As the holiday season approaches, we hope you take the time to appreciate the wonderful women in your life. From mothers to sisters to aunts to amazing female friendships, the women you surround yourself with help support and define you and serve as role models for the type of person you want to be. These inspiring and powerful books by and about women who break molds and shatter glass ceilings are a great way to show the women closest to you how much you appreciate them and value their place in your life.
9 Books to Give to Important Women in Your Life
YEAR OF YES is a revolutionary memoir written by a revolutionary woman. Rhimes, the producer of several iconic TV shows including Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and Grey’s Anatomy, found that she was using her busy schedule as an excuse to say no to new things that could challenge her or enrich her life. Rhimes’s mission to say yes is detailed in her funny and fabulous book, which is sure to inspire women from all walks of life who are looking for fulfillment and happiness. It’s the perfect gift for the new year and the new decade!
Shonda Rhimes delivered some tough love in her Dartmouth commencement address saying, “dreamers often end up living in the basements of relatives.” Rhimes’s book YEAR OF YES offers inspiration for the dreamers who need to take action. Her straight-forward advice for living out your dreams boldly? Say “yes.”
Acclaimed essayist Mary Laura Philpott tackles the question that has been plaguing women for decades (even when it seems ridiculous): Can women have it all? Philpott asks this question by examining her own life and happiness and wondering if fulfillment comes from somewhere other than the checklist of life: job, spouse, house, kids. Philpott’s essays are moving, satisfying, and vulnerable, and you’ll want to give this book to all your friends.
Riveting, honest, and intimate, Lisa Taddeo’s THREE WOMEN tells the stories of the sex lives of three different women in different parts of the country. Though the root of the book is about desire and female sexuality, this thoughtful exploration of three women’s lives is complex and empathetic. It’s a groundbreaking, expertly reported book that every woman should read.
“Extraordinary…A nonfiction literary masterpiece…I can’t remember the last time a book affected me as profoundly as Three Women.” —Elizabeth Gilbert
“This is one of the most riveting, assured, and scorchingly original debuts I’ve ever read.” —Dave Eggers
“[An] instant feminist classic...Utterly engrossing...Game-changing.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
Desire as we’ve never seen it before: a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting.
It thrills us and torments us. It controls our thoughts, destroys our lives, and it’s all we live for. Yet we almost never speak of it. And as a buried force in our lives, desire remains largely unexplored—until now. Over the past eight years, journalist Lisa Taddeo has driven across the country six times to embed herself with ordinary women from different regions and backgrounds. The result, Three Women, is the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written and one of the most anticipated books of the year.
We begin in suburban Indiana with Lina, a homemaker and mother of two whose marriage, after a decade, has lost its passion. She passes her days cooking and cleaning for a man who refuses to kiss her on the mouth, protesting that “the sensation offends” him. To Lina’s horror, even her marriage counselor says her husband’s position is valid. Starved for affection, Lina battles daily panic attacks. When she reconnects with an old flame through social media, she embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming.
In North Dakota we meet Maggie, a seventeen-year-old high school student who finds a confidant in her handsome, married English teacher. By Maggie’s account, supportive nightly texts and phone calls evolve into a clandestine physical relationship, with plans to skip school on her eighteenth birthday and make love all day; instead, he breaks up with her on the morning he turns thirty. A few years later, Maggie has no degree, no career, and no dreams to live for. When she learns that this man has been named North Dakota’s Teacher of the Year, she steps forward with her story—and is met with disbelief by former schoolmates and the jury that hears her case. The trial will turn their quiet community upside down.
Finally, in an exclusive enclave of the Northeast, we meet Sloane—a gorgeous, successful, and refined restaurant owner—who is happily married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. He picks out partners for her alone or for a threesome, and she ensures that everyone’s needs are satisfied. For years, Sloane has been asking herself where her husband’s desire ends and hers begins. One day, they invite a new man into their bed—but he brings a secret with him that will finally force Sloane to confront the uneven power dynamics that fuel their lifestyle.
Based on years of immersive reporting, and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is a groundbreaking portrait of erotic longing in today’s America, exposing the fragility, complexity, and inequality of female desire with unprecedented depth and emotional power. It is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy, that introduces us to three unforgettable women—and one remarkable writer—whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.
Mother and daughter team up to tell some of their favorite stories about the women who have inspired them and created lasting change in our world today. This unique book provides detailed accounts not only of the stories of the changemakers, but advice, interviews, and details about what inspires Hillary and Chelsea too. The stories come from all parts of the world, and the intergenerational perspective shows that making change and creating space for women is a process that affects us all.
It comes as no surprise that Cleo Wade’s HEART TALK is full is poignant poems and affirmations. Just like Wade’s incredibly popular Instagram account, HEART TALK is the place to go when you need to heal from heartbreak or be reminded of the plentiful beauty in the world. You may want to take this book with you everywhere you go and will definitely want to share it.
SUPERIOR WOMEN is a novel that never gets old. Focusing on the lives and friendships of four women who could not be more different, SUPERIOR WOMEN traces their relationships with one another and the ways in which friendship can help see us through difficult times and help us celebrate the good. SUPERIOR WOMEN makes a superior gift for friends with whom you want to share a riveting work of literature about the power of friendship.
Now a hit Emmy Award–winning show, Margaret Atwood’s classic book THE HANDMAID’S TALE is a horrifying work of speculative fiction that depicts Gilead, a deeply repressive version of the United States where women are stripped of their rights, and the few fertile women are subjected to the role of “handmaid.” Atwood made it a point to say that there is precedent in real life for everything in the book, and it is an absolute must-read for the women in your life—and for all the people who care about them.
This horrifying vision of our society radically overturned by a theocratic revolution has become one of the most powerful and widely read novels of our time. It has endured not only as a literary landmark but also as a scathing satire and dire warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.
There are few books that have the power to unite readers like Louisa May Alcott’s classic, LITTLE WOMEN. The book follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—as they go from childhood to adulthood and explore what it means to be women. The sisters all have defining personality traits that differ from one another, and their conflicts are rich and real. They feel like real sisters and face real trials of life that are still relatable even more than 150 years after the book’s original publication.
The wonderful story of the March sisters Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy and their wonderful Marmee and their joys and mishaps they face as young women and as a family. Based on Louise May Alcott's childhood, this lively portrait of nineteenth-century family life possesses a lasting vitality that has endeared it to generations of readers.
The Pulitzer Prize–winning first Olive Kitterage novel follows a retired teacher, Olive, who is concerned with the changing identity of her small town in Maine. Olive, a character that is equal parts frustrating and endearing, deals with her personal relationships and problems while the townspeople around her do the same. Throughout the book, Olive gains an understanding of humanity, empathy, and relationships by learning to change her point of view and employ ruthless honesty. It’s a book about life as we know it, and all the things we can learn if we open ourselves to all the ups and downs it brings.
At times stern, at other times patient, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge is one of literature’s most complex characters in recent years. This Pulitzer Prize–winning novel offers profound insights into the human condition—its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.