Celebrate Women’s Equality Day with these Inspiring Memoirs
Celebrate the inspiring women who took up space, made their voices heard, and changed history forever.
by Lindy West
Shrill is an uproarious memoir, a feminist rallying cry in a world that thinks gender politics are tedious and that women, especially feminists, can't be funny.
Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible -- like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you -- writer and humoristLindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.
From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.
With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss, and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.
This book is about what happened next. In her ninth month of pregnancy, she learned that her baby boy had died. How do you deal with and recover from this kind of loss? Of course you don't -- but you go on. And if you have ever experienced loss or love someone who has, the company of this remarkable book will help you go on.
With humor and warmth and unfailing generosity, McCracken considers the nature of love and grief. She opens her heart and leaves all of ours the richer for it.
In the summer of 2009, as she was covering the popular uprisings in Tehran for the New York Times, Iranian journalist Nazila Fathi received a phone call. "They have given your photo to snipers," a government source warned her. Soon after, with undercover agents closing in, Fathi fled the country with her husband and two children, beginning a life of exile.
In The Lonely War, Fathi interweaves her story with that of the country she left behind, showing how Iran is locked in a battle between hardliners and reformers that dates back to the country's 1979 revolution. Fathi was nine years old when that uprising replaced the Iranian shah with a radical Islamic regime. Her father, an official at a government ministry, was fired for wearing a necktie and knowing English; to support his family he was forced to labor in an orchard hundreds of miles from Tehran. At the same time, the family's destitute, uneducated housekeeper was able to retire and purchase a modern apartment -- all because her family supported the new regime.
As Fathi shows, changes like these caused decades of inequality -- especially for the poor and for women -- to vanish overnight. Yet a new breed of tyranny took its place, as she discovered when she began her journalistic career. Fathi quickly confronted the upper limits of opportunity for women in the new Iran and earned the enmity of the country's ruthless intelligence service. But while she and many other Iranians have fled for the safety of the West, millions of their middleclass countrymen -- many of them the same people whom the regime once lifted out of poverty -- continue pushing for more personal freedoms and a renewed relationship with the outside world.
Drawing on over two decades of reporting and extensive interviews with both ordinary Iranians and high-level officials before and since her departure, Fathi describes Iran's awakening alongside her own, revealing how moderates are steadily retaking the country.
--Jennifer 8. Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles After growing up in the most food-obsessed city in the world, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan left home and family at eighteen for America--proof of the rebelliousness of daughters born in the Year of the Tiger. But as a thirtysomething fashion writer in New York, she felt the Singaporean dishes that defined her childhood beginning to call her back. Was it too late to learn the secrets of her grandmothers' and aunties' kitchens, as well as the tumultuous family history that had kept them hidden before In her quest to recreate the dishes of her native Singapore by cooking with her family, Tan learned not only cherished recipes but long-buried stories of past generations.A Tiger in the Kitchen, which includes ten authentic recipes for Singaporean classics such as pineapple tarts and Teochew braised duck, is the charming, beautifully written story of a Chinese-Singaporean ex-pat who learns to infuse her New York lifestyle with the rich lessons of the Singaporean kitchen, ultimately reconnecting with her family and herself. Reading Group Guide available online and included in the eBook.
At twenty-nine, Kelsey Miller had done it all: crash diets, healthy diets, and nutritionist-prescribed "eating plans," which are diets that you pay more money for. She'd been fighting her un-thin body since early childhood, and after a lifetime of failure, finally hit bottom. No diet could transform her body or her life. There was no shortcut to skinny salvation. She'd dug herself into this hole, and now it was time to climb out of it.
With the help of an Intuitive Eating coach and fitness professionals, she learned how to eat based on her body's instincts and exercise sustainably, without obsessing over calories burned and thighs gapped. But, with each thrilling step toward a healthy future, she had to contend with the painful truths of her past.
Big Girl chronicles Kelsey's journey into self-loathing and disordered eating-and out of it. This is a memoir for anyone who's dealt with a distorted body image, food issues, or a dysfunctional family. It's for the late-bloomers and the not-yet-bloomed. It's for everyone who's tried and failed and felt like a big, fat loser. So, basically, everyone.
by Jessie Close
With Pete Earley
With Glenn Close
At a young age, Jessie Close struggled with symptoms that would transform into severe bipolar disorder in her early twenties, but she was not properly diagnosed until the age of fifty. Jessie and her three siblings, including actress Glenn Close, spent many years in the Moral Re-Armament cult. Jessie passed her childhood in New York, Switzerland, Connecticut, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), and finally Los Angeles, where her life quickly became unmanageable. She was just fifteen years old.
Jessie's emerging mental illness led her into a life of addictions, five failed marriages, and to the brink of suicide. She fought to raise her children despite her ever worsening mental conditions and under the strain of damaged romantic relationships. Her sister Glenn and certain members of their family tried to be supportive throughout the ups and downs, and Glenn's vignettes in Resilience provide an alternate perspective on Jessie's life as it began to spiral out of control. Jessie was devastated to discover that mental illness was passed on to her son Calen, but getting him help at long last helped Jessie to heal as well. Eleven years later, Jessie is a productive member of society and a supportive daughter, mother, sister, and grandmother.
In Resilience, Jessie dives into the dark and dangerous shadows of mental illness without shying away from its horror and turmoil.
In 2017, Jeannie's life came to a crashing halt when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor. As the mother of 5 kids -- 6 if you include her husband -- sat in the neurosurgery department in star-covered sweats too whimsical for the seriousness of the situation, all she could think was "Am I going to die?"
Thankfully, Jeannie and her family were able to survive their time of crisis, and now she is sharing her deeply personal journey through this miraculous story: the challenging conversations she had with her children; how she came to terms with feeling powerless and ferociously crabby while bedridden and unable to eat for a month; and how she ultimately learned, re-learned and re re-learned to be more present in life.
With sincerity and hilarity, Jeannie invites you into her heart (and brain) during this trying time, emphasizing the importance of family, faith and humor as keys to her recovery and leading a more fulfilling life.
Eleanor Roosevelt: In Her Words
Edited by Nancy Woloch
This illustrated, first of its kind collection of excerpts from Eleanor Roosevelt's newspaper columns, radio talks, speeches, and correspondence speaks directly to the challenges we face today.
Acclaimed for her roles in politics and diplomacy, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt was also a prolific author, journalist, lecturer, broadcaster, educator, and public personality.
Using excerpts from her books, columns, articles, press conferences, speeches, radio talks, and correspondence, Eleanor Roosevelt: In Her Words tracks her contributions from the 1920s, when she entered journalism and public life; through the White House years, when she campaigned for racial justice, the labor movement, and "the forgotten woman;" to the postwar era, when she served at the United Nations and shaped the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Selections touch on Roosevelt's early entries in women's magazines ("Ten Rules for Success in Marriage"), her insights on women in politics ("Women Must Learn to Play the Game As Men Do"), her commentary on World War II ("What We Are Fighting For"), her work for civil rights ("The Four Equalities"), her clash with Soviet delegates at the UN ("These Same Old Stale Charges"), and her advice literature ("If You Ask Me"). Surprises include her unique preparation for leadership, the skill with which she defied critics and grasped authority, her competitive stance as a professional, and the force of her political messages to modern readers.
Scorning the "America First" mindset, Eleanor Roosevelt underlined the interdependence of people and of nations. Eleanor Roosevelt: In Her Words illuminates her achievement as a champion of civil rights, human rights, and democratic ideals.
Raised by unconventional Irish Catholics who knew "how to drink, how to dance, how to talk, and how to stir up the devil," Kate Mulgrew grew up with poetry and drama in her bones. But in her mother, a would-be artist burdened by the endless arrival of new babies, young Kate saw the consequences of a dream deferred.
Determined to pursue her own no matter the cost, at 18 she left her small Midwestern town for New York, where, studying with the legendary Stella Adler, she learned the lesson that would define her as an actress: "Use it," Adler told her. Whatever disappointment, pain, or anger life throws in your path, channel it into the work.
It was a lesson she would need. At twenty-two, just as her career was taking off, she became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter. Having already signed the adoption papers, she was allowed only a fleeting glimpse of her child. As her star continued to rise, her life became increasingly demanding and fulfilling, a whirlwind of passionate love affairs, life-saving friendships, and bone-crunching work. Through it all, Mulgrew remained haunted by the loss of her daughter, until, two decades later, she found the courage to face the past and step into the most challenging role of her life, both on and off screen.
We know Kate Mulgrew for the strong women she's played -- Captain Janeway on Star Trek ; the tough-as-nails "Red" on Orange is the New Black. Now, we meet the most inspiring and memorable character of all: herself. By turns irreverent and soulful, laugh-out-loud funny and heart-piercingly sad, Born with Teeth is the breathtaking memoir of a woman who dares to live life to the fullest, on her own terms.
New Plymouth, Idaho. Population 1536. It doesn't look like much from Rural Route 30, but it was here, in this quiet town, that Jessi Roberts created something unexpected: the kind of life she always wanted and a multi-million dollar, for rural/by rural business empire.
The business is Cheekys, which started with 6 purses and a tanning bed. Now in her book, Jessi shows how she grew one small store hurdle-by-hurdle into a national clothing and accessories brand with a 1.5 million strong community. Best of all, she did it by standing tall for her values: always be kind, lift up the next gal, and treat employees and customers like family.
A personal story filled with life and business tips, BACKROADS BOSS LADY is about embracing your passion even when others don't see value in it--or you--and about putting food on the table and believing in yourself. Brimming with authenticity, it gives the warts-and-all, love-it-despite-it skinny on rural life, community, and contentment without compromise.
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