Feministing Reads: What We’re Reading

Here’s what our team is reading this month:

Ava: I’m reading Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, a mid-century take on nineteenth century gothic horror, and queer in both centuries’ sense of the word.

Mahroh: My sister just gifted me Remi Kanazi’s Before the Next Bomb Drops, in which he details the experience of Palestinians living under occupation and in exile and how empire impacts folks of color domestically and abroad. This book of poetry is particularly special for me  — I first met Remi when organizing a performance by him at my alma mater, only to have Zionist donors force our university to cancel it because of his ethnicity. Then and now, I am so incredibly in awe of the work Remi and others are doing despite the pervasive targeting and censorship of Palestinian (and Palestinian supporting) students/activists/professors across the country.

Courtney: I just started Ghettoside by Jill Levoy, which takes a deep dive into the relationship between violence, the LAPD, and the high murder rates, of black men specifically, in the the early nineties in South Central L.A. Right now I have a lot of questions — I’m just about a quarter of the way through, and curious to follow the arch of her analysis. Is there a feminist lens? How does Levoy’s perspective, as a white woman, contribute to the analysis? What do anti-police activists/scholars think about this work?

Abigail: I recently finished Elizabeth Alexander’s The Light of the World and now I’m reading Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward. Both are memoirs, both influenced by the sharpness and haze of death. I finished the first within a day. Beautiful and crushing, it’s an homage to the relationship between Alexander and her late husband and to her sons. Men We Reaped has held my attention in a similar fashion. In it, Ward chronicles the deaths of five black boys/men in her life within five years, most before the age of 30, in her hometown of DeLisle, Mississippi. It offers the histories that culminated in their deaths through questions of race, opportunity, and systemic violence.

Sam: My May has been taken over by final-paper writing, so I’ve been wading through Gwendolyn Brooks scholarship all week. Her poetry is incredible and everyone should read it, but anyone interested in her career or midcentury radicalism more generally should check out Mary Helen Washington’s The Other Blacklist, which is a thorough and readable (surprisingly so, as far as academic criticism goes) account of the African American literary and cultural left in the 1950s.  Her chapter on Brooks invaluably excavates the poet’s roots in Chicago’s interracial activist circles, and it’s sent me down all kinds of archival rabbit holes.

Alexandra: I’m reading Joseph Fischel’s Sex and Harm in the Age of Consent, which is a feminist critique of the consent standard. So far I’m really blown away by how empathetic his critique is: it’s sadly rare to find academic criticism of anti-violence frameworks that are, themselves, firmly committed to ending that same violence.

Dana: Alexandra, I’m so excited to read that. I just finished Sedgwick’s A Dialogue on Love, in which she documents her conversations with her psychoanalyst on sex, death, depression (“Meant no violence / to others’ lives. Simply this. / The wish not to be” !) — and love. “What’s rarest,” she writes of a friend, “is how he… make[s] a world, a kind of warm, musical hilarious private culture to share with the people he loves.” Love: the making of a world.

Washington, DC

Alexandra Brodsky was a senior editor at During her four years at the site, she wrote about gender violence, reproductive justice, and education equity and ran the site's book review column. She is now a Skadden Fellow at the National Women's Law Center and also serves as the Board Chair of Know Your IX, a national student-led movement to end gender violence, which she co-founded and previously co-directed. Alexandra has written for publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Nation, and she is the co-editor of The Feminist Utopia Project: 57 Visions of a Wildly Better Future. She has spoken about violence against women and reproductive justice at campuses across the country and on MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, ESPN, and NPR.

Alexandra Brodsky was a senior editor at

Read more about Alexandra

Join the Conversation