BitchReads: 15 Books Feminists Should Read In March

March makes me pine for spring. There are still cold nights, and the possibility for snow, but it’s clear that warmer weather is on the horizon. March is also a great time to start piling books to read throughout the spring and the summer. This BitchReads list is designed to get your “must-read” list ready for spring—and it’s full of nonfiction, memoirs, and even a poetry collection to bide your time until you can ditch your coat.

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1. The Rebounders: A Division I Basketball Journey by Amanda Ottaway

The Rebounders by Amanda Ottaway

University of Nebraska Press
Release Date: March 1, 2018
Price: $29.95

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Recently, an FBI investigation uncovered that at least 25 players in a number of Division I men’s basketball programs violated NCAA rules by accepting cash advances in exchange for agreeing to attend these schools. The renewed spotlight on the NCAA’s exploitation of collegiate athletes provides fertile ground for Amanda Ottaway’s memoir, The Rebounders: A Division I Basketball Journey. Ottaway was among the 80 percent of college athletes who are never seen on TV, but her story is valuable because she’s able to use her personal experiences at Davidson College in North Carolina to explore how female athletes navigate collegiate sports from eating disorders to injuries to dating.

2. Where No Black Woman Has Gone Before: Subversive Portrayals in Speculative Film and TV by Diana Adesola Mafe

Where No Black Woman Has Gone Before: Subversive Portrayals in Speculative Film and TV by Diana Adesola Mafe

University of Texas Press
Release Date: March 1, 2018
Price: $35.50

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In 1966, Nichelle Nichols broke new ground when she joined Star Trek as Lieutenant Uhura. Since then, representations of Black women in onscreen speculative fiction have varied from not being present at all to being misrepresented to being included, but without consideration for intersectionality. In Where No Black Woman Has Gone Before, English professor Diana Adesola Mafe mines TV shows and movies, including 28 Days Later, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and AVP: Alien vs. Predator to explore how Black female characters have been able to push the boundaries of race, gender, and class through sci-fi.

3. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Price: $18.99

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Children of Blood and Bone is the fantasy we’ve been waiting for. Fox 2000 has already optioned the epic trilogy for screen—and that’s for good reason. In the first book, debut author Tomi Adeyemi introduces us to Zélie Adebola, a protagonist who’s navigating a world that’s suddenly devoid of magic thanks to a brutal king. After she loses her mother and her hope, Adebola embarks on a remarkable journey to restore magic, but will encounter obstacles that may derail her quest. We are ready for this adventure.

 

4. Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe

Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe

Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Price: $26.00

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Harley McKenna is the only daughter of Duke McKenna, a meth kingpin, gunrunner, and stone-cold killer who evokes fear in their rural town. Since she turned 16, Harley has been working for her father and being groomed to take over the family business, though that’s never been her goal. She just wants to survive, and a turf war between her father and the Springfields, a rival family who are directly responsible for her mother’s death, is threatening her ability to escape North County alive. While Harley loves her father, she decides to betray him in order to save herself. Barbed Wire Heart is a gripping read that illuminates the importance of feminist self-preservation.

5. Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery

Doing Harm by Maya Dusenbery

HarperOne
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Price: $27.99

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Doctors are killing women because sexism is embedded in the fabric of medicine. After being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, Maya Dusenbery, editorial director of Feministing, realized how little her doctors understood autoimmune disorders. As she began digging into the issue, Dusenbery realized that the medical industry has grossly mistreated women for centuries, leading to misdiagnosis, not adequately managing their pain, and an overall bias that prevents them from getting proper treatment. Through interviews with patients, doctors, and experts as well as a deep cultural analysis, Dusenbery presents a horrifying picture of what it means to be a woman who’s dismissed by her doctors.

6. Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls by Elizabeth Renzetti

Shrewed by Elizabeth Renzetti

House of Anansi Press
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Price: $17.95

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In this collection of insightful essays, veteran journalist Elizabeth Renzetti explores the impasse that the feminist movement is approaching. Throughout the 2016 election, Renzetti—like many other women journalists—found that sexism was intertwined in the coverage of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. After Clinton lost, Renzetti wrote a column about the difficulty of discussing the election with her daughter, and then decided that Shrewed was the next book she needed to write. By exploring a number of issues, including the wealth gap as well as the lack of women in politics, alongside her own personal journey as a feminist, Renzetti offers a compelling perspective on how feminism can continue evolving without solely focusing on personal empowerment.

7. Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride

Tomorrow Will Be Different by Sarah McBride

Crown Archetype
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Price: $26.00

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In 2016, Sarah McBride became the first trans person to speak at a political convention when she delivered a primetime speech at the Democratic National Convention. She’s now the press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign. But long before she was a prominent trans activist, McBride was roaming American University as the student body president where she decided to announce that she was transgender. From the beginning, McBride has been breaking barriers in politics, and in her memoir, with a forward from Joe Biden, she steps into the fullness of who she is. Tomorrow Will Be Different is absolutely phenomenal.

8. Not My White Savior: A Memoir In Poems by Julayne Lee

Not My White Savior by Julayne Lee

Rarebird Lit
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Price: $14.95

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Julayne Lee has a familiar story for many transracial adoptees: She was born in South Korea, and then adopted by a white Christian family living in Minnesota. Her adoptive parents championed the idea that they “rescued” her to provide her with a “better” life, but as Lee gets older, she begins questioning what exactly that means in the context of culture and race. In Not My White Savior, Lee uses poetry to construct a brilliant memoir about how she’s embarked on an unlearning journey so she can better understand what a “better” life meant for her—and what she was forced to sacrifice to attain it.

9. Things We Haven’t Said: Sexual Violence Survivors Speak Out edited by Erin Moulton

Things We Haven't Said edited by Erin Moulton

Zest Books
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Price: $16.99

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Things We Haven’t Said is an incredibly heavy read. That’s purposeful. Sexual violence, particularly when it’s discussed through the lens of survivors, isn’t meant to be something that’s easy to discard. Through poems, letters, interviews, essays, and other creative mediums, the anthology confronts a number of aspects that silence sexual violence survivors, including stigma, not being believed by those in positions of authority, and backlogs of rape kits. Things We Haven’t Said should be given to all college students in orientation classes because it so beautifully outlines the impact of sexual violence.

10. The Red Word by Sarah Henstra

The Red Word by Sarah Henstra

Grove Press, Black Cat
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Price: $16.00

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The Red Word is a timely and arresting account of the poison that fraternities inject into college campuses. In order to achieve this, author Sarah Henstra creates caricatures of radical collegiate feminists and members of a fraternity who are in conflict around making college campuses safer. The novel is purposefully set in the mid-’90s, a time when feminism was heavily influencing discourse around college campuses, and follows the radical women of Raghurst as they decide to roofie members of the Gamma Beta Chi fraternity. That decision has an unexpected consequence that leads to a bigger conversation. While The Red Word is set almost 30 years in the past, it’s surprisingly resonant.

11. Sisters in the Life: A History of Out African American Lesbian Media-Making edited by Yvonne Welbon and Alexandra Juhasz

Sisters In the Life edited by Yvonne Welbon and Alexandra Juhasz

Duke University Press Books
Release Date: March 16, 2018
Price: $26.95

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African American lesbian filmmakers have been integral to cinema, but so often, their work is overlooked and underappreciated. Sisters in the Life is an act of reclamation, a means of shining a light on the critical work that these women have done with little recognition or fanfare. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Dr. Yvonne Welbon, Jennifer DeVere Brody, and an array of different contributors offer interviews, essays, and an overall complete picture of the history and the future of African American lesbian filmmakers. For those who are invested in the history of representation, Sisters in the Life is worth adding to your bookshelf. (Full disclosure: Dr. Yvonne Welbon was one of my college mentors.)

12. Just the Funny Parts: … And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boys’ Club by Nell Scovell

Just the Funny Parts by Nell Scovell

Dey Street Books
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Price: $27.99

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When Nell Scovell began working at Late Night with David Letterman in 1990, Scovell was forced to navigate a toxic and male-centric workplace that eventually resulted in a sex scandal. Long before multiple men in Hollywood and journalism, including Matt Lauer, were exposed for sleeping with and harassing women who reported to them, Scovell wrote a viral story for Vanity Fair about the toxic nature of late night TV. Now, in Just the Funny Parts, Scovell traces her career from being a nerdy kid in New England to writing words spoken by presidents and comedic legends. In the process, Scovell illuminates the barriers of entry for women who want to work behind-the-scenes.

13. In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers by Bernice Yeung

In a Day's Work by Bernice Yeung

The New Press
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Price: $25.99

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#MeToo’s creator Tarana Burke has been clear that the movement must center the girls and women who aren’t prominent, wealthy, or famous. In her new investigative book, In a Day’s Work, award-winning journalist Bernice Yeung carries out Burke’s mission by focusing on the rampant abuse that immigrant women face in the workplace. She offers heartbreaking accounts about how their low wages and, in some cases, undocumented status, makes them more vulnerable to abuse. Based on her years of reporting with the Center for Investigative Reporting, Yeung shows readers what’s at stake if we solely focus on wealthy celebrity women.

14. Stray City by Chelsey Johnson

Stray City by Chelsey Johnson

Custom House
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Price: $25.99

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When 23-year-old artist Andrea Morales moves from her Midwestern Catholic town to Portland, Oregon, she joins a thriving community of lesbians, and begins moving past the shame that her religion bestowed on her sexuality. After a drunken night, Morales’s life shifts dramatically again when she discovers that she’s pregnant. She decides to raise her daughter, Lucia, alone, in hopes that she’ll never ask about the father she doesn’t know. When the inevitable questions come, Morales must revisit the decisions she’s made in hopes of getting her daughter the answers that she needs. Stray City is an ambitious debut novel that examines how our chosen families shift as our needs evolve.

15. The Devil and the Webster by Jean Hanff Korelitz

The Devil and the Webster by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Price: $27.00

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In The Devil and the Webster, Jean Hanff Korelitz, who wrote Admission, another absurd novel (turned movie) about the politics guiding college campuses, explores how prestigious liberal arts Webster College is grappling with “identity politics.” When Jewish gender studies professor Naomi Roth takes the reigns of Webster, she’s immediately embroiled in turmoil when beloved Black professor Nicholas Gall is denied tenure. While Roth prides herself on speaking truth to power, she stumbles to reconcile her radicalism with the very system that she’s now leading. The Devil and the Webster is a fantastic finger-on-the-pulse-of-culture read.

Evette Dionne
by Evette Dionne
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Evette Dionne is Bitch Media’s editor-in-chief. She’s all about Beyoncé, Black women, and dope TV shows and books. You can follow her on Twitter.

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