New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

6 books to read this Women’s History Month

There are still a few days left to get riled up about the patriarchy.
Shiva Kansagara
(Shiva Kansagara for WSN)

A great way to round out this Women’s History Month is by picking up a good book and getting lost in a women-led story. Whether you are an experienced reader of feminist philosophy or someone who’s tired of reading about flat female characters written by men, this list of books should have you covered.


“The Complete Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi

An illustration of a frowning girl sitting in an abstract blue shape against a red background with other abstract shapes around her. The words “PERSEPOLIS” and “THE STORY OF A CHILDHOOD” are above her and “MARJANE SATRAPI” is under her.
(Illustration by Alisia Houghtaling)

“The Complete Persepolis” is an illustrated memoir set in Iran during the Islamic Revolution of the late 1970s. Marjane Satrapi literally draws a picture of what it was like to grow up in Tehran during the time period. It gives readers insight into the experience of being a woman in Iran and an Iranian immigrant in Europe, offering a valuable perspective of what it’s like to come of age during a time of extreme political unrest.


“The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros

An illustration of an orange house with the words “THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET” written across it, and a girl sitting in the window. The name “Sandra Cisneros” is written above the house.
(Illustration by Alisia Houghtaling)

“The House on Mango Street” is a collection of vignettes by Sandra Cisneros. It addresses issues of identity and belonging, while depicting a picture of the patriarchal world and daily prejudices faced by Hispanic women and girls. Throughout the novel, 12-year-old Mexican-American Esperanza finds strength in her identity — a strength she uses to uplift other girls in her Chicago neighborhood. The novel is a wonderful portrait of a girl’s adolescence and intersectional feminism.


“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston

An illustration of a tree. On the tree is a banner with the words “THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD” and “ZORA NEALE HURSTON.”
(Illustration by Mikaylah Du)

Anything by Zora Neale Hurston is a must read for feminists, but this is especially true of her most-popular work, “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Published during the Harlem Renaissance, the novel details the life of Janie Mae Crawford, a Black woman living in Florida. Throughout the book, readers are brought through Janie’s multiple marriages, following along in her quest for independence. By exploring relationships between men and women in the novel, Hurston fosters a discussion on power, self-fulfillment and gender roles.


“Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi

An illustration of two women facing opposite directions on an orange background. Above them is the word “HOMEGOING” and below them are the words “YAA GYASI.”
(Illustration by Mikaylah Du)

“Homegoing” is a decadeslong odyssey of family, sisterhood and memory. Gyasi’s novel switches narrative perspectives every chapter, following the lives of the descendants of two half-sisters — one whose family remains in Ghana, and the other who is sold into slavery in America. Gyasi positions women as the backbone of societies, telling a story spanning various time periods and geographical locations. She also raises questions about who gets to be remembered in history, discussing how we construct and perceive identities as a whole.


“The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts” by Maxine Hong Kingston

An illustration of a white crane bird’s neck and foot coming out of the right side of the cover, against a pink background. The words “Maxine Hong Kingston”, “THE WOMAN WARRIOR”, and “an introduction by Xiaolu Guo” are right next to the crane.
(Illustration by Alisia Houghtaling)

Maxine Hong Kingston’s “The Woman Warrior” is a collection of memories, serving as an investigation into Kingston’s own identity as a Chinese-American woman growing up in California. She pieces together her familial memories, cultural legends and current experiences in the United States, presenting an in-depth look at the pains, prejudices and triumphs that have formed her perception of herself. Through this mixture of her own autobiographical accounts and Chinese folklore, Kingston truly questions what it means to be a woman.


“Sexual Politics” by Kate Millett

An illustration of an orange circle with a cross coming out of it is under a red circle with an arrow coming out of it, both against a yellow background. The title “Sexual Politics” is above the shapes and “Kate Millett” is under.
(Illustration by Alisia Houghtaling)

If you have ever read Norman Mailer or Henry Miller or any of those other classic Western male authors and thought, “this is a pretty good book, but I feel like they lowkey hate women,” you’re not alone. The same thought is what drove Kate Millett to write this dissertation-turned-classic-novel. Millett argues for a radical shift in the role women play in both literature and society at large. She calls for sexual liberation, especially for those who are told their sexuality is unnatural, as well as a complete shift in the ideologies that lead to male dominance. These include the ways we view sexuality and power, how children are raised, and our very definition of what is normal. Once called “The Bible of Women’s Liberation” by the New York Times, this book is a must read this month.

Contact Camryn Loor at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Alisia Houghtaling
Alisia Houghtaling, Illustration Editor
Alisia Houghtaling is a first-year in Applied Psychology in Steinhardt and one of WSN's Illustration Editors. In her freetime, you can find Alisia drawing, painting, reading, eating pasta or autopilot walking around SOHO to window shop or stare into windows and say "I want to live there." You can find her on Instagram @_alisiart_ and send Italian restaurant recommendations or ridiculous real-estate listings in the city.
Mikaylah Du
Mikaylah Du, Illustration Editor
Mikaylah Du is a first-year studying Media, Culture, and Communication. She's a fine art nerd and one of the few people that actually likes writing essays. Follow her art account on Instagram @mikaylahdoodles to see her post once in a blue moon.

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