A feminist book that's very important to me is Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde. This book of essays written in 1984 tackles intersectionality in a way that's personal and provocative. Lorde speaks on a wide range of issues including sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia and class. What stood out to me most were the stories she told of being an outcast in the feminist world- as a black lesbian from an immigrant family, she witnessed time and time again how the women with most privilege would step on others in their climb towards the top. In her own words:
"Some problems we share, some we do not. You fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you; we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot in the street, and you will turn your backs upon the reasons they are dying".
To me, Audre Lorde is essential reading for anyone wanting to delve into feminist thought. I would particularly recommend "Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism", and "Poetry is Not a Luxury" Her prose is accessible and in it you will recognise many modern debates. We owe a lot to Audre Lorde- so challenge yourself and pick up Sister Outsider!
If fiction is more your style, consider Deathless by Catherynne Valente. Following the story of Marya Morevna, it's Russian folklore meets post-war USSR meets coming of age novel- what more could you want? It's filled to the brim with beautiful metaphors, musings on death and war, and of course, a love story between a girl and the Prince of Death- perfect for the morbid teeanager (or adult) in your life.
Sport of Kings is a fantastic example of a book not overtly viewed as a feminist work still exploring deeply feminist themes. Sport of Kings is an epic piece of literature which follows the story of The Forges - one of the founding families of the Southern American state of Kentucky. I would recommend people go into this book with as little prior knowledge as possible, just know that it is so much more than merely a book about horse racing in the South.

It is an epic piece of modern American literature which asks the question of whether we can ever escape our past in the hope of building a better tomorrow. It directly addresses race and gender and the scars that are inflicted by hundreds if not often thousands of years of a brutal unequal history. Will our future forever be defined by the heinous acts of the past? Can we ever truly escape the blood of our ancestors?

I'll be honest, this book is not an easy read, but persevering and working through the dense language and the difficult imagery (I broke down crying in an airport during one of the final scenes) is well worth it. The ideas, characters and the language will stay with you long after the novel ends.

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