TOTD: A Bookworm’s Top 5: Women*s History Month Recommendations

March 30, 2021 - Heather Shea

During the pandemic, I’ve taken up “reading” (in quotes because often I read through audio books--which, in my mind, still counts!). For me, constant reading has been both an escape and a window into other times and places. As we near the end of Women*s HIstory Month, I’ve compiled a select list of five books that have recently hit my queue that amplify women’s voices. I am always looking for fiction and non-fiction that informs, educates, expands understanding. As you think about your summer reading list, I’d highly recommend any of these books!

Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague by Maggie O’Farrell 

Powerful and poetic prose focused on a difficult topic -- death of a child during the Black Plague (and the possible inspiration for the Shakespearian tragedy, Hamlet), this book by Maggie O’Farrell is really the story of Agnes (Anne) Hathaway, wife of William Shakespeare and her personality as a fiercely independent woman, mother, and eccentric medicine woman before the death of her son, Hamnet.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Told through multiple lenses, this Booker Prize winning novel by Bernardine Evaristo amplifies the voices of women of color and elaborates on their many intersecting identities in the U.K., Carribean, and U.S. as they navigate intergenerational tensions of race and gender. This is one of my very favorite books this year.

Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America by Maria Hinojosa

If you’re equally horrified by the news stories of child separation and the urgent immigration crisis at the southern border, this book is a must read.  It is also the memoir of a survivor, a feminist, a gifted journalist, and an activist who put her voice literally to work in speaking up for immigrant lives.  

The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

I adored this book because it mixes the real life of the Serbian femininst performance artist Marina Abramović whose work explores the endurance of the body and feminism, with a cast of fictional characters engaged in silent conversation with Abramović during a performance art event entitled “The Artist is Present” that really happened at the NY Museum of Modern Art in 2010. I loved this book because, through these fictional characters, the complexities of intersecting lives, love, and art is revealed. And, similar to one of this year’s LUNAFEST films, about the life of Bettye Saar, I’ve learned of ANOTHER woman artist who has been overlooked in the art history canon. Sigh. 

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Okay, this is the least rigorous of the books on this list, but I promise it was a joy to read a fictional account of a time in U.S. history (between 1935 and 1943) when a group of women known as the “pack horse librarians” delivered books to remote parts of Appalachia on horseback. Beyond that, The Giver of Stars, is also a story of the strong bonds between women and the knowledge that is passed between them both in literature and in life.

Are you a bookworm, too? Have a recommendation for me? I’m always looking for new books! OR, interested in forming a summer book club? Send me an email at and let’s set it up!


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