Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Sarah's Five Favorite Feminist Books of the Year (So Far)

Dietland by Sarai Walker (Houghten Mifflin Harcourt, $26)
This is the story of Plum Kettle, an advice columnist who is waiting for bariatric surgery for her life to begin. It's also the story of Jennifer, a radical feminist counterterrorist group who changes Plum's life forever. I can't recommend this enough.

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest (Arthur A. Levine Books, $19)
Visually stunning and lyrically beautiful story about two friends who find their way back to one another, even after the death of one. Incorporates a gorgeous webcomic and no romance.

Not Funny Ha-Ha: A Handbook for Something Hard by Leah Hayes (Fantagraphics, $17)
This is an illustrated book about abortion. It details the circumstances and experiences of two different women and the choices they make during their decision to terminate pregnancies. Hayes has done something incredibly moving and important and relevant in a world where Planned Parenthood is often struggling with budget cuts and pro-life protesters. The art is great, the words are great. I want to give copies of this to all my favorite feminists so we can gush about how awesome it is together.

Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales (Farrar Straus Giroux, $18)
Arden's life isn't going the way she expected. Her mother just left and her father isn't around. She spends a lot of time taking care of her younger brother and her best friend who is a trouble magnet. Her boyfriend is cute, but somewhat inattentive. Something is building in Arden. I initially disliked Arden - she martyrs herself for the people she loves and blames them for it. She decides to take a trip to New York to meet Peter, the author of a blog she loves, along with her best friend. The trip and the night following it turn out to be transformative for her. I won't spoil anything, but I will say this: Tonight the Streets Are Ours isn't a love story in the way you're expecting it to be. It's not about falling in love with another person. It's about learning to feel competent and independent. I want to walk down the street and hand a copy of this book to every teenager I see.

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen (Boom!, $15)
This comic is everything. It's intentionally inclusive racially, including a couple of queer characters and dare I say a trans girl as well? More than that, it's fun and sweet and hilarious. This is everything I want in a comic and I cannot stop raving about how well written and well drawn this title is. There's adventure, supernatural elements, romance, three eyed magical foxes, some mythology, and sibling rivalry thrown in for good measure. It's appropriate for all ages, so after you're done reading it, you might pass it on to a younger nerd.

Sarah Sawyers-Lovett, November 2015

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