These Are A Few of My Favorite Reads: Wondrous Women

For a long time I was resistant to reading nonfiction because I thought it was “dry” and “boring” — but then my mom suggested I try starting with biographies and memoirs, because they’re stories about people and (in some cases) can read like fiction. So I followed her advice, for once in my life, and to no one’s surprise she was right! Maybe I should listen to my mother more often.

And since March is Women’s History Month, what better way to honor some amazing, inspirational women than by sharing their stories, as told by themselves?

  • The Story of My Life is one of my first favorite nonfiction books/autobiographies, and possibly the book that got me interested in the genre in the first place! It’s been years since my last reread, but I remember being utterly absorbed by the narrative, empathizing with Helen Keller’s frustrations and her joys, cheering for her triumphs.
  • Another of my early favorites, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank picks up nuance and new meanings every time I revisit it. This is one of the books I actually wish had been required reading in school — it’s not polished or politically correct, but it’s honest about the struggle that is adolescence. How do you stay true to yourself in such a situation, especially when you’re not sure who you are or who you want to be?
  • Confession: I have not yet actually read Becoming, but I greatly admire Michelle Obama’s work and her reputation, and I have heard only good things from the many, many people I know who have read her memoir.
  • I love seeing Mindy Kaling on screen (The Mindy Project is one of my go-to shows, or at least it was while I had Hulu 😅), and Why Not Me? is so intensely relatable. There are lots of awkward moments, shameless moments, and some brutally honest explanations of what really goes on in the entertainment industry. (I would absolutely recommend her other book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), as well.)
  • Reading So Much I Want to Tell You: Letters to My Little Sister is exactly like sitting down for a heart-to-heart with Anna Akana herself, getting honest advice and personal anecdotes about life, adulting, creating, and feminism.
  • Scrappy Little Nobody is exactly as hilarious as you would expect from something written by Anna Kendrick, if you’re at all familiar with how she portrays herself in movies/interviews/tweets, with adorable photographs and fun stories. This collection is just a good time.

Who are some of your female role models? Are there any historical (or living) public figures who you wish would write a memoir?

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33 thoughts on “These Are A Few of My Favorite Reads: Wondrous Women

  1. Ah I remember hearing about Anna Kendricks book and I do want to read it at some point, I’ve always liked Anna both as an actress, singer and just as a person she’s funny. Awesome list Izzy and like yourself I actually got into non-fic through biographies although in my case is was reading The Vamps and Little Mix’s books which caused me to take more note of non-fic. Another non-fic book I’d highly recommend is Doing It! by Hannah Witton, I admire and look up to Hannah a lot particularly when I was 14-17 as she posts videos about sex, periods, relationships and it was a great way to learn about things. Her book is just….ah it’s insightful and covers sex, relationships through to other things such as consent etc.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So, I wanted to read Becoming Obama and I still do, but I’m still in the 70s on the waitlist, well, I guess that’s not too bad considering I started off at 89. BUT, I hate this wait! I saw a Tina Fey biography/memoirs at the charity shop and stopped myself from picking it up but I think I will next time. I LOVE nonfiction and I am having the urge to read more memoirs, I would love to read more in general from female musicians ❤ Great post! (As always!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, I am quite hesitant to start reading non-fiction books as well but it seems that they changed your mind and well, all these sound amazing so, maybe, I’ll pick up one of them soon!
    Great post! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d really love some more historical memoirs from female poets of the Italian Renaissance. It was the time that the most women were writing within their history and I’m sure they’d be fantastic.
    I also really wanna read Michelle’s book but it’s gonna be forever before it’s available at my library 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that does sound like a really interesting period to read about, especially since history through the eyes of women can look really different from the predominant narrative 🤔

      and I can relate to that frustration, library hold queues are The Worst. I hope you find it worth the wait!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t usually go about reading non-fiction novels, but Michelle Obama’s book has me insanely interested in them. I plan on picking her book up when I’m less busy with classes, but if I end up liking them, this post will definitely determine the next few ones I’m reading. Thanks for the recs! Great post as always ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I DIDN’T KNOW ANNA HAD A BOOK!

    Ok, seriously now. I’ve been wanting to get Anna Kendricks book for the longest time, but somehow I forgot, bad me. I don’t know if I can buy it this month, but I’m going to keep this post bookmarked so I can buy it. And also exsqueeze me, I forgot all about Mindy’s book!! I can’t believe myself!

    I agree with your mom about biographies and memoirs though. The diary of Anne Franks wasn’t required reading material in my country, but it happened in my country and I really wanted to read it myself. I’ve been to her ‘house’ multiple times and it’s absolutely something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I just hope we never get into another war ever again. Or anything that will cause situations like that. It’s horrible. And I agree that they should make it required reading material. I’m sure it’ll leave a better impression than Hamlet or whatever. At least more important in these times. Maybe Trump should read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. exsqueeze you indeed, how could you forget about Mindy Kaling! 😜 (but for real, I would highly recommend both of her books, so you should definitely keep them in mind next time you’re buying books!)

      I’ve never been super into seeing famous people’s “houses” or historical sites, but Anne Frank’s is one that’s been on my list – it’s really horrific and incredible what she lived through, and I agree, it would be nice if we could actually learn from our history so it wouldn’t happen again. 💔

      Like

  7. Reading memoirs are so interesting, I love seeing what made a person into who they are. And Becoming is literally one of my faves, it made me have so much more respect for Michelle Obama. Mindy Kaling has been on my TBR for some time now. Glad to see that you liked it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Michelle Obama memoir is SO high up on my TBR, I cannot wait to read it! (I am so far down on the waiting list at the library though, its heartbreaking!) I also love Julie Andrews. She has written a couple of books and I own one of them but I haven’t finished it yet. I started reading it when I was younger and I need to get back into it. =] I do also want to get to Anna Kendrick’s book someday but I’m just a casual fan of hers.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. i am REALLY looking forward to reading Becoming! I’ve been on the waitlist for what feels like an eternity at my library for it and I am only just now #87 haha. I admire her so much and have heard incredible things about her memoir, so it warms my heart to see this one on your list!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The only one I have read on this list is the Diary of Anne Frank and that really moved me when I read it… and she was definitely a wondrous woman. I want to read Becoming and the Mindy book too! I should probably read the Helen Keller one as well DD:

    Liked by 1 person

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