Summer Reading

After Bechdel-ing my movie, TV on DVD, and book collections (recognizing that the Bechdel test is woefully inadequate for TV and books, given the general span of their story/character arcs), I decided to up the awesome chick quotient in my summer reading by focusing on books about girls (but not necessarily for girls).  So after a couple of weeks in Italy, I returned home eager to get reading.  I turned to my old friend, Bitch magazine for help.  With the assistance of the awesome Bitch community, Miss Print's Chicklit Reviews and the Amelia Bloomer project, I crafted a summer reading list that looked something like this:

Gravity by Leanne Lieberman
Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole
Celine by Brock Cole
Kendra by Coe Booth
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Andromeda Klein by Frank Portma
Kiki Strike ("butt-kicking girl superspy") series by Kirsten Miller
Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie, Ironside: A Modern Faery's Tale by Holly Black
After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
For the Win by Cory Doctorow
Anything by Tamora Pierce
The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
The Alchemyst (sequels The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer) by Michael Scott
Cut, Sold by Patricia McCormack
The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines
Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
NoMANsland by Lesley Hauge
In a gilded cage by Rhys Bowen
Libyrinth by Pearl North
The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan by Nancy Springer
A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
The Burning Time by Robin Morgan
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Generation Dead by Daniel Waters (the first book to be discussed by my dear friend Miss Print's new online bookclub!)

and to round out the YA binge,  Enlightened Sexism : The Seductive Message That Feminism’s Work is Done by Susan J. Douglas

While some of these are re-reads (the joys of re-reading an excellent book, I cannot put into words), I'm approximately 1/3 of the way through the list (in no particular order) and I could not be happier to have spent the last couple of weeks immersed in stories about well-developed, three dimensional, young women.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, kids need to see themselves realistically, lovingly, and empoweringly portrayed in the fiction they read.  As a teacher, if I'm to be able to recommend excellent, powerful, and just plain good books to young women, kids of color, poor kids, gay kids, trans kids . . . I need to make sure that I am actively searching them out.  Lazy reading means shoddy readers' advisory and a frustrated RMS.

As a side note to this . . . a blurb about internalized anti-feminist rhetoric: I haves it.  I realized sitting in Logan airport, on my way home from a weekend up in Boston, that I was thinking, as I read Enlightened Sexism, "I wonder what these people think of me."  Which is absurd and a tad ego-maniacal, because waiting to board a plane, people have a lot to think about besides me and whether or not I am a rabid, frigid misandrist.  But for more than a second, I wondered. 

I'm going to work on that.


  1. Happy reading, looks like a great list.

  2. I loved Celine when I was a youth. Oh did I love that book. I still think of how the guy's glove fell on her knee and she was thrilled the whole drive home thinking it was his hand. Such a perfect book. His other book, The Goats, is also freakish and weird and has a strong girl protagonist.

  3. I need to but Goats on the list. Sadly, Celine's status at my library is "see staff." Does not bode well for my hold.