Five books to read for March 8th

Unpublished works, reprints, graphic novels: reading advice

Of Camilla Cupelli,

Forced marriages, feminism and graphic novels, reprints. There are hundreds of books published every year that talk about women’s rights and feminism: we have chosen them five to read on International Women’s Rights Day which falls on March 8, published (or republished) in 2022.

‘Blues and black feminism’, Angela Davis, Edizioni Alegre, 19 euros

The author needs no introduction: the text traces, through the history of Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday, the history of the blues intertwined with that of feminism, especially black American feminism. The three blueswomen have in fact revolutionized the world of music and, in doing so, also that of the history of women’s rights.

‘Free. Our NO to forced marriages’, by Martina Castigliani, with illustrations by Elisabetta Ferrari, published by PaperFirst, 17 euros

It is the story of the ‘saved’ Saman Abbas of Italy. The proceeds from the royalties will go to Trama di Terre, the first association in Italy to deal with the issue of forced marriages. The author traces the story of Fatima, Yasmine, Zoya, Khadija and X, who fled from their family and live under protection, because they chose to flee from forced or arranged marriages. One of them then chose to go home: for this reason, her identity is doubly protected.

‘Behind the hall of mirrors’, Liv Stromquist, Fandango Libri, 19 euros

The author of feminist graphic novels is among the best known in the world: her work ‘The Feelings of Prince Charles’ is emblematic. With a mix of irony and history, she offers a reading of some gender stereotypes by deconstructing them. This text mainly talks about beauty icons and myths to debunk.

‘Break. Why we like it when women make mistakes’, by Jude Ellison Sady Doyle, Tlon, 19 euro

From Charlotte Bronte to Miley Cyrus, via Britney Spears, the book traces the failures of women who are so popular with the public. Why do we like to watch a woman ‘break down’, the author wonders? The book is a mix of history, newspaper articles, literary quotations, closer to an essay than to a popular book but lines up a series that is difficult to ignore.

‘We should all be feminists’, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and illustrated by Bianca Bagnarelli, Super Et, 12 euro

It is an adaptation of a lecture entitled ‘We Should Be All Feminists’ from 2012 during the TEDx lecture cycle, already published in 2014 and republished in an illustrated version. An essential pamphlet to talk about feminism.

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