Feminist Friday: End of Year Round Up

Hello and welcome to Feminist Friday for December!

As you know, each month I select a book to read that fits my own feminist criteria, which I then chat about, here on my blog, on the second Friday of the month. For me, the books I choose must embody female strength of character and be inspirational to read. I try to explore work from a wide variety of genres, reading anything from classics and memoirs to fiction and poetry.

This month however is a little different…

Instead of reading something new I thought it would be nice to reflect back over what I’ve read this year for my Feminist Friday choices and maybe try to pick my top three favourites – such a mean challenge to set myself!

So without further ado, what Feminist themed reads did I choose this year…?

January: The Life & Loves of E. Nesbit by Eleanor Fitzsimons

My January choice was quite possibly one of the best biographies I have ever read. I absolutely adored Fitzsimmons intimate portrait of the wonderful writer, E. Nesbit. I finished it feeling as if I knew her. The ability to turn a biography into a compelling page turner was masterful, and the discovery of Nesbit’s socialism and ideas on women’s place were fascinating.

Click here to read my original post.

February: Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

If you’ve been a follower since the early days you may remember that I bought this book as a Christmas present for my Gran last year and found myself staying up till midnight (on Christmas eve) to finish it in time to wrap it for her…! *Looks guilty* Needless to say, we both loved it. Sparky and full of drama – I do love a good historical fiction – especially when it has a strong female cast. Sarah perfectly captures the modern spirit of the 1920’s and the radical shifting of the tide against the old patriarchal systems.

Click here to read my original post.

March: Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur

Rupi is solely responsible for introducing me to, and cementing my love of, contemporary poetry. I am a huge admirer of her work and the messages she sends out into the world. I could not have done Feminist Friday without including such a powerful read and inspirational woman.

Click here to read my original post.

April: Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this feminist classic. The writing was beautiful and the ideas presented were so timeless – so simple yet perceptive, that reading it was a unique experience. Reading it back in April also added another, deeper level of meaning to her thoughts on isolation. The tone is comforting and the read itself was almost like a meditation.

Click here to read my original post.

May: The Girls Who Went to War by Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi

With May’s Feminist Friday falling on VE Day I simply had to read this book. And what a book. What amazing women. Entirely biographical, the book followed the stories of three women’s lives (one from the Army, one from the Navy and one from the Air Force) and the parts they played in the war effort. I was humbled by their courage, bravery and self sacrifices. Jam-packed with historic detail, it was so well described you felt as if you were there… yet with a beautiful sense of journey, allowing you to connect to the stories and feel the emotion.

Click here to read my original post.

June: I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice

This wild and unflinching memoir read like poetry – raw, beautiful and honest. Ruth’s language was magic – at once being utterly compelling and powerfully mystical. I was blown away by the power of her words, the power of her story, and the power of her spirit.

Click here to read my original post.

July: Jane Austen The Secret Radical by Helena Kelly

As a die-hard fan of Jane Austen I absolutely had to share this read for Feminist Friday. Helena Kelly is responsible for introducing me to some of Austen’s most subversive observations and cementing my admiration for such a remarkable woman. If Austen isn’t the image of a strong and inspirational women, I don’t know what is!

Click here to read my original post.

August: Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters by Nikita Gill

Rather a Goddess herself when it comes to writing inspirational Feminist poetry, Nikita Gill’s latest collection looked to the women of Greek Myths to plant the seeds of inspiration within the girls of today. For me, Nikita also tapped into the magic that is storytelling and the power it brings.

Click here to read my original post.

September: Salt on Your Tongue: Women and the Sea by Charlotte Runcie

A lucky find while internet shopping during the first lockdown, Charlotte Runcie’s memoir has secured itself a place in my top three with it’s mesmerising prose, lilting references to fables and deep connection to the sea. Her journey into motherhood was beautiful and I was captivated by the tales of women and the ocean. A wonderful read.

Click here to read my original post.

October: A Woman by Sibilla Aleramo

Caught by the description on the back by La Republica as ‘The first Italian feminist novel’, Octobers choice kind of chose me. Autobiographical but told as a novel by a nameless narrator, Sibilla Aleramo’s story was incredible. Raw and powerful, it reduced me to tears. What courage and strength in such soul destroying adversity.

Click here to read my original post.

November: Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner

I was offered an ARC of Lolly Willowes through work as it has just been re-published by Penguin Modern Classics. Sylvia Townsend Warner’s prose was immersive, poetic and perceptive, particularly with regards to the lot of women in the early 20th Century. She described with acute perception the suffocation of the patriarchy, behavioural expectations and attempt to re-box women after the first world war. Quirky and beautiful with a whisper of darkness – one I thoroughly enjoyed.

Click here to read my original post.

I feel honoured to have encountered so many strong women through these reading choices, both through the writers themselves and the women they write of. Thank you all for sharing your courage.

Now for the difficult choice of my top three…

First choice will have to be a tie between Salt on Your Tongue and I Found My Tribe – two beautiful memoirs that explore our connection to the tides of womanhood and the fragility of love and life through thoroughly immersive prose. I could not put either of them down!

Second choice would be A Woman. I can’t seem to find the right words to describe just how powerful and important this book is in the history of feminism. Incredible.

Third choice is The Life & Loves of E. Nesbit – as I said, not only did it involve a number of truly courageous women but it’s a triumph of masterful biographical storytelling.

Well that’s all from me!

This is actually my last Feminist Friday post here on Meg Readz as in 2021 I want to set myself a new monthly challenge so stay tuned for an announcement in the New Year!

I’d love to hear what the most inspirational book, about or by a woman, that you read this year was – please do share in the comments 🙂

Keep reading!

Meg Readz xx

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