You can never go wrong with an empowered woman and a good book.
The benefits of reading range from improving mental health, to improving physical health, to creating healthy habits, and it’s no wonder that books and reading are so high up on the list of personal entertainment. Though books have been around for an incredibly long time, they have not lost their importance throughout the years.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day it is safe to safe to say reading has empowered women and female authors have also revolutionized the stories that we read because these stories tell a story of empowerment.
With that said, here are seven must-read books by female authors:
1.’Becoming’ by Michelle Obama
Former USA First lady Michelle Obama, released her memoir ‘Becoming’ in 2018, it is a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Mrs. Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her from her childhood on the south side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. Mrs. Obama’s spoke is relatable yet extraordinary sharing the life journey of an incredible woman who never let her background limit her future. If you enjoy her frank yet charming personality, this book is set to enrich you.
The late Kenyan Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai recounts her extraordinary journey from her childhood in rural Kenya to the world stage in a book titled ‘Unbowed’. When Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, she began a vital poor people’s environmental movement, focused on the empowerment of women, that soon spread across Africa. Persevering through run-ins with the Kenyan government and personal losses, and jailed and beaten on numerous occasions, Maathai continued to fight tirelessly to save Kenya’s forests and to restore democracy to her beloved country.
Maathai’s quest for freedom, justice for all and a greener Kenya is vividly captured in this memoir.
3. ‘Phenomenal Woman’: Four Poems Celebrating Women by Maya Angelou
Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women is a book of poems by Maya Angelou, published in 1995. The poems in this short volume were published in Angelou’s previous volumes of poetry. ‘Phenomenal Woman’, ‘Still I Rise’, and ‘Our Grandmothers’ had appeared in ‘And Still I Rise’ (1978); ‘Weekend Glory’ had appeared in ‘Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing?’ (1983). The late Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees.
4.’Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian novelist. She has written the novels ‘Purple Hibiscus’ (2003), ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ (2006), and ‘Americanah’ (2013), the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), and the book-length essay We Should All Be Feminists (2014). Her most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in March 2017. A few years ago, she received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. ‘Dear Ijeawele’ is Adichie’s letter of response. Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman.
5. ‘Things I Will Tell My Daughter’ by Joan Thatiah
Kenyan writer Joan Thatiah is a features writer for Saturday Nation. She is popularly known for writing the books ‘Things I Will Tell My Daughter – uncensored truths on love, money, and womanhood’ (2006), ‘I’m Too Pretty To Be Broke- and other lies you have been telling yourself’ (2017) and ‘Letters To My Son – candid thoughts on life and romance’ (2018). Through a blend of personal narratives, social history, and hard-eyed wisdom, Joan in ‘Things I Will Tell My Daughter’ delves into life lessons she has lived and learned. Into the big things, the small things and the things that today’s young woman never imagines that she will have to deal with.
6. ‘The Smart Money Woman’ by Arese Ugwu
‘The Smart Money Woman—An African girl’s journey to financial freedom’ (2016) by Nigerian writer Arese Ugwu. This book tackles, debt, spending, the consumerist culture of the African middle class, the fear and misconceptions surrounding money and the lack of it, love, friendships, cultural and societal pressures and the roles they play in success in the eyes of five women in different financial situations. With her best friends Tami (the flighty fashion designer), Lara (the tough oil and gas executive), Adesuwa (the conservative lawyer), and Ladun (the fabulous housewife), broke girl Zuri grows a little, learns a lot and navigates her way to making better financial decisions and building wealth. With each chapter comes a Smart Money Lesson, there to help you work your way up the financial ladder.
7. ‘Red Ink’ by Angela Makholwa
Angela Makholwa is a South African author. Makholwa graduated in journalism from Rhodes University. She worked as a magazine journalist and public relations consultant for several agencies before establishing her own public relations firm in 2002. She came to the literary scene in 2007 with ‘Red Ink’, the first crime fiction by a black author in South Africa.
In Red Ink, the fictional detective, Lucy, a successful public relations writer is drawn into investigating horrifying series of rapes and murders. It has suspense, violence, murder. Makholwa followed up this riveting story two years later with a chick-lit novel, ‘The 30th Candle’ (2009). Her third novel, ‘Black Widow Society’ (2013) and her latest novel the ‘Blessed Girl’ was released October 1st, 2017.
African female authors continue to establish themselves within the African continent and across the globe. With the likes of Chimamanda Ngozi, South African literary Angela Makholwa and more being feted for the creative storytelling, the life and times of the African woman is being reshaped, and told in different perspectives with nuances that are relatable and real.