10 Powerful Reads That Explore Modern Femininity

If you're looking for a book that explores aspects of contemporary life from a female perspective, you've come to the right place. The works listed here feature women from different countries and social statuses dealing with everything from arranged marriage to poverty to the joys & pains of motherhood. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Contemporary Books About Women: Our 10 Picks

Title Author(s)
1. Live Nude Girl Kathleen Rooney
2. Girls Burn Brighter Shobha Rao
3. The Woman Who Watches Over the World Linda Hogan
4. Returning Injury Becky Due
5. Guidebook to Relative Strangers Camille T. Dungy
6. A River of Stars Vanessa Hua
7. A Little Stranger Kate Pullinger
8. Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex Oksana Zabuzhko & Halyna Hryn
9. Everybody Else's Girl Sarah Sawyers-Lovett
10. Eleven Hours Pamela Erens

Inspiring Quotes From Successful Women

Quote Source
"A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman." Melinda Gates
"I believe that it is as much a right and duty for women to do something with their lives as for men and we are not going to be satisfied with such frivolous parts as you give us." Louisa May Alcott
"One's feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results." Florence Nightingale
"If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!" Sojourner Truth
"It doesn't matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always." Oprah Winfrey

8 Great Films Written & Directed by Women

  1. Julie & Julia (2009)
  2. We Go Way Back (2006)
  3. Sweetie (1989)
  4. Wendy and Lucy (2008)
  5. Thirteen (2003)
  6. You've Got Mail (1998)
  7. An Angel at My Table (1990)
  8. Little Women (1994)

The Importance of Women's Rights

In Depth

If you're a reader looking for well-written works that offer a female perspective, you're in luck. Encompassing an array of identities and attitudes, the women featured in the books on this list represent the diverse experiences of mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives in countries around the world. Covering both fiction and nonfiction, here, in no particular order, are ten captivating titles that explore the journeys of contemporary women.

For #1 we have "Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object" by Kathleen Rooney. Combining personal anecdotes with historical context and theory, Rooney paints a candid and wide-ranging portrait of her experiences as a nude art model. With both intellect and wit, she takes readers through everything from the anxiety of being naked in front of a classroom to the complicated relationship between artist and model. Rooney's musings on the subject open up a broader discourse about gender, power, representation, and the female body.

Coming in at #2 is "Girls Burn Brighter" by Shobha Rao. Poornima, a girl from an impoverished Indian village, is despondent over her looming arranged marriage and her mother's death. She finds a ray of hope in the spirited Savitha, whom her father hires to help run their sari looms, and the two girls grow incredibly close. When Savitha is forced to leave after suffering abuse, Poornima sets out across the world to find her, enduring a variety of grueling obstacles that test her resilience.

She finds a ray of hope in the spirited Savitha, whom her father hires to help run their sari looms, and the two girls grow incredibly close.

For #3 we get "The Woman Who Watches Over the World" by Linda Hogan. In this moving and revealing memoir, acclaimed Chickasaw writer Hogan delves into her difficult life growing up as a Native American. She discusses personal experiences, including her teenage affair with an older man, her struggle with alcoholism, and a riding accident that left her with chronic pain. In the process, and through stories of other major Indian figures, Hogan demonstrates how indigenous people inherit the historical trauma of their ancestors.

At #4 we find "Returning Injury," a novel by Becky Due. Many years ago, Rebecca was stalked and assaulted by a man named Roy. Now happily married and the owner of a P.R. firm, she has put the past behind her. Or so she would like to think. When her husband goes out of town, she is left alone in their giant house on a stormy night. She soon becomes paranoid that Roy, who has just been released from prison, will come back to get her. Suspense builds as Rebecca fights against fear to reclaim her life.

Arriving at #5 is "Guidebook to Relative Strangers" by Camille T. Dungy. An eloquent exploration of the intersection between motherhood and racial identity, Dungy's collection of essays illuminates the experience of being a black woman raising a young daughter. As the poet-author travels the world, touching down in a range of locations including Virginia, California, and Ghana, she digs into the history of American racism and offers maternally-informed guidance for negotiating its legacy.

An eloquent exploration of the intersection between motherhood and racial identity, Dungy's collection of essays illuminates the experience of being a black woman raising a young daughter.

For #6 we have "A River of Stars" by Vanessa Hua. Soon-to-be mom Scarlett Chen has been sent from China to Los Angeles by her employer and lover, Boss Yeung, who wants to ensure that their forthcoming son has all the privileges of an American citizen. Shacked up with other pregnant women in an illicit maternity home, Scarlett befriends the teenage Daisy. But when she learns that her unborn child is actually a girl, and not the boy Boss is expecting, Scarlett flees in a panic to San Francisco. Alongside Daisy, she joins other Asian immigrants in Chinatown who are seeking the American dream on their own terms.

At #7 we have "A Little Stranger" by Kate Pullinger. With a seemingly ideal marriage and a lovely young child, Fran wouldn't appear to have much to complain about. But not everyone is made for motherhood. Feeling weighed down by maternal responsibilities and a life confined to her London flat, Fran decides on a whim to take off, first for Las Vegas and then Vancouver. Over the course of her impromptu trip, the disaffected mom reflects on her troubled childhood, and attempts to reconnect with her own mother in the hopes of better understanding herself.

For #8 we get "Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex" by Oksana Zabuzhko, translated by Halyna Hryn. Poet Zabuzhko's controversial novel, which made her famous upon its release in 1996, is told in a stream-of-consciousness style. A visiting Slavic studies professor at Harvard recounts her affair with an abusive artist, using their toxic romance to meditate on a plethora of issues relating to Ukrainian national identity. Through wry philosophical musings, Zabuzhko reveals the burdens of living as a woman in post-communist Europe.

Poet Zabuzhko's controversial novel, which made her famous upon its release in 1996, is told in a stream-of-consciousness style.

At #9 is "Everybody Else's Girl" by Sarah Sawyers-Lovett. This harrowing memoir brings readers to the decrepit trailer parks of Tazewell, Virginia, where the author spent her childhood amidst poverty and violence. Writing in graphic detail about domestic abuse, drug addiction, and the tragic loss of her brother, she provides a window into a world that nobody should have to live in, but which too many in reality do. But it's not all bad news. In addition to describing her past, Sawyers-Lovett speaks of the things that have helped her move forward and flourish as an adult.

Finally, for #10 we come to "Eleven Hours" by Pamela Erens. Lore and Franckline are both pregnant. Anxious and ready to deliver, New Yorker Lore comes to the hospital completely alone, demanding that she receive no medical care during labor. Franckline, her Haitian nurse, listens to her requests patiently. As the two culturally disparate, expectant mothers learn more about each other's lives, growing closer through stories of personal adversity, they come to understand all that makes childbirth, and motherhood, both uniquely painful and special.