In the past, my essential summer reading often consisted of easy-read romances, the type where the girl always ends up with the guy after overcoming some minor hardship. These books were usually passed on to me by family or friends, and I read them because they were freely available to me and because they fit the typical narrative of what society tells you a summer read should be – easy, fun, ending happily ever after.
But I’ve been thinking lately that I don’t want to keep reading the same types of books just because they’re supposed to be perfect for the summer. In fact, I’m getting rather sick of all these romance books that have repetitive plots and never deal with serious issues. Of course, if you love those kinds of books that’s great and they’re certainly good when you want an easy read, but this year I’m excited about switching up my summer reading. How about a story where the girl decides she doesn’t need a guy to be happy? Or an epic tale of familial love rather than romantic love? They’re the kind of books I want, so my reading list this summer is all about female empowerment and below are the six books I’ll be reading next.
This reading list is a collection of bold books, all written by women who are sharing advice and telling stories that need to be heard. There is a selection of memoirs and fiction on a variety of topics, from honest conversations about our relationships with food to empowering life lessons from a female spy – and more. All published in 2020, these timely books are full of witty, inspiring advice and empowering feminist stories, so you’ll want to add them to your summer reading list now.
F*ck Your Diet: And Other Things My Thighs Tell Me – Chloé Hilliard
Already grabbing your attention with its amazing title, F*ck Your Diet is a collection of inspiring and personal essays from writer and comedian Chloé Hilliard. Her essays are presented as a social commentary on all the things that impact our relationship with food. Chloé looks at family, genetics, environment, economics and education to digest how all these factors play a role in how we decide to fuel or sabotage our bodies.
In this deeply honest and scathingly witty memoir, Chloé confronts her relationship with food and the outside influences that have affected it. Now, she hopes to help others do the same.
Lady Clementine – Marie Benedict
The life and times of Churchill – but not the one you’ve come to know. New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict introduces us to Clementine Churchill, one of the people who secretly held the most influence during World War I and World War II.
Lady Clementine is a fictionalised portrayal of a powerful woman who influenced one of history’s greatest figures, her husband Winston Churchill. A philanthropist and public figure in her own right, Clementine Churchill is an intelligent and capable woman who saved her husband’s life more than once. In this inspiring tale of ambition and love, Benedict adds new layers to a story we thought we knew.
Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Start Living – Glennon Doyle
Written by New York Times bestselling author, speaker and activist Glennon Doyle, Untamed is about exploration and finding yourself both spiritually and emotionally. Doyle discusses the joy and peace she felt when she finally stopped trying to please everyone around her and truly started living life.
Untamed is an essential guide for female empowerment and will help you to find yourself beneath the incessant cultural conditioning and societal pressure. This inspirational memoir emboldens you to wake up and embrace your inner untamed self.
Becoming Bulletproof: Life Lessons from a Secret Service Agent – Evy Poumpouras
What’s more satisfying than life lessons from a female spy? In this energising and informative read, Poumpouras will teach you to heighten your instincts, prepare for stressful situations and live a more fearless life. Along with extraordinary behind the scenes glimpses into the life of a Secret Service agent, which included protecting the President of the United States of America, this book explores the psychology of human behaviour and the strategies that are used by the world’s best agents.
Evy’s guide to becoming bulletproof is a compelling commentary on empowerment, mental strength and overcoming fear and abuse.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
In 1952, the sixteen-year-old Vignes sisters escape to New Orleans after witnessing a horrific lynching within their small Black community in Louisiana. A decade later, these identical twin sisters have abandoned their shared history and are living completely separate lives with their own daughters. Desiree remains in the same small town in Louisiana, while Stella is living in California, passing for white and married to a man who knows nothing about her past. Finally reunited when their daughters meet, Desiree and Stella are forced to confront what drove them apart.
The Vanishing Half promises to be a powerfully emotional read, addressing prevalent issues that permeate modern society. As Bennett takes a hard look at family, community and racial identity, her novel examines how influences from the past shape a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores the pressure people often feel to hide their true selves.
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given
There’s a new bible out now and its mission is all about female empowerment. The final pick for my summer reading list is this masterpiece by Florence Given. After years of being constantly pressured and suppressed by the male gaze, Florence learnt how to reclaim the autonomy she lost long ago. Florence shares her own story and discusses body image, toxic beauty standards and identity-building in a world still blatantly plagued by bigotry, misogyny and sexism.Billed as an accessible entry point into feminism, Women Don’t Owe You Pretty will show you where to start fighting back against the toxic and regularly enforced patriarchal structure of our society. And most importantly, it will help you to discover that you are the love of your own life.