Best Books of 2017 For Women

1. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

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Jesmyn Ward cements her status as a titan of American literature with this novel about a teenage boy named Jojo, whose mother brings him along on a journey through Mississippi to pick up Jojo's father upon his release from prison.

2. Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice by Dr. Willie Parker

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Many states already make access to abortion extremely difficult and things will likely get worse under the Trump administration. In this memoir, Dr. Willie Parker, an abortion provider who works in the South, explains how he came to understand the importance of safe abortions and why reproductive freedom is in more danger than ever before.

3.What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

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In her debut collection, Lesley Nneka Arimah blends magical realism and sci-fi elements for a truly unique set of stories about family, friendship, and home that will leave you hungry for more of her work.

4. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

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This nonfiction book tells the horrifying story of Oklahoma’s Osage Indian murders, many of which remain unsolved nearly 100 years later. In 2016, the book inspired a Hollywood bidding war so intense that Leonardo DiCaprio and J. J. Abrams didn’t even win the movie rights, so read it now so you’ll be an expert during its inevitable awards season circuit.

5. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

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While you wait for the film adaptation of Annihilation — the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s wonderfully haunting Southern Reach trilogy — sate your speculative fiction desires with Borne, in which a woman named Rachel discovers a mysterious life form in a not-hard-to-imagine near future where the world has been ravaged by climate change. If that’s not enough to sell you, there’s also a giant, flying, murderous bear named Mord.

6. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

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Roxane Gay released a short story collection called Difficult Women early this year, but one book per year is for underachievers. In Hunger, Roxane writes about her mental, physical, and emotional difficulties with food and her body, as well as the challenges of being overweight in a society that prizes thinness above all else.

7. Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang

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You may have read Jenny Zhang’s poetry or some of her brilliant essays for Rookie, but she moved into the realm of short stories with the collection Sour Heart, which explores the inner lives of young women growing up in NYC. And if you’re looking for a celebrity endorsement, Sour Heart also happens to be the first book published by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s Lenny imprint.

8. What Happened by Hillary Clinton

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The woman who would have been president revisits the events of 2016 in a searing and often heartbreaking memoir.

9. Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao

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— Jonathan L.
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Ellen Pao made headlines in 2015 as interim CEO at Reddit, where she made a widely publicized attempt to shut down subreddits that fostered hate speech, but her fight against sexism in tech goes back much farther. In 2012, she sued venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins for gender discrimination. She lost the case, but her lawsuit inspired so many other women to come forward about Silicon Valley sexism that insiders started referring to the wave of suits as "the Pao effect." Reset offers a clear-eyed account of her experiences as well as Pao's vision for a way forward.

10. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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After a fire at the home of the Richardsons — a white, upper-middle-class family in the near-perfect suburban town of Shaker Heights — sets the scene, Celeste Ng throws a ton of major themes at you: motherhood, youth, class, race. But most importantly, she explores what it truly means to make a sacrifice for the ones you love.

11. What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

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Zinzi Clemmons's debut novel tells the story of Thandi, a young woman struggling to deal with the aftermath of her mother’s death, through a series of haunting, beautifully written vignettes.

12. Hit So Hard by Patty Schemel

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Hole drummer Patty Schemel takes on the memoir with this account of her life before, during, and after her time with Courtney Love and the gang.

13. Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone by Juli Berwald

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Jellyfish are crazy! It's just a fact. But Juli Berwald's book, which incorporates her own experiences as a scientist, goes a long way toward explaining why jellyfish are the way they are (and might make you reconsider them as harbingers of beach doom)


BY ELIZA THOMPSON via Cosmopolitan