Books & Study Life

Books by or about women

Today is International Women’s Day. Two years ago I marked the occasion by sharing some of the books I read by or about women, here is the post. So, this year I’m going to do a similar post, with books by or about women. I picked 9 books, as before. The first three books are by women on wide topics, which should make us all think, the next three are on a very specific topic, World War I, as I’ve read a lot on the subject these last couple of months. The next 3 are books I plan to read next. The books marked with * are reviewed on my blog, Coffee&Books.

Books by or about women

I hope you’ll be inspired and that you are going to pick from a library or bookshop at least one of these books. The ones I read are really amazing.

Privacy is Power by Carissa Véliz* starts with a poignant account of an everyday life of a woman, who is constantly surveilled by the everything around her, her phone, her watch, her TV, and so on. It might seem like the start of a sci-fi book, but, in fact, this is a non-fiction book on surveillance capitalism. The book was published last year and it’s fascinating. I loved reading it and my husband enjoyed it too.

The Domestic Revolution by Ruth Goodman* might sound exactly the opposite of the first book, as it’s about coal, but there are many more similarities between them. Goodman argues that coal changed how houses were partitioned and that, in change, influenced how family life changed too. It is fascinating to look at these arguments to understand history, but also think of how today our lives are different due to new technologies, in ways we might not even realise at first.

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang* is a very long book, at 650 pages, but this is so worth reading. She talks about her grandmother, her mother, and her life. It was published in 1991, but now it is even more relevant, to understand the modern Chinese society through the lens of their recent past, as China is becoming more and more powerful on the global stage.

German Prisoners of the Great War by Anne Buckley* deserves a mention because it is a translation made by four women. It is the first account of German POW interned in England. These men were held in Yorkshire, smuggled their notes and illustrations and their book was published in 1920. Now, in 2021, it was translated and published in UK too.
It might be a book about men, but I included it because the translation was a joint effort, and its importance to understanding life during the first war.

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain* is a classic, a book I loved reading this year. It is so wonderfully written. It was a delight to read.

Lady Under Fire on the Western Front by Andrew and Nicola Hallam is the book I’m currently reading, have a few pages left, even though it arrived at the end of last week. It is a collection of letters, written by Lady Dorothie Fielding, daughter of the Earl of Denbigh. Soon after WWI broke out, she went to Belgium where she drove an ambulance. She was the first woman to be awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. Two of her brothers will die in the war, one in the Battle of Jutland and the other one at Passchendaele. Her letters are funny and sad and so fascinating.

the next three books are on my to-read list

Agent Sonya by Ben Macintyre is the non-fiction account of a Russian spy in UK, during the Cold War. I am looking forward to reading this book, because it sounds incredible.

Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil is a book I bought for my husband last year. He enjoyed it a lot and I am very eager to read it too. I saw her in a Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, and I think I will like her book as well.

Les Parisiennes by Anne Sebba was reviewed by a fellow blogger, Jeanie, who praised the book and made me borrow it from the library. It is a history book on the lives of women living in France under German occupation during the 1940s.

As I mentioned earlier, I hope this post will inspire you to pick up at least one of these books. Let me know if you do or if you’ve already read any of them.

9 Comment

  1. Lady Under Fire sounds fascinating to me. I hope you find Les Parisiennes as interesting as I did. As I’ve read other things mentioning some of those included in the book, I will return to it periodically to refresh my memory. I always love your book lists!

  2. From the books you recommended, I only read the Wild Swans but I loved it- a wonderful memoir. I particularly enjoyed the connection the protagonist had with her grandmother. It’s wonderful that it includes three generations of women- I think it shows well the historical changes that happened in China.
    Ivana Split recently posted…HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!My Profile

    1. Happy Women’s Day! I’m delighted to hear that you liked Wild Swans, so far I only heard only positive comments for it, from people who read it.

  3. I think my husband would love German Prisoners of the Great War and I would love Les Parisiennes. It’s always interesting to read testimonies of those who lived through wars. Most of us have such privileged lives in comparison nowadays. I think you might also enjoy (not sure that’s the quite the right word) A Woman In Berlin, it’s a real eye opener.

    1. Thank you for telling me about that book, I didn’t know about it. I will buy it now, as I’m very curious to read it. xx

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