Feministing Reads: What We’re Reading

Autumn has arrived. Here’s what we — and some of our readers — are reading:


Cassie: Miranda July’s The First Bad Man, her first novel. It came out last year but is the most exciting novel I’ve read in a few years (to be fair I read maybe four new novels a year). July is a dream artist in that she unapologetically does exactly what she wants and with relentless vulnerability and endless inventiveness. The novel speaks to that talent — it’s heartbreaking, precise, bizarre, and incredibly funny.

imageDana: I just started law(l) school, so most of what I’m reading these days are 19th century contracts cases and disheartening SCOTUS opinions. My escape has been Roderick Ferguson’s The Reorder of Things: the University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference. In it, Ferguson examines how the academy over the last forty years has recognized, absorbed, and disciplined difference in the service of maintaining existing hierarchies of power — and how the state and capital have taken up these very strategies for managing disruption and used them to co-opt movement organizing ever since. It’s got me thinking about the perils of contemporary campus activist struggles that call for apology and recognition, often in the absence of a demand for redistributive change.

dear-jennySenti: My partner recently gave me a copy of Jenny Zhang’s first poetry collection, Dear Jenny, We Are All Find. Her poetry is so tender and true and at times just completely laugh out loud funny, touching on themes of loneliness, sexuality, her Chinese heritage, and what it means to be vulnerable.

9780735212176Abigail: I was recently alternating between Exit West (out from Riverhead in March 2017) and Just Mercy. Exit West is a gorgeous novel by Mohsin Hamid about two lovers who escape from their conflict-ridden birthplace and try to find their way in the places where they find themselves, places where they — by virtue of their refugee status — are not always wanted. Just Mercy follows a true story of injustice told by Bryan Stevenson, co-founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, highlighting the racial disparities present in the criminal ‘justice’ system and for people condemned to death row. Both feel incredibly timely. They seem different but also of a piece, as they both talk about the folks people would rather forget — refugees in one and prisoners in the other.

All-Season-StephanieSam: I’m in the middle of Stephen Burt’s recent chapbook All-Season Stephanie, a cycle of poems imagining what the author’s childhood might have been like if Burt had grown up as a girl. The poems are gorgeous, clever, and get adolescence exactly right. Eowyn Evans’s illustrations complement them beautifully.

9780374278625Barbara: I just finished Drown by Junot Diaz. While he’s more well-known for Pulitzer Prize winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Drown is an amazing collection of short stories on masculinity, immigration, and the unfulfilled promises of the American Dream.

Ava: I’m reading Rachel Cusk’s Transit. It’s breezy, digressive, and a little nostalgic—like a fall novel should be.

Meghna: I’m currently reading Abby Wambach’s biography, Forward: A Memoir. It’s amazing enough to read as a soccer fan and a feminist, but it’s a book for everyone, because Abby’s strength and humanity really shines through the narrative, and she talks fiercely and freely about struggling with alcohol, about her queerness, about her life and failures and successes. Expect a review here very soon! 

And from our extended fam:

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New Haven, CT

Dana Bolger is a Senior Editor at Feministing and the co-founder of Know Your IX, the national youth-led organization working to end gender violence in schools. She's testified before Congress on Title IX policy and legislative reform, and her writing has appeared in a number of outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. She's also a student at Yale Law School, and you can find her on Twitter at @danabolger.

Dana Bolger is a Senior Editor at Feministing and a student at Yale Law School.

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