International Women’s Day was only 10 days ago, but in light of the COVID-19 crisis, it feels like a lifetime has since passed. However, Women’s History Month is still ongoing in the United States, and it’s a commemorative month we’d love to see adopted the world over. As a fourth wave of intersectional feminism has become a global movement, women are coming forward with their own stories more than ever before. In celebration, we’ve gathered the 10 best new memoirs written by women who tell their stories of love, triumph, and tragedy through unique lenses and untapped historical perspectives. Happy reading.
Recollections of My Nonexistence
by Rebecca Solnit
Author Rebecca Solnit, whose viral essay Men Explain Things to Me went on to inspire the term ‘mansplaining’, pens a powerful memoir chronicling female erasure. Told through the lens of her personal history as an author, critic, and activist, the modern female experience is extrapolated to encompass the historical struggle of women to find their voices in a society that tends to silence them, dismiss them, or oppress them.
‘Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir’ by Rebecca Solnit
Always Home: A Daughter's Recipes & Stories
by Fanny Singer
What is it like to grow up with a famous food icon in the family? Fanny Singer – whose mother is American chef, restaurateur, activist, and author Alice Walker – explores food, family, and coming of age in her new memoir Always Home. Her unconventional upbringing is richly textured by the food scene and cuisine that surrounded her, and brings to life the fascinating origins of her mother’s famed farm-to-table movement.
‘Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes & Stories’ by Fanny Singer
The Wrong End of the Table
by Ayser Salman
Ayser Salman’s memoir of trying to fit in among her blonde-haired, blue-eyed counterparts while being a shy Muslim immigrant in America offers raw and funny insights into the difficulties of assimilation. Cultural differences, bigotry, and isolation contribute to her experience, especially in a post-9/11 world, but she handles it all with deft humor and incredible grace.
‘The Wrong End of the Table’ by Ayser Salman
by Jessica Simpson
We never thought we’d recommend a book by a popstar princess whose ‘blonde moments’ were chronicled on reality TV, but Jessica Simpson’s stunning memoir will grip you from page one. Her beautiful prose tackles everything from tragic loss, abuse, and deep-seeded body issues that derive from living in the public eye to addiction and motherhood. Along the way, she spills the tea on the music industry’s darkest secrets and exposes the cruelty of a famous Lothario she once dated – unputdownable.
‘Open Book’ by Jessica Simpson
All the Lives We Ever Lived
by Katharine Smyth
Part-memoir and part-tribute to her favorite writer, Katharine Smyth’s haunting story of grief and tragedy is seen through the lens of the works of Virginia Woolf. Her obsession with Woolf dovetails with memories of her father, whom Smyth lost to alcoholism and cancer. Because the memoir is experienced through the works and words of another already-famous author, it takes on the essence of a grand literary experiment, lending it a totally unique quality we haven’t seen in other memoirs before.
‘All the Lives We Ever Lived’ by Katherine Smyth
The Yellow House
by Sarah Broom
National Book Award winner The Yellow House is an ambitious memoir, chronicling a century of Sarah Broom’s family history, with her family home in New Orleans acting as a stand-in character. She weaves a story of poverty, survival, and familial bonds with urban history and anthropology with courage and clarity. By the end of the memoir, her passionate prose and empathetic storytelling skills make you feel like you know her family like your own.
‘The Yellow’ House by Sarah Broom
In the Land of Men
by Adrienne Miller
At 22, Adrienne Miller got her big break when she was hired to be an editorial assistant at GQ, which offered her an escape from the doldrums of Midwestern life. Quickly, Miller realized that her male-dominated career would be a minefield to navigate. She became a close confidant of David Foster Wallace through her journey, and her memoir chronicles the development of their intellectual and artistic relationship. Ultimately, the book dives deep into the question, “How does a young woman fit into this male culture and at what cost?”
‘In the Land of Men’ by Adrienne Miller
High Risk: A Doctor's Notes on Pregnancy, Birth, and the Unexpected
by Chavi Eve Karkowsky, MD
Steel yourself for this one. Dr. Chavi Eve Karkowsky’s work in maternal-fetal medicine meant working with women experiencing high-risk pregnancy complications. Her harrowing account is packed with grim details, but she also illustrates the incredible resilience of women and underscores the complexity of life. Throughout her memoir, Karkowsky weaves in historical insights and uncovers the misinformation that surrounds the medical practice of delivering babies.
‘High Risk’ by Chavi Eve Karkowsky, MD
It’s What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War
by Lynsey Addario
Lynsey Addario is an unflinching photojournalist who, time and time again, has walked into the fray of war and conflict in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Darfur, and the Congo. In this memoir, she vividly illustrates her journey with her own photographs, which leaves the reader breathless at the courage it took to get these shots under such extreme and dangerous conditions. Her photographs, shown alongside her written experiences, provide a rare glimpse into the world of photojournalism.
‘It’s What I Do’ by Lynsey Addario
Our Revolution: A Mother and Daughter at Midcentury
by Honor Moore
Heralded as a mother-daughter story unlike any other, Our Revolution by Honor Moore is a fascinating multigenerational memoir. Her mother, Jenny McKean, was born into great wealth in 1923 and later married a man of equally great wealth. However, they defied convention and ended up working together in the slums of Jersey City. This humbling experience was recounted in McKean’s unfinished memoir, which her daughter built on to create Our Revolution. Telling the story of her mother as she grappled with desires for freedom during the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s, and folding in her own story, Moore straddles two very different perspectives on womanhood.
‘Our Revolution’ by Honor Moore