NYPL's 2020 Essential Reads on Feminism for Adults: Accessible Version with BARD & Bookshare Links

By NYPL Staff
November 23, 2020
Book covers from NYPL's Essential Reads on Feminism list

One hundred years after the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, making some American women eligible to vote under federal law, The New York Public Library presents its list of Essential Reads on Feminism. The list includes first-hand accounts and histories of the suffrage movement that chronicle both its successes and its limitations—particularly for women of color—as well as contemporary essays on how feminism intersects with race, class, education, and LGBTQ+ activism. From personal memoirs to historical overviews, featuring writing by seminal figures and lesser-known pioneers, the list traces the development of the feminist ideas that have powered the campaign for gender equality, in all its complexity and boldness. While far from complete, the list nevertheless provides a starting point for learning about the history of feminism and for exploring the issues and challenges that many women face today.

If you find it hard to read standard print, The New York Public Library's Andrew Heiskell Library provides free access to talking books, talking book players, braille, a talking book download website and a free talking book and ebraille app for mobile devices. Go to nypl.org/talkingbooks to learn more and to apply.

Most of the books on 2020 Essential Reads on Feminism for Adults are available in one or more accessible formats. Find links to them below.

Note that DB = available on BARD in talkingbook format and as a mail-able talking book, and BR = available on BARD in braille format and as mail-able physical braille. These formats are available through the links, or call us at 212-206-5400 to order a physical copy through the mail. Some titles are available through Bookshare and can be found through the Bookshare (BK) link under that title. All Heiskell members can gain access to Bookshare for free.

DB (digital talkingbook) / BR (braille) / BK (Bookshare)

Ain’t I a woman: Black women and feminism by bell hooks: BK

All bound up together by Martha S. Jones: BK

America’s Women by Gail Collins: DB, BK

Antigone Rising: The Subversive Power of the Ancient Myths by Helen Morales: BK

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson: BK

The Art of Feminism by Lucinda Gosling, Hilary Robinson, Amy Tobin, Helena Reckitt, and Maria Balshaw: BK

Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi: DB, BK

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay: DB, BR, BK

Because of Sex By Gillian Thomas: BK

Becoming by Michelle Obama: DB, BR, BK

Betrayal and Other Acts of Subversion by Leslie Bow: BK

Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China by Leta Hong Fincher: BK

The Birth of Chinese Feminism by Lydia Liu, Rebecca Karl, and Dorothy Ko: BK

Black Feminism Reimagined: After Intersectionality by Jennifer C. Nash: BK

Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins: BK

Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity by C. Riley Snorton: BK

The Black Woman: An Anthology by Toni Cade Bambara (ed.): BK

A Black Women's History of the United States by Diana Ramey Berry, Kali N. Gross: DB, BK 

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa: BK

Born Both: An Intersex Life by Hida Viloria: DB, BR, BK

But Some of Us Are Brave by Akasha (Gloria T.) Hull, Patrica Bell Scott, Barbara Smith: BK

Captive genders : trans embodiment and the prison industrial complex by Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith: BK

Critically Sovereign by Joanne Barker: BK

Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells by Ida B. Wells: BK

Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine: BK

Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader by Gayle S. Rubin: BK

Ecofeminist Natures by Noel Sturgeon: BK

Ecological Borderlands by Christina Holmes: BK

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper: BK

Everyday Sexism: The Project That Inspired a Worldwide Movement by Laura Bates: BK

Fairest: A Memoir by Meredith Talusan: BK

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan: DB, BK

Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto by Nancy Fraser, Cinzia Arruzza, and Tithi Bhattacharya: BK

Feminism Unfinished by Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry: BK

The Feminist Promise: 1792 to the Present by Christine Stansell: BK

Funk the Erotic: Transaesthetics and Black Sexual Cultures by L.H. Stallings: BK

Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity by Judith Butler: BK

Gender, Development, and Globalization by Lourdes Benería, Günseli Berik and Maria Floro: BK

Gilded Suffragists by Johanna Neuman: BK

Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution by Sara Marcus: BK

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger by Rebecca Traister: DB, BK

The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich: DB, BK

Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism by Mary Daly: BK

The Hello Girls: America's First Women Soldiers by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman: DB, BK

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall: DB, BR, BK

How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: BK

I'm Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya: BK

In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose by Alice Walker: DB, BK

The Industrial Vagina by Sheila Jeffreys: BK

Intercourse by Andrea Dworkin: BK

Law, Gender & Injustice: A Legal History of U.S. Women by Joan Hoff: BK

Male Daughters, Female Husbands by Ifi Amadiume: BK

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit: BK

Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait? By Tina Cassidy: BK

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor: DB, BR, BK (In Spanish DB)

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem: DB, BK

The Myth of Seneca Falls by Lisa Tetrault: BK

Native Country of the Heart: A Memoir by Cherríe Moraga: BK

Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers by Lillian Faderman: BK

Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution by Adrienne Rich: DB, BK

Other Powers by Barbara Goldsmith: BK

Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era by The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective: DB

Our Mothers' War by Emily Yellin: DB, BR, BK

Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States by Alice Kessler-Harris: BK

A Politically Incorrect Feminist by Phyllis Chesler: BK

Quiet Rumours: An Anarcha-Feminist Reader by Dark Star Collective : BK

Reclaiming Our Space by Feminista Jones: BK

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood by Janet Mock: DB, BK

Regulating the Lives of Women by Mimi Abramovitz: BK

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life by Jane Sherron De Hart: DB, BK 

The Sacred Hoop by Paula Gunn Allen: BK

SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanas: BK

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvior: DB, BK

Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti: BK

Sexual Politics by Kate Millett: DB, BK

She Had Some Horses: Poems by Joy Harjo: BK

She Said by Jodie Kantor and Megan Twohey: DB, BK 

Sister Outsider: Essays & Speeches by Audre Lorde: DB, BK

Song in a Weary Throat: Memoir of an American Pilgrimage by Pauli Murray: DB, BK

Southern Women: Black and White in the Old South by Sally G. McMillen: BK

Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity by Alexis Pauline Gumbs: BK

Suffrage: Women's Long Battle for the Vote by Ellen Carol DuBois: DB, BK

Tendencies by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick: BK

Thank You for Voting by Erin Geiger Smith: BK

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga: DB, BK

Transgressive: A Trans Woman on Gender, Feminism, and Politics by Rachel Anne Williams: BK

A Voice from the South by Anna Julia Cooper: BK

Want to Start a Revolution? by Dayo F. Gore, Jeanne: BK 

War Echoes By Ariana E. Vigil: BK

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Saidiya Hartman: BK

We Should All Be Feminists By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: DB, BR, BK

When and Where I Enter by Paula Giddings: BR, BK

Whipping Girl by Julia Serano: BK

Why They Marched by Susan Ware: BK

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston: DB, BK

China Men by Maxine Hong Kingston: DB, BK

The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss: DB, BK

Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard: BD, BR, BK

Women of Color and the Reproductive Rights Movement by Jennifer Nelson: BK

Women Will Vote: Winning Suffrage in New York State by Susan Goodier & Karen Pastorello: DB, BK

The Women's Suffrage Movement by Sally Roesch Wagner (editor): BK