Reads to celebrate women’s history

March marks the start of Women’s History Month, commemorating the important roles that women have played, often unnoticed, throughout history. To celebrate, The Eagle has compiled a list of books that explore underrepresented parts of women’s stories.

Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston

One of the most famous female-authored books from the Harlem Renaissance, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” follows Janie Crawford in Florida throughout the 1930s as she attempts to find herself. The novel explores what it means to be a wife, the role that women play in Black communities and, most importantly, what it means to be liberated. 

Despite landing on numerous book bans throughout the century since its publishing, Hurston’s words have endured. It’s hard to overstate this novel’s importance in the literary canon — as Hurston and her work has been the basis for numerous courses in African American Studies and Women’s Studies. 

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood” by Marjane Satrapi

One of the most powerful graphic novels of all time, “Persepolis” is a memoir that traces author Marjane Satrapi’s life growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution to her immigration to Austria. 

Not only does Satrapi create a beautiful coming-of-age story, she also teaches the story of the Islamic Revolution from the perspective of someone whose whole world was shaped by it. Satrapi delicately balances her personal story, politics and history all in one beautiful literary package. The book was also adapted into a 2007 film.

Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus

You’ve likely heard about the Apple TV show by the same name, and the source material, which was Barnes & Noble’s 2022 book of the year, lives up to the hype. “Lessons in Chemistry” tells the story of Elizabeth Zott, a chemist in the 1960s who finds herself not in a lab, but in a television studio. 

Zott manages to teach the chemistry of cooking and baking to housewives across the country, all while building a feminist movement. CHEM-150 takers, this one’s for you. 

STEM and feminism work together to create a compelling story and a lesson in the fights that women before us fought.

The Argonauts” by Maggie Nelson

“The Argonauts” is a book that will go down in queer storytelling history. The memoir tells the story of Maggie Nelson and her relationship with genderqueer artist Harry Dodge, as well as her relationship with pregnancy.

Nelson weaves her lived experiences with queer theory from writers such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, making this book not only an emotional experience, but an educational one as well.

Whether it’s delving into a memoir, a graphic novel or a lengthy work of fiction, there’s no end to the great literature telling women’s stories. Pick up a copy of any of these books — or more — at a local female-owned bookstore, such as East City Bookshop in Eastern Market or The Lantern in Georgetown.

This article was edited by Marina Zaczkiewicz, Zoe Bell, Sara Winick and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Sydney Kornmeyer and Charlie Mennuti.

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