This has been a great year for women writers. Back in late 2013/early 2014, the hashtag #readwomen2014 began gaining traction as a response to the perceived sexism by book reviewers and the publishing industry. You can read more about the movement here.
Suffice it to say, I have been impressed and inspired by the amazing essay collections published by women writers this year. Here are a few you should check out:
A collection that explores empathy in all its many forms and iterations.
Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit
If you only read one feminist essay this year, may it be the title essay in this collection. The others are also great, but the essay about her encounter with a man who explained the importance of her book to her, without knowing she had written it, is priceless and perfectly illustrative of the issues women face when it comes to being taken seriously in the world.
Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham’s essay collection is sassy, touching, courageous and controversial. Need I say more?
The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, by Meghan Daum
Described as a “bold and witty” “report from early middle age.” “With perfect precision, she reveals the absurdities of the marriage-industrial complex, of the New Age dating market, and of the peculiar habits of the young and digital. Elsewhere, she writes searchingly about cultural nostalgia, Joni Mitchell, and the alternating heartbreak and liberation of choosing not to have children. Combining the piercing insight of Joan Didion with a warm humor reminiscent of Nora Ephron, Daum dissects our culture’s most dangerous illusions, blind spots, and sentimentalities while retaining her own joy and compassion. Through it all, she dramatizes the search for an authentic self in a world where achieving an identity is never simple and never complete.”
Women in Clothes, by Sheila Heti
Short essays on what, why and how we get dressed by more than 600 women, edited by the Toronto novelist Sheila Heti.