It’s already getting to that point in the semester where we feel bogged down with academic articles, essay writing, and group projects. With all this work, it’s easy to forget the joys of pleasure reading, and we might opt instead for zoning-out with Netflix. I know I do!
But recently, these books have sparked my interest instead, and I’ve found myself returning to them in any spare moment. They all include empowering female characters in completely immersive worlds, and give me both a fresh perspective and a break from my day. If you enjoy reading through a feminist lens and are looking for a book to give you a much needed break from studying, these are for you!
We Were Witches by Ariel Gore
Ariel has a lot on her plate: She’s a young, single mother trying to finish school, while also pushing back against the stereotypes of what it means to be a mother and a writer. With an ever-present cloud of debt looming, it seems like a lot right? But uncanny things happen around Ariel, and she starts to recognize her own personal magic. With a voice both honest and lyrical, We Were Witches is the perfect autumn read, a mix of mysticism and feminism.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Throughout her college years, Greer has no idea what she wants to do with her life, but she knows it has to have something to do with writing. Maybe that sounds a little familiar? I know it did for me. When Greer meets Faith Frank, a feminist icon, she’s catapulted into a career she never expected, one that takes her far away from the life she’d envisioned. This one’s a longer read, but the relatable characters and multiple perspectives on today’s ideas of feminism are well worth it.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
You’ve probably heard of the TV show, but have you read the book? Margaret Atwood is a master storyteller, and Offred’s story is sure to bring you out of your own reality and into the bizarre dystopian world of Gilead. Offred struggles to preserve her identity and reclaim her freedom from this new unsettling social order, where many women are forced to act as surrogates.
With the pressure of midterms bearing down, it can often be hard to make or justify time for pleasure reading. But when you do finally get to take a break, try reconnecting with your love of reading. A small escape from the drag of academic reading and into the world of a novel can be completely refreshing. I hope you will find any one of these stories as influential as I have!