My #WomanUp 2016 Reading List
For those of you who read this blog regularly, you already know that I’m a huge fan of Oiselle and also a member and regional leader of their Oiselle Volée team. If you don’t know what any of that means, Oiselle is a women’s apparel company and so much more; my involvement with them has provided connections with some amazing women, whom I now call friends, all over the country (and a few in other countries, as well!) and the community that has developed among us is unbelieveable.
For the Oiselle Haute Volée, the elite team, 2016 is a big year; in case you’ve missed it, this is a Summer Olympics year and Oiselle sent 18 elite athletes to the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon in Los Angeles on February 13. My friends Marilyn and Molly both attended the event, to support our teammates, and you can check out their amazing recaps here and here; I was thrilled to live vicariously through social media!
At the beginning of the year, Sarah Mackay Robinson, an elite athlete and employee of Oiselle, published a blog post about the importance of creating measurable goals, especially scary ones, and then sharing them with others for support; she included a hashtag – #WomanUp2016 – and it has been the guiding principle for this team as the year moves along. The excitement is far from over; the 2016 Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field will be held July 1-10 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon…and I’ll be there for all the action!
While perusing some of the upcoming releases of new titles this year, I found a relevant common denominator – the overwhelming presence of debut novels by women and nonfiction selections about women and issues relating to the lives of women. I decided that I would curate a #WomanUp 2016 Reading List that reflects what I see as a definite shift to encourage that #WomanUp spirit and celebrate the efforts of so many female authors who are accomplishing their big, scary goals. After all, it’s the perfect combination of my two favorite things.
The following are listed in order of anticipated release date and debuts are noted accordingly; links will take you to more information about the title at Goodreads:
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (debut, March 22 by Ecco): A highly-anticipated debut novel by a former copywriter who spins a tale of four siblings who struggle to keep their sh*t together long enough to enjoy their hefty inheritance…and end up learning a lot about themselves, and their relationship to one another, along the way; I’ve already pre-ordered this one and I can hardly wait!
Some Possible Solutions: Stories by Helen Phillips (May 3 by Henry Holt & Co.): I’m a sucker for a great short story collection (my latest obsession here) and, after reading Phillips’ debut The Beautiful Bureaucrat last year (my thoughts here), this is a must-read; her writing is absolutely breathtaking.
LaRose by Louise Erdrich (May 10 by Harper): The National Book Award winner had me at The Round House and this will, no doubt, be a stunner. A story of a tragedy…and the subsequent quest for justice and retribution, set on a Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota; make sure you have an adult beverage handy for this one.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (debut, May 24 by Knopf): First-time author Danler is really taking #WomanUp to heart; after foisting her manuscript on a senior vice president and editor for Random House during a shift in the West Village restaurant where she was working, she’s now earned herself a six-figure deal on this novel…and word on the street is that it’s worth it. I already have a copy of this one and I’m dying to get started.
The Girls by Emma Cline (debut, June 14 by Random House): Set in the late ’60s, a story of a young woman who is drawn to a circle of girls who appear to have it all; author Cline says, ” I wanted to look at that moment in adolescence when young girls are both becoming aware of a new kind of power but also running up against the disclaimers society puts on female identity.” Done.
Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel (June 14 by Riverhead Books): Labor Day, 1976, Martha’s Vineyard, rich people behaving badly…and a nine year old girl named Cricket is left to figure it all out for her family. I love Ramona Ausubel in general (her short story collection, A Guide to Being Born, is fantastic), so I’m excited about this one.
Listen to Me by Hannah Pittard (July 5 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt): After reading this review by my friend Sarah, I had to check out Pittard’s sophomore effort, Reunion; she has a flair for strong female characters, who seem to underestimate their strength, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.
All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister (March 1 by Simon & Schuster): I was sold when Anne Lamott endorsed this upcoming release, described as a portrait of contemporary American life, and how we got here, through the lens of the single American woman; I’ll be reading this on my Kindle, so that Jonathan doesn’t think I’m about to run off…even if the idea is, at times, somewhat tempting. This one will become mandatory reading for many, I can promise you.
Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein (March 29 by Harper): A renowned contributor for The New York Times and oft-disgusted parent, due to the way young girls and women continue to be steered in the direction of outdated female stereotypes, Orenstein presents information from her research on the new sexual landscape that girls in the high school and college environments must navigate. After reading Missoula last year (my thoughts here), I hope those who are involved with women in this age group will read this and pass it along.
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (debut, April 5 by Knopf): Jahren shares the way in which her childhood environment and somewhat-unconventional parents allowed her love of science to blossom into an amazing, fulfilling career that supports her passion and has allowed her to embrace the person she has become as an adult.
What I Told My Daughter: Lessons from Leaders on Raising the Next Generation of Empowered Women by Nina Tassler (debut, April 5 by Atria): The highly-respected former President of CBS Entertainment has gathered a group of contributors including Whoopi Goldberg, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mia Hamm, Blythe Danner, Brooke Shields, Laura Bush, Nancy Pelosi, Madeleine Albright and many more to share the best advice and counsel they have given through teachable moments. Wow!
Hunger: A Memoir of (My)Body by Roxane Gay (June 14 by Harper): Okay, if you haven’t read Bad Feminist, you need to read it, too. Roxane Gay is so open and honest about her opinions and experiences and I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for her as a woman, writer, advocate and human being. Because I, too, have struggled with my opinion of my body and my obsession with food and the way it has both served and harmed my need for control, I know that I will relate to much of what she says in her latest book.
Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett (debut, September 6 by Harper): The award-winning journalist, who currently covers gender issues, culture and language, will share both hilarious and serious anecdotes and advice in the battle against sexism in the workplace…complete with instructions on how to start your own Feminist Fight Club!
WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere by Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel (September 20 by Atria): Actress and author Gillian Anderson (of X-Files fame) and journalist Jennifer Nadel have been working on this book for some time. Their goal? A “call-out to all women around the world – and by women I include girls, transgender, anyone who identifies themselves as being intrinsically female…that we need to stick together and stand up for each other and not compete against each other.” Yes, count me in.
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (October 18 by Blue Rider Press): This one is on my list because Carrie Fisher has been to the edge and back, and all over again, and I just love her badassery; this is not her first memoir, but will likely be the most meaningful and open one, to date.