[ANNOUNCEMENT] “Summer reading, makes me feel fine”: Gender Equity Unit’s first summer reading list

Our expert faculty were asked to recommend a single book on gender equity to read over the summer… and here are the “Top Ten” list from the Gender Equity Unit’s first annual summer reading list. Check out both fiction and non-fiction stories of women and gender diverse people across the globe! We hope to read your reviews on our social media channels. Happy summer!

  1. The New Menopause: Navigating Your Path Through Hormonal Changes with Purpose, Power, and Facts by Mary Clair Haver

Rodale Books, April 2024

“Menopause is inevitable, but suffering through it is not! This is the empowering approach to self-advocacy that pioneering women’s health advocate Dr. Mary Claire Haver takes for women in the midst of hormonal change in The New Menopause.”

  1. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble

New York University Press, February 2018

“In Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem; Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color.”

  1. Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss

Granta Books, April 2014

“Bodies of Light is a deeply poignant tale of a psychologically tumultuous nineteenth century upbringing set in the atmospheric world of Pre-Raphaelitism and the early suffrage movement.”

  1. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Anchor Books, February 2009

“Taking us back to a time that is half history, half myth and wholly magical, bestselling author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni gives voice to Panchaali, the fire-born heroine of the Mahabharata, as she weaves a vibrant retelling of an ancient epic saga. Married to five royal husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom, Panchaali aids their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war. But she cannot deny her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna–or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands’ most dangerous enemy–as she is caught up in the ever-manipulating hands of fate.”

  1. Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Vintage, March 1998

“It is the world of the near future, and Offred is a Handmaid in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is allowed out once a day to the food market, she is not permitted to read, and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant, because she is only valued if her ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she was an independent woman, had a job of her own, a husband and child. But all of that is gone now…everything has changed.”

  1. Ladyboys: The Secret World of Thailand’s Third Gender by Susan Aldous & Pornchai Sereemongkonpol

Maverick House, May 2008

“An intimate portrait of Thailand’s ladyboys: the men who have chosen to become women. The book offers intimate details of the lives that they’ve never publicly revealed. They talk about the choices they’ve made, their relationships, families, frustrations and hopes.”

  1. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

Vintage, December 1989

“Newly translated and unabridged in English for the first time, Simone de Beauvoir’s masterwork is a powerful analysis of the Western notion of “woman,” and a groundbreaking exploration of inequality and otherness.”

  1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Puffin Books, August 2014

“Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?”

  1. Frog by Mo Yan

Penguin Books, January 2016

“Before the Cultural Revolution, Gugu, narrator Tadpole’s feisty aunt, is a respected midwife in her rural community. She combines modern medical knowledge with a healer’s touch to save the lives of village women and their babies. Gugu is beautiful, charismatic, and of an unimpeachable political background. After a disastrous love affair with a defector leaves Gugu reeling, she throws herself zealously into enforcing China’s draconian new family planning policy by any means necessary, be it forced sterilizations or late-term abortions. Tragically, her blind devotion to the Party line spares no one, not her own family, not even herself. Once beloved, Gugu becomes the living incarnation of a reviled social policy violently at odds with deeply rooted social values. Spanning the pre-revolutionary era and the country’s modern day consumer society, Mo Yan’s taut and engrossing examination of Chinese society will be read for generations to come.”

  1. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Doubleday Books, April 2022

“Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with–of all things–her mind. True chemistry results. But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.”

Thanks in advance for checking these out and supporting these authors!