Best Feminist Books of 2023

At Feminist Book Club, we share books from authors of various backgrounds and perspectives. I asked our Content Contributors and team the books they enjoyed this year. I have left with more books on my TBR. Thank you to our Content Contributors and team!

Yasi Agah (she/her), Content Contributor: 

Muddy People: A Muslim Coming-of-Age by Sara El Sayed is a modern and engaging take on a young Egyptian girl’s journey growing up in Australia – I loved this book because I related to the habits and experiences of her family. My family is Middle Eastern (from Iran) and it was validating to hear her inner thoughts as she navigated a world she felt like a bit of an outsider while making the best of it. A great read for anyone looking for a heartwarming coming of age story with a twist!

Book cover for Muddy People by Sara El Sayed

Sam Paul (she/her), Content Contributor

Life is Everywhere by Lucy Ives was incredible. It’s about heartbreak and families and a #metoo scandal. It’s experimental, beautiful, sad, and laugh out loud funny. It’s the first book I read this year and the first one I thought to list at the end of it.

August Blue by Deborah Levy made me go back and start reading everything Levy has written. This book is a little playful and a little bizarre. There’s an edge to it–reading it made me feel like I was on summer vacation in Europe while also going slightly mad. It stuck with me–highly recommend.

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang. I’ve talked about Yellowface too much this year, but it deserves the praise. It is an expertly executed funny and biting satire. I will definitely revisit it in the years to come.

Book cover for August Blue by Deborah Levy

Rah Hernandez (they/them), Captain of Commerce: 

Second Chances in New Port Stephen by TJ Alexander: I’m usually not someone who picks up books that revolve around a holiday, but this rom-com about a trans man going back to his hometown in Florida for Christmas really got me. TJ Alexander has a way of writing these characters that I want to be my new circle of friends.

Across a Field of Starlight by Blue Delliquanti (Graphic novel): Nothing warms my heart more than two non-binary teens finding each other through space and time even when there’s an intergalactic war that has kept them apart. You’ll have to read to find out if they find each other again.

Book cover for Across a Field of Starlight by Blue Delliquanti

Renee Powers (she/her), Founder

Land of Milk and Honey by C. Pam Zhang: I adored Zhang’s first novel How Much of These Hills Is Gold so I had high hopes for her sophomore book. It didn’t disappoint. This is a near-future climate dystopia in which our main character is a chef for the 1% at the end of the world. The food writing is sensual, the characters are detestable, and the world building is almost too close for comfort. I loved every page.

Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas: It’s no surprise this book is ending up on so many of FBC’s year-end lists. There’s truly something for everyone in this book. It’s equal parts horror, historical fiction, romance, and gothic literary fiction. But instead of feeling like it’s trying to do too much, this book is absolutely engrossing and intoxicating.

Goodbye Earl by Leesa Cross-Smith: One of my favorite FBC books of the month ever! It’s been a long time since a book made me cry this hard, but at the same time, I’m so glad it did. This is the story of friendship and overcoming shitty situations together to come out stronger on the other side. It’s a story of home and the complicated feelings that surround it. And the multiple references to songs by The Chicks was just the icing on the cake!

Book cover for Land of Milk and Honey by C. Pam Zhang

Steph Auteri (she/her), Content Contributor: 

The In-Betweens by Davon Loeb. In this memoir, Loeb lays out his story in gorgeously lyrical vignettes, writing about what it was like to grow up biracial, unsure of his place in his white family and in larger society. Taking us from childhood all the way through adulthood, The In-Betweens gives us the portrait of a man trying to find himself in a culture that seems hellbent on erasing him.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. [cw: sexual assault] This novel received a wave of buzz this year thanks to its adaptation for Apple TV, but the book itself came out in 2022, at which point it quickly became a book club staple. I was skeptical when a friend insisted I read it, and was then immediately put off by an upsetting scene early on in the book depicting a sexual assault. But when I forced myself to push past it, I found myself enchanted by this quirky story of a chemist battling sexism who ends up hosting a cooking show and inspiring a revolution.

Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher. I don’t generally read romantasy (even separately, romance and fantasy don’t often make it onto my TBR), but I do love Kingfisher’s work, so I decided to give this one a go. The first in the Saint of Steel series, Paladin’s Grace is about a paladin and perfumer who get caught up in an assassination plot. As always, Kingfisher’s sense of humor and skill with character development are impeccable.

Book cover for The In-Betweens by Davon Loeb

Ashley Paul (she/her), Content Contributor: 

Glory Be: A Glory Broussard Mystery by Danielle Arceneaux

CW: suicide

This book was another foray for me  into the world of mystery books. Glory and and her daughter investigate what is perceived as Glory’s best friend’s suicide. Humor, authenticity, and the heat of Lafayette catapult this story of greed into one of healing and family. I wish this book was the third in a series. 

Book cover for Glory Be: A Glory Broussard Mystery by Danielle Arceneaux

What books did you enjoy this year? Are there new genres that you read?

Ashley Paul is a traveler, runner, and baker. She is an Everlasting Bookworm and Culture Maven. She is passionate about supporting high school juniors and seniors to write compelling stories for their post-secondary careers. She loves stories with social commentary, atmospheric writing, and compelling characters.

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