The 9 Best Books About Womanhood

It’s lit

Women's History Month is nearly over, but the experience of being a woman is something that never ends—it literally lasts a lifetime. At this current time, women seem to be the biggest threat to society (at least as far as the government is concerned). Instead of dwelling on this dark reality, we picked nine of our favorite books about womanhood that completely changed our lives at different stages along the journey. Some of these books are old classics while others are more new wave novels, but each of them nail different aspects of what it means to be a woman. All of these stories also offer different perspectives across the spectrum and showcase the various struggles and triumphs. Though some of these experiences will be more relatable than others, they are all important nonetheless. Take some notes while you browse through the gallery, below.

She's Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan  

Boylan offers a fresh, funny perspective on the emotional ups and downs of transitioning, and the power that can be found through family. 

Is Everyone Having Fun Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling 

If you say you never wished you were Mindy Kaling's BFF, you're probably lying. Kaling brings her charming personality and incredible sense of humor into her book, discussing her observations on all kinds of relationships as well as navigating Hollywood. 

If You Have To Cry Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone 

This book gives you an inside look at this powerhouse as she shares her secrets to success as a publicist and author. Oh yeah, not to mention that she was once Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port's boss on The Hills. (As if you could forget!)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Classics remain classics for a reason, right? Austen provides an expansive existence to her female characters, offering them great depth in a time when their rights definitely did not mirror that. 

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

Lorde gives an incredibly powerful perspective of how strong women shape even more strong women, linking them together through this coming-of-age novel set in 1950's Harlem. 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This isn't your typical love story as outlined by the American dream. Adichie's novel follows Ifemelu and Obinze from their home in Nigeria as the lovers part ways with the Atlantic between them. They are eventually reunited after Ifemelu has learned the ropes of navigating black womanhood in America.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

This candid collection of stories outlines the transition to womanhood for one Mexican-American girl in a racially segregated Chicago barrio. For anyone who's ever gone through puberty and left feeling vulnerable by a sudden onslaught of male attention, this book hits close to home. Esperanza navigates her budding sexuality while observing how older women in her community have become "trapped" by an intersection of machismo, domestic violence, language barriers, and familiar duty.

- Katherine Martinez

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

It might be a little outdated, but this is truly a tale of times past that gives an intimate look at four sisters as they grow up together and enter domestic life. Alcott keeps a keen eye to the limits gender placed upon the girls as they grow and choose their own paths. 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath 

Plath takes underlying feminism to a whole new level. As this fictionalized autobiography unfolds, we watch as Esther Greenwood faces the realities of womanhood and mental illness. Back in her day, the language to discuss these issues was practically foreign so this was pretty groundbreaking.