Hermagic

Whether you are craving for a digital detox (you know, from reading all those grt FB posts, tweets and #hashtags) or you are finding it difficult to explain some of your radical thoughts or you are just tired of the mansplaining around you, there is a four-letter answer to it. Grab a B*O*O*K! Worry not even if you aren’t a bibliophile. Here’s a list of just five books that will gradually entice you and stir your mind, addressing some very crucial issues of being a woman. 

The Skin I’m In by Sharon G Flake

 “Gotta realize that all you are is all you got.” 

This easy read, especially for teens, with a thumping message on body positivity, follows the story of an African-American girl, Maleeka Madison. Maleeka, who is constantly bullied by her peers at middle school over her skin and her clothes learns to accept herself when Miss Saunders enters her life. The English teacher with a rare skin disease doesn’t let anyone get under her skin, motivating Maleeka to learn to love the skin she is in, despite what the world tells her. 

Sultana’s Dream by Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain

“Why do you allow yourself to be shut up?”

This 1905 book written by a Muslim feminist and social reformer from Bengal, India, conjures a utopian world run solely by women! As the title suggests, the utopian ‘Ladyland’ takes place in Ultana’s dream and is far less serious than the very similar Herland of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. But on the flipside, the naivety of the book also gives it a tone of sincerity. This one is a must-read for its ideas on war, science, and education and to just discover if your idea of a world without men is anything close to Hussain’s (c’mon ladies, we have all thought about it, haven’t we?).

Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath

 “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” 

In this almost autobiographical novel, the feminist icon Sylvia Plath deals with the crucial journey of a woman towards finding her identity through the protagonist Esther Greenwood. Esther is caught in a downward spiral of mental instability as she mulls over double standards, especially when it comes to sex and motherhood.

Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce Carol Oates

“That’s how a thing starts out real then ends up just an idea.” 

If you are among the angry young women and love a good dose of vigilantism, this book is food for your soul. The narrative is a memoir of  Madeleine Wirtz, one among the gang of five girls who call themselves Firefox. Set in 1953, the book chronicles the gritty adventures of Betty “Goldie” Siegfried, Loretta “Lana” Maguire, Elizabeth “Rita” O’Hagan, and Margaret “Legs” Sadovsky as they plot retributive punishment against the ‘man’kind.  

Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir

 “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”

This book by the French philosopher Simone De Beauvoir is regarded as the spark that turned into second-wave feminism. For the first time in 1949, the world got to read history from a woman’s point of view. She establishes the reality of how women are treated as the ‘Other’ while men become the center of all and any narrative. In the book, she takes on many authors who shaped the human psyche or the understanding of it and argues for women’s freedom from reproductive slavery.

By Samyuktha K

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