Reads for the Rest of Us: The Most Anticipated Feminist Books of 2023

I have spent the last few months scouring catalogs and websites, receiving hundreds of books and even more emails from authors, publicists and publishers, reading your book Tweets and DMs, all to find out what books are coming out in 2023 that I think you, my exceptional, inquisitive and discerning Ms readers, will want to hear about. 

Here’s your TBR (to be read) for the year. Enjoy!

#LetHerLearn—And Progress will Follow 

About 70 percent of the world population now lives in autocracies, up from 49 percent a decade ago. Yet the rising tide of authoritarian governments, many still masquerading as democracies, has met a formidable foe: resistance led by students, especially young women.

Inclusive, gender-equitable democracies serve to reduce poverty and foster a more empowered populace and peaceful future. Closing the education gap for girls and women in all their diversity is key to those achievements.

In ‘The Third Reconstruction,’ Peniel E. Joseph Outlines the U.S. Struggle for Racial Justice in the 21st Century

In recent months, historians have clashed over whether history should be used as a tool for the politics of the present. But Peniel E. Joseph’s latest work, The Third Reconstruction: America’s Struggle for Racial Justice in the Twenty-First Century demonstrates that not only is the personal political, but the past is too.

Joseph argues the dynamics of the present are never truly knowable until we anchor them to the contours of the past. This means to look at the Black women and queer Black people who have guided movements for social justice throughout American history.

‘Gray Love’: Yes, Older People Have Desires

Gray Love: Stories About Dating and New Relationships After 60 showcases men and women’s own voices, showing the nitty-gritty headiness of first dates, the joy of getting to know someone’s history, politics and quirks, and the inevitability of decline.

Nan Bauer-Maglin, co-editor, says it’s rare for books about love to intertwine with aging. “I hope that younger readers will learn that older people have desires and still want to date and have romantic relationships. I hope that they will see that older people do not want to spend the rest of their lives longing for a person who is no longer there.”

She Wins: Here’s to Powerful Black Women Leaders on Screens

The 80th Golden Globes is days away. Viola Davis is the only Black female actor nominated in the Motion Pictures-Drama category.

In The Woman King, Davis plays the Agojie general of an all-female warrior unit and embodies the fierceness of this leader, while delivering a performance characterized by maternal softness and emotional vulnerability—traits often reserved on screen for white femininity. While not nominated for any Golden Globes this year, Bridgerton received 15 Emmy Award nominations in 2022 and this spring another powerful Black woman graces the screen, Queen Charlotte. Bridgerton is an opportunity to reevaluate diversity, equity and inclusion on the screen. Casting people of color provides jobs to talented actors who would otherwise be overlooked, but mere “inclusion” in the frame is insufficient.

January 2023 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups. Here’s to a new year and, hopefully, a better one for us all. I wish you a year of peace, collectivity, good health, bountiful joy and, of course, fantastic reading! You can start with these 33 titles that I am most excited about this month. 

How ‘Fleishman Is in Trouble’ Made Me a More Empathic Doctor

Watching the novel-turned-television show Fleishman Is in Trouble now, I am struck by how Rachel’s traumatic birth left the Fleishmans in trouble. Her birth story helped me realize how much my own traumatic birth transformed me as a doctor.

The show helps us feel the absurdity in insinuating that Rachel could have moved on from her delivery simply and gracefully, content to be alive and physically unscathed, perhaps attending therapy to help her cope. Taffy Brodesser-Akner shrewdly summed this all up when she wrote, Rachel “was what this doctor thought she was. She was nothing. She was just a woman.”

2022 ‘Best of the Rest’: Our Favorite Books of the Year!

Each month, we provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups. And each year, we review our monthly Reads for the Rest of Us lists and choose our favorite books of the year. 

You’ve read the other “Best of” lists—now read the other one. You know, for the rest of us. Here they are, my top 40+ feminist books, in alphabetical order.

They Fought Like Girls: How a 1979 Softball Team Saved the Sport

The women of the 1979 Oregon State University softball team used Title IX as a tool for institutional change. Decades later, they’re finally getting the recognition they deserve.

“At that time the most successful teams on campus were women’s and we had to fight with the athletic department for everything … I think I just reached my limit and felt like we had an opportunity to try to do something. I wanted justice.”