and success–finding her true spirit and self. There is nothing more spiritual or amazing than a women who knows herself.

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#8 Feminism Is for Everybody by bell hooks

This book is an accessible, comprehensive overview of feminism passionately and persuasively showing the reader how feminism benefits us all. The author, an internationally recognized feminist, brings in a clear picture of how a range of identities, in terms of gender, race, class, sexual orientation and others intersect in influencing how we navigate the world, as well as the ways in which privilege and oppression play out in our lives. We come away with solid ideas for how and why to take action for social change with a goal of creating a more just world.

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#9 The Boss Lady Investor by Krista Goodrich

This hilarious take on personal finance for women will get you learning and laughing at the same time. This book explains, from a woman’s point-of-view, how to start off in investing and saving, how to plan for the unexpected, how credit affects your life and more.

Jam-packed with ideas, information, and real-life examples, this book is the perfect book for women just starting out on their financial journey and, as one reviewer exclaimed, This is THE book that every young woman should have when she graduates. It’s all the things we should have learned about money but didn’t. It’s the perfect book on finance for college ladies. The Boss Lady Investor™ is a great book for women looking to understand money and wanting to take control of their finances.

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#10 The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances-White

This book is funny, honest and inspiring. It features interviews with performers, activists and feminist thinkers. They encourage us all to think about what it means to be a feminist in the 21st century, the meaningful actions we can take to make the world a better place and the importance of letting go of the idea of perfection.

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#11 Women’s Activism, Feminism, and Social Justice by Margaret A. McLaren

Women’s Activism, Feminism, and Social Justice (Oxford University Press, 2019) develops a comprehensive framework for social justice for women globally. Addressing pressing contemporary issues such as cross-cultural judgements about women and gender equality, this brand new book offers a framework for social justice that applies transnationally, and in specific locations.

Attentive to economic inequality and exploitation, as well as social and cultural discrimination and marginalization, this book grounds its theory of social justice in real life examples of grassroots women’s organizations in India. Drawing on the strategies of two non-governmental organizations–the Self-Employed Women’s Association and MarketPlace India– that have made impacts on social and political change, the author argues that developing leadership, self-confidence and mobilizing collective action can be significant tools for producing positive social and political changes.

Pointing out that many feminist interventions globally carry traces of imperialism and neo-colonialism the book helps us to steer clear of simply imposing one’s own framework as the best route to justice, instead we are asked to engage with activist strategies on the ground and embrace that there are complex relationships among gender, culture, rights, and justice. The feminist social justice framework developed in the book provides an innovative approach for addressing and thinking through issues in transnational feminism.

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#12 Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Her Body and Other Parties is the radical, haunting, laugh out loud funny, brilliant debut collection from Carmen Maria Machado. You will not be able to forget Machado’s one-of-a-kind mix of social commentary, horror, and just plain old incredible storytelling. This book is perfect for college students as the stories are super engaging but small enough to be read between classes or outside of huge workloads. The twists, turns, and loop-de-loops of Machado’s imagination are particularly resonant in our current social climate and provide a sense of community, understanding, and deep introspection.

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#13 All About Love by bell hooks

All About Love is one of the masterworks of renowned scholar, theorist, and black feminist icon bell hooks. Some of her most pressing and resonant writing lies within the 272 pages of this manifesto unpacking the question, “what is love?” A must-read for all young people and especially young feminists, All About Love is healing, inquisitive, and lastingly brilliant.

Here, hooks examines intimacy, sex, romance and desire with her signature wit and razor-sharp prose. As hooks famously says in this groundbreaking text, “The word ‘love’ is most often defined as a noun, yet . . . we would all love better if we used it as a verb.” Begin your process of reimagining what love can be and take a dive into one of the formative feminist minds of our time.

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#14 The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Inspiration for the recent Netflix series of the same name, The Haunting of Hill House, is one of the true masterpieces of feminist icon Shirley Jackson (author of The Lottery). Hill House is one of the finest works of psychological horror ever to be written, and the complex undertones of feminity, sexuality, and power ring truer than ever today. A twisted story of coming of age and the search for independence, Jackson plays with readers as no other author can. The images and starkly written prose will stick with you for years to come.

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Contributors to this article
Charlotte Silverstein from Lena Rose PR

Bracha Goetz from Bracha’s Books

Rosetta from Baker Publishing Group

Michael Chmura from Babson College

Stefanie Lesser from Hope & Love Radio

Julie Peters from Julie Peters

Jessica Gore from Moon 40 Marketing

Kathryn L. Norsworthy from Rollins College

Krista Goodrich from The Boss Lady Investor Community

Emma Green from Fun Food and Fitness

Margaret McLaren from Rollins College

Kalev Rudolph from AutoInsuranceEZ

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