Six Must-Read Books For Your Feminist Summer Reading List

Cathi HanauerNew York Times bestselling author Cathi Hanauer is one of Population Services International’s donors. She has written three novels and is the editor of The Bitch in the House and The Bitch is Back, which was named an NPR “Best Book of 2016.”

We asked Cathi to share six books that she loves that focus on empowering women because — to be frank — the women PSI serves, in countries from the DRC to India to Tanzania, are the real heroes behind our success.

Photo credit: Mark Hanauer



Six Books for your Feminist Summer Reading List

I Will Find You, by Joanna Connors

As a young woman, Connors was raped at knifepoint, an act that — predictably — forever changed her life. Twenty-one years later, by then a mid-life mother, she goes back to find out who her rapist was, in an attempt to understand the why’s of this horrible crime. A brave, eye-opening, truly beautiful book. (Grove Press)

Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood, edited by Camille Peri and Kate Moses

Old but never dated, this smart, diverse, deeply honest anthology about parenting (specifically motherhood), compiled from the early columns of Salon, is one of two excellent books that helped inspire me to do The Bitch in the House. (Salon Magazine)

Room, by Emma Donohue

If you (somehow) missed this riveting 2010 novel about a woman and her young son and how they endure—and ultimately overcome—a brutal situation at the hands of a psychopath, run-don’t-walk to the bookstore to get a copy. Save the movie (which is also great) for after you’ve read the book, so you can savor and grasp the power of the original work. (Little, Brown and Company)

Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit

A sophisticated and striking collection of essays about females, feminism, gender, power, and society, by one of the most interesting and brilliant women writing on these topics today. (Haymarket Books)

The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own, edited by Veronica Chambers

The subtitle says it: 16 contemporary women talk eloquently and honestly about what it means and meant to them to have the charismatic, electrifying, iconic Michelle Obama in the White House. (St. Martin’s Press)

Brave Irene, by William Steig

You don’t have to be a kid to love this perfect children’s book, by the unfathomably talented Steig, about an intrepid young girl who goes to astonishing lengths to deliver a package to meet her sick mother’s promise. (Douglas & McIntyre Ltd.)