It’s Sunday, so I know this is a strange day to see me posting on, but it’s International Women’s Day today, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do Margaret’s tag @ Weird Zeal for the Women’s History Month readathon she’s hosting this month! And, if you’re super hyped about this readathon like I am, you can also participate in a 24-hour readathon today! I know I’m certainly going to do my best to read as much as possible today.
Thank you so much to Margaret for this super fun reading challenge plus bonus awesome tag! Let’s get started, shall we?
I have to say, when I saw this tag, I knew, without a doubt, at least one of the books that was going to appear on here. It didn’t matter what questions were there, I had to scream about Esta Filosik somehow, and well, here we are.
I also think The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell is super underappreciated, but that may also be because I see her struggling on social media right now with her third book, and I’m just like EVERYONE BUY HER BOOKS SO SHE CAN DO THIS FULL TIME OKAY READY SET GO. So I guess this is a kind of two-for-one. Esta Filosik is, hands down, one of my favorite female characters. She’s bold, she doesn’t sit down when told to, she fights and fights and fights for what she believes in, and she’s not afraid to be loud about those beliefs. Even when the whole world is against her, Esta will stick to her guns, and I think a lot of that reflects in Maxwell. Obviously, I don’t know her personally, but from what I’ve seen on social media, she’s a strong af person, and I am so impressed by her perseverance and determination to follow her dreams.
There is nothing I love more than a woman completely outsmarting a man, and Enna Salta is here to deliver on that.
Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody was another book I knew I had to find a way to incorporate into this tag because Enne is GOALS. Not only does she basically laugh at everyone who tells her she’s not capable of something, she casually becomes a gang lord while wearing white lace gloves and like? I am HERE FOR THAT. I love how feminine and delicate Enne can be, but also how willing she is to pick up a knife and stab you in the throat if you even kind of doubt her. She’s capable of so much, and she’s always hungry for more knowledge so that she can keep refining her talents. She’s probably one of the most brilliant criminal masterminds I’ve read about, and I love her.
YO IT’S MY GIRL! I LOVE ELIZABETH I! Also, I don’t usually use books in the middle of a series, but this one fits better than the first one.
I mean, duh, of course we’re talking about The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty. The absolutely iconic scene when Nahri’s told she must marry and she’s like, “Okay, but what do I get out of it?” and then bargains with the king who wants her dead to get more money? I CANNOT. And Nahri’s not just in a position of power because of her eventual marriage, she’s also well-respected and honored because of her lineage, and she uses that sudden elevation in status to build a hospital and pour money into bettering life for her people. There is nothing I don’t love about her.
Look, we all know what’s about to happen, so let’s not kid ourselves. Also, fun fact, I’ve never read a Virginia Woolf book. I tried, and I got about a quarter way in before I gave up. I should probably revisit her since that was in high school, and I was a bit of a brat.
Despite the fact that the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor has the worst covers in existence, it also has some of the most beautiful writing. Not only that, but Karou is probably my favorite female MC ever? Yeah, definitely. Laini is an exceptional writer, and I always feel like I’m being dunked in a vat of flowers when I open one of her books. DOSAB is no exception, and it sold her as one of my favorite authors pretty quickly. Plus, I’ve been known to randomly screech KAROUUUUUUU at the top of my lungs because 10/10 would die for her.
How about a group of female warriors?
The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke was pitched as a female Beowulf, and while it definitely stands on its own and has many differences from Beowulf, it also has a lot of similarities, and it’s a great way to pitch this. And not only are all of the standard-Beowulf characters swapped for women, there’s also an excellent subplot about witches at war, an incredible conversation about ethics between the MC and the Grendel-character, and some powerful moments of men begging women to help them. Plus, Tucholke is coming out with a King Arthur retelling set in the same universe next month!
Sadly, most of my nonfiction space books are written by men because they’re the only astronauts I’ve read about, so I definitely need to rectify that soon. However, most of the fiction space books that I love were written by women, which is a really interesting difference!
There were a couple books that I thought about putting for this question, but, when it comes down to it, Empress of a Thousand Suns by Rhoda Belleza stands out the most. Not only does it involve planet-hopping, an alternate solar system, and super cool space tech, it discusses colonialism, racism, and sexism in realistic and authentic ways. It doesn’t shy away from the truth, and it doesn’t apologize. It’s a powerful statement about class division and prejudice, and the MCs are characters that I’m going to think about for a long time.
This is going to seem like an odd choice, and I will say, I really wanted to pick Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly because I need the entire world to read that trilogy, but I was trying to stick with books with women leads, as well, so.
House of Furies by Madeleine Roux is what you’re expecting, and also completely the reverse. I went in ready for spooky creatures and jump scares, and I got that, but as the trilogy develops, it very quickly turns on its head and delivers one of the most complex and interesting plots I’ve seen in a long time. This is a stunning series, and one I wish that I could linger in for several more books. Louisa, the MC, is also one of my favorite female leads, and I’m just so damn impressed with her at every turn.
At some point, I’ll stop talking about this book, but today is not that day. I vividly remember reading it for the first time and having to take a few days after it was over. I sent it to all of my girlfriends and told them they needed to read it. It was the first time in a long time that I felt like someone was listening.
Though the romance in Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno is not the focal point, it is what keeps both the readers and the characters grounded while the rest of the story is in turmoil. When the terrible events at the end of the book were being unveiled, I felt like I could lean firmly on the two girls in this while I tried to catch my breath from everything else.
I’m really terrible at keeping up with what books win awards, but I do know that this one received the Goodreads Choice Awards last year. Not only that, it was probably one of the most hyped books of 2019, so I feel like that kind of counts, too?
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo was something that I expected to love, but not something I expected to feel as strongly as I did about, and I’ll show you why:
“Instead of hearing her out, you’ve chosen to question her credibility. You may not have meant to imply anything, but the intent and the effect were to silence her, so it’s hard not to think this stinks of victim blaming. It’s the semantic equivalent of saying her skirt was too short.”
I am never going to forget this scene. I felt seen by it. I felt heard. There is so much to love about Ninth House, but what keeps me thinking about it is the fierce female friendships in it, and how, when everything was falling apart, Dawes and Alex stood together. I needed their friendship, and this book deserves all the hype because of them.
I thought this might be hard, but honestly? There’s only one person I could choose.
I know that Christa McAuliffe didn’t actually do anything hugely noteworthy, which is terrible to say, but she did something that I’m never going to be able to do, and I will admire her for that for the rest of my life. She was just a civilian, just a regular person that you might see walking down the street. She was a teacher, and she didn’t have any special degrees, but when NASA opened their astronaut class to civilians, she gave it her all. She proved everyone wrong that a woman could be as valuable as a man in space, and not just that, but as valuable as someone with umpteenth years of schooling. She was just a normal person, and yet, she was capable of so much. She continues to encourage me to aspire for greater, brighter horizons, and I only hope that someday, I’ll make her proud.
And for a book that inspires me, oh boy. It’s hard to pick between these two, and while I want to shout about The Holy Wild by Danielle Dulsky, I have to give this one to someone who has helped me immensely.
I’ve followed Rachel Brathen for years now, and I knew that To Love and Let Go was going to be a difficult book for me to read, but there was no way I could have prepared myself for everything that it unraveled. It was there for me in a time when I was avoiding, at all costs, healing. I had put up so many walls and dug myself so deep to run away from the grief & sorrow that was plaguing me, and Rachel gently peeled away the layers and showed me that it was okay to grieve, to feel the pain, but then to begin to move beyond it. It inspires me because it showed me that I can find my way out of this, that no matter what the world throws at me, it’s going to be okay eventually. And, really, that’s why Rachel inspires me every day, too.