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Ten books to feed your feminist imagination


In celebration of our feminist issue, out now, we asked you, our readers, to name your favourite feminist book of all time.

From 17th century manifestos to contemporary theory, here are 10 of your recommendations. See all of your must-reads on our Twitter page from 22 – 30 July.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)

Anne Bronte

The first, real feminist novel. A female protagonist leaves her husband, and takes ‘his’ son with her, because she doesn’t like the influence of his hard-drinking, uber-masculine father. It’s radical today, let alone in 1848.

Recommended by Tracey

The Bloody Chamber (1979)

Angela Carter

Carter’s language is so rich that reading anything afterwards is like chewing on celery after gorging on a feast. This thickly-textured sensuous subversion rips viscerally through patriarchal culture at its most grotesque.

Recommended by Patch

Gender Trouble (1980)

Judith Butler

Butler brilliantly links queer and feminist critiques of the social construction of oppressive sexual and gender norms. Even if you don’t agree with the argument, this is incredible writing, which is enjoyable for its own sake.

Recommended by Nor

Living my life (1931)

Emma Goldman

Goldman’s anarchist autobiography covers the oppressive family, atheism, polyamoury, revolution, and class struggle as well as fighting patriarchy, and meeting everyone who was anyone in the first half of the 20th century. Pretty cool.

Recommended by Charlie

The shame is over – a political life story (1980)

Anya Meulenbelt

This book changed my life as an 18 year old. It made me angry at violence against woman, and also sensitized me to the effect it has and why women do stay.

Recommended by Fiona

Woman on the Edge of Time (1976)

Marge Piercy

Because Piercy imagined a world where women are freed from responsibility for reproduction, and all people are freed from binary gender rules and definitions.

Recommended by Clare

Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women (1991)

Susan Faludi

An absolute eye-opener. It shows how popular culture undermines equal rights for women by providing one-sided views of what women should or should not do. You’ll never just watch a movie again, but will be able to dissect it!

Recommended by Sabine

Teaching to Transgress (1994)

bell hooks

This is a book in which radical feminism brings together Brazilian educator Paulo Freire and Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh in a way that’s sheer poetry.

Recommended by Chintan

A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)

Mary Wollstonecraft

This could be described as the first feminist manifesto. It’s a short book but it packs a punch, and is a slap in the face for misogynists everywhere.

Recommended by Kiran

A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007)

Khaled Hosseini

Feminism in Afghanistan? Hosseini opened my eyes to the struggles of women living in oppression. And to the resilience and strength that women can encompass. The protagonists overcome their pain through solidarity: The true value of feminism.

Recommended by Farhana


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