Emily’s Bookshelf

Emily Godbold presents us with her feminist picks.

The thing about editing a feminist magazine alongside studying an English degree is that without fail, I always seem to find myself writing about either gender or feminism in my assignments, and not much else. Macbeth? A tale of repressed masculinity and Lady Macbeth’s psychoanalytical mother-wife complex. The Canterbury Tales? A minefield of gender politics. I guess the lesson to be learned here is that the fascination surrounding women’s writing and feminist interpretation simply can’t be matched.

Luckily, for the sake of my grades, there are an abundance of optional units that cater to the only topic I seem capable of writing about. Now mid-way through my second year of an English/feminism degree, and having been introduced to many wonderful new texts written by women, I thought I’d share a small selection of my favourite reads of the year. Ranging from 1847 to 2016, poetry to extended essay, dystopian fiction to queer family-making memoir, I present to you my feminist bookshelf.

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (1985)

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath (1963)

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”

The Power, Naomi Alderman (2016)

“It doesn’t matter that she shouldn’t, that she never would. What matters is that she could, if she wanted. The power to hurt is a kind of wealth.”

White Teeth, Zadie Smith (2000)

“Every moment happens twice: inside and outside, and they are two different histories.”

Ariel, Sylvia Plath (1965)

“If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. / You leave the same impression / Of something beautiful, but annihilating.”

Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)

“Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.”

The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson (2015)

“The moment of queer pride is a refusal to be shamed by witnessing the other as being ashamed of you.”

Emily's Bookshelf

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë (1847)

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

The Awakening, Kate Chopin (1899)

“She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”

The Color Purple, Alice Walker (1982)

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf (1929)

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou (1969)

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”



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