Fall 2019 Book Preview: What all the Badass Women Will Be Reading

Football, falling leaves, pumpkin spice latte and BOOKS! Check out these books - all for, by and about badass women - scheduled to be released this fall!

 
 

"Nothing in life is that complicated. You can do whatever you set your mind to if you just roll up your sleeves, get in there, and do it. Everything is figureoutable." Whether you want to leave a dead end job, break an addiction, learn to dance, heal a relationship, grow a business, master your money, travel the globe, or solve world hunger, Everything Is Figureoutable will train your brain to think more creatively and positively--especially in the face of setbacks.

 
 

When Sex and the City premiered, many were hesitant to identify as the Miranda of their social circle—after all, sarcasm, workaholism, and dubious fashion choices are rarely considered aspirational. However, in the two-plus decades since her television debut, our culture has finally caught up with this forward-thinking icon and all she represents. The truth is, Miranda Hobbes is the feminist hero that we deserve— we were all just too busy obsessing over Carrie’s corset tops to notice it at first.
 
WE SHOULD ALL BE MIRANDAS is a celebration of a certain redheaded lawyer and the legions of fans who relate to her pragmatic, no-bullshit approach to work, love, and sex. Written by two self-proclaimed Mirandas, this humorous manifesto distills Ms. Hobbes’ core principles into a strategic guide for navigating life’s inevitable ups and downs.

 
 

Harriet Tubman is best known as one of the most famous conductors on the Underground Railroad. As a leading abolitionist, her bravery and selflessness has inspired generations in the continuing struggle for civil rights. Now, National Book Award nominee Erica Armstrong Dunbar presents a fresh take on this American icon blending traditional biography, illustrations, photos, and engaging sidebars that illuminate the life of Tubman as never before.

Filled with rare outtakes of commentary, an expansive timeline of Tubman’s life, photos (both new and those in public domain), commissioned illustrations, and sections including “Harriet By the Numbers” (number of times she went back down south, approximately how many people she rescued, the bounty on her head) and “Harriet’s Homies” (those who supported her over the years), She Came to Slay is a stunning and powerful mix of pop culture and scholarship and proves that Harriet Tubman is well deserving of her permanent place in our nation’s history.

 
 

Who gets to shape the narrative of our times? The current moment is a battle royale over that foundational power, one in which women, people of color, non-straight people are telling other versions, and white people and men and particularly white men are trying to hang onto the old versions and their own centrality. In Whose Story Is This? Rebecca Solnit appraises what's emerging and why it matters and what the obstacles are.

 
 

Grounded in cutting-edge science but translated for people who speak emoji, Find Your F*ckyeah disrupts the warm and fuzzy "personal growth" fads made fashionable by mock gurus and self-proclaimed #selfcare experts. This bold guide combines humor, pop culture, and psychology to show us why the one-size-fits-all success formulas and trendy morning routines keep us caught in a cycle of boredom and stress, never fully sustaining our happiness. With hard science, guided experiments, and modern wisdom—from Beyoncé to Carl Jung—Alexis Rockley takes us step-by-step through the biological, cultural, and social factors that create our self-limiting beliefs, teaching us how to find joy where we are right now and to let our genuine self-expression guide us.

 
 

So many important questions, so much convincing, confusing, contradictory misinformation! In this age of click bait, pseudoscience, and celebrity-endorsed products, it’s easy to be overwhelmed—whether it’s websites, advice from well-meaning friends, uneducated partners, and even healthcare providers. So how do you separate facts from fiction? OB-GYN Jen Gunter, an expert on women’s health—and the internet’s most popular go-to doc—comes to the rescue with a book that debunks the myths and educates and empowers women. From reproductive health to the impact of antibiotics and probiotics, and the latest trends, including vaginal steaming, vaginal marijuana products, and jade eggs, Gunter takes us on a factual, fun-filled journey.

 
 

After November 8, 2016, first came the sadness; then came the rage, the activism, and the protests; and, finally, for thousands of women, the next step was to run for office—many of them for the first time. Journalist Caitlin Moscatello reported on this wave of female candidates for New York magazine’s The Cut, Glamour, and Elle. And in See Jane Win, she further documents this pivotal time in women’s history. Closely following four candidates throughout the entire process, from the decision to run through Election Day, See Jane Win takes readers inside their exciting, winning campaigns and the sometimes thrilling, sometimes brutal realities of running for office while female.

 
 

For many years, reporters had tried to get to the truth about Harvey Weinstein’s treatment of women. Rumors of wrongdoing had long circulated. But in 2017, when Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey began their investigation into the prominent Hollywood producer for the New York Times, his name was still synonymous with power. During months of confidential interviews with top actresses, former Weinstein employees, and other sources, many disturbing and long-buried allegations were unearthed, and a web of onerous secret payouts and nondisclosure agreements was revealed. These shadowy settlements had long been used to hide sexual harassment and abuse, but with a breakthrough reporting technique Kantor and Twohey helped to expose it.

Nothing could have prepared Kantor and Twohey for what followed the publication of their initial Weinstein story on October 5, 2017. Within days, a veritable Pandora’s box of sexual harassment and abuse was opened. Women all over the world came forward with their own traumatic stories. Over the next twelve months, hundreds of men from every walk of life and industry were outed following allegations of wrongdoing. But did too much change—or not enough?  In the tradition of great investigative journalism, She Said tells a thrilling story about the power of truth, with shocking new information from hidden sources. Kantor and Twohey describe not only the consequences of their reporting for the #MeToo movement, but the inspiring and affecting journeys of the women who spoke up—for the sake of other women, for future generations, and for themselves.

 
 

From the moment powerful men started falling to the #MeToo movement, the lamentations began: this is feminism gone too far, this is injustice, this is a witch hunt. In The Witches Are Coming, firebrand author of the New York Times bestselling memoir and now critically acclaimed Hulu TV series Shrill, Lindy West, turns that refrain on its head. You think this is a witch hunt? Fine. You've got one.

In a laugh-out-loud, incisive cultural critique, West extolls the world-changing magic of truth, urging readers to reckon with dark lies in the heart of the American mythos, and unpacking the complicated, and sometimes tragic, politics of not being a white man in the 21st century. She tracks the misogyny and propaganda hidden (or not so hidden) in the media she and her peers devoured growing up, a buffet of distortions, delusions, prejudice, and outright bullsh*t that has allowed white male mediocrity to maintain a death grip on American culture and politics--and that delivered us to this precarious, disorienting moment in history.

 

 
 

“You're not getting older, you're getting better," or so promised the famous 1970's ad--for women's hair dye. Americans have always had a complicated relationship with aging: embrace it, deny it, defer it--and women have been on the front lines of the battle, willingly or not.

In her lively social history of American women and aging, acclaimed New York Times columnist Gail Collins illustrates the ways in which age is an arbitrary concept that has swung back and forth over the centuries. From Plymouth Rock (when a woman was considered marriageable if "civil and under fifty years of age"), to a few generations later, when they were quietly retired to elderdom once they had passed the optimum age for reproduction, to recent decades when freedom from striving in the workplace and caretaking at home is often celebrated, to the first female nominee for president, American attitudes towards age have been a moving target. Gail Collins gives women reason to expect the best of their golden years.

 

 
 

Ali Wong’s heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters (the two she put to work while they were still in utero) cover everything they need to know in life, like the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession, and how she trapped their dad.

In her hit Netflix comedy special Baby Cobra, an eight-month pregnant Ali Wong resonated so strongly that she even became a popular Halloween costume. Wong told the world her remarkably unfiltered thoughts on marriage, sex, Asian culture, working women, and why you never see new mom comics on stage but you sure see plenty of new dads.

The sharp insights and humor are even more personal in this completely original collection. She shares the wisdom she’s learned from a life in comedy and reveals stories from her life off stage, including the brutal single life in New York, reconnecting with her roots in Vietnam, tales of being a wild child growing up in San Francisco, and parenting war stories. Though addressed to her daughters, Ali Wong’s letters are absurdly funny, surprisingly moving, and enlightening (and gross) for all.

 
 

When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her—freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over.

In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.

 
 

1932. After the Great War took both her beloved brother and her fiancé, Violet Speedwell has become a "surplus woman," one of a generation doomed to a life of spinsterhood after the war killed so many young men. Yet Violet cannot reconcile herself to a life spent caring for her grieving, embittered mother. After countless meals of boiled eggs and dry toast, she saves enough to move out of her mother's place and into the town of Winchester, home to one of England's grandest cathedrals. There, Violet is drawn into a society of broderers--women who embroider kneelers for the Cathedral, carrying on a centuries-long tradition of bringing comfort to worshippers.

Violet finds support and community in the group, fulfillment in the work they create, and even a growing friendship with the vivacious Gilda. But when forces threaten her new independence and another war appears on the horizon, Violet must fight to put down roots in a place where women aren't expected to grow. Told in Chevalier's glorious prose, A Single Thread is a timeless story of friendship, love, and a woman crafting her own life.

 
 

Two families from different social classes are joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the child that it produces. Moving forward and backward in time, with the power of poetry and the emotional richness of a narrative ten times its length, Jacqueline Woodson's extraordinary new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of this child.

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody's coming of age ceremony in her grandparents' Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the soundtrack of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody's mother, for her own ceremony-- a celebration that ultimately never took place.

Unfurling the history of Melody's parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they've paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives--even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

 

 
 

Juliet Milagros Palante is a self-proclaimed closeted Puerto Rican baby dyke from the Bronx. Only, she's not so closeted anymore. Not after coming out to her family the night before flying to Portland, Oregon, to intern with her favorite feminist writer--what's sure to be a life-changing experience. And when Juliet's coming out crashes and burns, she's not sure her mom will ever speak to her again.

But Juliet has a plan--sort of. Her internship with legendary author Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women's bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff, is sure to help her figure out this whole "Puerto Rican lesbian" thing. Except Harlowe's white. And not from the Bronx. And she definitely doesn't have all the answers . . .

In a summer bursting with queer brown dance parties, a sexy fling with a motorcycling librarian, and intense explorations of race and identity, Juliet learns what it means to come out--to the world, to her family, to herself.

 

 
 

In Akilah Hughes's world, family--and life--are often complicated, but always funny. Through intimate and hilarious essays, Akilah takes readers along on her journey from the small Kentucky town where she was born--and eventually became a spelling bee champ and 15-year-old high school graduate--to New York City, where she took careful steps to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer and performer. Like Tiffany Haddish's The Last Black Unicorn or Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? for the YA set, Akilah pens revealing and laugh-out-loud funny essays about her life, covering everything from her racist fifth grade teacher, her struggles with weight and acne, her failed attempts at joining the cheerleading team, how to literally get to New York (hint: for a girl on a budget, it may include multiple bus transfers) and exactly how to "make it" once you finally get there.

 

 
 

Meryl Streep is the most celebrated actress of our time. She's a chameleon who disappears fully into each character she plays. She never tackles the same role twice. Instead, she leverages her rarified platform to channel a range of dynamic, complicated women--Joanna Kramer, Karen Silkwood, Julia Child, Margaret Thatcher, Katharine Graham--rather than limit herself to marginal roles for which other actresses must settle: Supportive Wife. Supportive Mother. Supportive Yet Utterly Disposable Love Interest. Streep will have none of that.

Journalist and author Erin Carlson documents all of Streep's Oscars, accents, causes, memes, friendships, and feuds; also exploring the "off-brand" forays into action-adventure (The River Wild) and musicals (Mamma Mia!), and how Streep managed to sneak her feminism into each character. A captivating and inspiring portrait of legendary actress Meryl Streep and her work, Queen Meryl explores the fearless icon's trailblazing roles in film, her feminist activism, and the indelible mark she's left on pop culture.

 

 

 
 

It started with the Sh*t I Do List. Tired of being the "shefault" parent responsible for all aspects of her busy household, Eve Rodsky counted up all the unpaid, invisible work she was doing for her family -- and then sent that list to her husband, asking for things to change. His response was... underwhelming. Rodsky realized that simply identifying the issue of unequal labor on the home front wasn't enough: She needed a solution to this universal problem. Her sanity, identity, career, and marriage depended on it.

The result is Fair Play: a time- and anxiety-saving system that offers couples a completely new way to divvy up domestic responsibilities. Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently. With four easy-to-follow rules, 100 household tasks, and a figurative card game you play with your partner, Fair Play helps you prioritize what's important to your family and who should take the lead on every chore from laundry to homework to dinner.

 
 

In the winter of 1969, from big cities to small towns, young women across the country sent in applications to Yale University for the first time. The Ivy League institution dedicated to graduating "one thousand male leaders" each year had finally decided to open its doors to the nation's top female students. The landmark decision was a huge step forward for women's equality in education.

Or was it?

The experience the first undergraduate women found when they stepped onto Yale's imposing campus was not the same one their male peers enjoyed. Isolated from one another, singled out as oddities and sexual objects, and barred from many of the privileges an elite education was supposed to offer, many of the first girls found themselves immersed in an overwhelmingly male culture they were unprepared to face. Yale Needs Women is the story of how these young women fought against the backward-leaning traditions of a centuries-old institution and created the opportunities that would carry them into the future. Anne Gardiner Perkins's unflinching account of a group of young women striving for change is an inspiring story of strength, resilience, and courage that continues to resonate today.

 

 
 

That's what Nefertiti, a single African American woman, discovered when she decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system. Eager to finally join the motherhood ranks, Nefertiti was shocked when people started asking her why she wanted to adopt a "crack baby" or said that she would never be able to raise a Black son on her own. She realized that American society saw motherhood through a white lens, and that there would be no easy understanding or acceptance of the kind of family she hoped to build.

Motherhood So White is the story of Nefertiti's fight to create the family she always knew she was meant to have and the story of motherhood that all American families need now. In this unflinching account of her parenting journey, Nefertiti examines the history of adoption in the African American community, faces off against stereotypes of single, Black motherhood, and confronts the reality of raising children of color in racially charged, modern-day America.

Honest, vulnerable, and uplifting, Motherhood So White reveals what Nefertiti knew all along―that the only requirement for a successful family is one raised with love.

 
 

From Snow White to Moana, from Pinocchio to Frozen, the animated films of Walt Disney Studios have moved and entertained millions. But few fans know that behind these groundbreaking features was an incredibly influential group of women who fought for respect in an often ruthless male-dominated industry and who have slipped under the radar for decades.

In The Queens of Animation, bestselling author Nathalia Holt tells their dramatic stories for the first time, showing how these women infiltrated the boys' club of Disney's story and animation departments and used early technologies to create the rich artwork and unforgettable narratives that have become part of the American canon. As the influence of Walt Disney Studios grew---and while battling sexism, domestic abuse, and workplace intimidation---these women also fought to transform the way female characters are depicted to young audiences.

With gripping storytelling, and based on extensive interviews and exclusive access to archival and personal documents, The Queens of Animation reveals the vital contributions these women made to Disney's Golden Age and their continued impact on animated filmmaking, culminating in the record-shattering Frozen, Disney's first female-directed full-length feature film.

 
 

Debbie Harry is a musician, actor, activist, and the iconic face of New York City cool. As the frontwoman of Blondie, she and the band forged a new sound that brought together the worlds of rock, punk, disco, reggae and hip-hop to create some of the most beloved pop songs of all time. As a muse, she collaborated with some of the boldest artists of the past four decades. The scope of Debbie Harry’s impact on our culture has been matched only by her reticence to reveal her rich inner life—until now.

In an arresting mix of visceral, soulful storytelling and stunning visuals that includes never-before-seen photographs, bespoke illustrations and fan art installations, Face It upends the standard music memoir, instead revealing the cinematic story of a woman who made her own path, and set the standard for a generation of artists who followed in her footsteps—a memoir as dynamic as its subject.


 

 
 

Since the 1970s, an important new figure has appeared on the center stage of American evangelicalism―the celebrity preacher's wife. Although most evangelical traditions bar women from ordained ministry, many women have carved out unofficial positions of power in their husbands' spiritual empires or their own ministries. The biggest stars―such as Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, and Victoria Osteen―write bestselling books, grab high ratings on Christian television, and even preach.

Whether standing alone or next to their husbands, the leading women of megaministry play many parts: the preacher, the homemaker, the talent, the counselor, and the beauty. Boxed in by the high expectations of modern Christian womanhood, they follow and occasionally subvert the visible and invisible rules that govern the lives of evangelical women, earning handsome rewards or incurring harsh penalties. They must be pretty, but not immodest; exemplary, but not fake; vulnerable to sin, but not deviant. And black celebrity preachers' wives carry a special burden of respectability. But despite their influence and wealth, these women are denied the most important symbol of spiritual power―the pulpit.

The story of women who most often started off as somebody's wife and ended up as everyone's almost-pastor, The Preacher's Wife is a compelling account of women's search for spiritual authority in the age of celebrity.

 
 

Zadie Smith has established herself as one of the most iconic, critically respected, and popular writers of her generation. In her first short story collection, she combines her power of observation and her inimitable voice to mine the fraught and complex experience of life in the modern world. Interleaving eleven completely new and unpublished stories with some of her best-loved pieces from The New Yorker and elsewhere, Smith presents a dizzyingly rich and varied collection of fiction. Moving exhilaratingly across genres and perspectives, from the historic to the vividly current to the slyly dystopian, Grand Union is a sharply alert and prescient collection about time and place, identity and rebirth, the persistent legacies that haunt our present selves and the uncanny futures that rush up to meet us.


 
 

Turn “can I do this?” into “yes, I can!” Join the growing wave of women leaders with Represent, an energetic, interactive, and inspiring step-by-step guide showing how to run for the approximately 500,000 elected offices in the US. Written with humor and honesty by writer, comedian, actress, and activist June Diane Raphael and Kate Black, former chief of staff at EMILY’s list, Represent is structured around a 21-point document called “I’m Running for Office: The Checklist.” Doubling as a workbook, Represent covers it all, from the nuts and bolts of where to run, fundraising, and filing deadlines, to issues like balancing family and campaigning, managing social media and how running for office can work in your real life. With infographics, profiles of women politicians, and wisdom and advice from women in office, this is a must-own for any woman thinking of joining the pink wave.

 
 

From reproductive rights and the wage gap to #MeToo and #TimesUp—gender inequality permeates nearly every aspect of our culture. From birth and on through adulthood, the message that our sexist society sends to women and girls is clear: you’re not enough. You’re not valued enough to get paid the same salary as a man with the same job title. You’re not worthy enough or perfect enough to be taken seriously or respected. You’re not responsible enough to make decisions about your body or reproductive rights.

Most self-help books teach you how to transform your life from the inside out. But what can you do when your distress is caused by sexist institutionalized power structures, attitudes, and events that are outside of your control? This book will help you untangle the role that sexism and discrimination plays in your life, your mental health, and your overall sense of well-being. Most importantly, you’ll learn to reject negative messages and work toward creating lasting change through activism and community.

There’s a lot of work to do. This book will help you get started now.

 

 
 

Frankenstein was just the beginning: horror stories and other weird fiction wouldn't exist without the women who created it. From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary architects of speculative literature of all sorts. From Mary Shelley to VC Andrews, their own life stories are as intriguing as their fiction. Part biography, part reader's guide, the engaging write-ups and detailed reading lists will introduce you to more than a hundred authors and over two hundred of their mysterious and spooky novels, novellas, and stories.

 

For a full list of books, resources and gifts for badass women (including many of my favorites!) visit the Badass Women’s Book Club page.

 

Gina Warner