Books on My Spring TBR | Top Ten Tuesday

The first official day of spring is tomorrow, March 20, 2019. In honor of the change of the season, I’m sharing the top ten books on my spring TBR! Spring is generally my least favorite of the seasons, but I am excited for it if it means a little more sunlight than we’ve currently been getting where I live. It’s so hard to take nice blog pics without natural sunlight!

In case you’re not familiar with Top Ten Tuesday, it is a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. Now it is run by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl who each week provides a bookish prompt and book bloggers share their top ten picks. These prompts are listed well in advance, so it’s easy to look ahead and decide which you think you can do. The themes don’t always work for me, so I’m happy when there’s one that fits in my schedule that I actually like!

Before I jump into the books on my spring TBR, I did have some notes I wanted to share about it. First, a lot of the books are ones that have carried over from my fall TBR. Reading has not been a huge priority, but I still want to read everything I wanted to read six months ago. Second, I’ll be moving in the next couple of months! So there’s a little more urgency to read the books on this list, if only so I can bare being separated from them for a time if need be.

I’m not exactly sure if I’ll be able to follow the books where they’re going. But more on that later!

If you find any of the books listed below fascinating I’ve included links to them on both Goodreads and Amazon. Just so you know, I am now an Amazon affiliate. If you do end up making a qualifying purchase through my one of my links I may make a small commission at no extra expense to you. ^_^

1 King of Scars

 King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Pages: Hardcover, 514 pages
Published: January 29, 2019 by Imprint
Genres: New Adult / Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

Face your demons…or feed them. The dashing young king, Nikolai Lantsov, has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war―and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha general, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried―and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

I pre-ordered King of Scars about 10 months before it was due to come out, received it on release day in January, and have still yet to read it! A part of me is apprehensive it might disappoint. Another part of me is saying the longer I put it off, the less time I’ll have to wait for the next one. Regardless, I do expect to read this book soon. Maybe before any of the others on this list…But I’m not in the biggest mood for fantasy right now.

2 Akata Warrior

Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
Pages: Paperback, 512 pages
Published: October 16, 2018 by Speak
Genres: Young Adult / Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book.

Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.

Much-honored Nnedi Okorafor, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, merges today’s Nigeria with a unique world she creates. Akata Warrior blends mythology, fantasy, history and magic into a compelling tale that will keep readers spellbound.

 

Akata Witch was one of my most delightful discoveries last year and I ordered the sequel immediately afterward. Now nearly a year has gone by and I haven’t read it. Well, I haven’t lost interest! It’s just a matter of making the time for it…

3 The Promise

The Promise by Chaim Potok
Pages: Paperback, 368 pages
Published: October 3, 2011 by Anchor Books
Genres: Literary Fiction
Goodreads | Amazon

In a passionate, energetic narrative, The Promise brilliantly dramatizes what it is to master and use knowledge to make one’s own way in the world.

Reuven Malter lives in Brooklyn, he’s in love, and he’s studying to be a rabbi. He also keeps challenging the strict interpretations of his teachers, and if he keeps it up, his dream of becoming a rabbi may die.

One day, worried about a disturbed, unhappy boy named Michael, Reuven takes him sailing and cloud-watching. Reuven also introduces him to an old friend, Danny Saunders—now a psychologist with a growing reputation. Reconnected by their shared concern for Michael, Reuven and Danny each learns what it is to take on life—whether sacred truths or a troubled child—according to his own lights, not just established authority.

Every so often I’m in the mood for more adult literary fiction, and I’ve just been saving this one for such an occasion. I took this book on my spring break trip but didn’t manage to finish the book I had already started (Disrupt You by Jay Samit) so that I could move onto this one. It may be the next one I pick up, because I’m in a serious reading mood at the moment.

4 Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Pages: Paperback, 544 pages
Published: March 28, 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genres: Young Adult / Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

From National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor comes an epic fantasy about a mythic lost city and its dark past.
 
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around–and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old, he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the form of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? And who is the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams?
In this sweeping and breathtaking novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.
The answers await in Weep.

Strange the Dreamer has been on almost every TBR I’ve made since I purchased it last summer. I’ve got nothing to say. I want to read it and see what all the fuss is about! I’ve also been waiting to be in an undeniable fantasy sort of mood.

5 The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Pages: Paperback, 521 pages
Published: August 28, 2001 by Anchor
Genres: Literary Fiction
Goodreads | Amazon

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid’s Tale

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE

In The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood weaves together strands of gothic suspense, romance, and science fiction into one utterly spellbinding narrative. The novel begins with the mysterious death—a possible suicide—of a young woman named Laura Chase in 1945. Decades later, Laura’s sister Iris recounts her memories of their childhood, and of the dramatic deaths that have punctuated their wealthy, eccentric family’s history. Intertwined with Iris’s account are chapters from the scandalous novel that made Laura famous, in which two illicit lovers amuse each other by spinning a tale of a blind killer on a distant planet. These richly layered stories-within-stories gradually illuminate the secrets that have long haunted the Chase family, coming together in a brilliant and astonishing final twist.

This was a somewhat random book purchase I made when I was first getting into book blogging in 2015. It wasn’t a popular book back then, but I felt like I needed some literary fiction and I had never read anything by Margaret Atwood. Still haven’t! Since it’s Women’s History Month, I’m kind of hoping I can get to this book in March, but there’s so many books…

6 Persuasion

Persuasion by Jane Austen
Pages: Paperback, 325 pages
Published: April 29, 2003 by Penguin Classics
Genres: Classic / English literature
Goodreads | Amazon

Jane Austen’s last completed novel, marrying witty social realism to a Cinderella love story

At twenty-­seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen’s last completed novel. Set in the fashionable societies of Lyme Regis and Bath, Persuasion is a brilliant satire of vanity and pretension, but, above all, it is a love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities.

 

Most all of my Jane Austen books are in a thick leather-bound anthology I bought at Barnes & Noble as a teenager. I read one every couple of years or so, and have been eager to start Persuasion for the longest time. I had a Chinese friend in high school that raved about this book, and I think of her every time I see this book. I feel like it’s a great time to read more from this tome before it’s packed away.

7 Obsidio

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Pages: Hardcover, 628 pages
Published: March 13, 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Goodreads | Amazon

From bestselling author duo Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff comes the exciting finale in the trilogy that broke the mold and has been called “stylistically mesmerizing” and “out-of-this-world-awesome.”

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza–but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion? Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys–an old flame from Asha’s past–reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken.

This is another of those books I pre-ordered and then just never got around to when they were finally released. I feel like I would like to reread the first two books in the Illuminae Files trilogy before I read the finale, just to heighten the experience as I don’t know when I ever might reread these books truthfully.

8 Kingdom of Ash

 Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
Pages: Hardcover, 984 pages
Published: October 23, 2018 by Bloomsbury YA
Genres: New Adult / Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s #1 New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an epic, unforgettable conclusion. Aelin Galathynius’s journey from slave to king’s assassin to the queen of a once-great kingdom reaches its heart-rending finale as war erupts across her world. . .

Aelin has risked everything to save her people-but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation-and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen-before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.

This book is only a priority because I’m tired of DNF-ing books with the plan of returning to them again. I’m reading this book on my iPhone as an eBook, so it’s one I could literally pick up whenever, but it’s so hard to get back into this world and story with all the characters and perspectives. I feel like I’ll just need to binge it one day and hope everything from past books comes back to me.

9 Status Update

Status Update by Alice E. Marwick
Pages: Paperback, 368 pages
Published: January 13th 2015 by Yale University Press
Genres: Non-Fiction / Academic Research

Goodreads | Amazon

Social media technologies such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook promised a new participatory online culture. Yet, technology insider Alice Marwick contends in this insightful book, “Web 2.0” only encouraged a preoccupation with status and attention. Her original research—which includes conversations with entrepreneurs, Internet celebrities, and Silicon Valley journalists—explores the culture and ideology of San Francisco’s tech community in the period between the dot com boom and the App store, when the city was the world’s center of social media development.
Marwick argues that early revolutionary goals have failed to materialize: while many continue to view social media as democratic, these technologies instead turn users into marketers and self-promoters, and leave technology companies poised to violate privacy and to prioritize profits over participation. Marwick analyzes status-building techniques—such as self-branding, micro-celebrity, and life-streaming—to show that Web 2.0 did not provide a cultural revolution, but only furthered inequality and reinforced traditional social stratification, demarcated by race, class, and gender.

I aim to read non-fiction every so often, and this book is one that I feel is a good one to read right now. I’m using social media more than ever for my blog and I want to see what can be learned from Marwick’s research.

10 Yes Please

 Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Pages: Paperback, 329 pages
Published: October 2015 by Dey Street Books
Genres: Non-Fiction / Biography / Humor
Goodreads | Amazon

Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby MamaBlades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All” Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.

Once again Yes Please ends one of my book lists. Last week it was a book I recommended for Leslie Knope fans. This week I’m saying I want to read it this spring because I remember loving it and would like to read it before it needs to be packed. I think it will be inspiring at a time when I need it to be right now.

Sorry if this is a boring list! I know a lot of these books have been on TBRs of months past. I think part of the reason I’ve not been so quick to pick them up is I don’t have many more books like them to read. My book purchasing has slowed down in the interest of saving money and with awareness of my uncertain future in mind, I’ve not been eager to add to my book collection. I don’t feel like I have the biggest book collection – especially compared to my bookish peers – but I do anticipate having a lot of trouble moving what I do have.

Thank you for reading!
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Leslie Knope & 10 Books on Her TBR | My Favorite … Feminist T.V. Character

In case you didn’t know, March is Women’s History Month! I’ve been thinking of ways to celebrate the month on this blog and ultimately decided to try my hand at lists relating to feminist literature, aspirational real-life female figures, small businesses led by women, etc. To kick it off, I wanted to participate in this week’s My Favorite meme now hosted by Rebecca @ Bookishly Rebecca.

This week’s theme is favorite feminist T.V. character! One lady came immediately to my mind, and her name is Leslie Knope. In case you’ve not watched Parks & Recreation (2009-2015), you need to start watching it, like, yesterday. It’s hilarious and so full of heart.

Leslie Knope is the deputy director of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. She puts up with a lot of difficult people and challenges that stand in the way of her doing her job the way she knows is right. She’s hard-working, fearless, and an amazing friend. Amongst the things she loves are Pawnee, Ann Perkins, Ben Wyatt, waffles, Joe Biden, coming up with extremely thoughtful gifts.

My favorite thing about her is how passionate and uninhibited she is about the things that matter to her most. She works hard and doesn’t hide it. I feel like a lot of people want others not to see how hard they are trying for fear of being judged or “extra” as the kids say nowadays. Leslie Knope doesn’t let public perception stop her from what she wants to do. She’s a confident and independent woman I think all should look up to.

I didn’t feel like it would be enough just to talk about why I think Leslie Knope is amazing, so I wanted to add a list of books I think that Leslie Knope would totally read and recommend to others, particularly aspiring Pawnee Goddesses. Now before anyone feels the need to mention it, I recall Leslie’s feelings about libraries…

With her feelings in mind, I recommend that instead of visiting a library today (or any day) in her honor that you consider another avenue of book acquisition. You could visit your local second-hand or independent bookstore. If you don’t have much money, maybe you can do book swap online. Maybe you even try reading a eBook so as not to let people know how well read and dangerous you are! ^_^

If you find any of the books listed below fascinating I’ve included links to them on both Goodreads and Amazon. Just so you know, I am now an Amazon affiliate. If you do end up making a qualifying purchase through my one of my links I may make a small commission at no extra expense to you.

1 How I Resist

 How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation  edited by Maureen Johnson
Pages: Paperback, 224 pages
Published: May 15, 2018 by Wednesday Books
Genres: Non-fiction / Anthology / Activism
Goodreads | Amazon

An all-star collection of essays about activism and hope, edited by bestselling YA author Maureen Johnson.

Now, more than ever, young people are motivated to make a difference in a world they’re bound to inherit. They’re ready to stand up and be heard – but with much to shout about, where they do they begin? What can I do? How can I help?

How I Resist is the response, and a way to start the conversation. To show readers that they are not helpless, and that anyone can be the change. A collection of essays, songs, illustrations, and interviews about activism and hope, How I Resist features an all-star group of contributors, including, John Paul Brammer, Libba Bray, Lauren Duca, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita, Alex Gino, Hebh Jamal, Malinda Lo, Dylan Marron, Hamilton star Javier Muñoz, Rosie O’Donnell, Junauda Petrus, Jodi Picoult, Jason Reynolds, Karuna Riazi, Maya Rupert, Dana Schwartz, Dan Sinker, Ali Stroker, Jonny Sun (aka @jonnysun), Sabaa Tahir, Shaina Taub, Daniel Watts, Jennifer Weiner, Jacqueline Woodson, and more, all edited and compiled by New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.

In How I Resist, readers will find hope and support through voices that are at turns personal, funny, irreverent, and instructive. Not just for a young adult audience, this incredibly impactful collection will appeal to readers of all ages who are feeling adrift and looking for guidance.

I read How I Resist last summer and it was one of the first books that came to mind when I decided to make this list. There is no doubt in my mind that Leslie Knope would gift this book to every child she meets. It’s a great introduction to activism for young people who want to protest and stand for something. Leslie Knope is all about civic duty and this book shows the many ways you can resist oppressive people and systems.

2 Wonder Women

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs
Pages: Hardcover, 240 pages
Published: October 18, 2016 by Quirk Books
Genres: Non-fiction / Anthology
Goodreads | Amazon

A fun and feminist look at forgotten women in science, technology, and beyond, from the bestselling author of THE FANGIRL’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY

You may think you know women’s history pretty well. But have you ever heard of. . .

·Alice Ball, the chemist who developed an effective treatment for leprosy—only to have the credit taken by a man?
·Mary Sherman Morgan, the rocket scientist whose liquid fuel compounds blasted the first U.S. satellite into orbit?
·Huang Daopo, the inventor whose weaving technology revolutionized textile production in China—centuries before the cotton gin?

Smart women have always been able to achieve amazing things, even when the odds were stacked against them. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs tells the stories of the brilliant, brainy, and totally rad women in history who broke barriers as scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors. Plus, interviews with real-life women in STEM careers, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to women-centric science and technology organizations—all to show the many ways the geeky girls of today can help to build the future.

This is one book I have not read personally, but one I envision would be an amazing gift to young girls or even a nice coffee table book. I like that the book appears to highlight women who are not super famous and well-known names. I know that I would have really benefitted from having more women in STEM to look up to when I was little, because I definitely was more into history and English than science growing up without recognizing the value of STEM classes.

3 Becoming

Becoming by Michelle Obama
Pages: Hardcover, 426 pages
Published: November 13, 2018 by Crown
Genres: Non-fiction / Biography
Goodreads | Amazon

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

This book is a newer release I’m sure most people are already familiar with. I think Michelle Obama is one of the most inspiring female political figures alive today. She resonates really well with young people and I’m fairly certain she ranked high with Leslie Knope while the show was still on. I would like to know more about Michelle Obama’s younger years and the work she did, as someone who has been working with my local community and beginning to volunteer.

4 Notorious RBG

Notorious RBG Young Readers’ Edition: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik
Pages: Hardcover, 208 pages
Published: November 28, 2017 by HarperCollins
Genres: Non-fiction / Biography 
Goodreads | Amazon

The New York Times bestselling biography Notorious RBG—whose concept originated with a Tumblr page of the same name—is now available in a vibrant, full-color young readers’ edition.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become an icon to millions. Her tireless fight for equality and women’s rights has inspired not only great strides in the workforce but has impacted the law of the land. And now, perfect for a younger generation, comes an accessible biography of this fierce woman, detailing her searing dissents and powerful jurisprudence.

This entertaining and insightful young readers’ edition mixes pop culture, humor, and expert analysis for a remarkable account of the indomitable Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Heroine. Trailblazer. Pioneer.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg is definitely having a moment right now, and I don’t think I’m alone in hoping that she has a few more years of good health. I actually just watched This Is Us tonight and was cackling at Kate for buying her son a yarn doll of RBG so he is surrounded by a strong female presence early! That would so be me.

Anyway this edition of the book looks really cool because it is targeted towards the youth, so it looks like it will be another gorgeous book chock-full of great information on an inspiring woman and also a nice coffee table book.

5 Madam Secretary

Madam Secretary by Madeleine Albright
Pages: Paperback, 592 pages
Published: January 22, 2013 by Harper Perennial
Genres: Non-fiction / Biography / Politics
Goodreads | Amazon

A national bestseller on its original publication in 2003, Madam Secretary is a riveting account of the life of America’s first woman Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. For eight years, during Bill Clinton’s two presidential terms, Albright was a high-level participant in some of the most dramatic events of our time—from the pursuit of peace in the Middle East to NATO’s intervention in the Balkans to America’s troubled relations with Iran and Iraq. In this thoughtful memoir, one of the most admired women in U.S. history reflects on her remarkable personal story, including her upbringing in war-torn Europe and the balancing of career and family responsibilities, and on America’s leading role in a changing world.

With a new epilogue by the author, Madam Secretary offers an inimitable blend of Albright’s warm humor, probing insights, and distinctive ideas.

Leslie Knope kept a great many photos of inspiring women in her office behind her desk and one of the most prominent is Madeline Albright. I confess, I do not have a lot of prior knowledge about this woman, which is why I feel like this book would be a really good read for me on a personal level. If Leslie Knope, a woman who inspires me, is inspired by this woman, then I have high hopes this book will not disappoint.

6 The Essential Feminist Reader

The Essential Feminist Reader by Estelle Freedman
Pages: Paperback, 496 pages
Published: September 18, 2007 by Modern Library
Genres: Non-fiction / Essays / Feminism
Goodreads | Amazon

Including: Susan B. Anthony Simone de Beauvoir W.E.B. Du Bois Hélène Cixous Betty Friedan Charlotte Perkins Gilman Emma Goldman Guerrilla Girls Ding Ling • Audre Lorde John Stuart Mill Christine de Pizan Adrienne Rich Margaret Sanger Huda Shaarawi • Sojourner Truth Mary Wollstonecraft Virginia Woolf

The Essential Feminist Reader is the first anthology to present the full scope of feminist history. Prizewinning historian Estelle B. Freedman brings decades of teaching experience and scholarship to her selections, which span more than five centuries. Moving beyond standard texts by English and American thinkers, this collection features primary source material from around the globe, including short works of fiction and drama, political manifestos, and the work of less well-known writers.

Freedman’s cogent Introduction assesses the challenges facing feminism, while her accessible, lively commentary contextualizes each piece. The Essential Feminist Reader is a vital addition to feminist scholarship, and an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the history of women.

I purchased The Essential Feminist Reader as a TA for a 400-level class I was observing. The class was about technology and accessibility, and she felt the essays in this book complemented the coursework. From what I gleaned, the essays she chose were extremely eye-opening on multiple levels. Many of these feminist put to words ideas and experiences that are not easily explained in sound-bites. This book is definitely on my bucket list and one that I think Leslie Knope would have read.

7 Ain’t I a Woman

Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks
Pages: Paperback, 205 pages
Published: October 20, 2014 by Routledge
Genres: Non-fiction / Essays / Feminism
Goodreads | Amazon

A classic work of feminist scholarship, Ain’t I a Woman has become a must-read for all those interested in the nature of black womanhood. Examining the impact of sexism on black women during slavery, the devaluation of black womanhood, black male sexism, racism among feminists, and the black woman’s involvement with feminism, hooks attempts to move us beyond racist and sexist assumptions. The result is nothing short of groundbreaking, giving this book a critical place on every feminist scholar’s bookshelf.

I’m familiar with bell hooks from pedagogical stand-point, having read Teaching to Transgress as a TA. She is an amazing writer who can very effectively relate nuanced ideas in a way that is not difficult to understand. I would like to one day read her all of her work and felt like this book in particular deserved a spot on this list. Parks & Recreation did not get into race-related topics or story-lines, but I feel like Leslie Knope would definitely be an intersectional feminist.

8 The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
Pages: Paperback, 288 pages
Published: January 17, 2006 by Scribner
Genres: Non-Fiction / Biography
Goodreads | Amazon

MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST
The perennially bestselling, extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, “nothing short of spectacular” (Entertainment Weekly) memoir from one of the world’s most gifted storytellers.The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

Thus far, my list has included books primarily about great women who have accomplished much for society and women. I decided to include Glass Castle, because I feel like Leslie Knope would 100% enjoy reading a book about hardships regular people face. Leslie Knope is a public servant who is not in it for herself or fame; she truly cares about people. I bet this book would break her heart, but also be a reminder of why her work is so important. Jeannette Walls is someone I think about when I think about “the American Dream.”

9 Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America

Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America by Leslie Knope
Published: October 11, 2011 by Hyperion
Pages: Paperback, 240 pages
Genres: Faux Non-Fiction / Humor

Goodreads | Amazon

Welcome to Pawnee: More Exciting than New York, More Glamorous than Hollywood, Roughly the Same Size as Bismarck, North Dakota

In Pawnee, Leslie Knope (as played by Amy Poehler on NBC’s hit show Parks and Recreation) takes readers on a hilarious tour through her hometown, the Midwestern haven known as Pawnee, Indiana. The book chronicles the city’s colorful citizens and hopping nightlife, and also explores some of the most hilarious events from its crazy history–like the time the whole town was on fire, its ongoing raccoon infestation, and the cult that took over in the 1970s. Packed with laugh-out-loud-funny photographs, illustrations, and commentary by the other inhabitants of Pawnee, it’s a must-read that will make you enjoy every moment of your stay in the Greatest Town in America.

With this book we are getting into sillier list territory! I did not know this book existed until I started doing research for this list. It sounds like an amazing companion piece to the show and, once again, a book that would make a great gift. I know a lot of people who love Park & Recreation who would enjoy visiting the world of Pawnee through Leslie Knope’s eyes!

10 Yes, Please

 Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
Pages: Paperback, 329 pages
Published: October 2015 by Dey Street Books
Genres: Non-fiction / Biography / Humor
Goodreads | Amazon

Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby MamaBlades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All” Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.

For the final book on this list, I felt I would be remiss if I didn’t share the book from the lady behind Leslie Knope. Truthfully, this is one of those situations where it’s hard to tell where the character ends and the actor begins. So much of Leslie Knope MUST be innate to Amy Poehler. I feel like Leslie Knope would love the actress who portrays her on T.V.

I’ve actually read this book and own it. I can’t remember if I read it before I watched the show, but I do remember being super inspired by it. It’s definitely due a reread sometime soon.

I hope you enjoyed reading my list of books that would be on Leslie Knope’s TBR for anyone, but women especially. I tried to pick books by and about women from the U.S., just because I feel like Leslie Knope’s pride in her community extends to her country. As someone who has begun working with my local community, I find that Leslie is one of my biggest influences, which is both funny and sad.

While she is definitely a great role model, it is important to remember she is not real. There are other amazing women out there making a difference who more people should know about and celebrate. It is my hope with this list that others will check some of these books out and learn about someone new. ^_^

Thank you for reading!
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